November 9, 2016 By Emmanuel Okyne (Intern)
Special Representative of the Secretary – General for West Africa and the Sahel, Mohamed Ibn Chambas, has yesterday noted that the United Nations would want to see the conduct of an exemplary election in Sierra Leone come 2018.
The United Nations diplomat made the above call at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs’ conference room after a three – day visit to Sierra Leone.
Chambas said the purpose of his visit was to consult on the level of preparedness and the challenges to the electoral process and how the United Nations could accompany the people of Sierra Leone at that important juncture in the country’s democratic journey.
He said during his visit, he held consultations with the National Electoral Commission, the institution that is charged with the responsibility to conduct the upcoming elections.
The special representative to the Secretary General further disclosed that he met with members of the Diplomatic Corps and had discussions with political parties and the civil society.
He echoed the confidence of the Secretary – General of the United Nations in the Sierra Leone democratic system and its capacity to organise peaceful, credible and participatory elections.
‘’ It is significant to note that Sierra Leone‘s 2018 elections will come at the end of series of eight recent successful elections in West Africa,” he said
Chambas recalled that in 2012, the people of Sierra Leone managed the elections, which he said were widely praised as peaceful, transparent and credible , adding that he was of the firm conviction that Sierra Leone would build on that achievement and maintain a conducive environment , ensuring a level playing field for transparent , peaceful and credible polls in 2018.
‘’ In this vein, it will be important to scale up preparation for the polls and not to be distracted from the need to meet constitutionally required timelines,” he urged
He further appealed to the security sector to undertake their responsibilities in securing the electoral process, as well as protecting political activities and leaders with professionalism and impartiality .
Chambas urged civil Society, the private sector and the media to be aware of their important roles and responsibilities, and encouraged youth and women to participate actively in the process.
Minister of Foreign Affairs, Dr. Samura Kamara, welcomed the UN diplomat, stating that such a visit would help strengthen the challenges the country was facing after the Ebola scourge.
He said such a visit was very timely as the country was moving towards a transition phase of the 2018 general elections.
Official Government Spokesman, Abudulai Bayrayteh said government remained humble, adding that despite the plea of the special representative , they were committed to do more and that they would abide by the election protocols in 2018.