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Sierra Leone Election: 50% official results out, Samura Kamara leads

By Clement Edward Kumsah
Samura Kamara and Julius Bio

Samura Kamara of the ruling All Peoples' Congress, APC has taken the lead in the March 7, 2018 elections in Sierra Leone after the Chairman of the National Election Commission declared 50 percent of the Presidential results.

Per the results declared, Samura Kamara of the incumbent APC has garnered 566,133 votes representing 43.2% of the total valid votes cast, followed closely is the main opposition lead by Julius Bio with 564,687 representing 43.1% of the total valid votes cast.

NEC chairperson Mohamed Conteh addressing the press in the capital, Freetown, said the commission had collated half of the votes and was going ahead with a patient process of putting the remaining 50% together.

Samura Kamara of ruling APC

Samura Kamara

Born April 30, 1951, the former central bank governor turned politician is aiming to continue with the APC government’s work even as Bai Koroma steps down. He will become the second APC candidate to occupy the presidency.

Samura Kamara held the post of Central Bank governor between 2007 – 2009. He subsequently joined the APC and served in two top cabinet positions. Minister of Finance and Economic Development (2009 – 2012) and Foreign Affairs portfolio between 2012 and 2017.

He stepped down from his diplomatic responsibilities after the party elected him in October 2017 to lead their charge for a third straight term in office. This is his first shot at the presidency, he is credited with spearheading blueprint for Koroma’s first term in office.

Julius Maada Bio – main opposition Sierra Leone Peoples Party (SLPP)

Julius Maada Bio, 53, has tasted the presidency before having served a military Head of State for about three months. He led the National Provisional Ruling Council (NPRC) military junta government that lasted from January 16 to March 29 1996.

He has also tasted how it feels to be on the ballot paper, he was the Sierra Leone Peoples Party’s candidate for the last elections. He lost to outgoing Ernest Bai Koroma who beat him in the first round of voting.

As a military ruler, he toppled his boss in the NPRC junta Captain Valentine Strasser in January 1996 but handed over to democratically elected Ahmed Tejan Kabbah of the SLPP after the 1996 presidential elections.

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He later retired from active service that year and moved to the United States to further his studies. He earned a Masters Degree in International Affairs from the American University in Washington DC.

He was born on May 12, 1964, and graduated from military academy in October 1987 aged 23. He has played part in peacekeeping ops by the United Nations famously in Liberia. He played a role in the 1992 coup and led the 1996 one before handing over after elections.

He returned from the U.S. to join the SLPP in 2005. Contested to lead the party but lost the bid. He was picked as party’s presidential candidate in 2012 polls and garnered 37% of votes to place second.