8th August, 2021
Arriving in Lusaka, Zambia ahead of the 12th August 2021 Presidential Elections in Zambia, President Dr Ernest Bai Koroma today went straight to the call of his duty as Head of Mission (HoM) of the AU observer delegation team. It could very well be stated that the former Head of State hit the ground running as he immediately got engaged with the longterm mission staff who were already engaged in the preparatory stages of electioneering process. Former President Koroma was expected in Lusaka as from Wednesday 7th August 2021 and in his usual inimitable style, reached his duty station in good time to be properly briefed and fully engaged with his assignment.
The African Union (AU) ”Short-Term Election Observer Mission to Zambia,” was announced by the Zambian Ambassador to Ethiopia, His Excellency Emmanuel Mwamba who informed international news media that the African Union Chairperson, Mr. Moussa Faki Mahamat, had confirmed that the Observer Mission will be led by Former Sierra Leonean President, Ernest Bai Koroma. The entire AU mission is expected be in Zambia from 4th to 19th August 2021.
Usually, AU, ECOWAS etc, deploy long term observers whose responsibility includes monitoring the preliminary stages of elections covering all the stages in the preparation and publication of voters register, nomination of candidates, symbols, voter ID etc. A report is usually provided by those long term observers on which the HoM is fully briefed.
Therefore, when the head of mission (HoM) and a few more members arrive physically on the ground, they are well apprised of the affairs making it easier for the HoM to immediately take over the leadership of the mission.
President Koroma has been adept at this role and in all the missions he has held, his statesman like approach to the mission, experience of election issues and deep commitment to democracy has always set him apart as a judicious arbitrator and objective observer.
Political commentators have averred on the value of such duties and assignments that have been so satisfactorily carried out by the former President. He has, since his tenure of office ended as President, been religiously called upon to oversee and monitor such assignments as well as make meaningful contributions to debates in the international fora dealing with democracy and the promotion of peace and integrative development across Africa.
President Koroma has always shown readiness and commitment in flying the Sierra Leonean flag and this he has done with the dignity befitting the status of former Head of State.
The former President is expected back in Sierra Leone on or around the 19th August 2021.
By Titus Boye – Thompson