In an exclusive interview with VOA, Sierra Leone’s President Julius Maada Bio has made significant statements regarding the country’s recent elections and past electoral events.
During the interview, President Bio mentioned that when the All People’s Congress (APC) rigged the 2012 elections, they asked anyone with an issue to go to the police. He maintained that if anyone had concerns or allegations of electoral irregularities in the June 2023 Elections, they should resort to legal channels and present their case in court.
The President highlighted the Electoral Commission of Sierra Leone (ECSL) as the legitimate authority responsible for announcing election results and declaring a winner, a tradition consistently followed. However, he noted that the opposition APC was requesting a departure from this norm by seeking international involvement in determining the election’s outcome.
President Bio defended the integrity of the recent elections, describing them as conducted in a free, fair, and transparent manner. He pointed out that election disputes are not unique to Sierra Leone, citing the United States as an example where such disputes have arisen. In his view, the appropriate recourse for addressing these concerns is through the judicial system.
“If you have any problems with the Election, please go to court” he emphasized
President Bio suggested that the APC’s reluctance to take their grievances to court might be due to a lack of substantial evidence to support their claims of election rigging. Drawing a parallel to the 2012 elections, he mentioned that the APC had similarly been accused of rigging, and he had advised at the time that disputes should be resolved through the police or the courts.
“The APC is refusing to go to court because they have no Locus (legal standing) and nothing to present to the court.”
In conclusion, President Bio urged the APC to follow due process and take their concerns to court if they had issues with the results of the recently concluded June 24th Multi-Tier Elections. His statements underline the importance of upholding the rule of law and using legal channels to address electoral disputes in Sierra Leone.