International Conference Centre, Bintumani, Thursday 25 May 2023 – His Excellency President Dr Julius Maada Bio has joined other political party flagbearers to sign the Electoral Pledge as the candidate for the ruling Sierra Leone People’s Party, SLPP, and also reiterated his earlier commitment to the peaceful conduct of the June 24 general elections.
The initiative, convened by the Inter-Religious Council and the National Council of Paramount Chiefs and supported by international stakeholders and a coalition of civil society organisations, was part of the established support for electoral dialogue and conflict avoidance provided to member states by the Commonwealth Secretariat through the Secretary-General’s Good Offices for Peace.
The Commonwealth has encouraged similar efforts in the past, most recently in Nigeria ahead of the 2023 elections, helping to support a peaceful electoral process in that country. This pledge in Sierra Leone will build upon these previous successes and utilise some of the lessons learned.
Before the signing proper, which was witnessed by key national and international stakeholders, including the diplomatic community in Sierra Leone, the Commonwealth Secretary-General, Rt Hon Patricia Scotland KC, emphasised the need for political party leaders to publicly commit to upholding peace before, during and after the upcoming elections and to use the judicial system for any electoral disputes.
“Governing takes enormous courage, skill and heart, and I applaud all the candidates who have put themselves forward and all those who sign this election pledge.
“Presidential candidacy comes with a solemn responsibility, because the office of the President is a sacred trust. And this election pledge goes far beyond symbolism. It is a promise each candidate makes before the country and the people they strive to serve: to put the nation first, to work together, prioritise the national interests and the unity of Sierra Leone.”
Chairman of the Political Parties’ Regulation Commission, PPRC, Abdullai Masiambay Bangura Esq, said the document that different leaders of registered political parties had signed was in line with the regulatory framework they had developed for the conduct of all political parties ahead of the June elections.
“As we are here this morning to subscribe our names to that document, it will mean that the PPRC will have a respite for the entire electioneering period. We are now going into the campaign calendar, and so far, there is relative peace. We have been following the campaign trail and it is going well, and substantially, the parties have been well behaved. So, I will continue to encourage both the leadership of the parties and their presidential candidates to continue with that trend,” he urged.
The Electoral Pledge is also being supported by the African Union Commission; as well as a coalition of Civil Society Organisations like National Election Watch, the Eminent Women Peace Mediators Sierra Leone, and others like the National Youth Commission, the Office of the National Security Coordinator, the Sierra Leone Bar Association, the Sierra Leone Association of Journalists and the Sierra Leone Union on Disability.
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