All Set For March 7 Elections

 

Along the way, any journey leading to a particular destination goes through different stages. Accordingly, preparations for the coming March 7th 2018 elections started in earnest when last year the National Elections Commission and President Koroma announced the date for the elections. For the 16 political  parties registered with the Political Parties Registration Commission that will take part in it, that was when the journey to March 7th started.

Whilst the marathon course leading to the March 7th finishing line is crowded with many runners and their different party colors, observers note that the main contenders for the grand prize (State House) are the current holder All Peoples Congress fronted by newcomers Dr Samura Kamara and Hon Chericoco spurred on by their indefatigable Chairman and Leader; Sierra Leone Peoples Party led by veteran Retired Brigadier Julius Maada Bio; new entrant National Grand Coalition agilely led by Dr Kandeh Yumkella and Engineer Andrew Keili; Alliance Democratic Party led by Mohamed Kamarainba Mansaray who has proved his resilience and Madam Isata Abdulai Kamara; Coalition for Change led by battle tested former VP Sam Sumana and Citizens Democratic party led by breakaway Alhaji Musa Tarawallie. These are the runners spectators have turned out in their numbers to see.

In their dust are the once highly influential Peoples Democratic Movement for Change which ran a strong race in the 2007 marathon, winning third position; Unity Party led by a woman who says women have been left out of the race for too long; National Democratic Party who are struggling to be known; Peoples Democratic Party led by the vociferous and highly amusing Salone Donald Trump; Revolutionary United Front Party; National Progressive Democratic Party, and the rest. These dust catchers, many people keenly following the race have said, do not pose any threat to the frontrunners as they lack the energy, resources, personnel and popular support needed to win such a very exertive marathon race as that of winning State House and the number of parliamentary seats needed to be in control of the state governance apparatus.

With a more crowded field this time than in 2007 and 2012, and with the stakes much higher this time and the competition between the frontrunner very stiff, given the energy and “magie-gie” brought to it by a rejuvenated SLPP, a very enthusiastic NGC, ADP, C4C and CDP; to make the race more interesting and captivating, midway in the course of the race to State House, all the flag bearers have signed up to hold a presidential debate on February 15th at the Bintumani Hotel that will broadcasted live nationally and worldwide by the AYV broadcasting system. This very welcome political novelty will give voters the length and breadth of the country the opportunity to closely analyze the personality, attributes, manifesto, sincerity and appeal of the different presidential runners before making a choice of which one among them is best suited for the crown.

Meanwhile, it is reassuring for all the presidential runners to be preaching peace and tolerance going into the elections. We hope that this continues and that their supporters will abide to the rules of the game by behaving civilly amongst themselves and towards their opponents so that there will be peaceful, trouble-free, non-violent elections.

In this regard, the major elections stakeholders – NEC, PPRC, “The Force for Good”, RSLAF, ONS owe the nation their highest sense of responsibility, commitment and impartiality in ensuring that the processes leading up to the elections are free from any element of suspicion of biasness or doubt of their integrity that would create the conditions that lead to violence and breakdown of law and order.

In this regard, the media has the all important responsibility of ensuring that it does not in any way through its messages and information to the public create the conditions that will inspire incitement, hate, intolerance, tension, conflict and violence. This done, Sierra Leone can be guaranteed of peaceful elections, the outcome of which will be graciously accepted by one and all across the nation – especially the losers.