Sierra Leoneans from across globe return home for elections

President Ernest Bai Koroma is stepping down after two five-year terms in the third election since the end of the civil war.

FILE: Sierra Leone's outgoing President Ernest Bai Koroma. Picture: AFP.

FREETOWN - Sierra Leoneans from across the globe have returned to the country to cast their votes in Wednesday’s historic election.

President Ernest Bai Koroma is stepping down after two five-year terms in the third election since the end of the civil war.

The country has been gripped by an Ebola epidemic in recent years, which killed more than 4,000 people.

Upon landing in the capital Freetown, Famata Leg tells Eyewitness News she wants to give back to her country after completing a Master’s Degree in Public Policy in Berlin.

“Hopefully I can open my own consultancy and help my country, but if I can’t do that then I am willing to work with an NGO here.”

She’s one of the hundreds of Sierra Leoneans who have come back home to vote for the change they say the country so desperately needs.

There are 16 presidential hopefuls, but her money is on ruling party candidate Samura Kamara.

“I feel like he’s really well experienced and he’s just what we need. He’s been working in Sierra Leone for a long time. He has experience internationally, the IMF and the World Bank and also in Sierra Leone… Minister of Finance and Minister of Foreign Affairs.”

Former South African president Kgalema Motlanthe is heading the African Union observer mission, while former Ghanaian president John Dramani Mahama and former Nigerian president Goodluck Jonathan are leading the commonwealth and Electoral Institute for Sustainable Democracy in Africa observer missions respectively.