The Commonwealth Secretary-General, the Rt Hon Patricia Scotland, KC, will attend an Electoral Pledge signing ceremony on Thursday, 25th May, at the Bintumani International Conference Centre in Freetown, Sierra Leone, ahead of next month’s general elections.

Convened by the Inter-Religious Council and the National Council of Paramount Chiefs, the Electoral Pledge is supported by international stakeholders and a coalition of civil society organisations.

Thursday’s ceremony serves as a platform for presidential candidates and the political parties of Sierra Leone to publicly commit to upholding peace before, during and after the upcoming elections and to use the judicial system for any electoral disputes. The pledge will reinforce existing national efforts towards peaceful election processes, national cohesion, and a stable political environment within the country.

Ahead of the event, the Commonwealth Secretary-General, the Rt Hon Patricia Scotland KC, said:

“Governing takes enormous courage, skill and heart, and I applaud all the candidates who have put themselves forward and all those who sign this election pledge.

“Presidential candidacy comes with a solemn responsibility, because the office of the President is a sacred trust. And this election pledge goes far beyond symbolism.

“It is a promise each candidate makes before the country and the people they strive to serve: to put the nation first, to work together, prioritise the national interests and the unity of Sierra Leone.”

The initiative will be witnessed by key national and international stakeholders, including the diplomatic community in Sierra Leone. The Commonwealth Secretariat, the United Nations, ECOWAS and the African Union (AU) have been asked to support the political parties in their commitment to peace.

The initiative is part of the established support for electoral dialogue and conflict avoidance provided to member states by the Commonwealth Secretariat through the Secretary-General’s Good Offices for Peace. The Commonwealth has encouraged similar efforts in the past, most recently in Nigeria ahead of the 2023 elections, helping to support a peaceful electoral process in that country. This pledge in Sierra Leone will build upon these previous successes and utilise some of the lessons learned.

The Electoral Pledge has been convened by the Inter-Religious Council and the National Council of Paramount Chiefs and is being supported by the Commonwealth

Secretariat and the African Union Commission; as well as a coalition of Civil Society Organizations (National Election Watch); the Eminent Women Peace Mediators Sierra Leone; the National Youth Commission; the Office of the National Security Coordinator; the Political Party Regulatory Commission; the Sierra Leone Bar Association; the Sierra Leone Association of Journalists and the Sierra Leone Union on Disability.