March 28, 2018 By Regina Pratt
The Election Situation Room, a USAID sponsored initiative comprising the Inter-Religious Council, National Election Watch, 50/50 Group, National Commission for Democracy and Campaign for Good Governance, has implored all well-meaning citizens to focus on bridging the chasm in the country, while also condemning all forms of violence and inciting utterances ahead of the March 31 run-off.
In the lead up to the campaigns and the March 7 elections, West Africa Network for Peacebuilding (WANEP) and partners set up a coordinated Election Situation Room at the Radisson Blu hotel in Freetown and a satellite one in Kono to observe threats to the peaceful conduct of the elections.
At a press conference on Monday, March 25, members of the Situation Room informed the media about their role as observers of the crucial presidential run-off.
Reading a press release on behalf of the team, President of the Inter-Religious Council of Sierra Leone, Sheik Abubakarr Conteh, reminded all political players that the International Community was focused on Sierra Leone, and that any wrong turn in the electioneering process would have serious ramifications for the country.
“It is therefore imperative that the nation remains committed to democratic ethos, principles and rule of law which are the foundation of peace, national unity and cohesion,” he said.
The Muslim cleric noted that the period leading to the run-off election has been marred by accusations and counter accusations of intimidations, low intensive inter-party clashes, politically motivated violence, harassment and tribal rhetoric that have heightened public concerns and fear.
Being mindful of the threats and impact of violence not only to the peaceful conduct of the upcoming elections but also the political and socio-economic stability, he said eminent persons at the WANEP Situation Room engaged the Kainingo Community in collaboration with the security forces.
“The Election Situation Room is calling on all stakeholders to continue to maintain the peace in Sierra Leone to ensure there is sanity in the political landscape,” he urged.
Meanwhile, the Situation Room is expected to deploy observers across the country to monitor and report on the conduct of the poll.