Jonathan Urges Credible, Peaceful Poll, as Sierra Leoneans Elect President Wednesday



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Ahead of Wednesday’s general elections in Sierra Leone, former
President Goodluck Jonathan has urged the people of the West African
nation to conduct peaceful and credible polls.

The former President,mwho is leader of the Electoral Institute for
Sustainable Democracy in Africa (EISA)  Observer Mission to the March
7 elections gave the advice while meeting with different stakeholders
in Freetown.

A statement by Jonathan’s media adviser Ikechukwu Eze
said he had met with Sierra Leonean President Ernest Bai Koroma,
chairman of the National Electoral Commission (NEC) Mohammed Conteh,
chairman of the Political Party Registration Council (PPRC) Justice
Patrick Hamilton, some Presidential candidates as well as leaders of
the international community, youth associations, media unions,
security outfits and civil society organisations.

While advising the stakeholders to ensure non-violent processes during
elections, Jonathan also stressed “the need to sustain the peace that
the good people of Sierra Leone have been enjoying since the end of
the civil war.”

“As Africans we have to avoid the temptation of playing politics of
desperation. It should be played without bitterness or rancor, with
our mind focused on development and the welfare of our people.”

He added that the Mission was in the country to support “the integrity
of the electoral processes through diligent observation of the polling
activities in line with the rules and code of conduct for
international election observers.”

While welcoming Jonathan to his office the PPRC boss, Justice Hamilton
thanked the former President for his roles and contributions to the
growth of democracy in Sierra Leone.

He said: “I believe that the reason you are here  is to see that we
have something similar to the credible and transparent elections you
organized as President of Nigeria.”

Speaking in the same vein, the Presidential Candidate of the main
opposition party, Sierra Leonean Peoples Party (SLPP) Brig-Gen Julius
Maada Bio (rtd), noted that the presence of Jonathan and other “former
African Presidents in Sierra Leone was an indication that democracy is
on the rise on the continent.”

Meanwhile the international election observation missions (IEOMs)
present in Sierra Leone on Tuesday issued a joint statement urging the
people of the country to ensure that these elections “are transparent,
credible and conducted in accordance with prescribed laws and
regulations.”

The statement issued by Economic Community of West African States
(ECOWAS), African Union (AU), The Commonwealth, Electoral Institute
for Sustainable Democracy in Africa (EISA), European Union (EU), and
The Carter Center (TCC). reads: “We recognise that the 2018 elections
in Sierra Leone, the fourth since the end of the civil war, are
critical to the maintenance of peace and stability in the country.
Based on consultations with Sierra Leonean stakeholders over the past
weeks, have noted the efforts of the National Electoral Commission,
the Political Parties Registration Commission, the Judiciary, the
Office of National Security, the Sierra Leone Police, civil society,
the media and other key institutions towards the conduct of peaceful
and transparent elections.

“We call on the political leaders, parties and their supporters to
ensure peaceful elections and respect for the rule of law as they go
to the polls tomorrow (Wednesday) and through the results tallying
process. Further urge them to uphold their commitments under the
‘Freetown Declaration’, which was signed by presidential candidates on
28 February 2018.

“We further call on the NEC and party polling agents to conduct their
duties in a professional manner, which would ensure that these
elections are transparent, credible and conducted in accordance with
prescribed laws and regulations.

“We encourage candidates to accept the outcome of the elections in
line with Article 9 of the ECOWAS Supplementary Protocol on Democracy
and Good Governance (2001) and, in the event of complaints or
disputes, encourage candidates to seek redress through legal channels
whilst at all times refraining from acts of violence and intimidation.

“We look to the government of Sierra Leone to uphold its
constitutional obligations to provide a secure environment that
guarantees the safety of candidates, voters, NEC officials and
electoral materials. The missions urge the security agencies
throughout the country to demonstrate professionalism and to enforce
the law in a neutral and proportional manner. The different IEOMs have
deployed over 250 international observers across the country to follow
all aspects of election day and some will remain to observe the
tallying process and post-election period.

The IEOMs present in Sierra Leone would like to take the opportunity
to wish the citizens of Sierra Leone well in the exercise of their
democratic rights; and pledge our unequivocal commitment to support
the people of Sierra Leone to ensure a peaceful and credible
conclusion of the electoral process.

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