Sierra Leoneans are awaiting general election results following a tense campaign marred by violence. 

There was a high turnout, with voters telling the media that the process was smooth despite ballots opening hours late in many areas.

There had been concern about potential clashes in the run up to the vote.

On Wednesday, the main opposition party alleged that one of its supporters was shot dead by police, which the police have denied.

Supporters of both main parties have been accused of attacking opponents.

Accusations of election irregularities were also being thrown on Saturday, after the leader of the opposition alleged ballot stuffing and voter suppression in some parts of the country.

However, the electoral body had insisted, in a press conference earlier this week, that they had mechanisms in place to ensure a fair vote. Local media reports that arrests were made.

The election is taking place against the background of a troubled economy, the rising cost of living, and concerns about national unity.

The voters are choosing a president, MPs and councillors in the West African country’s fifth election since the civil war ended in 2002.

With strong party loyalty among the 3.3 million registered voters, the campaigns have focused on shoring up their parties’ bases rather than articulating and debating policy issues.

Who are the candidates?

President Julius Maada Bio, 59, of the Sierra Leone People’s Party (SLPP) is running for a second five-year term. His main rival among the 12 challengers is Dr Samura Kamara, 72, of the All People’s Congress (APC).

This is a repeat of the race in 2018, which saw Mr Bio narrowly win following a second round run-off.


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