• June 20, 2023

On Arrival… Commonwealth Hits Ground Running

On Arrival…  Commonwealth Hits Ground Running
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“It is a privilege to be here one again in Freetown…I am home. Today, I am here not only as a neighbour and fellow African, but also as a fellow Commonwealth citizen, standing for the precious values we all share which are peace, democracy, the Rule of Law and good governance…”  were the introductory words of the Chair of the Commonwealth Observer Group to the multi-tier elections in Sierra Leone, disclosed His Excellency Prof. Yemi Osinbajo.

The Former Vice President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria counted it an esteem honour for him to Chair the Commonwealth Observer Group to witness the multi-tier elections slated for Saturday 24th June this year.

Speaking on the composition of the Observer Group, HE. Prof Osinbajo said a twenty-one-man group constituted by the Commonwealth Secretary-General, the Rt. Hon. Patricia Scotland KC, was as a result of an invitation from the Electoral Commission, for Sierra Leone to observe the elections.

He continued, the members are drawn from across the entire Commonwealth representing a wealth of experience, and include expert in law, politics, election administration, Human Rights, the media and Civil Society Organization.

He added that the Observer Group will focus on transparency of the entire process, weather voters are free to express their will, and weather the counting and result process is transparent.

We will also pay attention to whether the elections has been conducted in accordance with the standards to which Sierra Leone has committed itself, including it national law,  and regional and international commitments, he emphasized.

In the conduct of their duties, he assured the media that they will be guided by the principles of neutrality, impartiality, objectivity and independence.

Prof. Osinbajo assured that “As we are here in our individual capacities as responsible and experience Commonwealth citizens, our assessment will be our own, and not that of any member government.”

He disclosed that Observer Group will be meeting the ECSL, government representatives, political parties, the security sector, CSOs, citizens, international observer groups, diplomats and the media.

He told media, CSOs and other observer groups will commence deployment of observers in small teams across the country on the 22nd June.

“The Commonwealth Observer Group has no executive role, its function is not to interfere with, but to observe the process as a whole and make recommendations accordingly” he emphasized, adding that they will observe the pre-election environment, polling day activities and post-elections, fair election environment and weather public media has been impartial.

With regards transparency of the entire process, he said the group will be examine whether voters are free to express their will, weather the counting and result process is transparent, he justified.

Former Vice President Osibanjo said the Commonwealth will produce a preliminary report on June 26th before their departure from the shores of Sierra Leone.

“The eyes of more than 2.5 billion people of the Commonwealth- of which more than 60% of whom are young people under the age of 30 will be upon Sierra Leone, watching in solidarity and in hope,” he told the media.

Read the full press statement in page 6.


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