|AN OPEN LETTER TO THE NATIONAL ELECTORAL COMMISSION (NEC) - SIERRA LEONE
By Michael Fayia Kallon –
A CALL FOR PRESIDENTIAL DEBATES IN SIERRA LEONE
Presidential debates provide the best possible information to the electorate on the qualifications of candidates. How they will answer questions during the debates will inform them on how they may use their common sense to tackle both foreign and domestic policies when elected to lead millions of their people. Sierra Leone is a young democracy where TV viewing may only be concentrated in the capital city of Freetown. Therefore, because of scarcity of funds to undertake such a colossal democratic project, I will suggest that the electoral commission could organize such debates in town hall meetings in all twelve districts in the Republic of Sierra Leone.
In such town hall meetings, citizens will be able to ask questions of the candidates not only on foreign and domestic policy, but on all aspects that could help to alleviate the economic inequality and the political marginalization of distant districts and neglected tribes, so far from the capital city of Freetown, living in impoverished chiefdoms that lack clinics, with muddy, unpaved, and potholed roads, porous borders, and with no good medical care.
As a potency of a new beginning in the political and democratic process in Sierra Leone, such debates could be conducted by a moderator who could open each segment with a question, after which each candidate will have a couple of minutes to respond. Citizens could also ask specific questions so that the candidates could share their views. If conducted in the capital city of Freetown, the TV and radio stations could air the debates, but if conducted in the major district headquarters, the radio stations could air the debates.
Presidential debates could establish legitimacy in a candidate, as well as discourage doozy attitudes that could be hidden in their character when elected to the highest office in the land, without questioning their influence of ideological predilections. Presidential debates could then free the electorate from the antinomies of a quixotic presumption of guilt from electing someone unfit for any office in the land without properly knowing them through dispassionate academic and democratic analysis that such open presidential debates could provide.
Presidential debates are important in Sierra Leone because candidates will get to tell their opinions on matters from the questions asked, and candidates will then have the chance to reveal their intentions on how they could tackle problems, whether domestic or foreign, when they are elected to office. Candidates will then explain the problems that the country might be facing and how they could resolve them, thus enabling the electorate in the country to get some insights into the personalities of the candidates’ plans and to determine if they will adopt transformational leadership skills when elected to office.
Presidential debates could enable a larger number of the electorate to hear the opposing views of candidates so that they can make better and more informed decisions on how to vote for them. If anyone is confident that their debating skills and common sense could propel them to get elected in Sierra Leone, why not get onboard and let’s get started during the next elections in our country.
My open challenge ….