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Sierra Leone News: WANEP worried about elections

Ahead of the Sierra Leone general elections in March 2018 security institutions, civil society and citizens have pleaded with political parties and their supporters for a violence free and peaceful elections.
Among the civil society organizations that expressed concern and interest in violence-free elections is the West Africa Network for Peace building (WANEP) regional peace building organization with over 500 member organizations across West Africa.
Ahead of the March 2018 elections WANEP has highlighted key security threats to peace and the security of the elections and hotspot areas. In their mitigating election violence in West Africa through the National Early Warning Systems (NEWS), the organization had outline recommendation in mitigating that violence.
The National Network Coordinator for WANEP, Isata Mahoi, said prior to date there were increased concern by civil society organizations and citizens on whether the election timetable by the National Elections Commissions will be completed as planned.
The Sierra Leone Police (SLP) on Tuesday 21 November 2017 assured political parties, civil society, members of the media, voters and the International committee of their readiness, willingness and ability to provide a conducive security environment for credible elections. The SLP went on to procure 35 brand new vehicles to ease transportation of which only 18 were available and they had also reactivate their 112 free emergency call centre.
The National Security Coordinator in the Office of National Security (ONS) on Tuesday 21 November 2017 also assured the people of this country that the ‘security sector remains committed to ensuring that the type of security provided for the state fully takes cognizance of the human aspects bothering on a range of social, economic and political imperatives that affect people’s wellbeing.”
Despite all the assurances from political parties and the security sector, WANEP national coordinator is concerned over the active interference of the Paramount Chiefs into the elections. The 2013 Chieftaincy Act clearly states that they are non-partisan and their active participation into politics is ‘high risk factor’ for violence.
She called on stakeholders and government to put a hold on all secret society activity until after elections. Men in particular have been using it to intimidate women aspirants. She said they are against all forms of intimidation of women.
MK/13/12/17
By Mohamed Kabba
Twitter: @chikabba
Friday December 15, 2017.

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