Nigeria’s outgoing Vice President, Yemi Osinbajo, has been appointed to lead the Commonwealth election observers group for the Sierra Leone general elections.
The general elections in Sierra Leone are scheduled for 24 June.
Mr Osinbajo was appointed by the Commonwealth Secretary-General, Patricia Scotland, who expressed her gratitude to the outgoing vice president.
Ms Scotland expressed her confidence that Mr Osinbajo will lead the team well based on his understanding of the challenges across West Africa.
“I am grateful to His Excellency Prof. Yemi Osinbajo for accepting my invitation to undertake this important area of our work in deepening democracy across our Commonwealth – despite his busy schedule and overseeing a seamless transition of his government,” she was quoted as saying.
Mr Osinbajo will lead an expert team of politicians, legal, media, gender and election administration professionals from across the Commonwealth to carry out the task.
“I’m highly honoured by the unique opportunity to continue to bring my expertise and experience in contributing to deepening democracy, especially in Africa, and the Commonwealth by extension,” Mr Osinbajo said.
Mandate of the Commonwealth Observer Group
Upon arriving in Sierra Leone, the mandate of the Commonwealth Observer Group will be to observe the electoral process and provide an independent assessment of whether the election has been conducted in a credible manner. The group will then report on the conduct of the elections in accordance with the standards to which Sierra Leone has committed itself, including its own laws.
In line with Commonwealth methodology, the group will consider, among other things, whether conditions exist for credible and inclusive elections, including a fair election environment; whether public media has been impartial; the transparency of the entire process; and whether voters are free to express their will.
Upon completion of its assignment, the group will submit its recommendations in a report to the Commonwealth Secretary-General, who will subsequently share it with the Government of Sierra Leone, the Electoral Commission, political parties and all Commonwealth governments.
Sierra Leone Elections
The 24 June elections will see Sierra Leone elect a new president or re-elect its incumbent, Julius Bio, who is one of the two major contenders for the West African country’s topmost position.
The other contender is Samura Kamara who was the runner-up in the 2018 presidential elections. He came second behind Mr Bio in that election.
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Both candidates have been approved by the Electoral Commission of Sierra Leone (ECSL).
While Mr Bio is of the ruling Sierra Leone People’s Party (SLPP), Mr Kamara is of the All People’s Congress (APC).
Mr Bio will be running after a first term marred by economic hardship and rampant inflation in a country still recovering from the 2014 Ebola outbreak before the coronavirus pandemic hit.
Mr Kamara served as central bank governor, finance minister and foreign affairs minister between 2008 and 2018.
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