Mr. Michael von der Schulenburg, former Executive Representative of the United Nations Secretary-General in Sierra Leone today Monday 27th January, 2020 met with the leadership of the Political Parties Registration Commission (PPRC), National Electoral Commission (NEC), National Commission for Democracy (NCD), All Political Parties Association (APPA), All Political Parties Women’s Association (APPWA) and the All Political Parties Youth Association (APPYA) at the Commission’s office in Freetown.
In his welcome address, the Chairman of PPRC Mr. Abdulai M. Bangurah congratulated Mr. Schulenburg on his award by H.E the President Julius Maada Bio as Grand Commander of the Order of the Republic (GCOR). He expressed appreciation for the support given to the Commission and political parties during his tenure in Sierra Leone.
In his statement, the Acting Chief Electoral Commissioner (CEC) and Chairman NEC Mr Edmond S. Alpha expressed the Commission’s appreciation for the capacity and logistical support the Commission benefited from the UN under the leadership of Mr. Schulenburg. The building that housed the national headquarters of the Commission he said, was initiated by Mr. Schulenburg.
In his statement, Dr. Abubakarr Kargbo congratulated Mr. Schulenburg on his award and the relentless work he did while he was in Sierra Leone.
According to Dr. Kargbo, democratic institutions will thrive if the logical and financial supports are available and on time. He appealed for logistical and financial support for the day to day running of these institutions.
The President of APPA Mr. Prince Coker President of APPA appreciated the work of Mr. Schulenburg in Sierra Leone. He applauded Mr. Schulenburg for the support given to political parties in Sierra Leone. The Secretary General of APPA Mr. Karamoh Kabbah, appealed to Mr. Schulenburg to come back to Sierra Leone in a similar role to help consolidate the peace in Sierra Leone. He further thanked him for his invaluable support to the country.
The President of APPWA Mrs. Augusta James-Teima applauded the efforts of Mr. Schulenburg in the formation of the association. She noted that unlike other partners Mr. Schulenburg placed so much primium on the development and empowerment of political leaders including women and youth in Sierra Leone. She said the association has transformed over the years and is hopeful that the his dream of establishing the association will be actualised some day.
In his statement, the Secretary General of APPYA Mr. Samuel P.O.V. Macauley congratulated Mr. Schulenburg on his award, highlighting the support given to the association during Mr Schulenburg’s tenure in Sierra Leone. He stressed that as the future leaders of Sierra Leone, much is required from them now. He underscored that the association will continue to engagement their peers with a view of becoming the change the seek. Speakers after speakers emphasised the tremendous efforts put in by the United Nations Peace building Office In Sierra Leone in building the capacity of the democratic institutions and political parties.
Responding, Mr. Schulenburg said getting this award from the President is emotional to him and that he is happy to come back to Sierra Leone. He said he is very impressed with the institutions created after the war and is happy to see them still working. He advised that the country should work towards identifying Alternative Dispute Mechanisms, that will address the differences between and among political parties in Sierra Leone.
Mr. Schulenburg served in Sierra Leone for four years, during what has been described as a politically difficult period with numerous violent clashes between supporters of the two main parties – APC and the SLPP.