The day after the presidential election in Sierra Leone, which went off quite peacefully and the votes for which are still being tallied, the police in Freetown made an announcement claiming they had deployed tear gas canisters to disperse opposition supporters in the city. This took place on Sunday evening. On Twitter, the primary challenger to the incumbent president, Julius Maada Bio, in the election, Samura Kamara, said that shots had been fired at the headquarters of his party in the capital city.
A representative for Mr. Kamara’s political party, the All People’s Congress (APC), named Sidie Yahya Tunis, stated that the incident resulted in the death of a woman. “She was located on the first level, in the hospital’s medical ward. She is a registered nurse. He made the statement on Sunday evening in reference to the announcement, which could not be immediately corroborated. “We have a small dispensary in our headquarters where she was working,” he said.
The Mayor of Freetown, Yvonne Aki-Sawyerr, who is also an official with the APC, recently released some photographs on Twitter depicting the interior of the organisation’s offices. In the photographs, individuals can be seen sheltering themselves by lying on the ground. She tweeted, “We are being fired upon while we are at the APC headquarters.” In a statement that was given to AFP on Sunday evening, the police said that members of the APC were holding a demonstration in Freetown “announcing to the public that they have won” the polls.
According to the explanation provided in the statement, these protesters drew “a crowd” of supporters outside the APC offices, and those supporters “started causing trouble to passers-by.” “When the situation became intolerable, the police threw tear gas canisters at them to disperse the crowd, which was disturbing people on the public highway,” she continued. “The crowd was making people on the public highway uncomfortable.”
A presidential election with the appearance of a 2018 rematch between Mr. Bio, a 59-year-old retired military commander seeking a second term, and Mr. Kamura, a 72-year-old technocrat and head of the APC, was held in a country with a population of around 3.4 million people. These people were asked to select among 13 candidates for the presidency. In the second round of voting, Mr. Bio, the candidate of the Sierra Leone People’s Party (SLPP), received 51.8% of the vote and won the election. According to the electoral commission, the vote count is still ongoing.
The results are anticipated to be available within forty-eight hours of the poll. On Sunday afternoon, there was no data provided regarding voter turnout. In the elections held in the past, voter participation ranged from 76% to 87%. This year, Mr. Bio has been a strong advocate for both education and the rights of women. He expressed his support for agriculture and the reduction of his country’s reliance on food imports in an interview with AFP.
Mr. Kamara, who served as the Minister of Finance and then the Minister of Foreign Affairs until Mr. Bio took office in 2018, stated to AFP that he hoped to restore confidence in the country’s economic institutions and attract international investment. A candidate needs to receive at least 55% of valid votes in order to be chosen in the first round.