Four international election observer missions in Sierra Leone have tasked stakeholders to work towards a peaceful process in the March 7 general elections.
The Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS), the African Union (AU), the United Nations (UN), and the European Union (EU) in a joint statement said they were following closely and with much interest the upcoming vote.
Sierra Leonean voters will vote in presidential, parliamentary and local council elections on Wednesday, March 7; it is the fifth major election since the return to multi-party democracy in 1996.
The statement issued by the four organizations also welcomed the efforts made by the National Electoral Commission for the preparation of the polls and also welcomed the deployment of short- and long-term national and international observer missions.
“We also welcome the commitment expressed by Sierra Leonean stakeholders for the holding of democratic, transparent and credible polls, in line with national and international frameworks”, the statement said.
They, however, expressed concerns over the recent incidents of election-related violence and called on all political parties and their leaders to exercise restraint, desist from inflammatory statements, and urge their supporters to refrain from violence.
“We urge civil society, as well as the media to be aware of their important roles, and call upon the Judiciary and security services to fulfill their responsibilities with professionalism and impartiality”, the statement indicated
“We reiterate that ensuring a level playing field for all political actors should be a priority for all institutions and individuals concerned in enabling inclusive, peaceful and credible elections”, it added
The elections come after a series of successful elections recently held in West Africa. ECOWAS, the AU, the UN and the EU expressed confidence in the capacity of national actors to successfully conclude the electoral process, as a milestone towards nurturing and deepening democratic and participatory governance and maintain this successful trend in the region.