October 30, 2017 By Ibrahim Tarawallie
Some seventy-five officers from various units of the Sierra Leone Police, as well as other security agencies have received intensive training on electoral violence and security.
The issue of violence before, during and after the electioneering process of March 7, 2018 is something that has been of grave concern to civil society organizations and members of the public.
There was an instance of violence when Rtd. Brigadier Julius Maada Bio declared for the presidential ticket of the Sierra Leone People’s Party (SLPP).Supporters of the ruling All people’s Congress (APC) and that of the SLPP clashed at around Marine House.
There are fears in the minds of many Sierra Leoneans that activities of political parties in the run up to the March 7, 2018 multitier elections will be marred by serious violence.
But according to the Inspector General of Police, Francis Munu, the training has positioned participants to effectively and efficiently avert violence or respond to it professionally during the entire electioneering period.
He was speaking on Friday (October 27) at the Police Officers Mess, Kingtom, during the certification ceremony of participants.
He stated that if what participants acquired during the past one week trickles down to the rest of the officers of the force, then the issue of violence in elections will become a thing of the past.
“The training is in support of our efforts to make Sierra Leone a safer place to live. The training may not have come at a better time when we are preparing ourselves to provide security for the upcoming elections,” he said.
He assured of their determination of steering effort to face the challenges ahead of the police to provide the much needed security for the polls.
IG Munu urged participants to make sure that their behaviour and attitude to work reflect the kind of training they have acquired.
He thanked the course facilitators from Ghana and Sierra Leone for a job well done and the Kofi Annan International Peace Keeping Training Center and German government for providing the necessary support for the training.
The Inspector General also urged participants to contextualize the knowledge gained and live up to expectations, while assuring that a research will be carried out to know the impact of the training within the SLP.
Course Director, Andreas Mutschke, stated that the training has provided participants with new insight and knowledge in the shape of curbing violence in elections.
He urged participants to make good use of the knowledge gained during the training course by putting into practice what they have learnt.
Director of Planning and Intelligence in the Office of National Security (ONS), Francis L. Keili said: “I hope you have been able to imbibe a lot during this training. I am sure your professionalism will increase in policing the election.”