Civil Society Organisations, political parties and citizens have been calling on the National Electoral Commission (NEC) to ensure the 2018 election date is announced as soon as possible.
Amnesty International – Sierra Leone, said there are human rights implications if election date is not announced at the expected time. Solomon Sogbandi is the Executive Director (ED) of Amnesty in Sierra Leone. He said, “There are people in the civil service who want to contest during the election and they need the one year time time frame to resign their jobs. If the date is not announced, it will mean their right to vote and be voted for would have been tampered on”.
The ED said, “Failure to announce the date will also raise suspicion in the minds of the citizens and that might increase the possibility that the election may not hold in February 2018. That will create uneasiness among the citizens. We appeal to the President for them not to delay the process”.
Mohamed Kamarainba Mansaray, Chairman and Leader of the Alliance Democratic Party said his Party members will stage peaceful demonstration to NEC on February 23rd if the date is not announced.
Executive Director Sogbandi said, “It is the right of the people to embark on peaceful protests.
Sogbandi said, “When you look at the Public Order Act, the Inspector General of Police should be informed. However, the government should not allow situation to degenerate into any protest”.
The Chairman of the NEC, N’fa Alie Conteh, has recently said that consultations with the President are ongoing and the election date will be announced as soon as possible. He said the Commission will certainly take into consideration the civil servants and ensure that they are fairly treated.
President Koroma said he will adhere to the country’s Constitution and ensure that the date is announced in line with the Constitution.
By Edna Smalle
Friday February 10, 2017