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Sierra Leone opposition party protests Electoral Commission

by Derek Andrews
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Opposition-led protests broke out in Sierra Leone on Wednesday amid rising tensions surrounding the nation’s presidential elections, set to happen subsequent weekend, based on native JURIST sources.

In help of the All Individuals’s Congress, Sierra Leone’s main opposition celebration, protesters within the capital metropolis of Freetown demonstrated towards the nation’s election authorities. The APC and its voters accuse the Electoral Fee for Sierra Leone (ECSL) of serving as a puppet of the ruling Sierra Leone Individuals’s Occasion (SLPP). Some violence was reported throughout the occasion, together with the usage of tear gasoline towards protestors.

Wednesday’s demonstrations have been the most recent in a collection of more and more tense interactions between APC and SLPP supporters.

Jonathan Rubin, a Freetown-based author embedded with the opposition, mentioned he witnessed an ambush on Sunday. He mentioned a number of hundred supporters gathered within the rural district of Pujehun to observe an handle by APC presidential candidate Samura Kamara. The candidate had simply completed his remarks, when he, his workforce, and a bunch of supporters have been ambushed by dozens of youngsters and a handful of adults.” The assailants, who Rubin believed to be supporters of the ruling SLPP celebration, “stoned the automobiles and clashed with Kamara’s supporters. … Kamara has targeted on addressing large inflation, rising prices of residing, and nationwide unity. The police and army responded by filling the streets with tear gasoline, inflicting the combatants in addition to many residents to flee town, by highway or into the bush.”

On Monday, APC headquarters have been burned to the bottom in Bo, Sierra Leone’s second-largest metropolis. Armed troopers have been seen arresting civilians all through the week.

Information reports have detailed myriad comparable assaults within the weeks main as much as Saturday’s elections — the fifth because the finish of Sierra Leone’s bloody civil struggle in 2002.

Incumbent President and SLPP member Julius Maada Bio is hoping for re-election on Saturday. President Bio is a former army officer who served as head of state throughout the military junta of 1996. Whereas Bio has applied some fashionable social reforms, corresponding to rising education for ladies, his opponents have blamed his administration for hovering inflation, which has reached 40%.

In 2020, Mohamed Konneh, was appointed Chairman of the ECSL and has since steadily changed ECSL employees with SLPP loyalists, opposition teams declare. In an address delivered on June 14, APC candidate Kamara outlined a collection of complaints in regards to the electoral course of underneath Konneh’s ECSL. These embrace issues in regards to the integrity of poll packing containers, the issuance of poor-quality voter IDs, and an abrupt change from a “First Previous the Put up” to a proportional illustration system. Dr. Kamara claimed that the ECSL had manipulated census and electoral knowledge to rig the election in SLPP’s favor.

The SLPP has denied claims of electoral foul play. “The Sierra Leone Individuals’s Occasion (SLPP) is gravely involved in regards to the deliberate makes an attempt by the All Individuals’s Congress to disrupt the peaceable elections and reverse the democratic features Sierra Leone has made,” the celebration mentioned in a press release, based on Reuters.

Source / Picture: jurist.org

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