Freetown, 22 March 2023 – The g7+ institutionalized election observation as part of its peer learning and Fragile-to-Fragile cooperation at Ministry of Planning and economic development in Sierra Leone; the chairing country of g7+.
The objective of the election observation missions are: (a) To observe election processes in g7+ member states in an impartial, professional, independent, and ethical manner. (b) To contributes to enhancing democratic consolidation, strengthening peace and development through election observation amongst g7+ members.
Given its collective aspiration to promote peace and stability, the members of g7+ are well placed to cooperate in pursuing democracy through sharing experiences on conducting fair and free elections. Their respective experiences have been relevant to each other given their context. Under the fragile-to-fragile cooperation, the g7+ has facilitated sharing of lessons in areas that include managing and conducting election in member countries. Such lessons have proved relevant and inspiring.
Providing an overview of the preparation for the presidential election in Sierra Leone that will be held in June 2023, Mr. Raymond A N Georg, the director of media and communication of the Election Commission of Sierra Leone said that election observation is an important element in the conduct of free, fair and transparent election. Therefore, he welcomed the g7+ initiative to observe elections in member countries.
Mr. Abudlai Bangura, the chairman of Political Parties Regulatory Commission (PPRC) of Sierra Leone mentioned that the g7+ observation of election will add a value to the process of election and in ensuring that they are fair and free. Their recommendations will help in further strengthening democracy.
Dr. Helder da Costa, general secretary of g7+ secretariat provided an overview of the g7+ and its objectives. He said that the secretariat is committed to facilitate cooperation among member countries in observing election and sharing of lessons. The secretariat has facilitated sharing of lessons among member countries in different areas of peace and statebuilding. This includes cooperation between Timor-Leste and Guinea Bissau in 2013 where the former supported the later in conducting elections against the backdrop of embargo that had deprived Guinean Bissau of the needed assistance to restore democracy. Building on such successful examples, the secretariat will continue facilitating sharing of first-hand experience in managing elections.
Officially launching the initiative, H.E. Francis M. Kai-Kai Minister of planning and economic development of Sierra Leone and Chair of g7+ group highlighted the importance of cooperation among member countries. He highlighted that conflict affected countries such as those in the g7+ are best placed to appraise transition and progress made in pursuing democracy that each member is making. The members have made strides in pursuing democracy against all the odds. Unfortunately, such progress is not always recognized internationally. Therefore, the g7+ group is best placed to enhance the visibility of progress and challenges facing its members.
The g7+ secretariat will administer the election observation missions among member countries that take place this year, begin with Timor-Leste in May, Guinea-Bissau, and Sierra Leone in June, followed by Liberia, Togo and Democratic Republic of Congo later this year.