Sierra Leone: Opposition Leader Finally Accepts Defeat
After many days of complaints and threats, the leader of Sierra Leone’s main opposition party, Julius Maada Bio (photo), has finally met with President Ernest Koroma at State House in Freetown today to accept that he (Koroma) was the winner in the November 17, 2012 election.
Since that election after which Koroma was declared winner by the National Electoral Commission, the SLPP top brass had been complaining of irregularities which NEC and international observers have dismissed.
Today’s meeting was facilitated by some members of the Christian community in Sierra Leone. Both Bio and the President are Christians.
Our Freetown Bureau Chief, Alpha Rashid Jalloh is busy working on the story and will come up with a detailed report and analysis tomorrow on the sudden SLPP turn-around which has been expected by seasoned political analysts including some at the Patriotic Vanguard who are on standby with their assessments.In fact, one of those analysts, Dr Yusuf Bangura, has just sent in a commentary from his base in Switzerland which we have published.
Jalloh, who was on the phone a while ago from Freetown, pointed out that Bio had, before today’s meeting, called for the release of all SLPP supporters accused of tampering with the electoral process, a demand President Koroma would probably consider.
There are also speculations that President Koroma’s next cabinet will be more inclusive, something former SLPP Vice-President Solomon Berewa had implied in remarks recently made in a meeting with the president.
Political opponents of President Koroma had always accused him of appointing a cabinet full of “Wusum Stars” (natives of Bombali district, the president’s home district in the north of the country). The Wusum Stars are the district’s soccer team. President Koroma and the APC party, on the other hand, had always vigorously denied this accusation, pointing to the presence of several people from the south, the east and the Western Area in the cabinet, the diplomatic service and other top government positions.
Meanwhile a State House press release issued today says Bio still maintains that the elections were flawed but has apparently decided to move on while President advised that all allegations should be directed to the right channels.
Photo: Defeated SLPP leader Julius Maada Bio, left, shaking hands with President Ernest Koroma at State House today.
Photo credit: State Communications Unit.