In a significant move towards promoting peaceful elections, President Julius Maada Bio of Sierra Leone has joined fellow political party flagbearers in signing the Electoral Pledge.
As the candidate for the ruling Sierra Leone People’s Party (SLPP), President Bio has reaffirmed his commitment to ensuring a peaceful electoral process for the upcoming June 24 general elections.
The Electoral Pledge was initiated by the Inter-Religious Council and the National Council of Paramount Chiefs, with support from international stakeholders and a coalition of civil society organizations. This initiative aligns with the Commonwealth Secretariat’s efforts to foster electoral dialogue and prevent conflicts, drawing from their experience in supporting peaceful electoral processes in countries like Nigeria during the 2023 elections.
Prior to the signing ceremony, which witnessed the presence of key national and international stakeholders, including the diplomatic community in Sierra Leone, Rt Hon Patricia Scotland KC, the Commonwealth Secretary-General, emphasized the importance of political leaders publicly committing to maintaining peace throughout the electoral period.
She encouraged the utilization of the judicial system to address any electoral disputes that may arise.
Secretary-General Scotland expressed her admiration for the candidates who have put themselves forward and commended their dedication to the nation.
She stated, “Presidential candidacy comes with a solemn responsibility because the office of the President is a sacred trust. 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, prioritize national interests, and uphold the unity of Sierra Leone.”
Abdullai Masiambay Bangura Esq, Chairman of the Political Parties’ Regulation Commission (PPRC), affirmed that the signed document adheres to the regulatory framework developed for all political parties participating in the June elections.
He expressed hope that the signing of the pledge would contribute to a peaceful campaign season, as observed thus far, and urged party leaders and presidential candidates to continue promoting a peaceful environment.
The African Union Commission and a coalition of Civil Society Organizations, including National Election Watch, Eminent Women Peace Mediators Sierra Leone, the National Youth Commission, the Office of the National Security Coordinator, the Sierra Leone Bar Association, the Sierra Leone Association of Journalists, and the Sierra Leone Union on Disability, are also lending their support to the Electoral Pledge.
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