8 November 2012

Sierra Leone: Final Round of Presidential Debate Slated for Today

Photo: Tommy Trenchard/IRIN
Youths campaign in Freetown.

As a way of raising the level of political campaign and democratic consciousness, the Sierra Leone Elections Debate Group (SLEDG) will today host the final round of the Presidential debate, after the first round which was held on the 2nd November, 2012 which featured only two political parties.

The debate which will take place at the Shangri La, Lumley Beach Road between 8pm to 11pm, is aimed at redirecting partisan positions to issues- based and a way of promoting democracy in the country.

This debate, according to Chief Raymond Aleogho Dokpesi, Chairman DAAR Communication, Chief Executive of African Independent Television (AIT) and a member of SLEDG, the debate will engage all the nine Presidential Candidates that were certified by the National Electoral Commission (NEC), adding that the Sierra Leone Broadcasting Corporation (SLBC), DAAR Communications operators of African Independent Television (AIT) and Ray Power Radio, decided to host the debate

Chief Dokpesi, also disclosed that the challenge is that most of the candidates do not understand why there should be a debate as this would not be out of place as "what we have seen in the just ended elections in USA, where Presidential debates played a very major role in determining the fate of the two candidates who were involved in the election," adding that this debate will allow candidates to tell the people, what they intended to achieve and how they could properly project Sierra Leone to the rest of the world, as "this is a complete departure from the road dancing, hand shaking and where no promises are made and where people are voting along the lines of ethnicity, religion, and other considerations.

"The Candidates are supposed to tell the entire nation before a live radio and television audience, what their commitments are, and Mr. President will tell everybody about his stewardship, his successes and why he wants to have another mandate," he said.

The platform according to him is being provided at no cost to all the political parties, as the people of Sierra Leone are entitled to such facilities as the organizers have made every effort to ensure that all the candidates are present. He disclosed that President Ernest Bai Koroma and the leadership of the SLPP party have all given their consent as well as the other seven political party leaders have made commitments to attend.

He concluded that the police will be responsible for the security of the entire programme t o ensure fair play.

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