Former President John Mahama has said there is a reasonable opportunity for Sierra Leone to have a successful election to consolidate its democracy.
The Chair of the Commonwealth Observer Group for the Sierra Leone elections said, he feels the commitment of the ordinary Sierra Leoneans to have a peaceful election.
Speaking to the media in Freetown ahead of Wednesday’s election, he explained how the opportunity to engage the candidates prior to the election has given him a lot of insight.
Sixteen candidates are contesting the presidential elections with 789 candidates contesting for 144 seats in the Sierra Leonean parliament. Elections will also be held for Councilors.
In assessing the candidates, Mr Mahama said he came away with a good impression about where the country is heading democratically and the candidates look very confident about themselves.
Describing his double visit to the country prior to the election as unusual, Mr. Mahama explained: “We met all the stakeholders initially especially the political parties.”
“We involved them in drafting the peace pledge…so, they were part of it and they owned it.”
He added that “we went through clause by clause until we all came to the conclusion that, that is the pledge that we could all sign to.”
So far, eight of the candidates have signed the pledge with the other eight to sign soon.
On his current mission with the Commonwealth Observer Group, he said the earlier visit has given him a deeper understanding having met the stakeholders more than once and knowing the political terrain.
Mr Mahama said the West African country has another opportunity to consolidate its democracy.
“This election involves not only electing a leader but also consolidating the peace,” he said quoting one of the stakeholders.
“It is a critical election and all of us have fingers crossed hoping that Sierra Leoneans rise to the occasion…I think the National Elections Commission is to a large extent ready,” he added.