The West African Elders’ Forum fact-finding mission to Sierra Leone ahead of the country’s general election in June would be led by former President Olusegun Obasanjo.
The WAEF team, which also has former President Dr Goodluck Jonathan and former Vice President of The Gambia, Fatoumata Tambajang, would be interfacing with major political leaders and other key stakeholders in the country as a way of enhancing the confidence of Sierra Leoneans in the electoral process.
The two-day mission in support of inclusive and peaceful general election began on Wednesday.
Members of the missions are expected to hold consultations with the country’s political actors and stakeholders, civil society groups and the diplomatic corps, the electoral management bodies and agencies in a bid to ascertain the level of preparedness towards conducting free, fair and credible elections.
A statement from the Goodluck Jonathan Foundation signed by its Communication Officer, West Ominabo, noted 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.”
WAEF was founded in 2020 to promote peace, democracy and good governance and has in a short period of time carried out preventive diplomacy missions to many countries, including The Gambia and Nigeria. Beyond its engagements in Sierra Leone, WAEF is also scheduled to carry out a similar mission to Liberia later this year.
It would be recalled that after the 2023 general elections in Nigeria, WAEF deployed a team of former Presidents to hold consultations with some of the presidential candidates and other key stakeholders on the imperative of peace and non-violent approach to managing the outcome of the elections.
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.