The African Union (AU) has called on Sierra Leone and African countries scheduled to hold elections during the first half of 2023 to ensure that the elections are peaceful, inclusive, transparent, democratic and credible.

The call was made by the AU’s Peace and Security Council in a statement issued on Friday 27 January, 2023, following its recent meeting that focused onelections that were conducted in Africa from July to December 2022 and an outlook for 2023.

Sierra Leone being a nation that has got bitter history of election violence and other related crimes is one of the countries scheduled to organize elections during the first half of 2023. Benin, Djibouti, Nigeria, Mauritania, Guinea-Bissau and Liberia are other countries in Africa also holding their elections in 2023.

Stressing on the silencing the guns in Sierra Leone and Africa at large, the council encouraged the countries to sustain their effort in order to ensure that their planned elections are peaceful, inclusive, transparent, democratic and credible.

They continued that, the need to further strengthen the institutional capacity of judicial systems across the continent toward effectively addressing all electoral disputes; and promote platforms for dialogue, consensus building and amicable settlement of election-related disputes among political actors is key and must be effectively practice without prejudice.

In terms of election financing, they also called on all AU member states to continue to redouble their efforts in mobilizing domestic financial resources for their election processes with a view to insulating the elections from unintended consequences of depending on external sources of election financing.

As campaign calendar is set to be utilised by political parties, Sierra Leoneans are expecting them and their supporters to preach messages of peace and nation building.