March 1, 2018
Eight out of sixteen political parties’ leaders that would participate in the March 7th elections have committed to upholding peace during and after the elections.
The main opposition Sierra Leone Peoples Party (SLPP),National Reconciliatory Party (NURP), United Democratic Movement(UDM), Unity Party(UP), National Grand Coalition(NGC), Coalition for Change(C4C) and the United National Peoples Party (UNPP) made the commitment yesterday at the Radisson Blu Mammy Yoko Hotel in Freetown during a peace confab pioneered by the Political Parties Registration Commission(PPRC) and United Nations Development Programme(UNDP).
The political party leaders agreed to re-enforce understanding, strengthen confidence in the 2018 electoral process and commit to sustaining the peace before, during and after elections.
“We the presidential candidates and our respective political parties, in deference call on the people of Sierra Leone to exercise their vote in a peaceful, non-violent, free and secure environment. That we shall individually, collectively and actively promote tolerance and restraint as we approach polling day and urge our supporters to do the same. That we shall in our respective political parties condemn any act of violence and intimidation by our supporters before, during and after polling day,” they declared.
They also pledged not to direct any of their supporters to commit acts of intimidation.
“That we commit to respecting the will of the people and to accept the result of the election and furtherto graciously concede defeat, provided the elections are transparent, free and fair. That in the case of victory, we shall endeavour to adopt an inclusive approach in governing, such that, none of our citizens shall feel marginalised on the basis of political allegiance.”
They also agreed that in the event of just cause to reject the result of the election, they shall use due process to register their complaints and resort to peaceful and legal means to redress their grievances.
They further agreed that they shall continue to uphold all the commitment in the code of conduct of political parties, candidates and supporters by the PPRC,and that they shall themselves be mutually accountable as peers alongside their party leaders for demonstrating leadership and guidance in the campaign against electoral violence ,impunity and injustice.
The political party leaders expressed gratitude to PPRC as well to their colleague flagbearers and leaders of political parties for the open and cordial manner with which the high level dialogue was conducted.
Meanwhile, the chief mediator, former President of Ghana, John Dramane Mahama, yesterday told political party leaders and other stakeholders in Freetown that the March 7th elections would be critical to the country’s democracy.
President John Mahama was invited by the Political Parties Registration Commission and United Nations Development Programme to engage political party leaders on the need to maintain peace during and after the March 7th Elections.
Speaking yesterday at the peace confab at the Radison Blu Hotel, Mahama noted that the assurance of the gathering was one that indicates determination to move to a path of democratic consolidation and ensure that violence or conflict was not an option for resolving differences.
“Since my arrival, we have together held series of meetings with political stakeholders including the outgoing President, civil society organisations, security chiefs, the National Electoral Commission and diplomatic corp. In all of the engagement, there is light at the end of the tunnel – that is transparent, free, fair and credible elections.”
Chairman of the Political Parties Registration Commission, Justice Patrick Hamilton, noted that the day was a significant milestone in the democratic process in Sierra Leone when candidates would make public their commitment to peace on the theme: ‘Peace in my hands, Sierra Leone above all else.’
“It is the desire of the commission that the March 7 election is peaceful, free, fair and credible. We invited John Mahama because of his unique story in Ghana recently. He lost while seeking re-election, so he is a highly statesman and which all of the candidates hold in high esteem,” said Justice Hamilton.