The final count in the Sierra Leone elections, see below, was issued last night by the National Electoral Commission, and was a triumph for Dr Christiana Thorpe and her staff at the NEC, though a clear winner didn't emerge from the poll itself. The count was conducted well, both at the polling stations and at headquarters, and everybody is to be congratulated, both on on the peaceful campaign, and on their patience in awaiting the result.
As predicted, Ernest Koroma won the largest share of the votes, but nowhere near the 55% needed to avoid a run-off, Although Charles Margai has recommended his supporters to vote for Koroma in the second round on September 6, probably most of them will vote for Solomon Berewa the SLPP candidate, for reasons of Mende ethnic loyalty. It could be a photo finish between the two leading candidates, and the final outcome will depend on which of them is better at getting his supporters to the polls.
The SLPP expected to win easily, and were disconcerted by Koroma's high vote, and his majority in the Parliament, with 59 of the 112 seats. But some of the traditional SLPP supporters have been turned off by the government's failure to capitalise on the opportunities they had following the end of the civil war, the perceived mismanagement and corruption, and the lack of development.
If the SLPP's Berewa does scrape home with the aid of Margai's voters, there could be choppy waters ahead, with the President and the Parliament pursuing different agendas.