U.S. Government Denies Pushing for 2023 Elections Rerun in Sierra Leone

Tolulope Aina, Freetown, Sierra Leone. February 1, 2024

Her comments came during a press briefing on Wednesday following a visit to the West African nations of Guinea-Bissau, Liberia, and Sierra Leone.

Last week, the US government announced a $1.5 million commitment to support Sierra Leone’s electoral reform processes. Ambassador Thomas-Greenfield clarified that this funding aims to “provide the technical and legal assistance needed to strengthen democracy in Sierra Leone” and enhance public engagement in future elections.

However, the announcement sparked speculation that the US was pushing for a rerun of the June 24th presidential election, which saw Julius Maada Bio re-elected. Addressing these concerns directly, Ambassador Thomas-Greenfield stated, “I’m not aware of that… there are no plans for an election, and certainly we have not called for that.”
Instead, she emphasized that the $1.5 million grant will “assist Sierra Leone in developing their own plans for how they will conduct elections in the future.” This implies a focus on long-term improvements to Sierra Leone’s electoral system, rather than interference in the recent election results.