General News of Wed, 4 Apr 201881

Mahama denies involvement in rigging conspiracy in Sierra Leone elections

Former President John Mahama has discredited rumours that he is neck-deep in a conspiracy to rig the Sierra Leonean Presidential election in favour of Julius Maada Bio, one of the two candidates.

John Mahama, who is Chair of the Commonwealth Observer Group for this year’s election in the West African country, had earlier resolved a conflict between the supporters of the main opposition party, the Sierra Leone Peoples Party (SLPP) led by Mr Bio and the police during the first round of elections last month.

Mr Bio, a former military coup leader, received the most votes in the first round when he faced ruling party candidate Samura Kamara who is an economist by training.

Mr Maada Bio received 43.3% of the vote in the first round.

But in Sierra Leone, the President is elected by an absolute majority and if no-one gets 55% then it goes to a run-off.

The country's National Electoral Commission (NEC) said it will release the result of run-off held on Monday, April 1 by Thursday.

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President Ernest Bai Koroma is stepping down as President after serving two five-year terms. He chose Mr Kamara as his successor to run as President for the All People’s Congress (APC).

However, on Tuesday evening, social media became awash with a viral message claiming that John Mahama “prevailed on the NEC boss to cook the figures and announce the SLPP candidate Julius Bio winner.”

The viral message also claimed the former Ghanaian President had cut short his stay in the West African country due to the vote rigging conspiracy.

But in a post on Facebook Mr Mahama explained: “My departure from Freetown was not sudden and when I bid farewell to President Koroma I did not get any indication in word or deed that I was not wanted anymore in his country. I was leaving because by my agreement with The Commonwealth my mandate as Head of Mission had ended. The Commonwealth technical team were also due to leave Freetown on April 03, 2018 but a cancellation of their Air France flight is keeping them there till Wednesday April 04, 2018.”

Read his full post below.

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