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Sierra Leone’s President Julius Maada Bio Receives 2023 Combined Annual and Elections Report from ECSL, Reiterates No Elections till 2028

State House, Freetown, Tuesday 11 June 2024 – His Excellency President Dr Julius Maada Bio today received the combined 2023 Annual and Elections Reports from the Chief Electoral Commissioner and Chairman of the Electoral Commission for Sierra Leone, ECSL, Mohamed Konneh, reiterating his earlier public statements that, as per law, there will be no presidential elections till 2028.

The Commissioner noted that the reports had provided a comprehensive review of the critical electoral processes that contributed to the peaceful, free, fair, and inclusive participation in the 2023 presidential elections, including parliamentary, paramount chief members of parliament, mayor and chairperson, councillors and village head elections.

Mr. Konneh stated that the presentation was a constitutional requirement for the ECSL, adding that the reports delved into the implementation of the 2020–2024 strategic plan and the recommendations from the 2018 Election Observation Mission. He said during the period under review, the Commission prioritised the implementation of 167 key activities outlined in the plan, of which 108 had been fully implemented, 25 had been partially implemented, 26 were being implemented and 8 were yet to be implemented.

“The government of Sierra Leone has made history by financing over 90 per cent of the national elections for the first time. The Commission is grateful to the government for fulfilling its constitutional responsibilities by establishing the National Elections Sustainability Trust Fund. This fund has streamlined the process by providing substantial funding to the Commission without bureaucratic bottlenecks. The 2023 multi-tier elections met international and national best practices and standards, positively impacting female participation in elected positions.”

He said due to their significant achievement, the country could serve as a model in the sub-region, especially in the electoral inclusion process, noting that the peaceful conduct of the elections and the timely announcement of election results had set a new milestone for the 2023 elections.

In his remarks, President Bio thanked the Chief Electoral Commissioner and all the commissioners for a job well done in the conduct of the 2023 multi-tier elections. He described their task as difficult but confirmed that voters appreciated them very well for conducting what he called “Saful elections.”

He noted that no election in the world had been conducted successfully without questions, stressing that notwithstanding that, for democratic nations like Sierra Leone to survive amidst the global financial crisis, his government decided to finance the country’s elections for the first time even when they had just come out of COVID-19 crisis.

President Julius Maada Bio also noted that democracy was all about trust in the rule of law and respect for national institutions and those serving in those institutions. He recalled that when he first contested elections in the country, they were still counting when the then chief electoral commissioner announced the results of the presidential election.

He remembered going to court to seek redress over his dissatisfaction with the result but later acknowledged that, because of his love for the country and respect for the court decision, he had to accept the results all in the name of democracy.

He reminded the occasion of how he had midwifed democracy in the country because he cherished it and revealed how he would do whatever it took to maintain it. He called on citizens to be law-abiding. He confirmed that “there will be no more presidential elections in this country until 2028. This is a fact, and I am calling on politicians and all citizens to stop misleading our people and focus on keeping ourselves as Sierra Leoneans now focusing on Feed Salone”.

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