Having conducted two successful elections in one year, Christiana Thorpe has carved a niche for herself as one of Africa’s most respected elections chiefs, but says things still need to be perfected. As Saidu Bah reports, she is however not sure whether she is interested in being in the job in 2012.
The chief electoral commissioner, Christiana Thorpe says her commission is “preparing a level playing field” for the 2012 election and make the elections even better. Speaking to Awoko, she said they were putting all modalities in place to ensure they embark on extensive voter education for future elections in the country.
She said her contract with the commission would end in 2010 but would not say whether she was interested in its renewal.
On good governance and democracy, Dr Thorpe said democracy makes leaders accountable to the people as it compels them to implement their campaign promises. “If not the people have the right to remove them through the ballot box”, she says.
She said Sierra Leoneans spoke through the ballot box during the presidential and parliamentary election last year and the more recent Local Government election to elect people their leaders.
The NEC boss noted that the elections laid a foundation for democratic principles to prevail in the country, which she said gave the people an opportunity to participate in a process to elect those running the affairs of the state in a transparent, peaceful and credible manner.
“It is the responsibility of winners in an election,” she said, “to undertake development projects at their various constituencies and wards that will benefit the people for nation-building and also to ensure that they are accountable to the people.”
On the issue of voter apathy, which characterized the recent local council elections, Thorpe said different reasons make people not take part in an election. Regardless of the reasons that recorded a 38% turnout in July’s voting, she said the elections had come and gone and it was time for winners to develop their communities.