A Step Towards Change: ECOSOCC holds Stakeholder Dialogue on the 2023 General Elections in Sierra Leone and awareness on ECOSOCC National Chapters


The African Union’s Economic, Social and Cultural Council (ECOSOCC) from May 8-10, 2023 held a stakeholders’ dialogue on the June 24th General Elections in Sierra Leone as well as an awareness program on ECOSOCC National Chapters.

In line with its mandate to promote and defend the culture of good governance, democratic principles and institutions, popular participation, human rights and freedoms as well as to ensure the implementation of the African Charter on Democracy, Elections and Governance (ACDEG), ECOSOCC, with the support of the European Union, through Expertise France held the Stakeholder’s Dialogue on the Presidential and Parliamentary Elections in Sierra Leone.

ECOSOCC further partnered with the Independent Commission for Peace and National Cohesion (ICPNC), the ECOSOCC National Chapter and Campaign for Human Rights and Development International (CHRDI) to hold a stakeholders’ dialogue in preparedness to deliver a free fair and incident-free election for the people of Sierra Leone.

Elections are increasingly becoming sources of tension and mistrust in much of Africa leading to an increasing lack of confidence in the elections processes, the judiciary, and other election management bodies. The belief that politics is a must-win game, and the winner takes all despite the implications of citizens’ and institutions' actions on the moral and social fabric of society is a trend that has come to the fore in recent years.

Some of the meeting recommendations include: the election date was approved a year earlier to allow for political parties to prepare for the election; legislation for electoral reforms were passed; the judiciary was more responsive to electoral disputes; a multi- stakeholder elections steering committee was formed; ensured the electoral system-the Proportional Representation - was adopted for the conduct of elections in order to minimise tension, ensure greater representation of vulnerable groups as well as minimise the cost (by obviating the need for bye-elections and violent campaigns); and the Government had taken the lead in election financing.

The Executive Council of the AU tasked ECOSOCC to establish National ECOSOCC Chapters (National Chapters) through the ECOSOCC National Chapters Framework. In 2022, as directed by the Member States, ECOSOCC conducted continent-wide consultations on the National Chapters and the draft framework was validated at the 4th Permanent General Assembly of ECOSOCC in December 2022. Subsequently, in February 2023, the AU adopted the National ECOSOCC Chapters Framework to structurally guide the establishment of National Chapters in member states and to further guide their work in providing CSO support to the AU's national-level work. ECOSOCC has thus initiated the implementation of measures to operationalize the Framework in member states. The framework is expected to be a mechanism for the accountability of elected members, serve as a conduit for the dissemination of information about the work and progress of the AU to civil society in each member state and to enable capacity-building and training of CSOs in member states.

On May 10th, the awareness program on ECOSOCC National Chapters to popularise the establishment of interim national chapters and to enhance their engagement and collaboration with ECOSOCC, kicked off.