Freetown, Sierra Leone, 22nd March 2018
PRESIDENT KOROMA PLEDGES PEACEFUL TRANSITION IN SIERRA LEONE
Sierra Leone’s President Ernest Bai Koroma received the new President of the ECOWAS Commission Jean-Claude Brou at the State House on Thursday and reiterated his commitment to peaceful transfer of power through a credible election.
“I want to retire and leave a country that is peaceful and united,” said the Sierra Leonean leader, who has completed the constitutionally allowed two mandates of five years each.
He is expected to hand over to the winner of the March 27 presidential run-off vote between the candidates of his ruling All People’s Congress (APC) and the main opposition Sierra Leone People’s Party (SLPP).
President Koroma noted that the inconclusive March 7 general elections were generally peaceful, except for minor hitches, alleged malpractices and the demand by the two political parties for an audit of the electoral system.
He promised to meet with the presidential flag bearers and leaders of the two political parties and also to make a national broadcast to help douse tension and concerns over hate speech as well as tribal and ethno-regional sentiments, which followed the announcement of first round poll results and characterised campaigns ahead of the run-off election.
“Election is not a matter of life and death or winning at all cost.” he said, adding that at the end of the process, “only one winner will emerge and we have to respect the will of the people and live with the result.”
Noting that Sierra Leone had gone through “several traumas (civil war, Ebola pandemic and mudslides disaster), but also shown resilience,” the President thanked ECOWAS and the international community for their continued support to the country during its time of need.
He congratulated the ECOWAS Commission President, who assumed office on 1st March, on his appointment along with other members of his management team, expressing the hope that the Commission would record greater achievements during his tenure.
Earlier, President Brou, who was accompanied by the ECOWAS Commissioner for Political Affairs, Peace and Security, Gen. Francis Behanzin, and the Director of Political Affairs Dr Remi Ajibewa, commended President Koroma for his exemplary leadership which ensured the stability of the country over the past 10 years.
He reaffirmed ECOWAS’ commitment to continued support and to accompany Sierra Leone on the path for national development, and consolidation of stability and democracy.