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Sierra Leone's Opposition Party Introduces Presidential Candidate

The main opposition party in Sierra Leone, All Peoples Congress Party (APCP), is preparing for next year’s elections in which they hope to defeat the ruling Sierra Leone Peoples Party (SLPP) led by President Ahmad Tejan Kabbah. APCP presidential candidate, Ernest Koroma, spoke with Voice of America English to Africa reporter James Butty about why Sierra Leoneans should give him a chance.

“I have indicated that we as a party and I as a presidential candidate are prepared to take over governance in Sierra Leone through the ballot box. We say so because we believe that the government has not delivered on the promises to the people. We have had an opportunity of a great support from the international community, but all of the support that we have received have not been translated to reduce poverty…So therefore, there is a need for a change in the governance of the country.”

Koroma says Tejan Kabbah’s government has continued to use Sierra Leone’s civil war as an excuse to do nothing for the people. He says Sierra Leoneans will be better off under his leadership. “I believe that the major issue where the government has failed and which is responsible for all of what is going on is their failure to fight corruption.” The presidential hopeful says he has long fought corruption. “I am determined. People know me. I have been in the private sector all these years, and people know that I am very, very principled.”

Koroma says he welcomes the arrest of former Liberian president Charles Taylor, who is facing war crime charges in Sierra Leone. “Personally we believe that this will send a clear signal to all the warlords that they will have no hiding place, and if you want to change the government you have to resort to the democratic process…Personally we would have loved for him to be tried in Freetown because that will also give the people a feel of how justice is dispensed.”

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