Forty-five members of the ECOWAS Observation Mission led by Prof Amos Sawyer were deployed to their areas of assignment on Thursday ahead of Sierra Leone’s rescheduled presidential run-off election on 31st March.
After a briefing by the ECOWAS Commissioner for Political Affairs, Peace and Security, Gen. Francis Benhanzin, the observers, were deployed across the country’s 16 Administrative Districts with 3,300 voting Centres and 11,122 polling stations for 3.17 million registered voters in a nation with an estimated population of seven million.
ECOWAS had 65 Long-term and Short-term observers for the first round general elections held on March 7.
The Core Team of the Long-Term Observers remained on the ground to follow the electoral processes including the declaration of results of the first round, the legal dispute that necessitated rescheduling of the run-off from 27 to 31 March, and the preventable diplomacy mounted by Heads of international observation groups – ECOWAS, AU, Commonwealth and the Electoral Institute for Sustainable Democracy in Africa (EISA), to get the electoral process back on track.
The ruling All People’s Congress (APC) candidate Dr Samura Kamara and his main opposition Sierra Leone People’s Party (SLPP) counterpart, rtd Brig. Julius Maada Bio, frontrunners in the first round presidential race, are slugging it out in the run-off vote.
The winner will replace outgoing President Ernest Bai Koroma as Sierra Leone’s fifth President.