Julius Maada Bio, Sierra Leone’s new president as required by law was sworn into office Wednesday evening by the Chief Justice hours after the National Electoral Commission (NEC) declared him winner of the March 31 presidential runoff.
NEC announced that the former military head of state had won 51.81 percent of votes cast in the runoff as against a little over 48% secured by his competitor, Samura Kamara – a former Foreign Affairs minister under President Ernest Bai Koroma.
The swearing in of the president and his vice, Dr Mohamed Juldeh Jalloh, took place just before midnight at a hotel in the capital Freetown, by Chief Justice Abdulai Hamid Charm. Maado bio signed his oath and office and delivered a speech in which he promised to united the country.
“(This is) the dawn of a new era. The people of this great nation have voted to take a new direction. We are honoured and privileged to serve the new government of Sierra Leone.
“We have only one country, Sierra Leone, and we are all one people (cheer). My government will promote national unity, national cohesion and disciplined leadership,” he added.
The new government faces the difficult task of rebuilding the impoverished West African nation’s economy that was dragged down by the world’s deadliest Ebola epidemic and a global slump in commodity prices. A deadly mudslide in the capital Freetown late last year deepened the country’s woes.