SLPP and APC commit to electoral reforms but no 2023 elections re-run

Sierra Leone Telegraph: 22 June 2024:

Its all over. After months of feeding their supporters with wafer thin promise of a 2023 elections re-run, the leadership of Sierra Leone’s main opposition APC party has finally conceded and accepted real politic – the power of SLPP incumbency.

Since the announcement of the June 2023 elections outcome by the country’s electoral commissioner, declaring the ruling SLPP and its presidential candidate Julius Maada Bio the winners, the opposition APC have spent the last eleven months protesting the results, which international election observers say lacked credibility.

But the dilemma for the APC was its refusal to go to the Supreme Court within the constitutionally stipulated seven days, following the electoral commission’s announcement to challenge the results, claiming it did not have faith in the country’s judiciary.

Instead, the APC has been persistently calling on the electoral commission to publish all polling stations’ disaggregated results for verification, with deafening silence from the electoral commission.

Many are now accusing the international community of hypocrisy and double standards for failing to join the call for all polling station results to be made available to the Elections Tripartite Committee for investigation, as part of its mandate in reviewing all post-war elections held in Sierra Leone, the country’s electoral laws, systems, processes and structures in order to improve the conduct of future elections.

But after eight months of confusion and uncertainty over the working of the Tripartite Committee at a cost of $1.5 million, Sierra Leone was brought to the brink last week, when the opposition APC announced it was pulling out of the Tripartite Committee, with sections of the party’s supporters calling for widespread national protest which could certainly have led to more bloodshed across the country.

Stepped-in African Union and ECOWAS shuttle diplomacy

The international community, commonly described and accepted as the moral guarantors of Sierra Leone’s hard-won peace after ten years of brutal civil war, this week forced all parties to the post-2023 election peace and national cohesion agreement to the table, to resolve their differences.

Receiving the international community, President Bio said: “Today, I received a joint ecowas, AfricanUnion, UN Assessment Mission as a follow up to the Agreement for National Unity signed between the Government of Sierra Leone and the All People’s Congress. I reaffirmed my Government’s commitment to the Agreement and underscored the importance of dialogue as a critical component of governance and peace consolidation. I expressed my sincere appreciation to the Mission’s Co-leads – H.E Leonardo Santos Simão and H.E Fatoumata Jallow-Tambajang – and thanked them for their role as Moral Guarantors to the Agreement.”

This was followed by report that the opposition APC has resumed its participation in the Tripartite Committee process “despite ongoing challenges and a lack of cooperation from the SLPP government and the ECSL” adding that the decision comes “after serious consultations with the ECOWAS and AU mediators who visited the party office. Our contingent will continue to engage in the Tripartite Committee”.

And on Wednesday, 19th June 2024, in the presence of the international community at a summit meeting held in State House, chaired by President Bio, both the government and the APC jointly reaffirmed their commitment to engage in the elections review process until the committee’s report is published.

Writing after the summit, President Bio said on Twitter: “Today, I received a comprehensive update on the remarkable work of the Independent Cross-party Committee on Electoral Systems and Management Bodies Review. I expressed my profound appreciation to the members for the progress made and consented to extend the date for the report submission. I thank the leadership of the All People’s Congress and our moral guarantors for their commitment. I commend the Lead Negotiators, Dr Samura Kamara and Dr David Sengeh and the tripartite chairs. I look forward to the speedy conclusion of the report.”

The two main political negotiators – Samura Kamara and David Sengeh read out the following joint statement on behalf of the government and the APC party during the summit:

Watch the video on the summit:

Be the first to comment

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.


This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.