News / Africa

Opposition, Ruling Party Predict Victory in Sierra Leone’s Election

Supporters of the opposition Sierra Leone People's Party (SLPP) march through central Freetown with a placard of presidential candidate Julius Maada Bio and his running mate, Dr. Kadi Sesay, in Freetown, Sierra Leone, October 19, 2012. Supporters of the opposition Sierra Leone People's Party (SLPP) march through central Freetown with a placard of presidential candidate Julius Maada Bio and his running mate, Dr. Kadi Sesay, in Freetown, Sierra Leone, October 19, 2012.
x
Supporters of the opposition Sierra Leone People's Party (SLPP) march through central Freetown with a placard of presidential candidate Julius Maada Bio and his running mate, Dr. Kadi Sesay, in Freetown, Sierra Leone, October 19, 2012.
Supporters of the opposition Sierra Leone People's Party (SLPP) march through central Freetown with a placard of presidential candidate Julius Maada Bio and his running mate, Dr. Kadi Sesay, in Freetown, Sierra Leone, October 19, 2012.
James Butty
As Sierra Leoneans go to the polls Saturday, the main opposition Sierra Leone Peoples Party (SLPP) said it is confident its presidential candidate, former military head of state Julius Maada Bio will defeat incumbent Ernest Bai Koroma, if the elections are free and fair. 

John Benjamin, SLPP chairman, said Sierra Leoneans will choose the opposition over the ruling All Peoples Congress (APC) because of the country’s economic difficulties.

“We have done everything that we believe will enable us to win this election on the first round.  Our flag bearer, I and the running mate, we have been all over the country campaigning from district to district.  And, what is also helping our campaign is the hardship that has been created on the people of Sierra Leone by the bad governance, bad performance, bad economic management of this APC government,” he said.

Benjamin cited what he said are high commodity prices, including rice, Sierra Leone’s staple food.

“The cost of our staple food, rice, when they came into power five years ago, was 60,000 Leones a bag.  Now, that same bag of rice is going for like about 200,000 Leones.  Things have deteriorated,” Benjamin said.

But, Koroma supporters said the president has brought about infrastructure development and the economy has boomed under his administration.  They also say Sierra Leone has enjoyed peace and stability.

Benjamin said life would be even better for Sierra Leoneans under SLPP leadership because he said the party will ensure that the country’s resources are used for the benefit of the people.

Butty interview with Benjamin
Butty interview with Benjamini
|| 0:00:00
...    
🔇
X

“In our party, the Sierra Leone Peoples Party, we have qualified people that will manage our economy.  And one thing we will do is to make sure that, when investors come into our country, we will encourage them to provide the resources that we need to manage their businesses.  But, at the same time, we also will have a management stake in their businesses so that, when they benefit, the benefit is not just for themselves, it’s also for our country,” Benjamin said.

He rejects criticism that the election of SLPP candidate, Julius Maada Bio, would be tantamount to returning Sierra Leone to the days of military dictatorship.

“I believe that, by serving in the military government, that helped create democracy, that helped bring peace to our country; I believe that that, in itself, has given the opportunity for him to come again and serve as a civilian because there is no crime in you becoming a civilian and coming to serve your country in a civilian capacity,” he said.

Benjamin said the opposition is hopeful Saturday’s election would be free and fair.

“We have our apprehension[s] because we have seen the police mainly going to serve the interest of the governing party, and these are fears we have expressed to the international community.  But, we are sort of encouraged by the presence of international observers, and we believe their presence might also give confidence to our people and make it difficult for anybody to introduce violence into the system,” Benjamin said.

You May Like

Will Cuba Follow the Southeast Asia Model?

Decision to restore ties between US and Cuba has some debating whether it will lead to enhancement or regression of democracy for Communist island nation More

Kenyan Designer Finds Her Niche in Fashion Industry

‘Made in China’ fabrics underlie her success More

Report: CIA, Israel's Mossad Killed Senior Hezbollah Commander

The Washington Post story says Imad Mughniyah was killed instantly by a bomb "triggered remotely" from Tel Aviv by Mossad agents More

This forum has been closed.
Comments
     
There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Jefferson's Library Continues to Impress, 200 Years Lateri
X
Deborah Block
January 31, 2015 12:12 AM
Two hundred years after the U.S. Congress purchased a huge collection of books belonging to former President Thomas Jefferson, it remains one of America’s greatest literal treasures and has become the centerpiece of Washington’s Library of Congress. VOA’s Deborah Block reports.
Video

Video Jefferson's Library Continues to Impress, 200 Years Later

Two hundred years after the U.S. Congress purchased a huge collection of books belonging to former President Thomas Jefferson, it remains one of America’s greatest literal treasures and has become the centerpiece of Washington’s Library of Congress. VOA’s Deborah Block reports.
Video

Video Egypt's Suez Canal Dreams Tempered by Continued Unrest

Egypt plans to expand the Suez Canal, raising hopes that the end of its economic crisis may be in sight. But some analysts say they expect the project may cost too much and take too long to make life better for everyday Egyptians. VOA's Heather Murdock reports.
Video

Video Threat of Creeping Lava Has Hawaiians on Edge

Residents of the small town of Pahoa on the Big Island of Hawaii face an advancing threat from the Kilauea volcano. Local residents are keeping a watchful eye on creeping lava. Mike O’Sullivan reports.
Video

Video Pro-Kremlin Youth Group Creatively Promotes 'Patriotic' Propaganda

As Russia's President Vladimir Putin faces international pressure over Ukraine and a failing economy, unofficial domestic groups are rallying to his support. One such youth organization, CET, or Network, uses creative multimedia to appeal to Russia's urban youth with patriotic propaganda. VOA's Daniel Schearf reports.
Video

Video Filmmakers Produce Hand-Painted Documentary on Van Gogh

The troubled life of the famous 19th century Dutch painter Vincent van Gogh has been told through many books and films, but never in the way a group of filmmakers now intends to do. "Loving Vincent " will be the first ever feature-length film made of animated hand-painted images, done in the style of the late artist. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Issues or Ethnicity? Question Divides Nigeria

As Nigeria goes to the polls next month, many expect the two top presidential contenders to gain much of their support from constituencies organized along ethnic or religious lines. But are faith and regional blocs really what political power in Nigeria is about? Chris Stein reports.
Video

Video Rock-Consuming Organisms Alter Views of Life Processes

Scientists thought they knew much about how life works, until a discovery more than two decades ago challenged conventional beliefs. Scientists found that there are organisms that breathe rocks. And it is only recently that the scientific community is accepting that there are organisms that could get energy out of rocks. Correspondent Elizabeth Lee reports.
Video

Video Paris Attacks Highlight Global Weapons Black Market

As law enforcement officials piece together how the Paris and Belgian terror cells carried out their recent attacks, questions are being asked about how they obtained military grade assault weapons - which are illegal in the European Union. As VOA's Jeff Swicord reports, experts say there is a very active worldwide black market for these weapons, and criminals and terrorists are buying.
Video

Video Activists Accuse China of Targeting Religious Freedom

The U.S.-based Chinese religious rights group ChinaAid says 2014 was the worst year for religious freedom in China since the end of the Cultural Revolution. As Ye Fan reports, activists say Beijing has been tightening religious controls ever since Chinese leader Xi Jinping came to office. Hu Wei narrates.
Video

Video Theologians Cast Doubt on Morality of Drone Strikes

In 2006, stirred by photos of U.S. soldiers mistreating Iraqi prisoners, a group of American faith leaders and academics launched the National Religious Campaign Against Torture. It played an important role in getting Congress to investigate, and the president to ban, torture. VOA's Jerome Socolovsky reports.
Video

Video Former Sudan 'Lost Boy' Becomes Chess Master in NYC

In the mid-1980’s, thousands of Sudanese boys escaped the country's civil war by walking for weeks, then months and finally for more than a year, up to 1,500 kilometers across three countries. The so-called Lost Boys of the Sudan had little time for games. But one of them later mastered the game of chess, and now teaches it to children in the New York area. VOA’s Bernard Shusman in New York has his story.
Video

Video NASA Monitors Earth’s Vital Signs From Space

The U.S. space agency, NASA, is wrapping up its busiest 12-month period in more than a decade, with three missions launched in 2014 and two this month, one in early January and the fifth scheduled for January 29. As VOA’s Rosanne Skirble reports, the instruments being lifted into orbit are focused on Earth’s vital life support systems and how they are responding to a warmer planet.

Circumventing Censorship

An Internet Primer for Healthy Web Habits

As surveillance and censoring technologies advance, so, too, do new tools for your computer or mobile device that help protect your privacy and break through Internet censorship.
More

All About America

AppleAndroid