By Emmanuel Oloniruha/Freetown
Former Nigerian President Goodluck Jonathan and three other heads of international election observation missions in Sierra Leone on Monday pledged to remain impartial and ensure that the election complied with the relevant regional protocols and international best practices.
Mr Paul Ejime, spokesman of the ECOWAS Network of Electoral Commissions (ECONEC), on behalf of others, said the missions agreed to continue constructive engagements with the country’s stakeholders and to hold further consultations among themselves before and after the elections.’’
Sierra Leoneans would vote in the country’s presidential, parliamentary and local Council elections on Wednesday.
The meeting of the monitors, coordinated by ECOWAS and the African Union, was held to strategise on effective value addition to the electoral process ahead of the election on Wednesday.
The meeting was attended by Prof Amos Sawyer, Liberia’s former Interim President, for ECOWAS; and Kgalema Motlanthe, the former South African President for AU.
The two other leaders were Ghana’s former President John Dramani Mahama, for the Commonwealth and Nigeria’s former President Goodluck Jonathan, for the Election Institute for Sustainable Democracy in Africa (EISA).
“ After an exchange of information on the work of the observers on ground, the Heads of Missions discussed the level of preparations for the poll.
“They also discussed emerging scenarios, identifiable challenges, especially the and legal issues before the Supreme Court and the way forward.
“They noted that while international observers could render support, the success of the electoral process is the primary responsibility of Sierra Leoneans,” the missions said.
According to the missions, the new ECOWAS Commissioner for Political Affairs, Peace and Security Gen. Francis Behazin had joined the Prof. Sawyer-led ECOWAS Observation Mission as leader of the Commission’s Technical Support Team to the Mission.
NAN reports that the Sierra Leone Telegraph, reported that both Dr Samura Kamara of the ruling All People’s Congress (APC) and Dr Kandeh Yumkella of the National Grand Coalition (NGC) Presidential candidates are facing separate suits against them at the Sierra Leone Supreme Court.
The separate petitions are to determine if they are qualified to contest the presidential election.
The petitioner against Kamara wants the Supreme Court to disqualify him for violation of electoral laws, which states that all public officials wishing to contest the elections must have resigned from their posts at least 90 days prior to the elections.
He is alleged to have been receiving his government salary as foreign minister and had failed to resign his job in accordance with the law.
It is also alleged that Samura has both Sierra Leone and British citizenships, and has failed to renounce his British citizenship before his nomination as the presidential candidate of the ruling APC.
On the other hand, the case against Yumkella, who is also contesting Parliamentary election at the same time, was filed by APC, claiming he is ineligible to contest the constituency election in Kychum, his place of birth, in the Northern district of Kambia.
The Sierra Leone’s National Electoral Commission (NEC) has declared that Yumkella was free to contest the parliamentary election until decided otherwise by the Supreme court.
It was reported that Yumkella’s name is on the ballot papers for both presidential and parliamentary elections.