Deputy Assistant Secretary of State Michael Heath has denied claims by President Bio that the U.S. government asked him to stop the Electoral Commission from announcing the results of the June 24 elections.
“The president is entitled to his views, but we did not ask him to take action that will affect the outcome of the elections,” he said.
Heath who was speaking during a roundtable with journalists in Freetown, said they had concerns about the processes and that the parallel results announced were statistically impossible. He confirmed that they requested that the Electoral Commission for Sierra Leone (ECSL) meet with election observers to address these concerns.
He said the president was concerned about the timing, but the U.S. government did what they were supposed to do as Observers of the elections.
Responding to the claims that the U.S. government was calling for a coup in the country, Deputy Assistant Secretary Heath said they disagree with President Bio’s interpretation of their concerns about the election.
On the Sierra Leone and U.S. government relationship, Ambassador Bryan Hunt said there has been some progress as he works to rebuild the relationship that has been strained since after the elections.
He said they welcome the commitment from the government and opposition for a mediated dialogue and the outcome that will lead to reforms of the country’s electoral processes.
“We want to move forward, but there needs to be progress in the country’s democratic front. The government needs local and international credibility,” he noted.
They emphasized that the visa restrictions are confidential, but Deputy Assistant Secretary Heath, however, noted that it is indefinite.