As accusations and counter accusations are made by the All People’s Congress (APC) and Sierra Leone People’s Party (SLPP) about election malpractices during the presidential run-off, the African Union (AU) has called on both contenders to accept the final outcome of the results.
Dr Victor Tonchi, head of the 13-man delegation, says the AU Mission assesses the integrity of the elections in Sierra Leone, and after considering the historical and political context of the country in general, and the peculiarities of the presidential run-off, the mission notes that the elections in Sierra Leone were fair, credible, and transparent.
The head of the delegation maintains that, “it gives the AU observer mission great satisfaction that it has been a historic election in consolidating peace and democracy in Sierra Leone”.
Dr Tonchi adds that both the initial 11 August 2007 presidential and parliamentary elections as well as the presidential run-off reflect several important milestones, including institutionalism of the relevant election related laws, the establishment and strengthening of an independent National Electoral Commission (NEC) and a streamlined and verifiable voters’ registration process.
Tonchi states that the election has been conducted in a calm, orderly and professional manner, notwithstanding some challenges that were observed on election day.
He points out that the mission observed the enthusiasm that the second round of the presidential elections trigged among the various political parties’ actors and the people of Sierra Leone at large.
The AU mission, he echoes, observed the professionalism demonstrated by NEC polling staff during the run-off election, adding that despite some few isolated inconsistencies, the NEC staff were efficient and rigorous, in following the opening, closing and counting procedures devised by the NEC.
Dr Victor Tonchi states further that the mission observed the presence of the police at all the polling centres visited. In some cases, the police was assisted by the military police.
He congratulates the people of Sierra Leone and all stakeholders involved in the electoral process to consolidate peace and democracy in the country after the devastating civil war.