On April 23, President Julius Maada Bio and Kandeh Yumkella danced together at a public function in Freetown, the Sierra Leonean capital, effectively signalling the start of the 2023 election season in the West African state.
The occasion was the signing of a strategic alliance between the ruling Sierra Leone People’s Party (SLPP) and Yumkella’s National Grand Coalition (NGC), one of the country’s opposition parties, ahead of the June 24 presidential election.
Ahead of the vote, political allegiances are in flux, with prominent politicians aligning themselves with former foes to enhance their election chances.
Five years ago, both men were on opposite sides, seeking the same position.
Officially, the election campaign began on May 23, but the outcome of the June 24 poll will be shaped by a lot of potential drama in the month before the vote.
Approximately 3.3 million people – around half of the entire population – are registered to vote in what is on course to be a keenly contested election.
Bio will again face off against the APC’s Kamara, hoping to win the 55 percent required in the first round for a second and final term in office.