Sierra Leone. In August, about 500 people died in floods and landslides caused by three days of rainfall over the capital Freetown. According to some estimates, the number of fatalities may have been over 1,000. According to Countryaah.com, nearly 6,000 people were affected by the disaster, including the destruction of their house. These were often built without permission along rock walls on the outskirts of the city. President Ernest Bai Koroma announced seven days of country grief and urged the people to stand united. He also appealed to the outside world for help. To reduce the risk of an outbreak of cholera, the government carried out Sierra Leone’s first vaccination campaign against the dreaded bowel disease, which is often spread in connection with natural disasters when water and sewage pipes are missing.
In October, the two largest parties, the only ones given a few seats in the last election, presented their candidates for the March 2018 presidential election. President Koroma is not allowed to stand because he has sat the two terms of office stipulated in the constitution. The Government Party General People’s Congress (APC) appointed Foreign Minister Samura Kamara, who is a trained economist and has previously worked for the International Monetary Fund (IMF). He will be opposed to Julius Maada Bio, representing the Sierra Leone People’s Party (SLPP) and who finished second in the 2012 presidential election. A third candidate will be Samuel Sam-Sumana, who in March 2015 was fired as vice president and excluded from the APC. In September 2015, the Supreme Court ruled that President Koroma had the right to dismiss the vice president, but in November 2017 received a bribe from a court linked to the regional cooperation organization ECOWAS. According to the court, Koroma had not followed the applicable procedures and it ruled that the government must pay Sam-Sumana’s salary and be responsible for his legal costs. However, the Department of Justice in Sierra Leone did not accept the ruling from the court because it was not considered that the court had a mandate to judge the case.
In December, the so-called Peace Diamond, found by Pastor Emmanuel Momoh, was sold for $ 6.5 million at an auction in New York. The diamond is as large as an egg – 709 carats – and is the largest found in Sierra Leone. According to Momoh, the profit would go to local development projects.