The Ambassador of Sierra Leone to America, Sidique Abou-Bakarr Wai on Wednesday 25th January 2023, engaged the United States National Democratic Alliance in the United States of America at 455 Massachusetts Avenue.

The engagement is geared toward the preparedness of president Bio to conduct a free and fair election in June 2023.

Ambassador Wai assures the team at NDI of President Bio’s commitment to peace and tranquility in Sierra Leone leading to a free and feared election and said this current administration of President Bio believes in upholding the principles of democracy, rule of law, transparency, and accountability.

He said President Bio is determined to enhance good governance making references to the constitutional reforms he has undertaken since he was elected president in 2018.

He cited examples ranging from setting up the peace commission, expunging of the seditious libel law from the 1965 Public Order Act, and the recent Gender Empowerment Law.

He further reiterated the government’s commitment to funding the 2023 elections and implore partners to support the government for the upcoming elections.

He said the government pronounced the election date a year ago to ensure free and fair elections so that opposition party members would prepare themselves for the election.

He cited President Bio’s score scorecard the Millennium Challenge Corporation (MCC) and Transparency International on human rights, the fight against corruption, the independence of the judiciary, and the government’s adherence to the rule of law and accountability.

His Excellency Abou- Bakaar Wai informed NDI that the government has given a free hand to the Election Commission of Sierra Leone (ECSL) and that they have undertaken voter registration, verified voters, and voter identification cards would be distributed at the end of February.

Government is open to work working interested partners, especially the European Union, the British and the United States government to ensuriensurea free, fair and democratic election is conducted”, he said and appealed to election observers to make sure that remote communities are covered during the elections.

In his response to Ambassador Wai’s submission, Dr. Christopher Fomunyoh, Senior Associate for Africa at the United States NDI assured Ambassador Wai of their institutions’ commitment to supporting the government of Sierra Leone and that the USAID has an eye on Sierra Leone.

He advanced that every country matter on individual bases, noting that it would be very prudent to engage Sierra Leone citizens in the diaspora and that the United States government is interested to hear from both sides of the political divide. He also said the NDI would want to host such conversations on Sieina Leone with the diaspora.

After the last 2018 election that was conducted peacefully, I was surprised by what led to the August 10 insurrection in Sierra Leone. NDI never expected violence in Sierra Leone. We at NDI want to know the outcome of the investigations set up by the government. What was hidden behind the outburst is of interest to us. One would be worried especially when electithe on would have to bring out a huge number of people,” he stated.

Dr. Fomunyoh further mentioned the introduction of the Proportional Representation that has been contested by the opposition in court, irrespective of the fist fighting in the well of the Sierra Leone Parliament. The outcome of the court case would be very fundamental for the security of the people of Sierra Leone, and the conduct of a free and fair election, Dr. Fomunyoh concluded.

According to Caltlin Ersking, Program Manager at USA National Democratic Institute, there is funding to engage women and youths in political debates before elections. She said NDI is anticipating an identical debate before the 2023 election, reflecting on the 2018 Presidential Debate that the current President Brigadier Rtd Julius Bio participated in.

Courtney Creek Program Director for Anglophone Africa said United States NDI is hoping for an increment of women elected to political offices, and that there is funding for the work of the PPRC in Sierra Leone.

Ambassador Wai reminded NDI of the fact that opposition elements are paying their vigilantes to promote violence in the country, and that was why the president had to set up a Commission to investigate the August 10 violence in the country. He concluded that NDI is the bastonbastionpe for the democratization process in Sierra Leone. Ambassador Wai was accompanied to NDI by Abdul Deensie, Congressional Liaison, and the Information Attache’ at the Embassy of Sierra Leone, Washington, DC.