CCSL Issues Statement on Developments Towards June 2023 Elections
The Council of Churches in Sierra Leone (CCSL) on Wednesday 20 July 2022, stated developments towards the upcoming national Elections of June 2023.
In the statement, CCSL states that
In preparation for this task and positive involvement in the electoral process, the Council of Churches in Sierra Leone has organized over the past six weeks a series of consultative workshops facilitated by experts in the legal and electoral fields. Those workshops involved primarily leaders of the two principal Faiths in the country – Christianity and Islam.
It further states that those participants reviewed Government White Paper on the recommendations of the Justice Cowan Constitutional Review Commission; critically examined the proposed Public Elections Bill and the constitutional provisions about the electoral systems that are operative in our country.
The CCSL statement furthered that Issues were raised and discussed over
The insistence on 4-tier elections on the same day (2) The threshold of 50%+ 1 for the elections of the President
The reference to the proportional representation electoral system.
Council thus feels adequately informed to come out with the statement on the developments towards the 2023 Elections.
The statement also reveals that the Council’s Stance is;
The Council notes that the necessary amendment has been made to the Local Government Act thus making it legally possible to hold Local Government Elections in tandem with Presidential and Parliamentary Elections.
The Council holds that in a country with a high percentage of illiteracy and whose politics is influenced by color rather than political ideology multi-tier elections are viewed as critical and lend themselves to suspicion of encouraging election fraud.
It becomes all the more critical against a background in a country of just over 3 (three) million registered voters being called upon to vote for 17 (seventeen) political parties.
Council is cognizant of the current debates on the electoral systems as contained in our constitution. CCSL regards this as a positive demonstration of the level our country’s democracy has attained.
Council holds the view that whatever electoral system is to be introduced into the electoral process, the people should receive adequate education/sensitization to fully understand the electoral/constitutional provisions governing the system.
The statement also reveals that the Council of Churches in Sierra Leone is following quite keenly
the ongoing debate on the Public Elections Bill.
The Council guided by experts’ opinion calls for scrutiny of the bill so that it may not appear contrary to the 1991 constitution of Sierra Leone.
For instance whilst Council welcomes stipulating a fixed date for elections, Council holds it must sync with the stipulations of the current constitution dealing with the end of a presidential term of office and the going to the polls to fill the vacancy.
CCSL notes that there are a few issues that need to be made clear, not least for the benefit of the populace.
Council believes that the National Identification Number (NIN) is good but it must not be made a condition for voter registration at this point.
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In its conclusion and recommendations CCSL state that As an organization that prides itself as the Voice of the Voiceless and on the successes it has achieved as an Advocacy Group, Council urges that in all of these the interest of the populace must be the priority of all concerned.
Council insists that any faux pas (wrong step) in the whole process will come to haunt us as posterity is always a hard judge of present actions.
If the interest of the people must be in the vanguard then a high premium must be put on civic education and voter sensitization.
Thus Council recommends that in all our moves to Festina Lente (hasten slowly)!
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