Sierra Leone: Police Boss Assures Robust Security for 2018 Elections
By Ishmael Sallieu Koroma
The new Inspector General of Police has assured the public that they are in a position to provide robust security for the conduct of the 2018 multitier elections, adding that his men are ready to put modalities in place to ensure the conduct peaceful, free, fair and credible elections.
Richard Moigbe gave the assurance yesterday during a consultative engagement with civil society organisations and the media on a peaceful conduct of the March 7 elections, at the Senior Officers' Mess at Kingtom in Freetown.
Speaking during the consultative meeting, the police chief noted providing security across the country on elections day would be a herculean task as everybody expects them to deliver.
"We treat the security of the state very seriously and that's why we are putting up strategies for police officers to be professional," he said.
He asserted that the police have been able to manage security of the state very well throughout the years, adding that they have been planning for the elections since 2016, reviewing as they go, to confront emerging security threats.
The Inspector General of Police reminded his audience that very soon official campaigns would commence, with the police are expected to provide security throughout the electioneering process, adding that they do not work in isolation as other security actors would help them prove security during the conduct of the 2018 elections.
He urged all players to be committed in ensuring a peaceful outcome to the elections.
He further urged police officers not to publicly support any political party as they should be impartial, neutral, professional, and non- partisan in their line of duty.
"We will meet with other political parties, religious leaders and other stakeholders in our quest to enhancing free, fair and credible elections," he said.
The new police boss said his men are grappling with transportation and communication challenges, but disclosed that they are on the verge of installing a 112 toll line for citizens to report distress call from across the country.
Marcella Samba-Sesay, a civil society activist and head of National Elections Watch (NEW), praised the Sierra Leone Police for organising the consultative forum, stating that there was need for such a forum as the elections draw closer.
She said sanity in the security sector would be key to the conduct of credible, free and fair elections, adding that there was need for the police to develop a policing guideline for officers in the March 7th elections.
Commissioner, Independent Media Commission (IMC), Francis Sowa described the consultative meeting as timely, adding that the media regulation authority was happy for participate in the forum.
He noted that there should be information flow between the police and the media, thus urging more interaction between them.
"The security of journalist should be protected and enhanced and by extension the free flow of information to journalist as most times they find it difficult to access information when they needed it," he said.