The Electoral Commission of Sierra Leone (ECSL), is set to commence the drafting of regulations for all pilgrims performing this year’s pilgrimage to the Holy Land of Mecca and subsequent pilgrimages of all faiths that have to go on an expedition this year as the country approaches its general elections.

According to the press release by the Political Parties Registration Commission (PPRC) dated 31st January 2023, the decision was made at a conference summoned by the Honourable Minister of Social Welfare, to inform all political parties that, this year’s Hajj has coincided with the general elections that are to take place on the 24th of June 2023.

The Minister emphasized that the authorities in Mecca have allotted to the country a quota of 1,200 pilgrims, adding that the allotment is likely to be taken by prospective pilgrims.

Therefore, if nothing is put in place, all 1,200 would be pilgrims and could be disenfranchised from performing this year’s pilgrimage. She put forward this anxiety to the ECSL and the Parliament of Sierra Leone.

Both ECSL and the Parliament of Sierra Leone, however, referred the Minister to the Political Parties Registration Commission (PPRC) to discuss with all Political Parties in the country for a better consensus in order not to offend the protocols of ECOWAS.

ECSL’s Director of Operations called the attention of the political parties saying, there is no provision in the constitution that provides for early voting and that if all political parties’ consensus is not met, the only potential redress could be proxy voting. He said the proposed regulations would be tabled in the House of Parliament for approval.

The Political Parties expressed their various concerns over the promulgation and regulations.

They, therefore, recommended that ECSL shoulder the responsibility of drafting the regulations that will supervise pilgrimages of all faiths that may coincide with the June 24th general elections subject to the approval of the House of Parliament.