Presidential Run-off: Jonathan Tasks Sierra Leoneans on Peace, Active Participation

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Former President Goodluck Jonathan has urged the people of Sierra Leone to be peaceful and participate actively in next Saturday’s presidential run-off, despite the change in the date of the election.

The second round of the presidential election which was initially scheduled for March 27 was moved to March 31.

following a court injunction that was lifted last Monday.

Speaking in an interview with newsmen in Freetown, the former president who is leading the observation team of the Electoral Institute for Sustainable Democracy in Africa (EISA) encouraged them to come out en masse, like they did during the first ballot three weeks ago to elect the next president of the country.

He said: “I call on Sierra Leoneans to come out en masse on Saturday

to vote in the presidential run-off, just as they did in the first round.”

He advised them not to be discouraged by the court processes that necessitated the change in date, saying: “The court processes should not discourage anybody. It should not be seen from a negative perspective during elections. Democracy is built on the rule of law

and it is not out of place to test such laws at any point in time in the democratic process.”

The ex-president also made the point that elections, like all processes conducted by human beings, are not always perfect, noting however that very good election should pass the integrity and credibility test. “Elections are conducted among human beings. So you don’t expect a perfect system but every good election should pass the credibility test.

The presidential run-off election presents Sierra Leoneans an opportunity to complete the process of electing the next president of the republic, as the March 7, 2018 election did not produce a clear

winner because none of the candidates polled 55 per cent of votes required in article 42 of the constitution of Sierra Leone to win a first round ballot.

EISA noted that Sierra Leoneans demonstrated their commitment to deepening and consolidating democracy through their high turnout (84 per cent)

and peaceful conduct during the first round of the election.

It said in a statement issued last weekend: “It is our hope that the parties and candidates will remain committed to ensuring a peaceful transition in the country.”

In the run-off election slated for Saturday, March 31, Samura Kamara, the candidate of the party of the outgoing President Ernest Bai Koroma’s All People’s Congress (APC) will face off against Julius Maada Bio of the Sierra Leone People’s party (SLPP), who lost to Koroma in 2012.

Bio clinched 43.3 per cent of votes to Kamara’s 42.7 per cent in the first round of voting in an election contested by 16 presidential candidates.