Six burning issues CSOs’ want authorities to address before elections

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By Alhaji Haruna Sani

The Civil Society Electoral Inclusion Committee has outlined six burning issues they want authorities to address ahead of the June 24, elections.

What Happened? On March 30, 2023, a consortium of Civil Society Organisations known as the Electoral Inclusion Committee which forms part of the Multi-Stakeholders Elections Steering Committee (ESC) updated the committee during their 7th ECS meeting on burning issues on their minds. The committee met at Bintumani Hotel to review, adopt and discuss matters arising from the minutes of the 6th ECS meeting of 17 February 2023.

What they say? There is political intolerance and electoral injustice: the Civil Society  Electoral Inclusion Committee said they are concerned about political intolerance and electoral injustice. “Despite CARL providing weekly updates on electoral justice and security concerns and extensive media engagements in all 16 districts, there are still growing concerns as the elections draw closer.

. The high threshold of 11.9% for election of MP: 50/50, CARL, IGR and send want political parties to lower the threshold for parliamentary representation from 11.9% to 7%.

 . Placement of women on party lists to ensure 30% women are elected as per law: theCSOswant political parties to ensured women are placed at the top of their party’s list to guarantee the election of 30% of women.

. Increasing citizens’ knowledge of the electoral process and addressing the growing political intolerance ahead of the elections:  according to CSOs Sierra Leone Association of Journalists, Independent, Independent Radio Network and Talking Drum Studio are undertaking education programmee to widen knowledge gap of electioneering processes. “To increase political tolerance, CSOs are working on different campaign across a broad spectrum, but there is a need for more engagement,”.

. acceptance of election results: the CSOs said following a meeting with EBMs and other CSOs shows some great appetite for Civil Society to do some work of acceptance of election results.

And what more? The CSOs also outlined activities they wish to further undertake before, during and after the elections.

One of such they mentioned is the intensification of civic/voter education, election monitoring, observation, reporting and documentation. They also want to monitor the internal democracy of political parties to ensure inclusivity of the political process.

They CSOs express the need to train PWDs on ballot guide, produce and distribute disability-friendly voter education materials.

“We wish the main political parties’ tactile parties including other stakeholders on ADR, mediation and communication and to provide human rights trainings for the security sector. Organize/support parliamentary/Local Council and presidential debates.”

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