By Amin Kef (Ranger)
With the financial and technical support of the European Union and Germany, the ECSL has the 11th May, 2023 launched a comprehensive nation-wide sensitization campaign on the Proportional Representation System (PR System) with the aim to inform and to engage electoral stakeholders on all aspects of the newly-introduced PR system which was recently passed into law and will be utilized for the forthcoming parliamentary and local council elections.
Strategic engagements and town hall meetings are been held simultaneously across the 16 districts of
Sierra Leone. The stakeholders in attendance include political parties, independent candidates, Members of Parliament, representatives of Paramount Chiefs, the media, Civil Society Organizations (CSOs), including Inter Religious Council, domestic observers coalitions, Student Unions, Bike Riders’ Associations, representatives of Persons Living with Disability (PWDs).
The sensitization workshop for Western Area Urban, was chaired Zainab Moseray, ECSL Commissioner for Western Region, and graced by the participation of representatives of the two funding agencies: the European Union (EU) and Germany.
In her opening remarks, Commissioner Zainab Moseray stated that, “…the ECSL remains committed in ensuring that electoral stakeholders are sensitized not only on the PR System but in all related electoral processes for the forthcoming general elections’’.
Speaking at the event, the European Union Governance Adviser, Ms. Serena Bertaina, congratulated the ECSL for such a comprehensive and timely engagement which she said “is testimony of the ECSL commitment towards transparency and citizens’ outreach” and underscored that “the EU remains committed to supporting Sierra Leone’s efforts to conduct credible, inclusive and peaceful multi-party elections and achieve sustainable development.’’
Mr. Behrens, Head of Cooperation at the German Embassy in Freetown reiterated the full commitment of the German Government in its support to peaceful, inclusive, participatory elections, facilitated by the ECSL with the eminent support of the local stakeholders and networks.
It is vital to ensure a better understanding of the new electoral process, that, if properly applied, “could promote women’s political inclusion in Sierra Leone and advance gender equality in the political space”
The initiative is implemented by the Electoral Commission of Sierra Leone with the support of the ECOWAS Peace and Security Architecture and Operations (EPSAO) Project which is co-funded by the European Union (EU) and the German Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ) and implemented by the Deutsche Gesellschaftfür Internationale Zusammenarbeit (GIZ) GmbH.
The EPSAO Project supports the ECOWAS Commission in its mandate to address regional peace and security threats through strengthening of capacities in four crucial policy areas including: Peace Support Operations, Conflict Prevention, Security Sector Reform and Governance (SSRG) as well as in Electoral Affairs. The EPSAO Projects seeks to address the root causes and to promote collective action and joint regional strategies by ECOWAS Member States to curb conflict and insecurity, including rebellions, violent extremism, communal violence, the spread of illicit small arms and light weapons, piracy, land-use conflicts, and election-related violence.