By Amin Kef (Ranger)
In a Joint Statement issued on the 16th May, 2023, by the Presidential Candidates of eight registered Political Parties that will be contesting in the June, 24, 2023 multitier elections, with the names of the parties they represent and their names as such: the People’s Democratic Party (PDP)- Prince Coker ,the Peace & Liberation Party (PLP)-Nabieu Musa Kamara, United National People’s Party (UNPP)-Gabriel Samuka, Citizens Democratic Party (CDP)-Kaday Johnson, Republic National Independent Party-(ReNIP)-Khadija Bangura, Alliance Democratic Party (ADP)-Iye Kakay, Revolutionary United Front Party-SL- (UFP-SL) -Abdulai B Saccoh and the National Democratic Alliance (NDA)-Mariatu S Mansaray it was categorically stated that as nominated Presidential candidates of eight (8) registered Political Parties poised to take part in the June 24th General Elections, they are compelled to talk to the public on the following issues:
That all of them as eight Presidential Candidates representing various registered Political Parties are active members and participants of the ECSL Political Parties Liaison Committee (PPLC) furthering that they do acknowledge that the ECSL PPLC comprises stakeholder representatives of ALL Political Parties that meets every two weeks to discuss matters about and around the June 24th 2023 elections.
The eight Presidential Candidates continued that they also noted that the ECSL -PPLC Stakeholders Engagement has as key participants, Civil Society Organizations, the Sierra Leone Police and the Political Parties Regulation Commission.
Going forward, they also underscored how they have been ardent participants in all ECSL stakeholder’s engagements since the inception of the political process that will lead to the June 24th 2023 elections.
These Presidential aspirants pointed out how they acknowledged that APPA monitored the Biometric Voters’ Registration (BVR) exercise from registration, exhibitions and distribution of ID Cards nationwide; and remained satisfied with the entire process especially those relating to individual Political Parties.
They also said they acknowledged that the PPLC has been instrumental in taking decisions on key ECSL proposals starting from registration to date adding how they also recalled that all Political Parties at the PPLC commended the ECSL for a successful BVR exercise nationwide.
According to the aspiring Presidential contenders, they recalled that at a Particular PPLC meeting on the 30th March, 2023, ECSL did a power-point presentation on the Voter Cards detailing their security features and how it is different from the previous cards stating how of particular importance was the Voter Identification Number (VIN) which remains unprecedented.
They also pointed out that the ECSL-PPLC also noted the poor-quality photos on some voter ID Cards but said no outright condemnation was resolved at to change it or not use it during elections.
The eight Presidential aspirants stated that based on the above observations, they wish to make public that they aligned themselves with other Political Parties and election stakeholders to affirm their commitment to a peaceful, smooth and successful election process.
They also maintained that while they acknowledge that some Voter ID Cards have problems with the photos on them, such problems does not require their outright condemnation that will warrant their rejection and non-participation in the June 24th Elections.
The eight Presidential nominated candidates say they want the public to know that they have dissociated themselves from the Press Release of the All People’s Congress which calls for protest and threatening not to take part in the June 24th 2023 Elections.
They concluded that as Presidential Candidates of their Political Parties, they want to assure their memberships and the Public of their participation in the June 24th Elections making it clear that they will not be part of any planned demonstration or boycott.