Catholic Archbishop’s Plea ahead of General Elections in Sierra Leone

Archbishop Edward Tamba Charles of the Catholic Archdiocese of Freetown in Sierra Leone. Credit: Fr. Peter Konteh

The Archbishop of the Catholic Archdiocese of Freetown in Sierra Leone has appealed to the citizens of the West African nation to maintain peace as the country prepares for the Saturday, June 24 general elections.

In a message he shared with ACI Africa on Tuesday, June 20, Archbishop Edward Tamba Charles expresses concern that tension has engulfed the country as the election date edges closer.

For a country that suffered over a decade of civil war, Archbishop Tamba Charles says, such situation of tension is not good.

“In the last few weeks since the beginning of the political campaigns, we have noticed high tension in the country. In some cases, the tension has resulted to violence against people and the burning of property,” he says.

Against this backdrop of “high tension”, the Local Ordinary of Freetown who doubles as the President of the Inter-Religious Council of Sierra Leone (IRCSL) appeals to the people of God in the country “to maintain peace because it is only peace that will help this country prosper.” 


“Violence will not help us,” Archbishop Tamba Charles says, and adds, “We experienced almost 11 years of civil war that led to a lot of destruction. I appeal to you all to maintain peace. Ensure that we give everybody an opportunity to vote for candidates of their choice.”

Sierra Leone is preparing for its fifth presidential elections since the end of a brutal 11-year civil war that ended in 2002.

The presidential contest is likely to be a tight race between the incumbent president, Julius Maada Bio of Sierra Leone People's Party (SLPP) and Samura Kamara of All People's Congress (APC). Eleven other people have expressed their interest in the top job. 

President Bio, who was elected for a first term in 2018, has reportedly faced increasing criticism for the country's debilitating economic conditions, with several violent anti-government protests taking place in recent months. 

In his message, Archbishop Tamba appeals to opposing politicians to address their differences amicably instead of resorting to violence.

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Resist the temptation to use violence especially using young people to intimidate your opponents. This is not good for us and it definitely isn't good for the country. I appeal to the youth to refuse to be used in intimidating politicians,” the Archbishop of Freetown says.

The IRCSL president also calls upon the people to desist from using “foul language” and songs likely to create religious intolerance in the country during campaigns.

Archbishop Tamba Charles also calls on the electorate to exercise restraint while casting their vote and to patiently accept the outcome of the election, saying, “Let us fear this God. Let us not forget that we will be judged according to the things we do here on earth.”

“I call on all registered Sierra Leoneans to come out and vote peacefully, and to go to your houses and wait patiently for the outcome of the election,” he says in his message shared with ACI Africa June 20.

Approximately 3.37 million registered voters are expected at the Sierra Leonean polls on June 24.


Agnes Aineah is a Kenyan journalist with a background in digital and newspaper reporting. She holds a Master of Arts in Digital Journalism from the Aga Khan University, Graduate School of Media and Communications and a Bachelor's Degree in Linguistics, Media and Communications from Kenya's Moi University. Agnes currently serves as a journalist for ACI Africa.