from TETEH KAMARA in Freetown, Sierra Leone
Sierra Leone Bureau
FREETOWN, (CAJ News) – DESPITE police shooting one opposition activist dead with several others wounded, the African Union (AU) Election Observation Mission (AUEOM) has declared the June 24 general elections in Sierra Leone as “peaceful”, “free” and “fair.”
In a preliminary statement, the AUEOM said the electoral environment in the West African country was as a result of heightened tensions coupled with incidents of violence.
Incumbent president Julius Maada Bio of the ruling People’s Party (SLPP) was declared winner with 56.17 percent votes ahead of opposition All People’s Congress (APC) candidate Samura Kamara, who garnered 41.16 percent votes.
The African Union body congratulated the people of Sierra Leone for their resilience, enthusiasm and commitment as they voted to express their will aimed at maintaining democratic stability.
Former Ethiopian prime minister Hailemariam Desalegn led the 50-observers AUEOM team to Sierra Leone, which consisted of 20 African country representatives, mainly drawn from ambassadors accredited to the AU, African civil society organizations, African election experts, and human rights specialists.
The AUEOM also noted the high levels of misinformation, disinformation, fake news, and hate speech during the election campaign, which were churned out via social media platforms and radios saying were meant to undermine the stability of the country.
– CAJ News