The people of Sierra Leone went to the polls yesterday (9-8-07) in a decisive run-off election for a new leader. The incumbent party’, the Sierra Leone People’s Party (SLPP)led by Vice-President Solomon Berewa, has been in power since the end of a brutal war that brought untold suffering to the people of this West African country..
The challenger, is the All People’s Congress (APC) led by Ernest Bai Koroma. There were reports of disturbances in the Kailahun district, a stronghold of the SLPP. Jimmy Kandeh is Associate Professor of Political Science at the University of Richmond in Virginia. Akwei Thompson asked him for an analysis of the elections and in particular, the significance of the disturbances in Kailahun.
Kandeh said “It is an anti-democratic action. You cannot have credible election when opposition parties cannot access the electorate. It calls into question the credibility of any election results coming Kailahun.” Inspite of the reported disturbance in Kailahun, Professor Kendeh said he still has faith in the electoral commissioner, Christiana Thorpe.
Kandeh called the election a referendum on the incumbent SLPP who, he said, have failed the people. “There’s been a yawning, worse than a yawning disappointment, especially in light of the massive infusion of donor funds that have gone into the country, which many hoped would have gone a long way in alleviating the suffering of the people…”
Kandeh said the people want change and “more importantly, Sierra Leoneans want to see a government with probity.”