Residents worried about continuous violence
November 13, 2020
By Hassan Gbassay Koroma
Residents of Constituency 110 in Goderich, Western Rural, have raised worrisome concern aboutthe continuous importation of violence in their community in the name of elections, according to the National Elections Watch (new).
A press release fromNEW states that, the residents further lamented on the fact that despite their ballots were destroyed and elections cancelled, in August 24th re-run election, no one has been held accountable.
“Ahead of Constituency 110 Re-run Election, political party stalwarts from the All People’s Congress (APC) and Sierra Leone People’s Party (SLPP) are scrambling over who should complete the construction of the Goderich Community Centre, which has resulted in community tension and unrest with the police intervening to quell the situation and arrests made. The scrambling incident took place at about 12:30 pm on Wednesday, 11th November 2020,” the release states.
According to NEW, their pre-election assessment team for the December 12th Re-run election have observed a growing community tension and unrest in constituency 110 specifically at Goderich Village where political party functionaries had a standoff on who should take the lead to complete the village community center.
“Residents in the community stated that the former Member of Parliament, had been rehabilitating this community Centre but work had stalled after the 2018 elections. In the run up to this re-run election, the former Member of Parliament recommenced work at the community Centre by fixing metal doors. The community people alleged that officials from the National Commission for Social Action (NaCSA), went to the structure under rehabilitation and said they received a request from the community people to complete the community centre and they were about to proceed with it.”
NEW observed that, political party functionaries from both sides were desperate to be the ones leading the rehabilitation process, which resulted in a standoff between supporters of the APC and SLPP, with community people standing as onlookers.
NEW called on the police to provide information on the current state of the investigations on the cancelled re-run election and how they plan to police the December 12 re-run election, noting that it is because the large number of police presence in the area did not deter the degree of violence during the August 24th re-run election last time.
NEW further recommends that as a strategy to ensure calm in the constituency all stakeholders including the National Electoral Commission, Political Parties Registration Commission, Sierra Leone Police, Office of National Security, National Commission for Democracy, Human Right Commission Sierra Leone, community leaders and the candidates should have a joint engagement in strategic communities especially hot spots areas in the constituency.
NEW also called on the Office of the National Security and the Sierra Leone Police Force to devise a clear strategy to maintain the peace in constituency 110 re-run election, before, during and after the polls.