Sierra Leone’s peace commission fails to demand publication of all election results to promote peace

Sierra Leone Telegraph: 29 August 2023:

A key reason for institutional failures in Sierra Leone is the shameful reluctance of their leadership to tell successive presidents the truth, even if it means the heads of those institutions may lose their job. The unlawful sacking of the country’s Auditor General – Mrs Lara Taylor-Pearce by President Bio, is a shameful reminder of what power hungry presidents like President Bio can do to those running public institutions, if they refuse to tell the president what he wants to hear.

The international community, opposition parties and elections observers are calling on the country’s Electoral Commission (ECSL) to show transparency and prove the integrity of the June 24th 2023 election results, by publishing all disaggregated polling station results.

But a leaked copy of the Independent Commission for Peace and National Cohesion’s (CPNC)  post-elections report submitted to President Bio yesterday Monday 28th August 2023, shows that the CPNC has omitted from its  recommendations, call for the ECSL to immediately publish all disaggregated results, so as to end the political crisis that has engulfed the West African nation since the announcement of what the opposition refer to as “rigged elections”.

Chairman of the ICPNC, Rev. Shodankeh Johnson, said that the commission had a free hand in conducting its review of the elections to ensure that the country continues to enjoy peace and national cohesion.

“The Commission has worked frantically as a team with political parties before, during, and after the June elections, including all Elections Management Bodies toward making sure that Sierra Leone stands out to be remembered as a peaceful nation among others.

“This government has given us as a nation a platform to ensure internal issues are resolved with commitment from all political parties, including the opposition,” Reverend Johnson told the President.

“We had meetings with the All People’s Congress (APC). The meeting was very friendly. The atmosphere was very healthy, and we could deliberate on issues openly and honestly for all of us as a nation to move forward.

“His Excellency, with all those engagements, we were able to put together our reports, capturing issues discussed and commitments made by all the political parties moving forward as a nation,” he confirmed.

Receiving the report, President Bio expressed delight, saying: “I am happy to receive the report. I will read it through and respond to it accordingly,” describing the commission as “a body of respectable Sierra Leoneans that could handle peace and national cohesion issues” and “a platform for resolving grievances, especially when as a nation we have chosen democracy.”

But what is clear is that the ICPNC has missed an opportunity to make itself relevant, in helping to bring this serious national political crisis that could lead to instability and chaos in Sierra Leone to an end. Instead, the leadership of the ICPNC has chosen to tell the President what he wants to hear.

The ICPNC report which many fear will never be made public, can only serve to undermine the country’s peace and cohesion.

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