Sierra Leone Telegraph: 10 August 2022:
The head of the AU-COMESA joint Elections Observer Mission(EOM), former Sierra Leonean President Ernest Bai Koroma, along with Ambassador Marie-Pierre Lloyd, the deputy head of mission, and former President of Burundi, H.E NDAYIZEYE Domitien, were out yesterday observing the opening of polls in Nairobi, Kenya.
As counting gets underway, the three leaders said they were impressed with the turn out in the centres they visited which indicates the voters’ determination to elect their new leaders.
They also noted that the process started generally smoothly and on time, except for few delays and some technical hitches in some places.
Where the delays were substantial, the presiding officers assured that the time lost would be adequately compensated for by accordingly extending the time for the close of polling.
Though voting has gone on generally peacefully so far, there are still calls for the current tranquil atmosphere to be sustained until the end of the entire process.
“Between now and the announcement of the final results is a long time, we therefore urge for this peaceful and orderly atmosphere to be sustained to the credit of all Kenyans,” said former President Koroma.
Kenyans ultimate desired outcome for these elections is a more democratic, more peaceful, more united and more prosperous country. This aspiration could not have been better expressed by the determined Kenyans themselves.
Millions of Kenyans joined the queues as early as 04:30 to cast their votes. One of them, Peter Wairimu said: “Clearly, we are united on why we turned out in such numbers to choose our leaders. We are not asking for too much other than for a magnanimous acceptance of the outcome by all sides”.
According to Amb. Lloyd, it is critical for all the stakeholders to heed the calls for sustained peace and tranquillity in the interest of the region’s economic growth.
“We urge all the stakeholders to heed the people’s call for peace through out – from now through to the announcement of the final certified results, on to the critical transition phase. This is critical for the wellbeing and economic growth of Kenya and the COMESA countries”, urged Ambassador Lloyd.
Today Wednesday, 10th August, former President Koroma chaired the post elections meeting of heads of international elections observer missions. The international missions include the East African Community, the Commonwealth, the European Union (EU), the Carter Centre, the East African Stabdby Force, the International Republican Institute/National Democratic Institute (IRI/NDI), the Intergovernmental Authority on Development (IGAD), Electoral Institute for Sustainable Democracy in Africa Democracy in Africa (EISA), and the Westminster Foundation. Also in attendance was H.E. Hanneh Tete, the United Nations Special Representative of the Secretary-General, (UNSRSG) for the Horn of Africa.
The Mission exchanged reactions and observations from the various teams witnessed on polling day. They agreed that there has been a considerable improvement on the general organisation and management of the polls compared to 2017. The IOMs also commended the discipline, patience and determination of voters and agreed to continue to do everything possible in support of the prevailing peace and tranquil atmosphere. They urged for continued improvement on the Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission’s (IEBC) levels of transparency and communication with the public.
They further called for continued calm while the final stages of the Electoral process are ongoing. The consensus is that the elections are not over yet until the IEBC announces the final results. Overall, the process is a tribute to the determination and patience of the Kenyan people and to professionalism and effectiveness of all the institutions involved in conducting these elections.
While they noted that compared to 2017, the voter turn out in these elections was less, they agreed that these elections will strengthen Kenya’s democracy.
These are Kenyans speaking about the polls yesterday:
This is former President Koroma speaking to the BBC:
For democracy to take root , and flourish, you need a political class that put the interest of the country and it’s people first .A. social , dynamic and ethical way of doing things like transparency and accountability .A none partisan independent judiciary , working with civil organisation ,respect for the rule of law , free speech and press , the right to assemble peacefully and above everything else the whole country and it’s people working together and pulling in one direction for the common good and not tearing themselves apart. Apart from the Moa , Moa uprising during their struggle for Independence in the late 50s and 60s ,the Kenyan 2007 presidential elections is one of the darkest chapters to be recorded in the history of Kenya. An election marred by violence in which more than a thousand people lost their lives and many more made homeless .Unlike Sierra leone , the recently concluded mostly violent free elections shows Kenyans have learnt from their bitter past .
Violence they have concluded breeds violence so what’s the point. And seen as it is ,it’s sets the country’s development goals backwards and worst entrenched dictatorship because the corrupt political classes feel they are under siege .And being one of the leading SADAC economic power houses in East Africa, the legacy of the out going president Uhuru Kenyatta on infracture projects and and transforming Kenya to the digital age is one his distractors will struggle to pin a blame on him. The famous “Handshake ” between him and his once bitter rival Mr Odinga who is now standing again for the presidency shows not only his political maturity , but his actions helped bury the hatch between their adherentd supporters .The closest our country come to experience that political boomerance was when former president Kabbah shook hands with Copral Foday Sankoh in Lome , Togo in their search for peace in our civil war. Political gestures can save lives and can make all the difference whether a country wants to move forward or backwards . Apart from .the shooting of a local opposition driver by one of the local Mps who is now being sought after by Kenya police, this elections were a win ,win for both the electorate and Kenyan democratic experience. Who ever emerged from the fog of political uncertainty,,there is only one winner, Kenyan democracy .They have set a Gold Standard templates for African governments to follow.Elections is about choosing your political leaders that you want to represent your interest in the national assembly. But in some African countries is seen as a life and death situation and unfortunately our country is no exception.And the politicians that like to pull the strings of violence are always hiding behind the shadows .You will be hard pressed to see the son and daughters of the president or your local MP demonstrating in support of their parents in our street .But plenty of brainwashed unemployed youths that are ready to lay their lives for a government that neither cares about their safety and well-being never mind help lift them out of the grinding poverty the same government created for them and their families.
Since the fall of the Berlin wall ,we’ve have seen how elections are conduct peacefully to former Soviet block countries. For all our set backs , Sierra Leone can proudly claimed the mantle as one of the first countries around the world to give the women right to vote .And historically during the 1960s epidemic military take overs from democratically elected civilian governments , Sierra leone was the first African country to set the record of the military taking over power and handing it over to the civilian .But all that is now part of our history.Thanks to Bio our country’s democracy is sliding backwards with no safety nets to catch us and save us from his dictatorship .