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Sierra Leone is ready to conduct free, fair and peaceful elections, Chinese envoy avers

February 13, 2018 By Hassan Gbassay Koroma

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Chinese Ambassador to Sierra Leone, Wu Peng, has stated that he was confident that Sierra Leoneans have the capacity and wisdom to conduct free, fair and credible election on March 7.

“Next month Sierra Leone will hold its general election and I am confident that the Sierra Leone people have the capacity and wisdom to conduct a free, fair and credible election,” H.E. Wu Peng said.

The ambassador made the statement on Friday, 9th February, at the Bintumani Hotel in Freetown, during a dinner to celebrate the Chinese New Year of Dog.

He told the gathering it was great joy to celebrate the Chinese Spring Festival, also known as the Chinese Lunar New year, and that according to Chinese Zodiac 2018 is the Chinese Year of Dog, which he said the Chinese believe that anyone born in this year would be communicative, serious and responsible in the workplace.

He explained that usually the Spring Festival was the time to review the past year and to make wishes for the New Year, stating that 2017 was an outstanding and impressive year for Chinese people as they witnessed the 19th National Congress of the Communist Party of China (CPC) which marked a new era in socialism.

Ambassador Peng said the Chinese diplomacy to foster a new type of international relations and to build a community with a shared future for mankind and China’s commitment to working with other countries for a bright future was fully demonstrated.

The Ambassador said in 2017, the GDP growth rate of China reached 6.9% and that the country contributed approximately 1/3 of the global economic growth and would continue to play the role as an indispensable booster of the world’s economy.

He said China has made great effort to steer globalisation in the right direction and that on several occasions, from Davos to Geneva, Hamburg to Da Nang, President Xi Jinping has presented to the world China’s vision of greater balance in economic globalisation and of a community with a shared future for mankind.

He said the China/Sierra Leone friendship and cooperation has made great progress in the past years, adding that to implement the outcomes of meetings between the two heads of states, a number of important cooperation projects have been launched while the strategy partnership of comprehensive cooperation of the two friendly counties have been promoted to a new height.

He reiterated that China’s support to Sierra Leone’s peace and development would never change as the resolve of China to pursue unity and win-win cooperation with Sierra Leone would remain intact.

He furthered that 2018 marks the 40th anniversary of China’s reform and opening up policy, stating that in November this year China would hold the 1st China International Import Expo (CIIE) in Shanghai.

According to the Chinese envoy, it was a significant move by the Chinese government to give firm support to trade liberalisation and economic globalisation that would actively open the Chinese market to the world.

He said they sincerely welcome Sierra Leone government officials and business communities to participate in the Expo and explore the Chinese market, thus noting that more goods made in Sierra Leone would be exported to China.

He said that this September, a new forum on China-Africa Cooperation (FOCAC) Summit would be held in Beijing and the Chinese and African leaders would draw a new blueprint of cooperative development and open a new era of win-win cooperation.

Also speaking was Minister of State in the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Intentional Cooperation, Dr. Mohamed Gibril Sesay, who re-echoed that the year of the ‘dog’ was the year of communication and hard work.

He said this year was a year of great communication in Sierra Leone as the people of the country would be communicating again on March 7 through the ballot box.

Dr. Sesay said Sierra Leoneans would be communicating to tell the world who should succeed President Ernest Bai Koroma.

He said the government was committed to ensuring peaceful communication on March 7 because they were aware that without peace, the work place of governance would be very challenging.

He assured that they would condemn any act of violence during the elections, including intimidation of presidential candidates’ convoys, destruction of political posters, intimidation on the social media and lies, and incitement to violence, among others.

He said they have also asked all political parties seeking to commit themselves to the laws and memoranda designed to ensure peaceful, free and fair elections, thus stating that the security of the people was sacrosanct to them as a government.

He said the gathering at Bintumani was to celebrate friendship and fruitful communication with the Chinese people, adding that both countries have very fruitful activities and that just last week the government of Sierra Leone signed an agreement with the people of China on the construction of a new airport at Mamamah.

He commended Chinese companies’ involvement in the development of the country, adding that government was committed to pushing forward a new model of development of financing infrastructure.

He made an allusion to the toll road, which he said was a private public sector investment between the government and a Chinese company.

He averred that China’s growth has been good for the world and that such has led to the growth of many other economies across the world.