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The Role of the Sierra Leone Police (SLP) on Polling Day

The Role of the Sierra Leone Police (SLP) on Polling Day

January 10, 2018

Mr. Mohamed N’fa-Ali Conteh

Chairman

National Electoral Commission

Tower Hill

Freetown

Dear Mr. Conteh

The Role of the Sierra Leone Police (SLP) on Polling Day

Over the last 12 months, the Sierra Leone People’s Party (SLPP) has repeatedly raised with the National Electoral Commission (NEC) the role of the Sierra Leone Police (SLP) on polling day. The party, through its representatives at the Political Party Liaison Committee (PPLC) meeting, has urged the Commission to discuss this very important electoral issue. Since the Commission has not done so, we have deemed it fit to put our position in writing.

The SLPP notes that the SLP is critical in determining the credibility and outcome of elections. The party considers the role of the SLP on polling day as the most significant threat to a free, fair and transparent election and by extension threat to national security. In 2007 and 2012 as well as ensuing bye-elections, the SLPP observed the following about the SLP in providing security for elections. First, police uniforms were provided to thugs of APC who impersonated as police officers on polling day. We witnessed instances where police officers intimidated SLPP party agents and even forcefully removed them from polling stations on trumped up grounds of disrupting the work of the electoral staff. This consequently created the space for ballot stuffing and other acts of rigging. Second, because the policy allows police officers and other service personnel to vote in any polling station of their choice, we witnessed instances where police officers on patrol did multiple voting often a time without Voter ID cards.

To avoid the re-occurrence of this ugly situations, the SLPP demands the following:

  • Police officers to be deployed on Election Day or be on patrol should be visibly identified with name and number tags from 10-15 metre distance
  • The names and telephone numbers of police officers deployed in all polling centres or stations and their commanders be shared with all political parties before the March 7, 2018
  • Code of Conduct for the police be prepared and all officers to be on duty on Election Day be trained on election security and neutrality. The Code should also be shared with political parties
  • To avoid situation where a police officer votes more than once, the police and all security personnel are allowed to vote before March 7 separately in the full view of party agents. Alternatively, police officers vote only where they are deployed and special polling stations be established for police officers on patrol. The names of officers to be on patrol on polling day and will vote in the special polling station be extracted from the register and included in a special register to be used in the special polling stations
  • It should be made clear that police officers should only vote on presentation of voter ID Cards and indelible ink should be applied to prevent them from showing up to vote in other stations.

We have no objection to meet with you to discuss what we consider as most important national security threat.

Best Regards

Julius Maada Bio, SLPP Presidential Candidate 2018


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