On Wednesday, August 16th, 2023, ‘Radio Democracy 98.1,’ one of Sierra Leone’s widely renowned and frequently tuned-in radio stations, experienced a temporary broadcast interruption.
This occurred just moments before airing a pre-recorded interview featuring the US Ambassador to Sierra Leone David Reimer, highlighting concerns about the general elections during the highly acclaimed Good Morning Salone programm.
As per the report, a leaked recording of a segment from the interview, which has been verified by the embassy, featured Ambassador Reimer addressing Washington’s apprehensions regarding the June 24 Elections. He expressed concerns about the integrity and credibility of the results declared by the Electoral Commission for Sierra Leone (ECSL).
“The United States is concerned about irregularities in the results that were announced by the ECSL that includes a big difference between the ECSL announced results and the parallel vote tabulation, as well as inconsistencies that were analyzed by domestic and international observers,” Reimer said.
“All of these things raise questions in our mind about the integrity of the official results.”
International observers had noted “statistical inconsistencies” and condemned a “lack of transparency” in the ballot count.
In the leaked interview, Ambassador Reimer affirmed that President Julius Maada Bio, who won 56 percent of the presidential vote, according to official results, is president.
But, he said, “What we have not done is congratulated him”, adding that “the US would not change its work with the people of Sierra Leone including health programs, but would review its government-to-government programs, including a Millennium Challenge Corporation (MCC) compact grant worth hundreds of millions of dollars”.
“In the year or two preceding the compact, we were very clear with the government of Sierra Leone that to get a compact they needed to have a fair, free, open, and transparent election,” he said.
“Sierra Leone had done everything else up to that point to get a compact, given the fact that there are all sorts of questions about the results, we’re taking a look at everything, and that includes the MCC compact.”
He said Washington would like to see an “outside, independent look at the election” and a government dialogue with civil society and political parties.
But, Reimer said in the interview, “It’s just not possible for someone who was a candidate in the election to then look at the process and be not biased.”
Ambassador Reimer called on the APC not to boycott the government and to serve the Sierra Leoneans who voted for the party.
According to Sarah Van Horne, a US embassy public affairs officer, has confirmed that they have been told the interview would be aired on Thursday 17th August 2023.