Sierra Leone’s President Ernest Bai Koroma of the All Peoples Congress (APC) party, elected in 2012, is due to step down after the March 7 general election.
The country is one of the poorest in the world and was ravaged by West Africa’s 2014-16 Ebola outbreak, which killed some 4,000 people in the former British colony.
The west African Nation depends on exports of diamonds and iron ore for revenue.
What is the value of the life of a child in Sierra Leone? What is the value of clean water? That's the value.
“Never, ever did I receive, whether it is mayonnaise or coffee or whatever jar, never received any diamonds from the RUF (Revolutionary United Front rebel army that fought in Sierra Leone),” said Former Liberia President, Charles Taylor.
In August last year, more than 500 people were killed and 3,000 left homeless when a mountainside collapsed on the edge of the capital Freetown.
Almost half of the affected families now have no source of income, compared with just 5 percent before the mudslide.
Aid agencies said the government closed its emergency camps in November and most relief programs ended at that time.
“What is the value of the life of a child in Sierra Leone? What is the value of clean water? That’s the value, that’s here. And that’s what Laurence Graff is buying,” said Chairman Group, Rapaport.
It was diamonds that fuelled the decade-long civil war that ended in 2002 in which 50,000 people were killed. Rebels forced civilians in the east to mine the stones and bought weapons with the proceeds, leading to the term ‘blood diamonds.
In 2012 A United Nations-backed court convicted former Liberian president Charles Taylor of war crimes and crimes against humanity.
Marking a major shift in the country’s fortunes the government sold a diamond discovered by a pastor in Koryardu.
Branded the ‘Peace Diamond’, over half of the proceeds from the sale are to be used to fund clean water, electricity, education and health projects in Sierra Leone.
According to World Bank data, Sierra Leone’s gross national income per capita stood at $620 in 2015.