Saturday, 25 May 2013
Koroma Promises Jobs After Sweeping National Polls
Incumbent Ernest Bai Koroma has been re-elected and sworn in to serve a second term as president of Sierra Leone.
Results from the National Electoral Commission (NEC) indicated that Koroma, from All People’s Party (APC) won with 58.7 percent of the 2.4 million votes, while Julius Maada Bio, from the Sierra Leone People’s Party (SLPP) had 37.4 percent, eliminating a need for a second round of voting.
According to news reports, the November 17 elections were carried out in a peaceful and rational manner, despite fear of conflicts and irregularities at polling stations.
Koroma’s victory win was announced on Friday, but his opponent, Maada Bio, and his supporters disputed the results. This raised concerns of yet another civil conflict, especially since Maada Bio is a former military leader.
Although the opposing parties fought tirelessly to win, they refrained from starting a ruckus.
On Saturday, Maada Bio broke his silence and told his supporters to remain calm and abide by the law until the Party comes up with an alternative to deal with results.
“We believe that the process was fraudulent and the results do not reflect the will of the people of Sierra Leone,” he said.
Despite Maada Bio’s accusations, eyewitnesses around the world applauded the just-concluded polls in Sierra Leone, and pinpointed it as an historical milestone for being fair and transparent.
After a 10-year-long civil war that left over 50,000 dead, and tore the country into pieces, it might have been a surprise to some when they see and hear that a once war-torn nation could conduct elections peacefully.
Lansana Konneh from Sierra Leone defended the process. “For Heaven's sake, if the election was marred with irregularities, then we can't just accept it simply because we want to "live in peace,” he said. “Such a peace is not sustainable. If the opposition party has serious grievances, then they must be properly and legally investigated.”
The elections proved how far Sierra Leone has evolved as a democratic nation, and how much of an influence its people have as a whole on issues affecting their communities.
Abdul Deen, a 41-year-old businessman was happy about the outcome. “I’m very pleased, very happy. Ernest brings joy to the hearts of the people in Sierra Leone,” he said.
For his second term, Koroma has pledged to transform Sierra Leone into a powerful nation by boosting tax revenues from mining regions, developing its infrastructure so they can attract investment, and fighting corruption overall.
"We will focus on creating jobs for the youths, and on training our youths to seize the immense employment opportunities,” Koroma said. “We are creating in the construction, mining, agriculture and other sectors."
Koroma, along with United States President Barack Obama are urging Sierra Leoneans from both parties to accept the results and “unite in moving the country forward.”
Security personnel has been deployed. The Inspector General of Police ordered his men to be vigilant and remain in place until further notice.
"The job at hand requires the goodwill and positive energy of the membership of all political parties," Koroma said Friday. "We will construct roads in every region, continue to bring electricity to every district; develop agriculture in every chiefdom and provide free healthcare for the mothers and children of every village."