In their bid to help Sierra Leoneans make informed choice of who will be the country’s next president in the March 7th, 2018 election, at a Press Conference held at the British Council, Tower Hill, Freetown, the Political Parties Registration Commission (PPRC), the Sierra Leone Association of Journalists (SLAJ) and the AYV Media Empire on Monday 5th February 2018, the Logo for the 2018 Presidential Debate was officially launched.
The PPRC, SLAJ and AYV ‘Sierra Leone Decides 2018’ also announced the launching of the official 2018 Sierra Leone Elections Debate Program. The Presidential Debate Committee brings together the PPRC and SLAJ initiative and the AYV and CSO initiative as carried by their flagship program Sierra Leone Decides series.
Amb. Anthony Navo Jnr., CEO of AYV Media Empire, informed the audience that the AYV and partners which include SLBC, STAR TV, and CSOs had developed the initiative for a Presidential debate sponsored by several institutions including OSIWA, Africell, CGG, etc. as part of its Sierra Leone Decides series but as both the PPRC and SLAJ also had similar initiative they have merged the two initiatives into one program.
Both initiatives have the same aim, which is to provide a platform where members of the public will engage their political leaders on their respective plans for the country and as a result be able to make informed choices.
He expressed appreciation to the different political parties for committing themselves to taking part in the debate. He hoped for a peaceful election after which a new Sierra Leone will emerge.
The debate he said will be held on the 15th February 2018 at the Bintumani Conference Hall at 7.00pm and will be aired live on all the TV stations and radio networks in the country.
Amb. Navo maintained that “this is about Sierra Leone and we want a credible and factual debate in the interest of the people of Sierra Leone.”
Kelvin Lewis, the President of the Sierra Leone Association of Journalists (SLAJ) said that they started discussions and planning on the debate in 2016 in collaboration with the PPRC but along the way, they discovered that the AYV Media empire and its partners were planning on hosting similar program under its Sierra Leone Decides series.
He stressed that since they had all along wanted an all-inclusive program, this opportunity was seized upon and a merger of both programs was done. Thus the energies and resources could be properly utilized to their maximum.
The SLAJ President stated that “We have always wanted a national and all-inclusive program that will be Sierra Leonean-led and one which is driven by a desire to render improved public service; we welcome the move to join all forces together.”
He explained that there will now be 3 debates – the Presidential, Women’s debate and Youths debate. The last 2 debates will showcase the abilities of those marginalized groups at the highest level.
He admonished citizens to assess the respective candidates as they articulate their vision for Sierra Leone and vote wisely for the good of the country. The program will give the political parties equal opportunities to articulate their views.
Chairman of the Political Parties Registration Commission (PPRC), Justice Patrick Hamilton maintained that his organisation is pleased to endorse this elections debate program.
“This program fulfills a mandate given to the PPRC by all of Sierra Leone’s political parties to develop a credible, independent election debate program which will provide a vital public service to the citizens of Sierra Leone,” he said, adding: “We are particularly pleased that this debate program will provide an opportunity for youths and women to share their party’s vision with citizens and will also address issues for people with disabilities…”
Mr. Jones, representing the Chairman of the National Electoral Commission (NEC) Nfa Alie Conteh, also reiterated his institution’s commitment to provide a level playing field for all parties and to ensure the conduct of a credible, free and fair election on 7th March 2018. He stressed that NEC is prepared to conduct the elections as everything has been put in place. He admonished politicians and members of the public to maintain the peace.
The program was chaired by Madam Bernadette Cole and the vote of thanks by Jimmy Saikattuah. The official unveiling of the Presidential Debate Logo climaxed the occasion.
More 2018 Elections News:
Sierra Leone: POLITICAL PARTY MANIFESTO OR CITIZENS MANIFESTO?
National Electoral Commission (NEC) 2018 Elections Campaign Calendar in Sierra Leone
POLITICAL PARTIES CODE OF CONDUCT