By Sheka Tearawallie :
President Ernest Bai Koroma (in photo) returned home last evening from the Guinean capital of Conakry where he made a one-day working visit with his Liberian counterpart Ellen Johnson Sirleaf to solidarise with the government and people of Guinea on their pending run-off presidential elections.
On his arrival at the Conakry International Airport, President Koroma told journalists in the presence of his host General Sekouba Konate that he was impressed with the considerable achievement made during the past elections “and the process should not be completed without our presence to congratulate and urge a fair and peaceful conduct of the forthcoming run-off elections” which have been slated for 19th September 2010. He said he and the Liberian President “are here to associate ourselves with the great strides towards democratizing the country… We know it has not been easy, but we are pleased with the positive steps. So we are here to support and solidarise with you.”
President Koroma had special words of commendation for General Konate: “I must commend President Konate on the stance taken to allow the democratic course… It has been a substantially peaceful election, and it has been a pride to us all… We are here to encourage the President to continue the process until it is concluded.”
The Sierra Leonean Leader further said the electioneering process “also manifests the determination of the Guinean people to exercise their civil and political rights in determining their political leaders.” He also emphasized that the democratization of Guinea is of particular importance to the peace, stability, security, good governance and development of the ECOWAS region generally, and the Mano River Union sub-region in particular.
In his statement, President Koroma implored the Transitional Government to ensure that the hiccups which plagued the first round of voting are addressed to lay the foundation upon which transparent, free, fair, credible, and acceptable final results would be built.
The three MRU leaders held a couple of close-door meetings at Conakry’s seaside La Case de Belle-Vue, after which they had consultations with ECOWAS Ambassadors, the local international contact group, the Secretary General of the MRU, the leaders of he three main political parties, followed by a meeting with all the 24 candidates that took part in the first round of elections, before a communiqué was issued out re-affirming commitment to the electioneering process.
President Koroma’s entourage included Minister of Foreign Affairs Zainab Bangura, Minister of Information Ibrahim Ben Kargbo, Minister of Political Affairs Alpha Kanu, Minster of Internal Affairs Dauda Kamara, and Head of the Office of National Security Kelly Conteh.
The President has resumed normal presidential duties in Freetown this morning.