Many SLPP supporters believe President Julius Maada Bio is expected to win the June 24 presidential elections in the first round, but he is facing growing challenge from opposition candidate Dr Samura Kamara.
In August 2022, thousands of youth took to the streets in protest of the hardship and biting cost of living; a protest that turned violent leading to the needless death of dozens of citizens (including 6 police officers).
The leader and presidential candidate for the APC is targeting his message at youth and women, saying if they want a country that works for all, and not just for one region or ethnic base, they must vote for him.
Sierra Leone ranks 181, ahead of Guinea, in the United Nations Human Development Index of 192 countries. One in twenty women face a lifetime risk of dying in pregnancy or childbirth. The infant mortality rate is 70.123 deaths per 1000 live births.
Despite the efforts of past and present governments, hunger and starvation persist in both urban and rural communities. Sierra Leone is 163 on the Doing Business ranking, and the current black market exchange rate of the Leone to the US dollar is Le24,000 Old Leones. Inflation is in double digits at 34 percent while food inflation stands at more than 50 percent, the second highest in the sub-region.
As the main opposition APC kick-starts official campaigns across the country, Dr Samura Kamara’s candidacy has drawn support from all sections of the society particularly business people who are finding it hard to survive under this PaOPa administration. From Karene to Koinadugu, Falaba to Bo, Moyamba to Pujehun, the rallies have not just become bigger and bigger attracting first time voters, youths and women, but also the message has been the same: Vote Samura Kamara for economic growth and sustainable development.
After securing the support of PMDC leader and presidential candidate Charles Francis Margai and former SLPP National Chairman Chief Sumano Kapen, it’s expected Dr Kamara will poll more than 45 percent in the first round. This is what the SLPP is afraid of; a first round advantage for APC’s Samura Kamara.
Incumbent president Maada Bio, a former army brigadier, is campaigning on a platform of free quality education, and promises to feed the nation through agricultural revolution. He defeated the APC presidential candidate in the 2018 runoff elections. But President Bio is afraid of a second runoff with Dr Samura Kamara as uncontrollable inflation and rising cost of living blow through the roof. To make matters worse, his government is embattled with allegations of human rights abuses, extra-judicial murders, massive corruption, indiscipline and lawlessness.