Sierra Leone’s President, Julius Maada Bio has received delegations from the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) and the African Union (AU) who are on a research trip to assess the country’s readiness for the June 24 multi-level elections.

The head of the delegation, Ambassador Commissioner Dr. Abdel-Fatau Musah, thanked the President for the reception and said that their visit is in line with the two main protocols of the regional economic bloc, Ecowas and the African Union.

โ€œThe ECOWAS Additional Protocol on Democracy and Good Governance and the African Charter on Democracy, Elections and Governance oblige these two bodies to provide necessary assistance to member states ahead of the elections,โ€ he said.

Dr. Musah added that the team will also include various political parties, civil society groups, traditional leaders and other parties that participated in the election process.

After the visit, we will prepare our report for the information of the president of the African Union, who will help if necessary,” he concluded.

In his brief response, President Bio welcomed the group and told its members that he once led the process to democratic governance after 30 years of authoritarian rule, adding that he was also happy to lead the country to another democratic election.

He cited his government’s efforts to remove anti-democratic laws and barriers, including sections of the 1965 Public Order Act that criminalized free speech and the abolition of the death penalty, which political opponents had previously feared.

Thus, I expanded the democratic space. I also call on the election steering committee, which also includes our international partners, to discuss the rules and agree on them in time. That way we can go to the elections with a clear mind, “I expanded the democratic space,” he said.