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Sierra Leone opposition leader decries lack of access ahead of Saturday’s vote

SIERRA Leone’s main opposition candidate said the lack of election campaign access to some strongholds of the ruling party and unsupervised distribution of ballots could open the door to rigging.

Some 3.4 million Sierra Leoneans are expected in the polls on Saturday for a general election in which Samura Kamara of the opposition All People’s Congress (APC) is seen as the main challenger against incumbent President Julius Maada Bio.

Kamara, a former foreign minister, narrowly lost to Bio in the 2018 presidential race.

Tensions in the last days of the campaign have led to the cancellation of rallies and clashes at an APC gathering on Wednesday.

“Our biggest concern going into this election is the lack of access of the opposition party to the southeastern part of the country, and we’re talking about seven districts,” Kamara said in an interview on Friday.

He added that political party agents were absent during the distribution of ballot papers in districts.

“So that makes a worrying situation where you’re opening a door, you’re opening a window, even if you’re not doing so, you’re opening a window for great suspicions of rigging,” Kamara said.

Kamara said the West African nation was still undergoing reconstruction after the 1991-2002 civil war in which more than 50,000 were killed.

He said he was concerned the government was not doing enough to ensure that the conflict is not rekindled.

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“We had a very, very lethal 10 to 11 years of conflict, and we don’t want a rebirth of that. We don’t want to rekindle that.”

Asked if he’ll accept the outcome of Saturday’s vote, Kamara said, “It’s not me. The acceptance has to come from the people … so it is the people we will listen to.”

By The African Mirror