It is true that without people’s participation, democracy cannot deliver to it potential. And the fact that Sierra Leoneans participated in the past November polls in high numbers demonstrate their commitment to the democratic dispensation of their beloved country.
Eleven years after the brutal civil conflict, about 2.6 million registered voters, out of approximately 6 million Sierra Leoneans, voted in the November elections amidst fears that the build-up to the elections would culminate in incidence of violence.
But alas! Sierra Leoneans proved to the rest of the world that they are fully committed to democracy; irrespective of all odds. Whilst thanking His Excellency the President, Dr. Ernest Bai Koroma for organizing democratic elections under his watch, President Yoyi Boni, who doubles as current chairman of the African Union, says that the winners in Sierra Leone’s election are the people of Sierra Leone.
The United Nations Secretary General Ban Ki-Moon, on his part commended Sierra Leoneans for “the high voter turnout and the remarkable calm displayed by the country’s citizens as they cast their votes” which he said were a “clear manifestation of their desire for peace, democracy and development.”
The UK Foreign Office Minister, Mark Simmonds also added some icing to the cake by commending Sierra Leoneans for their commitment to international standards and the efficient running of the elections. The UK Foreign Office Minister assured that. “I look forward to continuing our work with President Koroma and his government in support of progress, sustainable economic development and lasting peace in Sierra Leone.”
Other world leaders and organizations including President Barack Obama of the United States of America, President Jacob Zuma of South Africa, the Secretary-General of the Saudi- based Organization of Islamic Cooperation (OIC), H.E Ekmeleddin Ihsanoglu, the European Union, AU, ECOWAS, etc. congratulated Sierra Leoneans for the high voter turnout and described the polls as “peaceful and exemplary” compared to past elections monitored in Sierra Leone.
We should therefore be proud of these commendations as our show of strength and commitment to democracy which we have fought for collectively over the years. The recent political maturity exhibited by Sierra Leoneans is a clear manifestation of their political will to commit themselves to international standards.
It is about time we shrugged aside partisan differences and consider ourselves as one nation working towards a common goal of national development. After all, Sierra Leone is the only country on the planet we call our home, it’s the only one we have until thy kingdom come. National development is the collective responsibility of all Sierra Leoneans; irrespective of political affiliations. That explains exactly why it is incumbent upon all Sierra Leoneans to contribute to national development.
By AIhaji Jalloh, Information Attaché, Saudi Arabia
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