Sierra Leone’s President Julius Maada Bio was re-elected with 56.17 percent to serve a second term, the head of the electoral commission said on Tuesday following a process disputed by the opposition.
His main challenger Samura Kamara came second with 41.16 percent of the vote, according to final results announced in Freetown by commission chief Mohamed Kenewui Konneh.
“By the powers invested in me… I hereby certify that Bio Julius Maada… (is) duly elected president,” Konneh said.
Vote tallying had already been disputed by the opposition All People’s Congress (APC), which condemned in a statement Monday an alleged lack of inclusiveness, transparency and responsibility by the electoral commission.
The party pointed to the lack of information about which polling stations or districts the ballots were coming from.
It had said it “will not accept these fake and cooked up results”.
In a follow-up statement, the party alleged “overvoting” in some areas and said it “continues to reject” the “fabricated results” and “reaffirms our victory”.
During a Monday evening press conference, European Union observers said a lack of transparency and communication by the electoral authority had led to mistrust in the electoral process.
The monitors said they witnessed violence at seven polling stations during voting hours and at three others during the closing and counting stages.
‘I need justice’
They said they received reports of violent incidents in six regions, including the use of live ammunition in three districts.
About 3.4 million people were registered to vote in Saturday’s election.
Twelve men and one woman stood for president, but Bio’s main challenger was Kamara of the APC.
Bio narrowly beat Kamara in a runoff in 2018.
The president, 59, a former coup leader in the 1990s, has championed education and women’s rights in his first civilian term.
Kamara, 72, a former foreign and finance minister, lambasted the electoral commission throughout the campaign period over alleged irregularities and delays.
Sierra Leoneans also voted in parliamentary and municipal elections Saturday.
EU observers denounced violence by security forces at the APC headquarters in Freetown on Sunday night, in what the police said was an effort to disperse opposition supporters, which left one woman dead.
Sidie Yahya Tunis, a spokesman for the APC, told AFP the woman had been on the ground floor of the building at the time.
“She was downstairs in the medical unit — she’s a nurse — we have a little health clinic in our office, that’s where she was working”, he said.
The woman’s son, Ibrahim Conteh, a 25-year-old law student, told AFP he had identified his mother’s body at the morgue.
“I need justice… I just want to know” who killed my mother, he said in tears.