According to the Executive Director of Caritas Freetown, Fr. Peter Konteh , that contribution will facilitate the creation of a conducive environment for free, transparent, peaceful, and credible elections.
The European Union in Sierra Leone announced on Monday, February 27, that it had committed several millions of Euros to build the institutional capacity of electoral management bodies and civil society organizations in Sierra Leone ahead of the country’s general elections.
“The EU and its Member States have committed over 7 Million Euros to support transparent, inclusive, credible and peaceful elections in Sierra Leone in 2023,” the EU in Sierra Leone said.
The EU in the country added, “Team Europe supports the project ‘Fostering Peaceful, Credible and Inclusive Elections in Sierra Leone 2022-2023’”.
Fr. Konteh urged Sierra Leoneans to utilize the support given by the EU to elect credible leaders.
The EU support, he said, should give every citizen in the country the opportunity to reflect on their duty and responsibility in the electoral process.
“Our collaboration as a country with the EU should be based on a strong democracy, with free, transparent, peaceful, credible, multi-party, and multi-candidate elections,” he says.
In his response note, the Caritas Freetown Executive Director highlights the need for Sierra Leoneans to exercise their duty to vote.
He says, “Voting is not only a fundamental right but also a responsibility that helps to shape the future of your country. By casting your vote, you are actively participating in the democratic process and making your voice heard.”
“Before the election, it is important to stay informed about the candidates and their platforms,” Fr. Konteh says and adds, “Research the candidates’ backgrounds, qualifications, and track records to determine who you believe is the best fit for the job. Attend campaign events, debates and town hall meetings to hear the candidates’ perspectives on the issues that matter to you.”
The EU’s project, “Fostering Peaceful, Credible and Inclusive Elections in Sierra Leone 2022-2023” is implemented by the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) with contributions from Ireland and from the Union.
The other implementing partner is the ECOWAS (Economic Community of West African States) Regional Programme “Peace and Security Architecture and Operations” with contributions from Germany and from the EU.
The Union has described its support to the Sierra Leonean general elections as “strictly non-partisan and aimed at building the institutional capacity of electoral management bodies and civil society organizations for effective, inclusive, and peaceful electoral operations.”
Meanwhile, Fr. Konteh has called on the people of God in Sierra Leone to observe calm before, during, and after the June 24 elections.
“On election day, make sure you know where your polling station is located and bring any necessary identification documents. Be patient and respectful of other voters and follow all the rules and regulations of the polling station. If you encounter any issues or irregularities, report them to the appropriate authorities,” the Caritas official admonished.
He added, “After the election, accept the results and respect the outcome, even if your preferred candidate did not win.”
The Executive Director concluded by saying: “Remember that democracy depends on the peaceful transfer of power and it is the responsibility of all citizens to support the democratic process and work towards a better future for Sierra Leone.”