Social media videos and pictures of Chinese nationals clad in full APC party regalia, campaigning for the ruling party presidential candidate in the upcoming 2018 elections, represents the first sign of overt political interference of China or by any foreign power in Sierra Leone’s elections since independence.
This trend of Chinese people and government interference in African nation’s elections first reared its ugly head on the continent during the 2006 Zambia elections.
Just as in Zambia, the Chinese in Sierra Leone have had sizable unconscionable one-sided investments and contracts in mining, construction, fisheries, and entertainment under the current APC government, which they are determined to maintain should Samura Kamara win the presidency.
This blatant interference by Chinese nationals in the electoral process, including the construction of APC party offices throughout the country, Chinese material and financial assistance towards the upcoming elections, represents an unacceptable and reprehensible effort that requires all political actors and electoral management institutions to condemn in the strongest possible terms.
The crossing of this political Rubicon by the Chinese and APC led government is bound to engender Sierra Leonean resentment against the Chinese. There is already a negative perception issue about Chinese interactions with ordinary Sierra Leoneans. They are massively corrupting politicians and civil servants. China’s citizens in Sierra Leone exhibit a pervasive lack of respect for Sierra Leoneans and, provide poor working conditions in their mines and industrial ventures.