From Paul Ejime In Freetown, Sierra Leone |
The ECOWAS Commission President Jean-Claude Brou has commended Sierra Leoneans for the peaceful conduct of 7 March 2018 general elections, and called for the successful completion of the electoral process with presidential run-off vote scheduled for 27 March.
“As in the first round, ECOWAS will support Sierra Leone by deploying Election Observers during this run-off to ensure a fair and credible atmosphere that leads to outcomes that reflect the will of citizens,” the President said in a goodwill message on Saturday at the end of his three-day solidarity visit to Sierra Leone.
During his stay in the country, the President of the ECOWAS Commission was received by President Ernest Bai Koroma, who assured of his commitment to ensure a peaceful political transition.
President Brou also held consultations with major political stakeholders, including leaders of the two political parties contesting the presidential run-off vote, the National Electoral Commission (NEC), and development partners coordinated by the UNDP. He equally met with representatives of the Women’s Situation Room and the Mano River Union.
The announcement of results of the first round vote was followed by hate speech, tribal and regional sentiments, and issues between NEC and the security forces.
During his engagements with the stakeholders, the ECOWAS Commission President, who also visited the Situation Room of the ECOWAS Election Observation Mission, stressed the need for inter-agency cooperation for successful and credible electoral process; the consolidation of democracy in the country and the region.
He encouraged political stakeholders to avoid incitement to violence, and also enjoined civil society, including traditional and religious leaders and the media, to work for successful and peaceful completion of the electoral process.
The president reiterated ECOWAS’ total commitment to the entrenchment of democracy and the rule of law in the region and reaffirms its “unwavering support to the Government and people of Sierra Leone at this important time of the country’s political history.”
Meanwhile, NEC has taken delivery of the ballot papers for the March 27 election and President Koroma has made a national broadcast appealing to his compatriots to eschew violence and work collectively for peaceful and successful electoral process.
These are Sierra Leone’s fourth elections since the end of the civil war in 2002, and the first time, national authorities are taking full charge of electoral responsibilities since the departure of the UN in 2014.