Sierra Leone’s President Julius Maada Bio has expressed his disdain for foreign agents attempting to meddle in Sierra Leone’s political affairs.

In a statement delivered on 3 July 3 2023, President Bio made it clear that international observers do not hold the authority to validate the outcome of the country’s elections.

He emphasized that neither he nor the head of the Electoral Commission of Sierra Leone (ECSL) has the power to determine election results, as the process is strictly defined by the country’s constitution.

The President addressed this matter during a meeting with civil society representatives at State House in Freetown, as part of his ongoing consultations with key interest groups following his declaration as the winner of the June 24 presidential elections. While local and regional observers deemed the election free and fair, Western observers criticized the ECSL for their handling of the results tabulation process.

The European Union Elections Observation Mission (EU EOM) was particularly vocal in their criticism, repeatedly accusing the ECSL of lacking transparency during the counting process. The United States, United Kingdom, France, Germany, and Ireland also expressed concerns about the process in a joint statement released after the voting.

President Bio warned that the actions of these foreign agents have the potential to create confusion within Sierra Leone, a situation that the nation must guard against.

He emphasized that international observers have no right to validate their elections, drawing a comparison to how Sierra Leone did not interfere in the European Union or the United States during their own election-related issues.

Referring to the attack on the U.S. Capitol on January 6th, President Bio stated, “We didn’t say their democracy was being attained with guns.”

He highlighted the need for Sierra Leone to stand firm and correct any misrepresentation by reminding the international community that it is the constitution, not the chairman of the ECSL, that determines the counting of results.

According to ECSL figures, President Bio secured the presidency with 56.17 percent of the votes, narrowly defeating his main rival, Dr. Samura Kamara. However, Kamara’s party, the All People’s Congress (APC), rejected the results, alleging electoral fraud and lack of transparency in the result tabulation process. They called for a re-run of the election and vowed not to participate in the country’s governance if their demands were not met.

President Bio maintained that the appropriate procedures were followed in reaching the election results and urged the international community to respect Sierra Leone’s constitutional process.

In the past week since his declaration as the winner, President Bio has engaged with various groups, including tribal leaders, religious figures, and farmers, to foster unity and address concerns.

During the meeting with civil society representatives, President Bio acknowledged the critical role they play in promoting democracy. He acknowledged the nature of their job, which sometimes involves being critical, and emphasized the importance of finding common ground for the betterment of Sierra Leone.

Reflecting on his election victory, President Bio attributed his success to his tireless campaign efforts and his commitment to engaging with the voters.

He stated, “We didn’t take anything for granted. We didn’t take the people for granted, and we also used the campaign as a tool and means by which we can know the living conditions of the people.”

President Bio highlighted his government’s achievements during his first term, including a 60 percent reduction in maternal mortality, increased access to energy from 17 percent to over 35 percent, and an improvement in life expectancy from 53 to 61 years for Sierra Leoneans. He emphasized that these efforts have earned Sierra Leone respect and admiration from the international community.

Nevertheless, President Bio cautioned against those within the international community who seek to sow confusion, emphasizing that their actions serve their own interests rather than the interests of the Sierra Leonean people. He urged the nation to remain vigilant in safeguarding their sovereignty and democratic process.