The US Assistant Secretary of State for African Affairs, Mary Catherine “Molly” Phee has disclosed the details of her meeting with Sierra Leone’s President, Julius Maada Bio at the 78th Session of the UN General Assembly.

In a Twitter post, Phee said their Discussion bordered on the promotion of democracy and free and fair elections in Africa.

“At UNGA78, I met with President Bio and discussed the need to promote democracy and free and fair elections in West Africa and around the world,” the US Assistant State Secretary for African Affairs said.

The United States has been critical of Sierra Leone’s 2023 general elections, expressing concerns regarding the transparency of the election procedures, particularly during the tallying phase.

On August 31, the U.S. State Department imposed visa restrictions on individuals “suspected of undermining Sierra Leone’s democracy,” which encompasses activities like vote manipulation or intimidating election monitors.

Former U.S. Ambassador to Sierra Leone, David Reimer, in a recent interview also voiced skepticism regarding the election’s authenticity, hinting at potential reevaluations of the United States’ collaborations with Sierra Leone.

“The US …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. 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.”, Reimer said.

President Bio in a recent interview alleged that the United States pressured him to intervene during the tallying of votes for the June 24 election in his country.

“At the peak moment of announcing the election results, that’s when issues arose,” commented Bio while addressing an audience at American University in Washington.

AFP reports that President Bio emphasized that the Electoral Commission for Sierra Leone (ECSL) had diligently carried out all necessary calculations and procedures. “I was now requested to stop them from calling the result by the United States. So, I don’t know who is accusing who of interference.”