Former President Goodluck Jonathan has urged the people of Sierra Leone to be peaceful and participate actively in next Saturday’s presidential run-off, despite the change in the date of the election. Former President Goodluck Jonathan and head of Electoral Institute for Sustainable Democracy in Africa (EISA) Election Observer Mission to Sierra Leone’s general polls on Saturday presided over his mission’s initial briefing and orientation programme in Freetown, ahead of the Wednesday 7 March 2018 polls. Pictures show Dr. Jonathan and some members of his Mission at the briefing session. The second round of the Presidential election which was initially scheduled for Tuesday 27 March was moved to Saturday 31 March following a court injunction that was lifted last Monday.
Speaking in an interview with newsmen in Freetown, the former President who is leading the observation team of the Electoral Institute for Sustainable Democracy in Africa (EISA) encouraged them to come out en masse, like they did during the first ballot three weeks ago to elect the next president of the country. He said: “I call on Sierra Leoneans to come out en masse on Saturday to vote in the presidential run-off, just as they did in the first round.” He advised them not to be discouraged by the court processes that necessitated the change in date, saying: “The court processes should not discourage anybody. It should not be seen from a negative perspective during elections. Democracy is built on the rule of law and it is not out of place to test such laws at any point in time in the democratic process.” The ex-President also made the point that elections, like all processes conducted by human beings, are not always perfect, noting however that very good election should pass the integrity and credibility test. “Elections are conducted among human beings. So you don’t expect a perfect system but every good election should pass the credibility test. The presidential run-off election presents Sierra Leoneans an opportunity to complete the process of electing the next President of the Republic, as the 7th March 2018 election did not produce a clear winner because none of the candidates polled 55% of votes required in article 42 of the constitution of Sierra Leone to win a first round ballot. EISA noted that Sierra Leoneans demonstrated their commitment to deepening and consolidating democracy through their high turnout (84%) and peaceful conduct during the first round of the election. It said in a statement issued last weekend: “It is our hope that the parties and candidates will remain committed to ensuring a peaceful transition in the country.” In the run-off election slated for Saturday 31st March Samura Kamara, the candidate of the party of the outgoing President Ernest Bai Koroma’s, All People’s Congress (APC) will face off against Julius Maada Bio of the Sierra Leone People’s party (SLPP), who lost to Koroma in 2012. Bio clinched 43.3 percent of votes to Kamara’s 42.7 percent in the first round of voting in an election contested by 16 Presidential candidates.
Credit – Vanguard news