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Vol 53 No 1

Published 6th January 2012

Sierra Leone

Votes, mines and money

Koroma’s anti-corruption campaign has wavered with special deals for favoured companies. Whoever wins the elections will be short of cash

The presidential and legislative elections due in November 2012 will be close-run, pitting President Ernest Bai Koroma and the All Peoples’ Congress (APC) against Julius Maada Bio and the Sierra Leone People’s Party (SLPP). Koroma stakes his political reputation on his anti-corruption campaign and on promises to provide basic infrastructure such as electricity and clean water. On both, his record is mixed. Rated more highly by outsiders than by locals, Koroma is a better businessman than politician and his lack of control over his party in Parliament has stymied his efforts at reform. Maada Bio, a retired brigadier general, helped to overthrow the APC in 1992. Neither is likely to gain more than half of the first-round vote. In a second round, Koroma would lose the advantage of incumbency, while Maada Bio could reinforce his message of change.

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