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Tuesday, 21 May, 2002, 08:55 GMT 09:55 UK
Sierra Leone poll result: What is the way forward?
Ahmad Tejan Kabbah is appealing for national unity in Sierra Leone as he is sworn in as president for another five years.

He has pledged to battle corruption and hunger, and improve human rights.

Electoral officials said Mr Kabbah won 70% of the vote, against 22% for his nearest challenger, Ernest Koroma of the All People's Congress.

Thousands of people have taken to the streets of the capital, Freetown, singing and dancing in a jubilant celebration of Mr Kabbah's re-election.

What are your views on the result? What should Mr Kabbah now do for the country?


This Talking Point has now closed. Read a selection of your comments below.


The majority of Sierra Leoneans see this election as the start to restoring honour and pride to a country that once led others in Africa

G.Fahad, London/England
The majority of Sierra Leoneans see this election as the start to restoring honour and pride to a country that once led others in Africa. Regardless of the outcome, everyone must accept the results. In this way we can begin to go along the road to freedom and good governance.
G.Fahad, London/England

The election in Sierra Leone is a turning point in the history of our country. A country whose people have suffered a lot due to no just cause. It is widely believed that this election will strengthen the peace in this country. The RUF taking part in the election might be a step forward, but if they fail to secure a seat in parliament and they fail to achieve any political gain, what will be the future of the peace? What about the war in neighbouring Liberia? Remember 1991 and what the Liberian war did to our beloved Sierra Leone. I am however of the opinion that this election will be a move forward to development in Sierra Leone. God help and save Sierra Leone. We are hungry for a real and lasting peace in Sierra Leone.
Lamin B. Kamara, United Kingdom

The people in Sierra Leone have gone through painful experiences. This election must bury all the ghosts of the civil war. The world will be proud if the people in Sierra Leone show that their country comes first. A reminder to President Kabbah that remaining in power for a long time too will breed trouble. I pray for Siera Leone.
Mike Aziz, Vancouver,Canada


I only hope that after these elections, Sierra Leoneans of all political persuasions would work together with whoever emerges as the winner and put their energy toward constructive use in nation building

Innocent Monya-Tambi, USA
It is very important that these elections be free and fair. It is only within such atmosphere that we can experience lasting peace and stability after the elections. History has only proven that the war (even though we hate to admit it) came about because for too long, elections in Sierra Leone were neither free nor fair. I only hope that after these elections, Sierra Leoneans of all political persuasions would work together with whoever emerges as the winner and put their energy toward constructive use in nation building.
Innocent Monya-Tambi, USA

Elections are always welcome in any nation, provided they are carried out freely, honestly and the outcome is accepted by everyone, in a peaceful manner.
PhilT, Cornishman in Oman

Brothers and sisters - Guinean, Sierra Leonean and Liberian - let us try and end this senseless war and have something better.
Charlieson S. S. Lollee, Liberian

I want to personally congratulate the people who have spoken through the ballot. You people should be proud of this historic achievement, you have not only spoken for yourselves but for the thousands that did not have the opportunity to see this historic event but paid the ultimate sacrifice with their lives. Let whomever is elected remember what brought us to this point. There is a lot of hard work ahead of us all, let the elected leader lead and please, please let us follow.
Samuel John, USA

Hopefully Sierra Leoneas are going to vote in a new set of leaders to run the country after ten rough years of fighting. All the masses are crying for is peace to go about their normal business. Whoever these leaders turn out to be, they must realise that sustainable peace will not arrive in the face of corruption, joblessness, poverty, mass illiteracy , diseases, hunger etc. The task ahead is therefore not an easy one. Sierra Leoneans everywhere must be ready to play their own parts by investing meaningful resources to bring back the country to its feet.
Denis Hinga Sellu, UK/ Sierra Leone

The elections are necessary to help reshape our democratic institutions. I hope the losers would accept the results and refrain from the conventional wisdom of crying fowl after elections. The people have spoken.
Osman Kabba, USA

For once in the last several years, news coming out of Sierra Leone is positive and forward-looking. Those of us scattered around the world as a result of the senseless war are delighted that it has largely been conducted in a spirit of tolerance and peace. Now we can walk in exile with some level of dignity and pride. Thank you God for doing this for us.
Ambrose Massaquoi, Sierra Leone/Philippines

I am a sierra Leonean, I'm praying for a better Sierra Leone.
Makiatu A Barrie, USA

The majority of Sierra Leoneans see this election as the start to restoring honour and pride to a country that once led others in Africa. Regardless of the outcome, everyone must accept the results. In this way we can begin to go along the road to freedom and good governance.
G.Fahad, London/England

The election in Sierra Leone is a turning point in the history of our country. A country whose people have suffered a lot due to no just cause. It is widely believed that this election will strengthen the peace in this country. The RUF taking part in the election might be a step forward, but if they fail to secure a seat in parliament and they fail to achieve any political gain, what will be the future of the peace? What about the war in neighbouring Liberia? Remember 1991 and what the Liberian war did to our beloved Sierra Leone. I am however of the opinion that this election will be a move forward to development in Sierra Leone. God help and save Sierra Leone. We are hungry for a real and lasting peace in Sierra Leone.
Lamin B. Kamara, United Kingdom

The people in Sierra Leone have gone through painful experiences. This election must bury all the ghosts of the civil war. The world will be proud if the people in Sierra Leone show that their country comes first. A reminder to President Kabbah that remaining in power for a long time too will breed trouble. I pray for Siera Leone.
Mike Aziz, Vancouver,Canada

It is very important that these elections be free and fair. It is only within such atmosphere that we can experience lasting peace and stability after the elections. History has only proven that the war (even though we hate to admit it) came about because for too long, elections in Sierra Leone were neither free nor fair. I only hope that after these elections, Sierra Leoneans of all political persuasions would work together with whoever emerges as the winner and put their energy toward constructive use in nation building.
Innocent Monya-Tambi, USA

Elections are always welcome in any nation, provided they are carried out freely, honestly and the outcome is accepted by everyone, in a peaceful manner.
PhilT, Cornishman in Oman

Brothers and sisters - Guinean, Sierra Leonean and Liberian - let us try and end this senseless war and have something better.
Charlieson S. S. Lollee, Liberian

I want to personally congratulate the people who have spoken through the ballot. You people should be proud of this historic achievement, you have not only spoken for yourselves but for the thousands that did not have the opportunity to see this historic event but paid the ultimate sacrifice with their lives. Let whomever is elected remember what brought us to this point. There is a lot of hard work ahead of us all, let the elected leader lead and please, please let us follow.
Samuel John, USA

Hopefully Sierra Leoneas are going to vote in a new set of leaders to run the country after ten rough years of fighting. All the masses are crying for is peace to go about their normal business. Whoever these leaders turn out to be, they must realise that sustainable peace will not arrive in the face of corruption, joblessness, poverty, mass illiteracy , diseases, hunger etc. The task ahead is therefore not an easy one. Sierra Leoneans everywhere must be ready to play their own parts by investing meaningful resources to bring back the country to its feet.
Denis Hinga Sellu, UK/ Sierra Leone

The elections are necessary to help reshape our democratic institutions. I hope the losers would accept the results and refrain from the conventional wisdom of crying fowl after elections. The people have spoken.
Osman Kabba, USA

For once in the last several years, news coming out of Sierra Leone is positive and forward-looking. Those of us scattered around the world as a result of the senseless war are delighted that it has largely been conducted in a spirit of tolerance and peace. Now we can walk in exile with some level of dignity and pride. Thank you God for doing this for us.
Ambrose Massaquoi, Sierra Leone/Philippines

I am a sierra Leonean, I'm praying for a better Sierra Leone.
Makiatu A Barrie, USA

This a long awaited time for Sierra Leoneans everywhere, it marks a beginning of a brand new life for all of, let's hope that it bring the stability and growth that the people deserve. It is good to see democracy play a part in this transition, the way the country and the people together with the international community have all played a roll in making sure that the people get their chance to exercise their rights, which have been violated for far too long. Being a Sierra Leonean it is my duty to wish us all well in the birth of a new country that has so much potential to grow and flourish to one of the most blessed and beautiful country.
Posseh Kamara, Sierra Leone/USA


I fear the outcome will be characterised by violent confrontations and political infighting.

Max Jimmy, UK
While lauding the efforts of the international community and well meaning Sierra Leoneans for working to restore peace to Sierra Leone, I must say that today's elections are unlikely to address the complex problems of that embattled west African country. Even though much has been done to ensure a free and fair election, I fear the outcome will be characterised by violent confrontations and political infighting. Last Saturday's violent street clashes between SLPP and RUFP supporters resulting in many injuries justify this view. Being a Sierra Leonean myself, I know the RUF too well. I know they will vehemently oppose and seek to derail any political arrangement that falls short of guaranteeing them ultimate political power. If a proper lesson is to be learnt from the Liberia experience, it is that merely disarming rebels and holding elections do not put an end to the human rights abuses that often go with rebel insurgencies.
Max Jimmy, United Kingdom/Sierra Leone

Perhaps Sierra Leone is returning to peace and stability after 11 years of brutal civil unrest. The elections are a giant steep towards stability. However, Sierra Leoneans and the international community must strive even harder in the years ahead, to sustain this hard won peace and stability. Otherwise there is the risk of it reverting to chaos.
Benedict Jalloh, United Kingdom


The nation must create checks and balances to ensure that the rebels are not given an opportunity to create chaos again.

Carew, Sierra Leonean in USA
These elections are a new starting point. It is understandable that people fear the RUF will again start trouble if things do not go the way they want them to. I fear a threat from the RUF for as long as those rebels walk free and have access to guns. It is hard for me to see how individuals who had absolute power to terrorize and destroy a nation will forever give up that power. The nation must create checks and balances to ensure that the rebels are not given an opportunity to create chaos again. We will surely need the help of the international community. It is important that the special court begin its work and be successful. Also, the international community must create an effective means of dealing with the problem of arms sales to those who perpetrate war crimes and human rights abuses.
K. Carew, Sierra Leone/Nigeria in the U.S.

The election by itself is not as important as the way its been held. Every Sierra Leonean of every tribe and every political persuasion should be proud of the way the country has conducted itself during the campaign. It is both a happy and sad occasion. Happy that we have come this far to be able to exercise one of our basic human rights. sad on the other hand that there are people who have paid a heavy price before this which would have come naturally should come to pass. To the winners, we are watching you. To the losers, remember that you did not contest the elections for yourself but the country, and when the country speaks we must listen and accept and respect their verdict.
God Bless Sierra Leone.
Cillaty Daboh, USA/Sierra Leone.

As a Sierra Leonean living here in the US, I am indeed thankful to the international community, especially Britain, for taking Sierra Leone under its wings and lead it to this historic election. While those of us in the diaspora were not allowed to vote, something I believe was a mistake in the part of the government, I believe who ever wins this election should form a government of inclusion which would finally bring lasting peace to our country. The true winners of today's elections are the thousands of Sierra Leoneans who were raped, mutilated, molested and killed during the ten years conflict. We owe it to them to accept the results of today's vote and vow to never again resort to violence to solve our problems. We have to support whoever elected to rebuild our war-torn country.
Jacob Sax Conteh, US


The election in Sierra Leone is "one small step" for the rest of the world, but it is "one giant step" for the people of Sierra Leone

Desmond Ebun Terry, USA
Every time there is a peaceful transition in the political process in Sierra Leone, a nail is hammered into the coffin of the likes of the RUF. The election in Sierra Leone is "one small step" for the rest of the world, but it is "one giant step" for the people of Sierra Leone.
Desmond Ebun Terry, USA

In the 1996 election, I voted and to all fairness it was far less violent amongst supporters compared to past elections. I am really sad that I could not vote. All I am praying is that this election will be more fair than the ones I witnessed. God bless our nation. Land that we love our SIERRA LEONE.
Abdulai Mansaray, Sierra Leonean Studying in Malaysia

As a Sierra Leonean, I would have loved to exercise my franchise to vote if the necessary provisions were made for those of us presently staying out of the country. Though I'm not voting, I've been following up on the electoral process and I must say that I'm extremely impressed with the conduct of the leaders of political parties and the general populace. For once, elections are being conducted in a calm and peaceful atmosphere.

I hope the results will be accepted by all parties, although there are speculations from some quarters that rebels of the Revolutionary United Front Party(RUFP), might oppose the results and resume hostilities as evidenced by there recent attack on supporters of the ruling Sierra Leone People's Party(SLPP). This possibility will be disastrous for the country and I therefore urge all to withhold violence and promote peace, reconciliation and development.
Rashid Sesay, Ireland/Sierra Leone

Like other Sierra Leoneans abroad, I am unable to vote in the elections. However, we are all earnestly following developments at home. I truly pray that these elections (given the security provided by UNAMSIL, British etc) will be considered as free and fair, with the people of Sierra Leone making a democratic choice of leader. I also pray that all other parties will accept this 'people's choice' and work towards a lasting peace and the 'renaissance' our country so desperately needs.
Iyamide Thomas, United Kingdom


The election in Sierra Leone is a watershed in the recent history of our country

Grace Gueye, Liberian (USA)
The election in Sierra Leone is a watershed in the recent history of our country. The outcome would determine the development of retrogression of that country. As I see it, the election is a clear choice between candidates-GOOD and EVIL. Being a small country, the people know the personal qualities and the work record of the candidates. Secondly, an opportunity has been created through this transparent election process for the population to build confidence in the ballot box and to learn permanently that the election is not about thuggery, house burning, intimidation, tribalism, vote buying and character assassination.

The election is about putting a nation's trust, vision and aspirations into the hands of capable leadership so that there is shared benefit by all. Voting about your right bit can also be about your life. So the people now have a chance to determine their destiny as a nation by casting their votes for either of the two candidates-GOOD or EVIL. I pray our people would vote wisely so that GOOD would prevail over EVIL.
Emanuel Fatoma, Belgium

Who cares if the election is free and fair as long as it brings peace and stability.
Grace Gueye, Liberian (USA)

You cannot solve the problems in Sierra Leone without solving the ones in both Guinea and Liberia. These three countries are interrelated in so many ways. By going to the polls this week, Sierra Leoneans are choosing peace over war. But this peace remains fragile when there is chaos next door in both Guinea and Liberia. Families cannot meet families across boundaries, and economic activities are disrupted. However complex it may be, it is worth the time and money to find out just what it is that is the root cause of instability in the Mano River basin.
George Werner, Liberian in the USA


Campaign diary

Peaceful poll

Background

FORUM

Talking PointTALKING POINT
Children in war
Are we doing enough to protect them?
See also:

14 May 02 | Africa
13 May 02 | Africa
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