JULIUS MAADA BIO wasted no time earlier than being sworn in as president of Sierra Leone. Obedient an hour and a half after his slender election victory was once launched on April 4th, Mr Bio took the oath of space of industrial, forgoing the direct rental for a dimly lit room on the Radisson Blu resort. The unfamiliar conditions were led to by safety concerns. At some level of a protracted and disturbing campaign Mr Bio had accused the All Of us’s Congress (APC), the celebration of his opponent, Samura Kamara, of attempting to rupture him. Mr Kamara, for his piece, mentioned the vote was once rigged.
The election was once Sierra Leone’s fourth since its civil war ended in 2002. Recollections of the brutal eleven-three hundred and sixty five days battle soundless linger. Tensions in step with ethnic, political and regional divisions simmered at some stage in the campaign, then boiled over when the was once launched. Supporters of Mr Bio’s Sierra Leone Of us’s Event (SLPP) attacked followers of the APC, which previously held the presidency. Noteworthy of the violence has taken space in the SLPP’s southern strongholds. Nonetheless more than a hundred americans have also fled Kono, a perilous swing direct in the east.
Mr Bio, a feeble frequent who participated in two coups in the Nineties, and who snappily took strength himself in 1996, has tried to soundless issues down. “No Sierra Leonean must always soundless genuinely feel threatened by my ascension to strength,” he has mentioned, even promising to let APC supporters stop in their govt jobs. He has called on Sierra Leone’s 7m americans to reject tribalism and regionalism, which have poisoned the nation’s politics. He has space a good instance himself, reaching out to Mr Kamara (who soundless plans to self-discipline the of the election). The president will want to work with the APC, which has a majority in parliament.
Though it has tall mineral and diamond deposits, Sierra Leone faces broad financial challenges. It is miles soundless recovering from an epidemic of Ebola in 2014, which killed Four,000 americans and petrified away traders. A coast in world commodity prices in 2015 deepened its woes. And the APC didn't serve matters. At some level of its decade-long abet on strength, the celebration looted the nation’s coffers. A govt audit honest lately printed that essential of the money earmarked for combating Ebola at some stage in the crisis is unaccounted for.
To the delight of voters, Mr Bio pledged to tackle corruption by launching a commission to analysis past crimes and increasing a definite division in the nation’s excessive courtroom to focal level on instances of graft. All govt revenues will plod with the dash into a single pot, he says, making the nation’s charge range more uncomplicated to audit.
Education is but every other self-discipline. Three out of 5 adults in Sierra Leone are unable to read or write. Though main colleges are free in theory, americans assuredly can now not come up with the money for the books and uniforms. Mr Bio vows to present all that, and free secondary education, with money saved by “decreasing leakages”. That could presumably even very effectively be unrealistic, given the direct of govt charge range. His transition crew is taking stock of the misfortune. Rumours abound that the kitty is empty.
So Mr Bio must always persuade international donors, comparable to the IMF, to belief him with their encourage, essential of which has been suspended or restricted due to the previous govt’s failure to implement financial reforms. Funds from a $224m mortgage kit negotiated closing summer season with the IMF were withheld over the APC’s failure to have stricter enforcement of import taxes and sequence of market-charge royalties on mineral exports. Mr Bio has already made development in every of those areas.
Most Sierra Leoneans are hopeful that Mr Bio will make fantastic on his campaign slogan, “Salone foh betteh” (Sierra Leone must always give a purchase to), which is soundless heard on the streets of Freetown, the capital. If he can curb corruption quite, then Sierra Leone could presumably even certainly recuperate.