Bio & Samura Kamara Symbolically Pledge Commitment to Peaceful Elections

By Amin Kef (Ranger)

It was indeed an emotionally electrifying moment at the Bintumani International Conference Centre, on the 25th May, 2023 as key national and international stakeholders, including the diplomatic community in Sierra Leone, the Commonwealth Secretary-General, Rt Hon Patricia Scotland KC witnessed the signing of the Electoral Pledge by the two main Presidential Flagbearers, SLPP’s Julius Maada Bio and APC’s Samura Kamara who also made commitments to the peaceful conduct of the June 24 General Elections.

Organized by the Inter-Religious Council and the National Council of Paramount Chiefs and supported by international stakeholders and a coalition of Civil Society Organisations, signing of the Electoral Pledge was part of the established support for electoral dialogue and conflict avoidance provided to member states by the Commonwealth Secretariat through the Secretary-General’s Good Offices for Peace.

Encouraging such an effort in the past, the Commonwealth is helping to support a peaceful electoral process in the country and it is believed the pledge will build upon previous successes and utilize some of the lessons learned.

Before the signing proper, the Commonwealth Secretary-General, Rt Hon Patricia Scotland KC, emphasized the need for political party leaders to publicly commit to upholding peace before, during and after the upcoming elections and to use the judicial system for any electoral disputes.

She said: “Governing takes enormous courage, skill and heart, and I applaud all the candidates who have put themselves forward and all those who sign this election pledge.

“Presidential candidacy comes with a solemn responsibility, because the office of the President is a sacred trust. And this election pledge goes far beyond symbolism. It is a promise each candidate makes before the country and the people they strive to serve: to put the nation first, to work together, prioritize the national interests and the unity of Sierra Leone.”

After the signing of the pledge, Dr Samura Kamara is quoted to have said: “Grateful to have pledged to a free, fair, and accountable election alongside my fellow presidential candidates. Thank you to the Commonwealth Secretary General and her team, as well as our development partners, for attending and supporting this important event. Let’s work together towards a brighter future for all.”

President Bio also expressed a similar commitment.

Chairman of the Political Parties’ Regulation Commission (PPRC), Abdullai Masiambay Bangura Esq, said the document that different leaders of registered political parties had signed was in line with the regulatory framework they had developed for the conduct of all political parties ahead of the June elections.

“As we are here this morning to subscribe our names to that document, it will mean that the PPRC will have a respite for the entire electioneering period. We are now going into the campaign calendar, and so far, there is relative peace. We have been following the campaign trail and it is going well, and substantially, the parties have been well behaved. So, I will continue to encourage both the leadership of the parties and their presidential candidates to continue with that trend,” he urged.

The climax of the occasion was when the two main political contenders, Bio and Samura shook hands , exchanged words and openly committing themselves and their parties to a peaceful conduct of the elections.

In another development, the Secretariat of the main opposition APC party has called on supporters to remain calm after a recent court case filed against the party’s leader at the Supreme Court.

The party acknowledged that they received the originating notice of motion filed by counsels representing former Sports Minister, Paul Kamara and former Deputy Ambassador to the United States, Reverend Alimamy Coleson Turay.

“The action relates to interpretation, construction and determination of three questions pursuant to provisions of the 1991 Constitution of Sierra Leone,” the Party’s Secretariat wrote.

The party intimated to its supporters that they will be represented by their legal team and have already instructed them to also represent their Presidential Candidate, Dr. Samura Kamara who is also one of the respondents in the matter.

“We have been instructed by the APC legal team that they have entered an appearance and also filed an application for the matter to be struck out for various legal reasons,” the Secretariat noted.

The main opposition also asked their supporters to be calm while affirming that the Supreme Court matter does not constitute a petition to the nomination of Dr. Samura Kamara as Presidential Candidate under the Public Elections Act 2022.

“Our Presidential Candidate is still qualified to contest the forthcoming June 24th Presidential Elections,” the party affirmed.

Meanwhile, the APC urged the Electoral Commission for Sierra Leone to publish the name of their candidate in the final list of Presidential Candidates.


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