As Sierra Leone prepares for its general elections March 7, candidates are reportedly set for the live presidential debate to be organized by AYV Media Empire.
The date for the proposed debate, according to AYV, is 17th February and will be held live at the Bitumani conference hall at Aberdeen, Freetown.
Of course, the identified moderator is no less a person but Sierra Leonean born BBC presenter, Hassan Arouni.
The debate is the biggest of an election battle now dubbed “pound for pound.”
According to number of political analysts, it is expected to be between Samura Kamara, ruling APC’s presidential candidate , Rtd. Brigadier Julius Maada Bio, opposition SLPP’s presidential and Dr. Kandeh Yumkella – recently established NGC party.
If it same goes as planned, it will be the first of a live presidential debate ever taking place in the country, giving the fact that there have been hiccups preventing previous ones from taking place.
Facts are that in the run-up to the 2007 presidential elections, former Vice President, Solomon Ekuma Berewa, who was presidential candidate of the SLPP, was supposed to have faced Ernest Bai Koroma, then opposition leader and presidential candidate of the APC, but unfortunately pulled out of the debate at the eleventh hour.
Also, in 2012, incumbent President Koroma pulled out of a presidential debate on the grounds that he could not sit in the same room with Maada Bio for a debate, as according to him, latter was a violent person who had blocked his president Koroma’s) convoy at Goderich Street.
It is in light of the aforementioned that citizens say they are eagerly looking forward to the coming presidential debate as they want to see their presidential candidates battle things bordering on national development.
They (citizens) are therefore urging all the presidential candidates not to pull out of the debate at the dying minute on flimsy excuses as has been the case in the past.
They are also appealing to political leaders to inculcate the habit of taking part in presidential debates as it is happening in other countries.
Citizens also maintained that such debate would help the electorates determine the level of governance knowledge possessed by presidential candidates, running mates and mayoral candidates as the case maybe.