Sixteen candidates are campaigning to become Sierra Leone’s next president. It’s the first time more than two candidates have real chances of winning and a chance for a more diversified parliament. On Wednesday March 7, Sierra Leone is heading to the polls as the second of President Ernest Bai Koroma’s constitutionally mandated two terms comes to an end. The ruling All People’s Congress (APC) party and the Sierra Leone People’s Party (SLPP) have always dominated politics since Sierra Leone gained independence from Britain in 1961. But two new political parties upset the political dynamics and support bases of the SLPP and APC when they joined the 2018 presidential race.
Former head of the United Nations industrial developer (UNIDO), Kandeh Kolleh Yumkella, broke away after the SLPP refused to part ways with Julius Maada Bio, who had lost the 2012 elections to President Koroma.
The Coalition for Change’s (C4C) presidential aspirant, former vice president Samuel Sam-Sumana, took a large chunk of the APC’s northeastern voters after he was sacked by Koroma in 2015.
Although Sam-Sumana’s chances of winning the presidency are not as high as the APC’s Samura Kamara or the SLPP’s Bio, but analysts believe his C4C party and Yumkella’s NGC could both be kingmakers in these elections.