Sierra Leone opposition leader Ernest Koroma has been elected president, with more than 54 percent of the vote. Koroma won a run-off election against current Vice-president Solomon Berewa.
For reaction to the election results in Sierra Leone, VOA English to Africa Service reporter Joe De Capua spoke with Yasmin Jusu-Sheriff, first vice-president of the Mano River Women’s Peace Movement. From Freetown, she described the issues President-elect Koroma will face.
“I think there are many challenges facing the new president. And I think the first one will be to reconcile the country and bring everybody back together. During the competition that was spawned by this election, we have revealed that there are still some deep divisions within our society and within our communities. And it is the job of the new president and the new government and even of the new Parliament to bring everybody back together and for us to regain our national focus on moving forward and rebuilding our country after the war,” she says.
Considering the bitter presidential campaign and the legacy of the civil war, how can this be done? Jusu-Sheriff says, “I think the first thing is that the new president will have to be democratic, will have to show that we have good governance in this country. I think that the worst thing that could happen to this country and the most divisive thing that could happen to this country would be for us to abandon the path of democratic development. I think we must continue to work towards building a society where we respect human rights, we respect women’s rights and we try to ensure we remain on the democratic path. Any other way, is going to prevent us from being reconciled.”
She says another major challenge facing the new president will be repairing the country’s infrastructure, especially the roads. She says if this is to be a government for all the people, officials and citizens alike must be able to travel freely and easily about the country.
She says that the elections have brought a renewed sense of hope. “I think there always has to be some hope and optimism when you have a new government. It’s a fresh start. Whoever would have won, I think everybody in the country was looking forward to a fresh start.