Sierra Leone’s President Julius Maada Bio has committed to fully implement an agreement reached with the opposition under international mediation, aiming to ease tensions stemming from his contested re-election earlier this year. In a recent speech, President Bio emphasised the need to reassess the electoral system.
Julius Maada Bio, who initially assumed the presidency in 2018, secured re-election in June with 56.17% of the vote in the first round, according to the electoral commission’s published results. Nevertheless, foreign observers expressed concerns over irregularities, a lack of transparency in the vote count, and instances of violence and intimidation.
The primary opposition party, the All People’s Congress Party (APC), accused the presidential, parliamentary, and local elections of being rigged and opted to boycott parliamentary and local council proceedings. To address this impasse, the government and the APC recently brokered an agreement mediated by international bodies, including the Commonwealth, the African Union, and the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS).
As part of this accord, the APC agreed to end their boycott in exchange for a cessation of what they contend are politically motivated detentions and court cases. Both sides also agreed to establish an inter-party committee to review the June elections with the involvement of the mediating partners.
President Bio, in his speech, called for unity and reconciliation, underscoring the government’s commitment to prioritise the provisions of the agreement. He stressed the importance of re-evaluating the electoral system as a means to enhance the nation’s democracy.