Sierra Leoneans asked to be ‘patient’ as vote count continues

Counting is under way in Sierra Leone following the election yesterday – but with tensions rising, the country’s election chief is calling for patience.


National Election Commission (NEC) Chairman Mohamed Conteh’s call came after police went to the office of the main opposition candidate, Julius Maada Bio, demanding it be searched after Wednesday’s vote.

Police say they had received reports the office – which was being used as a temporary centre to monitor voting – was being used to hack into the system.

Mr Bio and his supporters have vehemently denied the accusation, calling it an intimidation antic, while a spokesman for the NEC says their system cannot be hacked.

This is because Sierra Leone has an entirely manual voting system.

Speaking in the capital Freetown on Thursday, Mr Conteh said they “value accuracy above speed” during a press conference in Freetown on Thursday.

“Please be patient and peaceful,” he added.

The NEC did confirm one staff member was arrested in Waterloo, just outside from Freetown, for pre-marking ballot papers.

Partial results are expected in the next day or so, but full results will not be available for a couple of weeks, at which point there is expected to be a run-off between the top two candidates.

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