Sierra Leone presidential runoff: SLPP’s Maada Bio vs. APC’s Samura Kamara. Here is what you should know.
According to the 2018 presidential election results, the main opposition Sierra Leone Peoples Party (SLPP) won by 0.6% of valid votes followed by the ruling All Peoples Congress (APC). Certain that none of the top two candidates got the 55% mark, set in the Sierra Leone 1991 constitution a runoff was required by law within two weeks of the final declaration.
Sierra Leonean registered voters will be called upon again to cast ballots to elect a new president. March 27 runoff date was announced by the Chief National Electoral Commissioner Mr. Mohamed M. N. Conteh on Tuesday evening after declaring final results from the March 7 votes.
Julius Maada Bio (SLPP) – 1,097,482 (43%)
Samura Kamara (APC) – 1,082,748 (42%)
Yumkella Kandeh (NGC) – 174,014
Samuel Sam-Sumana (C4C) – 87,720
Samura Mathew Wilson Kamara of ruling APC
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.
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.
He is a trained economist who holds a Bachelors Degree in Economics from the country’s famed Fourah Bay College. He also holds a PhD in Development Economics (1986) from the Bangor University in Wales, United Kingdom.
Samura is also celebrated as the lead technocrat who oversaw the country’s debt cancellation in 2007. The economy boomed under his tenure whiles Sierra Leone’s international relations soared during his tenure as chief government diplomat.
He is a Roman Catholic despite growing in a Muslim environment, most members of his family are Muslims. He is married to Elizabeth Massah Kamara. The vice presidential candidate of the APC is Bah Chernor Ramadan Maju.
Rtd. Brig. 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.
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.
He is a Roman Ctholic married to Fatima Bio a practicing Muslim and a Gambian national. They got married in an interfaith ceremony in London in 2013. The couple have a child but Maada Bio has three other children from a previous marriage. The vice presidential candidate of the SLPP is Jalloh Mohamed Juldeh.