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Sierra Leone Nationals’ Elect New Leader in Saudi Arabia

Sierra Leone Nationals’ Elect New Leader in Saudi Arabia

The Sierra Leone Nationals’ Union (SLNU) in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia over the weekend elected its President in a ”free and fair” election conducted at the Chancery building of the Sierra Leone Embassy in Riyadh. (Photo: President-elect Uthman M. Kargbo)

Although it was only one candidate in contention, the issue of the candidate going ‘Unopposed’ was ruled out.  Instead, the election proceedings went on ‘uninterrupted’ as voters were made to exercise their rights by voting ‘For’ or ‘Against’.

(l-r) Registrar Unisa Kanu and Commissioner Turay

According to the Electoral Commissioner of the election, Mr. Sheku Turay and his Registrar, Mr. Unisa Kanu, out of a registered number of ninety-three (93) voters, eighty-eight (88) voted ‘For’ Mr. Uthman M. Kargbo, one (1) voted against, while  the  Commission discovered that there were three (3) invalid votes.

Embassy Applauds Electoral Process

After the Electoral Commissioner declared Mr. Uthman Mohamed Kargbo as the new President of the Union, the Embassy which supervised the election applauded its nationals in the Kingdom, the members of the Electoral Commission and all those who worked diligently to make last weekend’s election a true exercise in democracy.

Ambassador’s Statement

In his statement, the Ambassador, His Excellency, H.E. Wusu B. Munu congratulated the new leader and noted that the election proceeded in an atmosphere of calm and there were no indications of fraud.  “Based on our observations, the election was conducted satisfactorily” the Ambassador pointed out.

From Right, HOC Yilla, H.E Munu and Commissioner Turay

He further said that the nationals have taken the opportunity to choose the future of their union by choosing their leader in a transparent, free and fair manner. He urged them to be law- abiding, respect the laws of Saudi Arabia and work within the confines of the Union’s constitution.

H.E. Munu, 3rd from left and the Electoral Officers

The Ambassador also appealed to the President – elect to support President Koroma’s “Agenda for Change” and to start putting mechanisms in place in commemoration of the Sierra Leone’s 50th Independence anniversary slated for 27th April, 2011, which is expected to be celebrated in a grand style.

Other Speakers

In his remarks, an elder of the community, Sheik Mohamed Baila Bah, gave a prudent advice to the President-elect. He appealed to him to make broad consultations before taking decisions, adding that, it’s good to take a thorough and thoughtful assessment of issues from different perspectives before taking decisions.

In his statement, the first President of the Union, Mr. Ibrahim Yousuf Sillah gave an elaborate reflection on the history of the Union and declared his support to the President-elect and urged all other members of the Union to do the same.

Haja Ramatu Bangura, a prominent female in the community

Haja Ramatu Bangura, a prominent Sierra Leonean woman in the community also prudently cautioned the President- elect not to ignore any genuine complaints from any member of the Union.

Some of the voters listening to the election results

President-elect speaks

Addressing his audience, the President-elect promised his unflinching determination to bring sustainable peace to the Sierra Leone community after years of divisive politics.  He also pledged to work hard to address the needs of the increasing number of Sierra Leonean students in universities across the Kingdom and the Gulf States at large. He also promised that his administration in collaboration with the Embassy will support Sierra Leoneans coming to Mecca for the annual Muslims’ pilgrimage.

Brief History of the Union

Mr. Kargbo has become the fifth president of the SLNU, which was formed in 1993 on the advice of the former Ambassador, H.E. Alhaji Umaru Bond Wurie.

The Union was first headed by Mr. Ibrahim Yousuf Sillah who served two terms and was succeeded by Mr. Unisa Kanu who also served two terms. The latter was succeeded by Dr. Alusine A. Kamara, who served one term. Dr. Kamara was succeeded by Mr. Ibrahim Koi-Dowui, who served two terms before he was succeeded by the newly elected President.

In an interview with two of the former Presidents, Messer’s Sillah and Kanu, both of them applauded what they described as the ‘exemplary role’ played by the Embassy to supervise the conduct of a fair, smooth, and transparent election. “As a matter of fact, this time around, the entire Sierra Leone nationals in Riyadh resolved, in unison to have only one candidate to manifest the spirit of oneness and togetherness.”

Who’s the President-elect?

Mr. Kargbo was born in Northern Sierra Leone and educated in the eastern provincial headquarters of Kenema. He graduated with Bsc in Operations Research at the King Saud University in Riyadh. He currently teaches at the Modern Generations Academy for Languages in Riyadh. He’s articulate in both English and Arabic.

He’s referred to by many as a ‘Gentleman’ who has “Interpersonal Relationship” with the entire community and in the past few years; he has been very much familiarized with the running of the Union. He had taken part in various activities conducted by the Union, thus, Sierra Leoneans have great hopes that he would be able to smoothly run the affairs of the Union.

Alhaji M.B. Jalloh, Information Attaché, Sierra Leone Embassy, Riyadh – Kingdom of Saudi Arabia

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