Sierra Leone’s President Julius Maada Bio has urged all citizens in the country to keep the peace and continue to respect all public order laws.
In an address to the nation on Monday, President Bio said every person has a stake in maintaining peace during and after the announcement of election results.
“Citizens must not incite violence or associate with violent action. Avoid all provocative and retaliatory actions for everyone’s sake.”
President Bio, who is seeking re-election, is in an early lead with more than a million votes in the provincial results released by the electoral commission. The final results will be announced within 48 hours from Monday afternoon.
On Monday, many schools, offices and shops were closed in Freetown due to fear of post-election violence.
The president urged the police and security forces to exercise restraint when enforcing the law.
“Every citizen’s constitutional rights are equally important and must be respected at all times and in all circumstances,” he said.
In order to win in the first round a presidential hopeful must secure 55% of the valid votes cast – otherwise there will be a run-off between the top two candidates two weeks after the announcement of the final results.
This was the case in 2018 with a run-off between Mr Bio and opponent Samura Kamara.