Both the Sierra Leone People’s Party (SLPP) and the ruling All People’s Congress Party (APC) made self-proclaimed victory statements on Tuesday, April 3, as vote counting continues following the runoff presidential election on March 31. The country’s National Electoral Commission expects to release the results by Thursday, April 5. Results were initially delayed due to a disagreement between the two parties on the vote tallying method. Minor clashes took place in Freetown during the election, leading to 15 arrests; further protests are possible in the near-term, particularly once the election results are made public.
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 had 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 increased in the lead 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. Follow any instructions issued by the local authorities.
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