United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon today strongly encouraged Sierra Leoneans to ensure that national elections on Saturday are carried out peacefully to build on the progress made since the end of the country's civil war ended a decade ago.
"The Secretary-General strongly encourages Sierra Leoneans to ensure that the same peaceful spirit that has characterized the electoral process thus far prevails on election day, as well as during the vote counting and announcement of the results," said a statement issued by Mr. Ban's spokesperson.
The West African nation is scheduled to hold four elections - presidential, parliamentary, local council and mayoral - in what is viewed as an important step for a country that is rebuilding after a civil war that ended in 2002.
"Peaceful elections resulting in a credible outcome are critical for consolidating Sierra Leone's hard-won peace and for demonstrating that the tremendous progress the country has made since the end of the hostilities one decade ago is irreversible," the statement added.
Mr. Ban also paid tribute to the registered political parties, national institutions and other national stakeholders for their cooperation following the signing of the 18 May 2012 Declaration in which they committed themselves to hold peaceful, free and fair elections.
The elections will be the country's third since the end of its civil war, and the second since the withdrawal of the peacekeeping operation known as UN Mission in Sierra Leone (UNAMSIL) in December 2005 - that mission was replaced by various other UN offices, most recently the United Nations Integrated Peacebuilding Office (UNIPSIL), which focuses on political and development activities.