Salone News

Paramount Chiefs Prepare for Election Campaign

10 July 2007 at 02:44 | 276 views

In efforts to clarify the role of the Paramount Chiefs in the electoral process, the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) and the Fatima Institute of Sierra Leone have organised a series of leadership consultation workshops held around the country. The workshops are timed to coincide with the start of election campaigning, which officially begins on Tuesday, 10 July 2007.

In early June the Fatima Institute brought Paramount Chiefs from the Northern region of the country together in Makeni to discuss their role in the elections. This resulted in the ‘Makeni Protocol’ which was signed by the Paramount Chiefs and affirmed their commitment to promote the democratic process and support free and fair elections.

UNDP continued support to this initiative by funding a second two-day workshop for 53 Paramount Chiefs from the Southern region, which concluded on 2 July 2007.

Another 43 Paramount Chiefs from the Eastern region completed a similar workshop in Kenema town on 6-7 July. The goal of these consultative processes has been to create an independent, responsible and accountable traditional leadership throughout the country. Strengthened awareness and increased participation among the chiefs in the electoral process is likely to reduce the risk of violence, intimidation and other forms of conflict during campaigning and the election. The traditional leaders have also used the consultation to review their role more broadly on governance issues, the rule of law and human rights legislation.

The UN Executive Representative of Secretary General, Victor Angelo welcomes this consultation, noting that ‘the institution of chieftaincy in Sierra Leone is deeply rooted in the country’s political culture. The Government of Sierra Leone has not only relied on chiefs to help implement its policies but has publicly pledged to uphold the institution. Paramount Chiefs are the traditional rulers of the country and their participation in the electoral process is central to ensure a violence-free election’.