Sierra Leone’s opposition challenger Julius Maada Bio secured his first term in office as a civilian Wednesday when he was declared the winner of a controversial presidential run-off. Bio, a former soldier who briefly led a military junta more than two decades ago, won 51.81 percent of ballots in last month’s election, according to official results.
He beat incumbent Samura Kamara, who secured 48.19 percent of the vote, ending a decade in power for Kamara’s All Peoples’ Congress, APC, in the West African nation.
The official results of the vote had been delayed by a dispute over the method of tallying that left ballot papers from 11,000 polling stations uncounted.
The campaign was characterised by ugly verbal exchanges and sporadic violence with Bio accusing the APC of using police intimidation against his party.
Police reported a string of attacks on candidates and supporters on both sides since the first round on March 7 — which Bio narrowly won — after which Kamara declared that “the safety and security of Sierra Leone is in our hands”.