BY: Mohamed Jalloh
Joe Biden, the president of the United States of America (USA) has pledged to support free and fair elections in Sierra Leone and five other African countries with $165 million at the ongoing USA-Africa leader`s summit .
Joe Biden called the presidents of Sierra Leone, Democratic Republic of Congo, Gabon, Liberia, Madagascar, Nigeria to discuss upcoming polls in 2023 in these selected countries at the oval office in the White House.
During the special conference with these African leaders, President Biden discussed the opportunities and challenges these fledgling African democracies are confronted with.
President Biden noted the importance of holding free, fair and transparent elections and further highlighted the significance of working together to strengthen democracy and good governance globally.
On his part, president Bio mentioned the recently enacted constitutional instruments for a Proportional representation (PR) system to be used during the June 24th 2023 multi-tier elections which he said is more democratically suited for a country such as Sierra Leone.
He said the PR system is more politically inclusive and will give the opportunity for smaller and less popular political parties that were hitherto politically dormant to be represented in parliament.
“The PR system will further lessen the political stakes and will serve as a bulwark against violence that is normally prevalent during elections in Sierra Leone”, President Bio pointed out.
President Bio used the occasion to show case other democratic gains his government has accomplished with the enactment of progressive laws that enriches Sierra Leone`s democracy such as the passing of the Gender Equality and Women’s Empowerment bill, abolition of the death penalty, repeal of the criminal libel laws and opening up spaces for journalism and civil society, decongest prisons, clamp down hard on sexual and gender-based violence, and many more.
At the end of the deliberations all the six presidents from Sierra Leone, DRC, Gabon, Liberia, Madagascar, and Nigeria made an earnest commitment to ensuring the holding of free and fair elections come 2023 in their respective countries.