6 October 2012
As presidential and parliamentary elections draw closer in Sierra Leone, the possibility of violence and electoral conflict, pose a grim and worrying threat, for a nation that has recently come out of a brutal civil war.
The Carter Center in the USA, has announced that it has deployed eight long-term observers to launch an international election observation mission for Sierra Leone’s general election, which is taking place on 17 November 2012.
According to the conflict resolution agency, they have arrived in the country on the invitation of the Sierra Leone National Electoral Commission (NEC).
The Carter Center was founded in 1982 by former U.S. President Jimmy Carter and former First Lady Rosalynn Carter, in partnership with Emory University, to advance peace and health worldwide.
It has helped to improve life for people in more than 70 countries by resolving conflicts; advancing democracy, human rights, and economic opportunity; preventing diseases; improving mental health care; and teaching farmers in developing nations to increase crop production.
As the European Union and other international agencies announce their intention to send election observers to Sierra Leone, this latest move by the Carter Center, must give comfort to millions in the country that are worried about the possibility of serious electoral malpractices and politically motivated violence, taking place in November.
This is what the statement from the carter Center says:
“The Carter Center observers and Freetown-based core team, who represent eight countries, participated in three days of briefings in Freetown before deployment to each of the four regions of Sierra Leone.
“The Center’s observers will meet regularly with representatives of the NEC, political parties, independent candidates, civil society organizations, the international community, and domestic election observers to assess electoral preparations and the pre-electoral environment throughout the country.
“The observers will witness the activities of the election administration, campaigning, and voter education, as well as other issues pertaining to the electoral process in Sierra Leone. The Center will release period public statements on key findings, available at www.cartercenter.org.
“Observers will be joined by a larger short-term delegation in November, led by former President of Zambia Rupiah Banda, to observe the voting, counting, and tabulation processes.
“I welcome this opportunity to lead the Carter Center’s election observation mission, and it is my hope that these elections are credible, peaceful, and reflect the will of the Sierra Leonean people,” said President Banda.
“The Carter Center’s election mission is conducted in accordance with Declaration of Principles for International Election Observation and Code of Conduct that was commemorated at the United Nations in 2005 and has been endorsed by 40 election observation groups.
“The Center assesses the electoral process based on Sierra Leone’s national legal framework and its obligations for democratic elections contained in regional and international agreements.”