November 8, 2021
By Alhaji Haruna Sani
The Civil Society Working Group on Elections and Human Rights has frowned at government and Elections Management Bodies’ (EMBs) response to the EU Election Follow-up Mission report, stating 10 reasons as to why the responses from government, the Judiciary, National Electoral Commission (NEC), Political Parties Registration Commission (PPRC) and the Police regarding the EU’s report were unprecedented and misplaced.
The Consortium stated in their press release issued on 5 November that, “We noted with grave concern the responses from the Government of Sierra Leone, the National Electoral Commission, the Judiciary of Sierra Leone, the Political Parties Registration Commission and the Sierra Leone Police regarding the recent report from the European Union Election Follow-up Mission on Sierra Leone, which was published on October 29 2021, calling out on the election management bodies in Sierra Leone to address issues surrounding public mistrust, selective justice and biasness in the discharge of their functions”.
The civil society consortium on elections and human rights in Sierra Leone, said the response from the government has the proclivity to undermine the good working relationship between Sierra Leone and the European Union and by extension other international donor partners within the global community.
They noted that the EU Elections follow – up Mission report does not contain strange findings and that it only corroborated previous reports and press releases issued out by credible CSO’s like National Elections Watch, LEGAL LINK, Citizens Advocacy Network, and the Renaissance Movement.
The CSOs also mentioned that the EU report was done out of good faith, goodwill and for the betterment of the nation’s body politic, democratic good governance and electioneering process.
The CSOs further stated in their release that EU has been a valued partner in relation to the financing of Sierra Leone’s public elections and that without doubt, the EU is one of Sierra Leone’s long-standing and viable partners in the area of financing democratic elections and ensuring good governance in the country.
“The EU report is balanced and contains good accolades and praises for the government as well on a critical look at the report, one will discover that the report does not only dwell on indictments but also commendations. The EU report meets the threshold of objectivity and fairness; it is disheartening to learn that most of the responses from the Government and election management bodies pertaining to the EU Election Follow-up Mission Report were premised on lack of objectivity and biasness”, the release stated.
According the CSOs, other international ranking reports such as the World Justice Rule of Law Report have also raised serious indictments on the Judiciary of Sierra Leone which resulted in Sierra Leone.
The CSOs nevertheless, stated that accepting the report in good faith and making strong commitment to electoral reforms could have been the most plausible way of responding by the government and election management bodies.
“Therefore, we urge the Government of Sierra Leone and the election management bodies to make amends with the European Union so as to quickly restore the good bilateral relationship that had long existed between Sierra Leone and the European Union”, the CSOs admonished.