The ECOWAS Commission has noted with concern the interim injunction issued by a High Court on Saturday, March 24th restraining the National
Electoral Commission (NEC) and the Chief Electoral Commissioner of Sierra Leone from proceeding with preparations for the March 27th Presidential run-off election.
The Commission, in a statement noted that the on-going electoral process up to the time of the announcement of results of the March 7 general elections had been generally peaceful apart from minor incidents.
The Commission therefore “appeals for calm and stress the need for the citizens and all political actors and stakeholders to remain law abiding and allow the National Election Management Bodies to carry out their constitutional mandate.”
The statement further enjoined all government institutions “to assume their full responsibilities and ensure respect for the rule of law,” while, “security agencies should ensure the protection of lives and properties.”
It said the ECOWAS Commission “is closely monitoring developments in Sierra Leone and wishes to reiterate its continued support to the country in this critical juncture of its political history.”
“This is consistent with the ECOWAS mandate and commitment to ensure peace and stability, and especially its principled stance to consolidate democracy and good governance through promotion of credible elections and zero-tolerance for ascension to power through unconstitutional means,” the statement added.
It noted the governance progress in the region with all ECOWAS member States now running a democratic system.
“The Commission therefore wishes to remind all and sundry about the consequences under the relevant Protocols and instrumentalities for acts likely to undermine the region’s widely acknowledged democratic credentials,” the statement stressed.
Meanwhile, Prof. Amos Sawyer, Head of 55-member ECOWAS Election Observation Mission for the run-off poll, has charged the observers to be vigilant and await the next steps as the political situation unfolds.
At the orientation for the observers in Freetown on Sunday, 25th March, the former President of Liberia’s Interim government underscored the need to protect the integrity of electoral process and to ensure that the electoral body did not lose track.
Prof. Sawyer, who also led the 65-member ECOWAS Observation Team to the first round balloting, encouraged all Sierra Leonean stakeholders to ensure that the electoral process was taken to a peaceful and successful completion.
Similarly, the ECOWAS Commissioner of Political Affairs, Peace and Security Gen. Francis Behanzin, appealed for patience, urging Sierra Leoneans to replicate the determination and resilience they have shown so far on the electoral process.
Earlier the Director of Political Affairs, Dr Remi Ajibewa and Head of the Electoral Assistance Division, Mr Francis Oke took the observers through the observation methodology, Code of Conduct and other dos and don’ts of their responsibility, the Observation Core Team provided the legal and political contexts and other elements for successful observation mission.