By Emmanuel Oloniruha
The West African Elders’ Forum (WAEF) has deployed a pre-election fact-finding mission led by former President Olusegun Obasanjo to Sierra Leone, ahead of the country’s general elections schedule for June 2023.
This is contained in a statement by Wealth Ominabo, Communications Officer, Goodluck Jonathan Foundation (GJF), the host of WAEF, issued in Abuja on Wednesday.
Ominabo said that the fact-finding mission also had former President Goodluck Jonathan and former Vice President of The Gambia, Fatoumata Tambajang, as members.
He said that the team would be interfacing with major political leaders and other key stakeholders in Sierra Leone, to deepen the confidence and trust of the citizens in the electoral process.
“The two-day mission in support of inclusive and peaceful general elections is billed to begin on today (Wednesday)
“Members of the missions will hold consultations with the country’s political actors and stakeholders, including the civil society, Diplomatic Corps, Electoral Management Bodies and Agencies.
“This is in a bid to ascertain the level of preparedness towards conducting free, fair and credible elections,’’ he said.
Ominabo said that the mission to Sierra Leone was in line with the forum’s objective of promoting preventive diplomacy as a means of reducing electoral-related tension and violence in Africa.
He said that the forum was founded in 2020 to promote peace, democracy and good governance.
The communication officer said I had carried out preventive diplomacy missions to many countries including Gambia and Nigeria.
“Beyond its engagements in Sierra Leone, WAEF is scheduled to carry out a similar mission to Liberia, two nations that hold general elections in 2023,” Ominabo said.
He said that after Nigeria’s Feb. 25, Presidential and National Assembly elections, WAEF deployed a team of former Presidents to hold consultations with some of the presidential candidates and other key stakeholders in the country.
He said that the team was talking to the stakeholders on message of peace in to ensure that there was no post-election violence in the country.
Sierra Leone’s 2023 elections will be the country’s sixth democratic election and the fifth since the end of the civil war in 2002.(NAN)