The people have spoken, but Sierra Leone goes to the polls again on March 27

Sierra Leone's chief electoral commissioner Mohamed N'fah-Alie Conteh has announced the final results of the presidential election. Conteh said the total number of valid votes is 2,537,122. 
Presidential and parliamentary elections were held in Sierra Leone on March 7.

"Since none of the candidates of the parties for the presidential election received 55 percent of the valid votes," Commissioner Conteh said, "there will be a second election (run-off) exclusively between the All People's Congress (APC) presidential candidate Dr. Samura M. Kamara and Sierra Leone People's Party candidate Julius Maada Bio conducted nationwide on Tuesday 27th March 2018."

Sixteen presidential candidates competed in the first round of the presidential election, including one woman Josephine Olufemi Claudius-Cole of the Unity Party. 

Julius Maada Bio, Sierra Leone People's Party, 1,097, 482, 43.3 percent
Samura M.W. Kamara, All People's Congress, 1,082,748, 42.7 pe…

Wednesday, March 7 | Election Day Sierra Leone 2018 in Freetown

It's Sierra Leone's Election 2018 day and voters have been lining up since 4 a.m local time, waiting for polling stations to open between 7 and 7:30 a.m.
People expect long lags in the overall process.

 "Confirmed results aren't expected for another week, although there are signs some results will be announced on Thursday," one observer said.

Sierra Eye, the media organization that hosted televised debates in partnership with democratic governance institutions, has been out and about in Freetown, the nation's capital city. Below are polling station reports and photos. Can you spot the politicians and celebrities? 

 The first five hours of the voting process in the Western Rural/Urban Area have been generally well organized and without major incident. Polling agents and voters alike have expressed general satisfaction with a process that, while not particularly fast, has been steady with a few exceptions.

The slowness of progress has caused voters in some const…

Election Countdown to March 7, 2018

While the election clock counts down to March 7, Sierra Leone's stadium in the nation's capital has become the battleground for quarter-final and semi-final matchups. 
By international standards, the stadium has a permanent and infield seating for about 30,000 people, but local experts say the venue built by the Chinese in the 1970's and refurbished within the last five years, can pack 75,000 people.

No way, say the skeptics. That number is closer to 50,000.

The cynics say 40,000 is a stretch and so the battle of the headcount goes on.

Sierra Leone's crowd counters don't have nine lens cameras with 360-degree views or static cameras that are solar powered 24/7.

But they swear their method of crowd counting, head by head by the head by head, is a more accurate prediction of the outcome than any computer-aided technology.

A Life Cut Short: Adama Sallie Kargbo aka Adama Kai of Aschobi Designs

Young, gifted and black Adama Kai (birth name Adama Sallie) Kargbo was a Sierra Leonean-American fashion designer determined to conquer the world.

Born in New Jersey on March 5, 1983, Adama moved to Sierra Leone aged four with her parents and later lived in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia. The Kargbo family returned to the United States when Adama was 10 years old.

After high school, she attended the Parsons School of Design in Paris before moving to New York.

In New York, Adama worked for Flaunt magazine and Magnet Management. She also spent her early career working on fashion campaigns for big brands like Versace and Prada, before striking out on her own. She moved back to Sierra Leone and launched Aschobi Designs.

Since its debut, Aschobi Designs has been featured in stories by Reuters, BBC and CNN, but it was during a recent Paris Fashion Week that Adama experienced her breakthrough fashion achievement by presenting her collection at the Hotel Bristol with influential retailers like Maria Lu…

A global data analyst whose crowning glory is Statistics Sierra Leone

"In case you haven't heard, I am leaving the INDEPTH NETWORK to head Statistics Sierra Leone as Statistician-General," the exclusive email read. "I will start April 2018."

You heard?!

Then give it up for Prof. Osman Alimamy Sankoh, also known as Mallam O.

Mallam O is an associate professor of epidemiology in the School of Public Health, Faculty of Health Sciences at the University of the Witwatersrand in Johannesburg. He is also a visiting professor at the College of Medicine and Allied Health Sciences at the University of Sierra Leone.

To his fans, Statistics Sierra Leone is Mallam O's crowning glory. He's not just the writer of Hybrid Eyes and publisher of the fledgling Sierra Leonean Writers Series, he is Salone's data king!
Over the past eighteen years, the German-trained statistician has taught Sierra Leoneans online about numbers. Whether it is conducting a population or census survey, collating records and data, Mallam O has promoted the beau…

Sierra Leone: Political predictions 2018, district by district

A man who has bet on people who pay every time out of the gate thinks the Sierra Leone People's Party (SLPP) will win all parliamentary seats in Bo, Sierra Leone's second city; Pujehun district, and Bonthe district.

Moyamba, the old southern town of rutile, bauxite, zircon, and gold, will be a tougher force to crack, he adds. And Kono, the land of diamonds will be even tougher.

So what is it about these mining towns?

Diversity, money, independence, freedom from rural repression, perhaps? 
In Kenema and Kailahun, the man predicts SLPP will win all constituencies, “except constituency 08 where the Independent candidate may beat Yatta Songa with John Oponjo Benjamin (JOB) support,”
he states.

Benjamin (born in Segbwema, Kailahun District) was the leader of opposition Sierra Leone People's Party (SLPP). He served as Sierra Leone's Minister of Finance from 2002 to 2007.
The Western Area, where Sierra Leone has its bustling capital, Freetown, will go APC, APC, APC!

The All P…

Public transport operation in Freetown, Sierra Leone

There is a need to rethink urban transport in Freetown. Improvements should be made to the infrastructure, revenue control system, and transport services.

Clearly, it is necessary to think holistically, where the effort is not just building roads and fly-overs or mass transit systems, but also reducing the need for travel, the length of each trip, and the number of vehicle kilometers. It is necessary to facilitate the movement of people – not the movement of vehicles.

Vision, appropriate policies and appropriate institutions seem to be the key success factors towards sustainable urban transport.The Sierra Leone Road Transport Corporation is the state corporation with responsibility for providing public passenger transport in Sierra Leone. 

Since its creation in 1964, the SLRTC has been the dominant transport operator although they are in competition with private sector services providers ranging from large intercity buses, urban minibuses (poda poda) and more recently motorcycles and tr…