- Election observers have declared the weekend presidential and legislative polls in Sierra Leone as free, fair and credible.
The polls were the second after the diamond-rich country had gone through a decade long civil war that claimed many lives as well as left behind thousands of people without legs and arms.
Voter turn out is estimated at 55%, a clear sign of Sierra Leonean’s commitment to peace and democracy.
Marie-Anne Isler Beguin, the EU Chief Election Observer, said the EU was satisfied with the global participation and organisation of the polls.
The Chairperson of Sierra Leone’s electoral commission, Christiana Thorpe, was also satisfied with the whole voting process. She asked Sierra Leoneans to maintain patience and tolerance as they await the counting and annoncement of the results. The final results are expected to be declared after 12 days.
President Ahmed Tejan Kabbah, who came to power in 1996, is stepping down. Seven candidates - including the Vice President Solomon Berewa, the candidate of the ruling Sierra Leone People’s Party - have been vying to become president.
Political pundits predict a second round of voting because it would be difficult for a single candidate to poll 55% of the votes during the first round.
Keen competition is reported between Mr Berewa and Ernest Bai Koroma, the candidate of the opposition All People’s Congress. As voting is underway, the two are said to be neck-to-neck, with the APC maintaining lead in its traditional stronghold in the north and the west districts while the SLPP recording victory in the south-east regions, which include the capital Freetown.
In the other polls, 572 contenders have contested for 112 parliamentary seats.
afrol News - It is called "financial inclusion", and it is a key government policy in Rwanda. The goal is that, by 2020, 90 percent of the population is to have and actively use bank accounts. And in only four years, financial inclusion has doubled in Rwanda.
afrol News - The UN's humanitarian agencies now warn about a devastating famine in Sudan and especially in South Sudan, where the situation is said to be "imploding". Relief officials are appealing to donors to urgently fund life-saving activities in the two countries.
afrol News - Fear is spreading all over West Africa after the health ministry in Guinea confirmed the first Ebola outbreak in this part of Africa. According to official numbers, at least 86 are infected and 59 are dead as a result of this very contagious disease.
afrol News - It is already a crime being homosexual in Ethiopia, but parliament is now making sure the anti-gay laws will be applied in practical life. No pardoning of gays will be allowed in future, but activist fear this only is a signal of further repression being prepared.
afrol News / Africa Renewal - Ethiopia's ambitious plan to build a US$ 4.2 billion dam in the Benishangul-Gumuz region, 40 km from its border with Sudan, is expected to provide 6,000 megawatts of electricity, enough for its population plus some excess it can sell to neighbouring countries.