Posted by Umaru Fofana | 5 April 2018 | 943 times
Opposition candidate and former military junta leader Julius Maada Bio was sworn in as Sierra Leone’s new president late on Wednesday, just hours after the elections commission announced his victory in a tight run-off poll.
He now faces the difficult task of rebuilding the impoverished West African nation’s economy that was dragged down by the world’s deadliest Ebola epidemic and a global slump in commodity prices.
Representing the Sierra Leone People’s Party (SLPP), Maada Bio won 51.81 percent of votes cast in the March 31 poll, according to results announced by the National Electoral Commission (NEC) on Wednesday.
He defeated former foreign affairs minister and ruling All People’s Congress (APC) candidate Samura Kamara, who had held a slight lead based on partial results earlier in the day but in the end garnered 48.19 percent.
Dressed in traditional white robes, Maada Bio was sworn in just before midnight at a hotel in the capital Freetown, raising in the air the Bible upon which he swore the oath of office to the cheers of supporters.
“This is the dawn of a new era. The people of this great nation have voted to take a new direction,” he said in a speech following the short ceremony in which he made an appeal for national unity.
“We have only one country, Sierra Leone, and we are all one people.” (Reuters)
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