According to the country’s Elections Act 2012, upon notification by the Electoral Commission, the President shall announce a date for the conduct of parliamentary, local council and presidential elections.

It could be recalled that the British High Commissioner to Sierra Leone, Lisa Chesney, in a recent engagement with the media noted that, “Free, fair and credible elections are the foundation for democracy and President Julius Maada Bio, according to State House sources, is expected to announce the national elections date within the next three months.

There has been speculation that because of the COVID-19 pandemic, the 2023 elections might be postponed to 2024. In March 2021, the Chief Electoral Commissioner of the National Electoral Commission (NEC), Mohamed Kenewui Konneh laid those speculations to rest when he told the nation that the country’s Electoral Electorate Act states that elections must be held every five years.

This timeframe, he said, is what the Commission which is the sole statutory state institution responsible for organizing and supervising national elections under Section 33 of the 1991 Constitution will work towards. He also disclosed that the Chad done its strategic plans for the next elections.

Reportedly, there is a high level of preparedness for the 2023 elections by the country’s election management bodies including the security sector that maintain that the COVID-19 pandemic has no effect on preparations and that they have made nearly 70 percent progress in meeting 50 indicators.

Meanwhile, parliament has unanimously approved that instead of local council elections be held every four years, they too be held every five years in tandem with parliamentary and presidential elections in order to reduce cost – one of the elections reform recommendations made by the Justice Cowan constitutional review committee that was accepted in the government white paper on the report.

Meanwhile, the European Union 2018 elections follow-up mission to Sierra Leone which visited Sierra Leone sometime last year to conduct a technical assessment of the country’s state of implementation of the 29 recommendations made in the 2018 aimed at enhancing the credibility, inclusivity and transparency of the 2023 elections noted that there was a clear consensus by stakeholders that there should be a fixed date for holding elections.

The mission encouraged NEC to engage with all electoral stakeholders to address the issues of credibility of the election management bodies including NEC and the security forces to guarantee the transparency and integrity of the electoral process.

The government, the mission stated, has a role to play in providing both sufficient and timely funding and also importantly to provide the political space for these institutions to demonstrate their neutrality and independence which are absolutely essential for elections being recognized as credible by citizens and observers.

According to The Exclusive Newspaper, the mission also called for unequivocal respect for the rule of law in election petitions to ensure confidence in the process; in addition to delivery of timely effective resolution of electoral cases, in line with deadlines on the premise that in law, just as in democracy, justice delayed is justice denied.