By Alhaji Haruna Sani
With funding from the International Republican Institute (IRI), the Talking Drum Studio (TKS), has set up a situation room and deployed high-level elections security observers across the country.
Updating newsmen during a meeting organised by Talking Drum Studio at their Head Office at Tengbe Town, Freetown, the National Director, Talking Drum, Alpha Kamara said their observers will be collecting data around violent incidents in their various communities and sending to the newly set-up situation room in Freetown.
He said data collected on election violence will be shared with the relevant authorities for appropriate actions. Kamara went on to state that the meeting was one out of many that would be held ahead and after the June 24 elections.
According to Kamara, the data captured by the observers will help TDS and the relevant authorities to have a clear understanding on where the hot spots are and how they are.
He said as elections draw closer, incidents around electoral violence are mounting, adding that as incidents unfold, TDS will be there to dish out real time data.
Recently collected data for May were presented to stakeholders during the meeting. The data were categorized according to districts and type of violence among others.
According to the data, a total of 11 political, 2 electoral, and 1 uncategorized violence were recorded in 6 districts of the country in May. The data were recorded as follows, Tonkolili 4, Kambia 3, Kono 2, Bonthe 2, Moyamba 1 and Kerene 1.
Francis Languba Keili, Chief of Staff, Office of the National Security, applauded the strides of TDS for instituting the situation room that captures elections related violence.
He said the emergence of social media has paved the way for people who want to create ill will, create mischief and destabilize the state, making social media one of the greatest threats to national security.
He said most of the people who abuse social media are living outside the country, thereby making it difficult to get rid of them.
He said the best way to tackle false information on social media is to have an alternative source to counter false information and disabuse the minds of mischief makers.
He said the ONS has dedicated a team that swiftly responds to social media rhetorics.