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22 Jun, 2023 16:46

Sierra Leone prepares for presidential elections amid protests

Citizens are worried about civil unrest due to ongoing demonstrations, independent analyst Mustapha Dumbuya told RT
Sierra Leone prepares for presidential elections amid protests

Sierra Leoneans will head to the polls this weekend to elect their president, members of parliament, and local councilors amid protests over the soaring cost of living, unemployment, and inflation. In particular, supporters of the main opposition party, the All People’s Congress (APC), have taken to the streets of the capital, Freetown, to protest the country’s dire economic situation.

Speaking to RT, journalist and independent analyst Mustapha Dumbuya said that citizens in the West African country, which is prone to civil unrest, live in fear of violence erupting during the June 24 elections.

Dumbuya recalled a violent protest in Freetown and several northern towns last August, when protesters clashed with police, killing more than 20 people.

No one anticipated the response of the security sector to those protests that eventually led to a loss of life and property and created a lot of tension in the country,” he said, adding that “everyone is quite worried about that.”

Even two decades after Sierra Leone’s brutal civil war ended, which, according to the UN, resulted in 70,000 casualties, “there are still worries” that the country’s peace is fragile and conflicts could resurface, Dumbuya said.

The upcoming presidential elections will be the fifth since the civil war ended in 2002. Thirteen candidates are vying for the presidency, including the incumbent, Julius Maada Bio, with 3.4 million eligible voters expected to cast ballots.