Caritas Official in Sierra Leone Calls for Calm amid Chaos, “confusion”, after Tense Polls

Credit: Fr. Peter Konteh

The Executive Director of Caritas Freetown of Sierra Leone’s Catholic Archdiocese of Freetown has urged voters in the just concluded general elections in the West African country to maintain patience and calm as they “wait for the final verified results”.

On Monday, June 26, Sierra Leone’s electoral commission announced provisional results of the June 24 presidential election showing that the incumbent, President Julius Maada Bio of the Sierra Leone People’s Party (SLPP), had taken an early lead by garnering 60 percent of the votes that had been counted.

The provisional results indicated that Bio had received over one million votes, followed closely by Samura Kamara of All People’s Congress (APC) who garnered under 800,000 votes.

In an interview with ACI Africa, Caritas Freetown Executive Director, Fr. Peter Konteh, said that chaos had erupted across Sierra Leone, with APC declaring that they do not accept the provisional results.

At the height of the chaos, there were gatherings across the country as supporters in the two main opposing political camps celebrating a supposed win, Fr. Konteh said in the Tuesday, June 27 interview.


“There is confusion in the country because everyone is celebrating a win. We are appealing to all Sierra Leoneans to maintain peace, calm and especially patience as they wait for the final verified results. And to those who are already opposing the provisional results, we urge them to remain patient and thereafter, to contest the official results in court,” Fr. Konteh said.

The member of the Clergy of Freetown Archdiocese cautioned the people against acting upon “sensational and fake results” that are being published on social media platforms to stir violent reactions.

He warned of an imminent escalation of violence in the country, saying, “If this situation is not handled well, we may tear our country apart. The roadblocks that some of your youths erected yesterday, blocking motorists from entering the city, is a recipe for violence.”

The Caritas official told ACI Africa that immediately after the provisional results were announced, groups of young people barricaded major roads leading from the provinces to Sierra Leone’s capital city, Freetown.

A major roadblock was erected at the junction known as Mile 47 where the roads leading to the North, the South and Freetown meet.

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“No cars coming from the North, which is APC’s stronghold, were allowed to come to Freetown. The road leading from the South, which is SLPP’s stronghold, was also blocked and manned by rowdy youths,” Fr. Konteh said.

Sierra Leoneans went to the polls on June 24 amid reports that the presidential election would be a tight race between Bio and APC’s Samura Kamara. Eleven other people had expressed their interest in the top job. 

Meanwhile, Fr. Konteh has urged Sierra Leoneans to embrace unity irrespective of their political affiliations.

“Let’s not forget that we are all citizens of this great nation and we have a shared responsibility to work towards a united and prosperous future,” the Catholic Priest, who has been vocal about the 2023 elections says in a reflection he shared with ACI Africa on June 27.

He adds, “Let us not allow the political divisions that often arise during election season to continue to divide us. Instead, let us focus on the things that unite us, such as our shared humanity, our love for our families and communities, and our desire for a better future for ourselves and our children.


Agnes Aineah is a Kenyan journalist with a background in digital and newspaper reporting. She holds a Master of Arts in Digital Journalism from the Aga Khan University, Graduate School of Media and Communications and a Bachelor's Degree in Linguistics, Media and Communications from Kenya's Moi University. Agnes currently serves as a journalist for ACI Africa.