On Monday, March 26, the High Court of Sierra Leone upheld a request by the country's electoral commission to delay the upcoming presidential run-off election - originally slated for Tuesday, March 27 - until Saturday, March 31, in order to allow for more time to complete preparations. Earlier in the day, the court lifted a temporary injunction that had been requested by the ruling All People's Congress (APC) party to delay the election due to alleged electoral fraud. Demonstrations denouncing the delay may occur in the coming days.
Tensions have been high in the country since the first round of the election was held on March 7. The National Electoral Commission (NEC) confirmed on March 13 that no candidate secured an outright majority, with Julius Maada Bio, from the opposition Sierra Leone People's Party, receiving the most votes with 43.3 percent. Samura Kamara, the candidate from the ruling All People's Congress (APC), won 42.7 percent. Violence between rival political parties has increased leading up to the second round. According to the Sierra Leone Association of Journalists (SLAJ), there has also been an increase in recorded instances of tribalism and hate speech.
Individuals in Sierra Leone, particularly in Freetown, are advised to monitor developments to the situation, refrain from any politically sensitive discussions in public, and avoid all demonstrations and polling stations as a precaution. Follow any instructions issued by the local authorities.
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