The Tripartite Committee, established following Sierra Leone’s disputed 2023 elections, faces scrutiny over its efficacy and transparency.

Formed to review election results, certification processes, observer reports, and the Public Elections Act of 2022, the committee was born out of a communiqué signed between the ruling Sierra Leone People’s Party (SLPP) and the main opposition, All People’s Congress (APC), in October last year after mediation by the international community, including the Commonwealth African Union, and ECOWAS.

The American government provided $1.5 million to support the committee’s operations. However, concerns have been raised about whether these funds are being effectively utilized, given the committee’s perceived lack of progress and transparency.

The APC has been criticized for misleading its supporters. Many within the party, including highly educated individuals, erroneously believe that the committee will recommend a rerun of the June 2023 elections. This is practically impossible, as the committee’s mandate does not include the power to annul elections. Only the Supreme Court holds that authority and the APC missed the opportunity to challenge the election results in court within the stipulated time frame.

The committee’s lack of transparency has also drawn criticism. No media representatives were present during its deliberations. Initially, the Sierra Leone Association of Journalists (SLAJ) was supposed to be part of the committee, but the opposition APC objected, and the ruling SLPP supported this exclusion. Consequently, real-time updates on the committee’s activities have been scarce, leading to public suspicion and a perception that the committee operates in secrecy.

The deliberate exclusion of the media and the lack of transparency has left the public in the dark about the committee’s proceedings. This secrecy undermines the committee’s credibility and raises questions about whether it is truly serving the interests of democracy and transparency in Sierra Leone.

As the Tripartite Committee’s work comes to an end, it must address these concerns to restore public trust. Greater transparency and clear communication of its mandate and progress are essential. Without these changes, the committee risks being seen as a costly and ineffective exercise, failing to contribute meaningfully to Sierra Leone’s democratic process and an ultimate waste of time , energy and resources.