We will make sure no miscreant keeps the country ungovernable -ONS Coordinator

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By Ishmael Dumbuya

The National Security Coordinator (ONS), Abdulai Caulker, has in a press conference held at the ONS headquarters, Tower Hill, told pressmen that the ONS will not allow anybody to keep Sierra Leone ungovernable, adding that they will not sit by and allow miscreants to subvert the country’s democracy.

He explained that one of the key responsibilities of ONS is to provide the conducive environment for the holding of democratic elections, noting that the sector has always carried out such responsibility with professionalism and immense success leading to the conduct of four democratic elections in the country between 2002 and 2018, accompanied with smooth and peaceful transfer of political power.

“And so, the Saturday 24th June 2023 elections will not be radically different from previous general elections,” he stressed.

He went on to state that in line with their mandate, they have undertaken a number of activities in order to get themselves prepared for the June 24th elections, which he highlighted to be; the Reactivation of Integrated Election Security Planning Committee (IESPC), in order to support security sector planning and actions through development of appropriate strategies, and mobilize requisite funding support for the security sector to cover the elections. He added that a Training of Trainers (TOT) roundtables were held all over the country, which in turn were replicated to hundreds of junior security personnel that are participating in the elections.

“We have also reactivated the National Situation Room (NSR) to support the security sector Early Warning and Early Response Mechanism relating to the electoral process and related national security issues. The NSR has a Toll-Free Line of 119 accessible by all mobile networks in the country, and the public can call this number to report any election security related concerns,” he explained.

He climaxed by noting that the National Joint Operation Centre (NJOC), the Incident Command Centres (ICC’s) and the Forward Control Points (FCP’s) have all been reactivated to plan, coordinate and execute elections security operations both at the national and regional levels of the country.

“We recognize that election is a civil process, and it’s not our plan to over securitize it. As a result, security for the elections will be predominantly provided by the SLP supported by other auxiliary forces. However, the RSLAF is supporting the SLP under the Military Aid to Civil Power (MAC-P) policy,” he ended.

In his address, the Inspector General of Police, William Fayia Sellu, stated that the Sierra Leone Police has engaged in all the electoral processes, starting from registration, and the Voters ID distribution, and has been providing security for everyone involved in the process.

He added that their responsibility as police is to provide the utmost security required before, during and after elections.

The Commander Joint Force, Major General Dauda Alpha, thanked the ONS Coordinator for shedding light on  providing security on polling day, noting that the press brief was timely in order to chat the way forward in manners’ in which we can conduct ourselves during polling. He explained that from their RSLAF perspective, their mandate is to protect and preserve the territorial integrity of the state.

He ended that they will provide support to the Sierra Leone Police through the Military Aid to Civil Power (MAC-P) in ensuring that there is a peaceful, free, and fair and a democratic election.

In attendance were senior officers from fire force, prison, police, military and Members of the Fourth Estate.

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