The ECOWAS Observation Mission has advised the Sierra Leone’s National Electoral Commission (NEC) to ensure that the Saturday run-off presidential election was concluded with fairness.
“The Mission urges the National Electoral Commission to approach the concluding phases of the process with fairness, openness and transparency until the proclamation of the results,” the Declaration added.
The Head of Mission, Prof. Amos Sawyer was quoted giving the advice while reading the Mission’s Preliminary Declaration in Freetown on Sunday.
Sawyer , according to a statement made available to News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) on Sunday, expressed satisfaction with the conduct of March 31rescheduled presidential run-off vote despite some challenges.
The challenges according to Sawyer include the “intimidating” presence of security in a particular polling centre in Kenema district and the conflicting number of police officers deployed to one polling centre in Freetown’s Western Area Urban.
“On the whole, the processing of voters and casting of ballots followed acceptable standards and were in accordance with the laws and procedures governing elections in the country,” Sawyer said.
He also noted the “improved management of the voting process and the greater familiarity of the polling agents and voters with the process,.
The head of the mission said that vote counting at the polling places were “conducted transparently and professionally in the presence of the agents of the two presidential candidates and some local and international observers.
He commended the candidates of the All Peoples Congress (APC) and the Sierra Leone Peoples Party (SLPP); Dr Samura Kamara and Brigadier (rtd) Julius Maada Bio, respectively, for their “exemplary conduct,
Sawyer, however, urged them to maintain their statesmanlike posture until the completion of the electoral process.
He called on the two front runners, their political parties and followers to “accept the verdict of the ballot box as will be declared by NEC, as well to refrain from prematurely declaring results of the vote.
ECOWAS had a 65-member Observation mission also headed by Prof. Sawyer, for the first round of voting, and another 45 for the second round, including the Core Team of Long-Term Observers, who stayed behind after the declaration of results of the first round.
Counting and tallying of the ballots are on-going, with political experts indicating that the announcement of the final results could take some days as a result of an agreement between NEC and the two political parties that the results should be announced according to districts