Sierra Leone Political Crisis: ECOWAS, AU, UN, Succeed in Crucial Joint Mission

Samura Kamara of the opposition APC, left, and President Julius Maada Bio of ruling SLPP

Abubakar Hashim/ Sierra Leone

A joint mission of ECOWAS, AU and UN office for West Africa and the Sahel UNOWAS, has finally succeeded, today, to bring back opposition APC to the tripartite peace table.

The three organisations are in the country sequel to the agreement for national unity, signed by the SLPP led government and the opposition APC on 18 October 2023.

The mission is co-led by HE Leonard Santos Simao, Special Representative of the Secretary General and Head of UN office for West Africa and Sahel UNOWA, HE Fatoumata  Jallow-Tambajang, former VP of The Gambia.

A tripartite committee was earlier set up, comprising the international mediator, SLPP government and opposition APC, charged with implementing the signed national unity accord.

However, the APC, in a statement on 14 June, 2024, withdrew participation, stating that the government “ refused the committee access to the “disaggregated results “ announced by ECSL.

In all my coverage of elections results, never has the electoral management body announced disaggregated results.

I recall, with nostalgia, in 2007, then chief electoral manager, Christiana Thorpe, refused my request for a complete disaggregated breakdown of results. In her characteristic way, she replied I should check the then NEC website. I did. What I found was a complete incoherent, with arithmetical errors, that was only limited to the district levels. The same errors in 2012.

In 2018, under a new chief electoral manager, N’fa Alie, the same error persisted. There were no disaggregated results.

It is then illogical for the APC to now ask for something not in a country’s electoral law and history, except it is factored as new law, or a disaggregation of all previous election results, resulting in chaos, anarchy, thereby retarding economic development the country desperately needs at the moment.

The APC withdrawal from the talks resulted in paralysis of businesses today in the capital city

With APC, today, now back in participating in the peace talks, brokered by the international community, it is hoped a lasting solution is at sight.

* Abubakar Hashim is TheNEWS West Africa Bureau Chief, based in Sierra Leone