To Monitor Salone Elections… ICC To Jet In

 

It is now an established custom for international observers from organizations such as the United Nations, the European Union, the Africa Union, ECOWAS and others to monitor the conduct of elections in democratic African countries. The essence of such monitoring is to help ensure that elections are free, fair, transparent and the results credible.

Another reason why international observers monitor elections, is to ensure that they are free from violence. Accordingly, concerned about reports received that some ill-motivated persons would want to perpetuate violence, the International Criminal Court will send a representative to monitor Sierra Leone’s March 7th 2018 elections.

Generally, elections in Sierra Leone since the return to democracy election in 1996 have been tense and characterized here and there by violent clashes between party supporters. In the 1996 election, voters braved the assault of unpatriotic rebels and their allied “sobels” who did not want the election conducted to cast their ballots.

In the 2007 and 2012 elections, violence occurred when supporters of the All Peoples Congress and the Sierra Leone Peoples Party clashed.

In the run-up to the coming election, violence broke out in Freetown when the All Peoples Congress took its presidential candidate and his running mate for nomination, resulting in damage to properties, injuries and two deaths.

Should any such incident occur during the election, the International Criminal Court will be there to collect first hand evidence that will help the court to prosecute anybody involved. Additionally, the Sierra Leone Judiciary has established fast track electoral courts to deal with electoral offenses.

It can be recalled that the recent presidential election in Kenya was marred by violence. In the local council election in Guinea, violence occurred resulting in the death of several people.

An election marked by violence affects the credibility of the results. It also has the tendency to ignite widespread unrest that can lead to the loss of lives and properties. This can greatly dent the image of a country in the eyes of the international community as it can scare away investors and lead to massive capital flight.

Meanwhile, all the presidential candidates and their parties have signed up to the Political Parties Registration Commission’s Elections Code of Conduct – a pact that binds them to ensuring peaceful non-violent elections.