In the latest results from Sierra Leone’s presidential election released Thursday, Ernest Koroma of the opposition All Peoples’ Congress (APC) party continues in first place, followed by 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 continues in third place.
Charles Mambu is director of a coalition of civil and human rights organizations in Sierra Leone. He said many Sierra Leoneans are becoming resigned to the possibility of a runoff election.
“From the results so far announced, it is highly probable that there will be a runoff between Honorable Ernest Koroma and Honorable Vice President Solomon Berewa as of today,” he said.
In the historic Liberian elections of 2005, candidate George Weah led all candidates in the first round. But in the runoff election against Ellen Johnson Sirleaf, Weah lost badly.
But Mambu said in case there is a runoff election in Sierra Lone, it is unlikely to follow the Liberia example.
“First of all, I was one of the international observers that actually went to observe the two elections in Liberia. The scenario might be different in Sierra Leone. I would not say who among the two persons, Honorable Ernest Koroma and Vice President Berewa might actually win in an event of a runoff because in Sierra Leone the votes are being cast according to regional and tribal lines,” Mambu said.
He said in the event of a runoff election, third place candidate Margai could make it difficult for Vice President Berewa to be elected.
“As you already know, Mr. Margai came from the Sierra Leone People’s Party after their disagreement as a result of his non-election at the convention he actually established and formed the PMDC. So I wouldn’t want to call him a spoiler but perhaps a major challenger to the electoral process,” he said.
Mambu said it is possible Margai could join forces with his old party, the SLPP in the event of a runoff election between Koroma and Berewa.
“From the analysis we are getting at the moment, elders from the Sierra Leone People’s Party, they are unconfirmed at the moment that I am talking to you, have already started engaging supporters of Mr. Charles Margai and his humble self to see reason to return to the Sierra Leone People’s Party for the sake of the party. But that one is yet to be made an open secret. It is also very possible that most of the people who actually voted for Mr. Charles Margai came from the SLPP and, according to analysts, these people may decide to vote for SLPP than to vote for APC. But it still a one million dollar question,” Mambu said.
He said in order to win an eventual runoff election, Koroma would have to beef up his campaign strategy.