By Ibrahim Kabba Turay
The Sierra Leone Bar Association (SLBA) has commended the Electoral Commission for Sierra Leone ECSL for conducting free, fair and peaceful elections on June 24th.
They recommended that the ECSL should improve on logistics planning to ensure early and effective distribution of election materials to designated polling stations in future elections.
SLBA recommended that the ECSL should provide adequate essential election materials for all polling stations to prevent delays during voting, and ensure that all ECSL staff at polling stations are clearly and adequately identified to prevent imposters and facilitate smooth voting process on elections day in coming election.
They called on ECSL to improve on its communications with the public to address misinformation and disinformation, which they say have the potential to undermine the credibility of the institution.
They noted that election observation groups should refrain from announcing election results because it is not only a usurpation of the constitutional mandate of ECSL, but it also heightens political tension.
“Where concerns are raised by any election observation group or political party, the issues should be determined in a court of competent jurisdiction. Save for the few challenges which the SLBA believes did not materially affect the outcome of the 24th June 2023 multi-tier elections, the SLBA notes that the June 24th 2023 multi-tier elections were free, fair and largely peaceful. The SLBA therefore commends the ECSL and the security personnel for their selfless service,” the statement reads.
The SLBA observed the blatant misuse and abuse of social media, with serious misinformation, disinformation and falsehood posted and circulated across major social media platforms such as WhatsApp, Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Tik Tok; and among others, fueled by political agents, leading to heighten political and ethno-regional tensions.