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Opposition Candidate Maintains Lead in Early Sierra Leone Results


The independent Electoral Commission in Sierra Leone has released more results from last Saturday’s presidential and parliamentary elections. In the latest results released Tuesday, Ernest Koroma of the opposition All Peoples’ Congress (APC) party continues to lead incumbent Vice President Solomon Berewa of the ruling Sierra Leone People’s Party (SLPP). Charles Margai of the People’s Movement for Democratic Change (PMDC) party is in third place.

Andrew Kromah is executive director of SKYY FM in Freetown and KISS FM in Bo, both VOA affiliates. He told VOA that although it is still too early in the vote count, it appears Vice President Berewa might be in some trouble.

“It seems the vice president, Solomon Berewa, is in trouble. But one cannot predict early because more results are coming out. According to NEC (National Electoral Commission), they are going to be releasing results every day. So the figures are going to be changing as they come out,” he said.

Kromah said it appears the voters of Sierra Leone might have cast their votes based on regionalism and tribalism.

“The APC is getting favorable results coming from the western urban, the western rural, and the north. SLPP is hanging on to the south and the east, while PMDC is also hanging on to the south and east. Now in the north and the west, APC is doing like 90 percent, followed by SLPP. Now in the south, SLPP is leading marginally the PMDC. So you can see that these districts are actually divided by tribal lines, and the political parties are also divided by tribal lines,” Kromah said.

He said while outgoing President Tejan Kabbah won the last elections on the promise of peace, this time around, the economy might determine who wins.

“There are three elections you are talking about here. In 1996 the election was based on bringing peaceful resolution to the war. In 2002, it was because President Kabbah and his regime brought peace. This time around, the people are talking about development,” he said.

Kromah said many invalid votes have been discovered in many precincts, something, which he said, is surprising given that the Electoral Commission conducted voter education throughout the country prior to the elections.

“We were expecting that we did a lot of voter education. But what is showing now is the illiteracy rate of our people in the provinces. People need to explain the voting procedure in a better way than it is. Those invalid votes are coming more from the rural areas where the illiteracy rate is high,” Kromah said.

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