From Awareness Times Newspaper in Freetown

Local News
2012 Elections declared a critical test for Sierra Leone
By Sayoh Kamara
Sep 27, 2010, 12:15

Giving the current tension between the ruling All People’s Congress (APC) party and the opposition, Sierra Leone People’s Party (SLPP) as noted by UN Secretary General, Ban Ki Moon in his fifth report to the Security Council on the United Nations Integrated Peace building Office (UNIPSIL) has declared the 2012 elections a critical test to Sierra Leone’s peace and stability, as the country stands the risk of slipping into violence during the elections.

 

In his assessment of the build up to the 2012 elections, Mr. Moon noted his observation of “the potential for violence in the elections” as “high” in which regard he proposed the putting in place of “mitigating measures”. The UN Scribe made this assertion against the backdrop that notwithstanding progress made in the implementation of the Joint Communiqué, “the relationship between APC and SLPP remains strained and marked by deeply rooted mistrust.” Ban Ki Moon therefore described the 2012 elections as “an important milestone in progressing towards the consolidation of democracy in Sierra Leone and a critical test for the country’s electoral institutions, political leadership and political parties.”


Ensuring a free, fair and transparent 2012 elections therefore rest solidly on the shoulders of the National Election Commission (NEC) and the Government of Sierra Leone and its leadership. The UN Headman in this regard expressed hope that the people of Sierra Leone will take primary responsibility for the peaceful conduct and outcome of the elections.

 

He however called on the political parties as major stakeholders, to continue engaging in dialogue to resolve their differences, while urging them to adhere to the code of conduct of the Political Parties Registration Commission (PPRC) and work closely with NEC on arrangements for the 2012 elections.

 

Most important of Ban Ki Moon’s recommendations on the way forward is that which suggests that the government gives priority consideration to accelerating the promotion of national cohesion and reconciliation, which by extension has to do with government addressing of the concerns of the stakeholders regarding the need for equal availability of opportunities to all citizens irrespective of ethnic or political affiliations.



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