Sierra Leone Telegraph: 7 February 2018
Sierra Leoneans are getting ready to go the polls on March 7th. But there are fears and anxieties of political violence disrupting the elections. Many believe that the ruling APC will do whatever it takes to hold on to office, including voter intimidation and violence.
Both the National Electoral Commission (NEC) and the Political Parties Registration Commission (PPRC) are working hard to put measures in place to ensure that the elections are free of violence and fair.
Today the PPRC met with the newly formed Eminent Persons Group (EPG), which has been established to help diffuse potential electoral violence and conflicts, as well as tackle and resolve violent confrontations before, during and after polling.
This is what the PPRC said today after its induction meeting with members of the EPG: “It has pleased the Chairman Hon Justice Patrick O. Hamilton and Commissioners of the Political Parties Registration Commission (PPRC) to inform the public that the Commission on Wednesday 7th February 2018 inducted the Eminent Persons Group (EPG).
“The objective for the establishment of the EPG is to provide preventive action support to the PPRC with regards engaging top political leaders and other key actors to ensure a peaceful and violence-free election and to mediate high-level conflicts as requested by the Commission.
“The Induction of the EPG members was done by the Chairman of the Political Parties Registration Commission (PPRC) Hon. Justice Patrick O. Hamilton.
“The five members of the EPG are; The Very Rev. Cannon Emerson Thomas, Dean of the Cathedral of Freetown; Sheik Ibrahim Kolleya Kamara, Public Relations Officer United Council of Imams; Mrs Olayinka Laggah, Commissioner National Children’s Commission; Haja Marie Bob Kandeh, President Market Women Association and Kelvin Xander Lewis, President of the Sierra Leone Association of Journalists (SLAJ). All five have been involved in peace-making process in the past serving in various capacities and the Commission is confident that they will acquit themselves well.
“The EPG members also took the oath of confidentiality after being addressed by the Country Director of the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) Dr. Samuel Doe and given their charge by Ms Elizabeth Lwanga an eminent woman serving in a number of countries in Africa and former UN Resident Representative in Sierra Leone.
“The two days induction programme was facilitated by Ms. Busi Ncube, PPRC Mediation Advisor and Ms. Elizabeth Lwanga.”