Former President Koroma attends the start of the West African Elderly Forum in Abidjan – Welcome to the Sierra Leone Telegraph

Sierra Leone Telegraph: November 22, 2022:

Former Sierra Leone President Ernest Bai Koroma will attend the second West African Elderly Forum (WAEF) Strategy Meeting to be held in Abidjan, Ivory Coast.

Welcoming the meeting participants, Goodluck Jonathan Foundation Executive Director Ann Iyone (Photo below)highlighted some of the challenges of democracy.

“No country can claim to be democratic or have a representative system of government that does not have elections as one of the permanent features of its political calendar. Alarmingly, there has been, on the whole, a deterioration in the quality of elections in a growing number of West African countries.”

It also recognized that: “the integrity of the vote has been negatively affected by the incidence of electoral violence, the reduction of the autonomy of the electoral management bodies, the “securitization” of the electoral process and the “judicialization” of the electoral results . ”

Iyone expressed concern that “the implications of the decline in the quality of elections observed in various countries are many, but of particular importance is the growing risk that sectors of the population may conclude that elections no longer offer a viable path.” to change governments peacefully and legally. and expel the incumbents.”

WAEF Chairman, Former President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria Goodluck Jonathan expressed the organization’s belief in preventive diplomacy, noting that one of the Forum’s goals is to underpin the democratic gains of the West African region through meaningful participation. from different stakeholders. in a pragmatic and responsible way.

President Jonathan added that: “Meetings like these serve as an opportunity to review the achievements, challenges and threats to peace and democracy in our sub-region and help us strategize on how to mediate, so that threats do not degenerate into conflicts”.

The former Nigerian leader reiterated Iyone’s sentiments that elections are the cornerstone of democracy, and the activities surrounding the process can make or mar a nation’s development aspirations.

He also noted that elections provide citizens with the opportunity to have a voice in their nation and give them the opportunity to participate in the process of selecting their country’s leaders.

“From recent events in Africa, we can draw a lesson about the relationship between peaceful elections, democratic livelihood and national stability. That is why every process leading up to an election is very important to the outcome of the poll,” said former President Jonathan.

The WAEF President concluded that it is the responsibility of the ‘Elders’ to identify threats to transition programs in the sub-region and seek ways to proactively engage relevant stakeholders to resolve such challenges. (Photo below: RL Fmr Pres. of Benin, HE Thomas Boni Yayi, Fmr president of SL. HE Ernest Bai Koroma and Fmr Pres. of Nigeria. HE Goodluck Jonathan).

Speaking to Côte d’Ivoire’s state television, former Sierra Leone president Ernest Bai Koroma acknowledged the democratic efforts being made on the continent, but lamented the growing deterioration in the quality of democracy in Africa. He pointed out that the resurgence of military coups in Africa is an indication that Democracy in West Africa is in crisis, which he associated with the absence of the democratic dividend and the manipulation of the electoral process.

President Koroma drew attention to the fact that three West African states will hold multi-tier elections next year, noting that the WAEF Strategy Meeting is timely, especially in view of the fact that several legislative elections are scheduled to take place. 2023.

The Sierra Leonean statesman, like his peers at the Forum, gracefully handed over power after completing his two constitutional terms from 2007 to 2018.

The Meeting has gone into closed session.

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