The Association Rondine Cittadella Della Pace Alumni International Peace Lab and the University of Makeni are embarking on an initiative for democratic and peaceful elections in Sierra Leone. The initiative is directed towards the promotion of democratic and peaceful election before, during and after the March 2018 elections.
Recently a training of trainers on the promotion of democratic and peaceful election in 2018 elections in Sierra Leone was conducted. The training brought together participants from all regions of the country for a period of one month. In turn the trainers will train about 360 people from all sectors of society on the peaceful conduct and monitoring of the elections.
According to the 2015 Census Report the present population of Sierra Leone is 7 million. Statistics from the National electoral Commission indicated that only 3.5 million people are eligible to vote and be voted for during the 2018 general elections.
Training facilitators were drawn from all sectors of society including the Vice Chancellor of UNIMAK Professor Joseph Turay , the registrar of UNIMAK Reverend Dr. Fr. Francis Sehdu Sesay, the secretary of the Inter Religious Council of Sierra Leone Reverend Moses Kanu and the Association Rondine Cittadella Della Pace International Peace Lab Alumni Jessica Hallak
The Association Rondine Cittadella Della Pace Alumni International Peace Lab facilitator Jessica Hallak concluded the training. She was impressed with the level of commitment exhibited by the participants. “Attending all the sessions of this training for the four weeks period means a lot. It means you are committed in promoting good governance in Sierra Leone.” She explained.
At the end of the training of trainers the 12 participants expressed satisfaction over the level of training received during the one month period. Antony Newman Levey is a participants residing in the southern capital Bo. He said travelling to Makeni every week from Bo to attend the training was significant. He like most of the participants believed that the training built their capacity to monitor and report the electoral process before, during and after the 2018 elections. A resident of Freetown Margaret Dauda also narrated that she now knows the different electoral management bodies and their role in the 2018 elections. “It is not only about monitoring the elections, it is about understanding the functions of the EMBs” she said.
The first elections after the one party rule in the country were held in 1996.With the end of the civil war in 2002 the first peaceful democratic elections in Sierra Leone were held. The country returned to normalcy. In 2004 the first local council elections were held and 19 local councils across the country were established. The country’s democratic credentials grew when the 2007 and 2012 elections were peacefully conducted respectfully.
The University of Makeni Director of Human Resource Veronica Kamara explained that based on the previous and current elections, it is evident that there is lack of awareness for voters regarding the election process. First, there is a lack of “knowhow” on monitoring of elections from state and non state democratic institutions and there is limited awareness raising on how to register and how to vote. “Rondine and the University of Makeni want to bridge this gap and foster a free flow of information during the electoral process” she noted.