Sierra Leonean President Julius Maada Bio on Friday (September 15) accused the United States of pressuring him to interfere in the counting of votes in the June elections that led to his re-election, a statement contrasting with the assessment of international observers. “It was when the time came to announce the results of the election that the problems started,” Mr. Bio said Friday at an event at the American University in Washington where he was speaking.
The National Electoral Commission “had collected the data, made its calculations (…) and there, the United States asked me to prevent [the commission] from announcing the results. So, I don’t know who is accusing whom of interference,” he added. “I refused to do it and I said I never called [the commission] and I’m not going to do it now,” he added, saying he respected “independence.” of this “semi-autonomous organism”.
Julius Maada Bio, 59, was re-elected in June in a vote criticized by the opposition and foreign observers. International observers noted “statistical inconsistencies” between the partial results and the final results and denounced “the lack of transparency” of the counting process, while calling for peaceful dialogue to resolve disputes.
“Either way I was going to win.”
President Bio, who won the vote with 56.17% of the vote, a score just above the 55% threshold necessary to avoid a second round, subsequently admitted “logistical limits”. during these elections.
He announced the creation of a committee comprising members of government, civil society and development agencies to examine the management of the electoral process and make recommendations.
For its part, the US State Department announced at the end of August visa restrictions against those who could be "responsible for or complicit in undermining democracy in Sierra Leone", without however naming the personalities targeted by this decision.
“The same American officials told us that in this context, they only wanted a second round to be held. But in any case I was going to win, as all the polls had clearly shown,” Mr. Bio continued during his speech at the American University in Washington, where he once studied.