Caritas Freetown Calls for Engagement on EU Report on June Sierra Leonean Elections

Fr. Peter Konteh, Executive Director of Caritas Freetown in Sierra Leone. Credit: Caritas Freetown

Caritas Freetown is calling on government and civil society entities in Sierra Leone to start working towards implementing recommendations of the just released report on the country’s June 24 General Elections.

The European Union Election Observation Mission (EU EOM) final report was presented on Tuesday, October 10, with an “urgent” call on Sierra Leone to implement reforms to build overall trust in future electoral processes.

Presented by Chief Observer, Evin Incir, the report provides a comprehensive account based on evidence and includes 21 recommendations for improvement.

According to the development arm of the Catholic Church in Freetown, the recommendations aim to enhance transparency and credibility in Sierra Leone's future elections.

In a message to ACI Africa on October 10, the day the report was released in Sierra Leone’s capital, Freetown, the Executive Director of Caritas Freetown, Fr. Peter Konteh, says that implementing the recommendations would strengthen the West African country’s democratic practices and institutions.


“The report and its recommendations are expected to garner attention from various stakeholders, including governmental authorities, political parties, civil society organizations, and the international community. It is crucial for these stakeholders to carefully review the report, take the recommendations seriously, and work towards their implementation,” Fr. Konteh says.

He adds, “Implementing the recommendations outlined in the report…can help strengthen democratic institutions and processes within the country. By addressing the identified shortcomings and challenges, the electoral system can become more transparent, accountable, and responsive to citizens' needs.”

Fr. Konteh notes that implementing the EU recommendations would foster public trust and confidence in the electoral process. “When citizens perceive elections as free, fair, and credible, it enhances their willingness to participate and engage in the democratic process,” the member of Clergy of the Archdiocese of Freetown further says.

Sierra Leoneans went to the polls on June 24 as violence rocked some parts of the country.

Tension further engulfed Sierra Leone shortly after President Julius Maada Bio of the Sierra Leone People’s Party (SLPP) was announced to have taken an early lead in the poll.

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Followers of Samura Kamara who closely followed Bio on the All People’s Congress (APC) ticket vowed to contest the results.

The EU EOM was deployed in response to an invitation by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation of Sierra Leone and by the Electoral Commission for Sierra Leone.

The mission was present in the country from May 11 to July 13 and at full strength comprised 104 observers from 26 EU Member States, as well as from partner countries, Canada and Norway. The observers were deployed to all 16 districts of Sierra Leone.

The EU EOM report is based on a two-month long, nation-wide election observation and contains detailed analysis of the entire process.

In particular, the mission has, in its report, underscored the importance of transparency in helping democracy thrive in the West African country.


Part of the reforms the EU mission is recommending will ensure that detailed information on the voter register, the electoral results processing system, including the tabulation, and the final electoral results per polling station, are made available to the public, including online forums.

Other priority recommendations offered by the EU EOM concern issues related to, amongst others, protecting candidates and promptly holding perpetrators of election-related violence accountable, enforcing restrictions on the use of state resources for political gains, ensuring transparency and accountability in campaign financing, and protecting freedom of expression by removing ambiguous definitions related to cybercrimes.

The EU EOM has also taken notice of positive reforms conducted to promote participation of Sierra Leonean women in politics.

At the presentation of the report on October 10, the EU EOM Chief Observer, Incir, noted with appreciation that in Sierra Leone’s 2023 General elections, 30 percent of elected members of Parliament were women.

“The reforms undertaken ahead of these elections were important,” Incir said, and added, “Nevertheless, I encourage political parties to take this work forward, to make a reinforced commitment for greater gender parity, which will further enhance women participation in public and political life.”

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The EU appealed for stakeholder engagement in implementing all the recommendations of the EU EOM report, saying, “It remains crucial to further foster democratic processes with a strong political will of all stakeholders to promote inclusion and transparency. And most importantly to build public confidence.”

Incir further expressed EU’s closeness with the West African country, saying, “As a friend and ally, the EU stands ready to support Sierra Leonean stakeholders in those efforts and in the implementation of these recommendations.”

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.