The political lens is zooming in on Sierra Leone as the country will hold its next presidential and parliamentary elections scheduled for June 24th 2023.
The political atmosphere is heating up as the two leading parties, the ruling Sierra Leone Peoples Party (SLPP) and the main opposition All Peoples Congress Party (APC) are poised to winning this year’s presidential and parliamentary elections.
The incumbent administration, the Sierra Leone Peoples Party, has nominated President Bio to run for the next election, whereas the All People’s Congress nominated Dr. Samura Kamara as their flagbearer.
On that note, we at Concord Times want to know why up till now the two giant parties; APC and SLPP are yet to make their manifestos public.
Inasmuch as we at Concord Times are of the view that, year in year out, the content of the two major political parties’ manifestos will seemingly remain the same, there is need for the public to know what packages the political parties have for them going forward, to enable the public make informed decision.
We believe that citizens are starved of actual messages from the two major political parties and we view that as a disservice to the public because elections are just around the corner and people shouldn’t be ambushed with messages that they will not be abled to digest in a speed.
While President Bio is campaigning on the platform of fulfilling his 2018 manifesto promises,Samura Kamara of the APC is busy hitting at the ruling government with messages of the current economic hard-hit and no clear message as to how he could handle the situation, if elected into office come June 24.
In April this year, the Institute of Governance Reforms, IGR, together with the Review Committee of the Citizen’s Manifesto Steering Committee, launched the Assessment Report on the Citizen’s Manifesto in order to develop citizen’s capacities as decision- makers in selecting the type of leader they wish to elect and to make political leadership more responsible through persistent dialogues between citizens and political leaders.
According to IGR’S Executive Director, Andrew Lavalie, the idea of Citizens’ Manifesto is to place citizens at the forefront of shaping a democratic and accountable political system in Sierra Leone, adding that the initiative is a collaborative action of several established civil society agencies, media outlets, formal and informal institutions’ that are dedicated to improving good governance in Sierra Leone.
The importance of political manifesto cannot be underrated as it is the prerequisite for development. As the political drama unfolds, civil society organisations (CSOs) have been busy traversing the length and breadth of the country, running advocacy campaign to educate young people about the power of their vote, as well as conducting needs assessment when a new government is inaugurated in June 24th 2023.
For a country that is ranked at the bottom of the human development index, the “Citizens’ Manifesto” is useful because it gives direction to aid development and reduces prospects for conflict at a time when political parties are preparing their campaigns. We believe that this year’s manifestos are yet to be publicized largely because politicians do not have anything new they might want to include in it and their guilty consciences for not living up to their manifestos continuously haunt them.”
Concord Times therefore believes that the Citizens’ Manifesto attempts to address institutional challenges within the country’s political setup by presenting an opportunity for political parties to embrace reforms.
The manifesto pushes for reforms that “disarm the tools for violent mobilization as we count down. As the elections loom, ordinary people remain eager to see whether the Citizens’ Manifesto will be adopted and its recommendations taken seriously, regardless of the fact that our two giant parties, APC and SLPP are yet to make public their political manifestos.