Government functionaries interfered with voting process


…Election Situation Room Report

April 4, 2018 By Regina Pratt

Members of the Decision Room

Government officials interfered with the voting process in polling stations in Bonthe, Kono and the Western Urban, according a report released by the 2018 Sierra Leone Election Situation Room.

Ms. Mackay, a member of the Decision Room, spoke to journalists after the close of polling on Saturday, March 31, at the Radisson Blu Hotel in Freetown.

She however did not state the names of the government functionaries because, according to her, police are still investigating the incidents.

She told journalists that their observers also reported heavy military presence in areas such as Bonthe, Western Urban, Kambia and Kenema, which created an atmosphere of fear and intimidation.

She continued that there was allegation of pre-marked ballot papers in Moyamba District in favour of one of the presidential candidates.

The Decision Room Team Member called on political parties to continue to dialogue with the National Electoral Commission and the security forces and ensure their supporters remain peaceful and law-abiding.

She asserted that the stability of Sierra Leone rests on the credibility of the run-off election, noting that such would help ensure a peaceful political transition in the country.

Reporting on the general security observation on Sunday April 1, the Election Situation Room states that on polling day there were two separate incidents of attacks on journalists by some ruling party members at Mafa field in Lumley.

“The two journalists who sustained injuries are Patrick Jaiah Kamara of Concord Times newspaper and Ibrahim Samura of the New Age newspaper,”  the report states.

In some of their recommendations, the Election Situation Room urged political parties to show maturity and leadership by accepting the outcome of the election, adding that they should ensure that future elections would be more focused on issues rather than personalities.

Dr. Fatou Taqi of the 50/50 Group called on Sierra Leoneans to maintain peace and tolerance until the announcement of the result.

“We acknowledge the role of the International Election Observation Missions and the Diplomatic Community for monitoring and observing the electoral processes in Sierra Leone,” she said.