19th February 2018
ECOWAS Pre-Election Fact Finder Arrives as EU Election Observers Jet in Sierra Leone
By Abu Shaw in London (11/02/18)
The recent APC government violence has ignited ECOWAS to send a pre-election fact finder as the March 7, 2018 general elections draw closer.
Sierra Leoneans in and outside the country and the international community, inlcuding the European Union and the Economic Community of West African States ECOWAS, were appalled following the shocking news of APC government's violent nomination rally last month that cost the life of one innocent APC supporter and many injuries in Sierra Leone. (Photo: EU Election Observers in Sierra Leone).
No surprise that ECOWAS has appointed an envoy in the person of Mrs. Charlotte Osei, the Chairperson of the Electoral Commission and leader of its Pre-Election Fact-Finding Mission to Sierra Leone. Her mission is to get first hand information on APC's pre-electoral violence and to observe the entire electoral atmosphere in Sierra Leone.
Reports say Mrs. Osei's credibility on the continent was positively noticeable after she supervised Ghana’s 2016 presidential and parliamentary elections to the admiration of all Ghanaians and the international community.
Mrs Osei, a Ghanaian, also served as president of the Association of African Electoral Authorities AAEA and was subsequently elected as the Chairperson of the Executive Committee of AAEA. It is now on record that the 2016 elections in Ghana elections was one of the most free and fair elections in the world in recent times.
In the aftermath of the bloody violence in Sierra Leone perpetuated by the jittery ruling APC government of president Ernest Bai Koroma, ECOWAS thought it wise to intervene now to calm the fluid situation as Sierra Leone prepares for the much unpredictable elections ever in the county.
ECOWAS knows that no one is better equiped to handle the fragile political climate in Sierra Leone more than Mrs Osei who was also awarded the EC Chair of the 2017 Woman of Courage Award by the US government.
Meanwhile, Election Observers of the European Union Elections Observation Mission in Sierra Leone (SL EOMSL) have been deployed in all the 16 districts in the country. The EU deployment started on Wednesday February 7, 2018.
Reports have also confirmed that the EU Election Observers will be joined by 40 short-term observers and a delegation of Members of the European Parliament to observe on elections day on 7 March.
There are 16 presidential candidates who will be vying for the presidency come March 7. But the APC government is scared to bits of only one candidate in the person of Dr. Kandeh Kolleh Yumkella, the leader of the newly formed National Grand Coalition NGC party.
Currently, the APC government is pursuing a petition at the Supreme Court against the candidacy of Dr. Yumkella on his dual citizenship status. And observers believe, there are signs of violence in the air if the Supreme Court disenfranchises the NGC leader in favour of the ruling APC government.