PRESS RELEASE Freetown, 3rd April, 2018
Preliminary Statement by the Women’s Situation Room-Sierra Leone on the Presidential Runoff election of March 31st 2018 in Sierra Leone
The Women’s Situation Room (WSR) – Sierra Leone observed the Presidential runoff elections of 31st March 2-18 and is pleased to release this preliminary statement on the environment during and after the polling process as we await the announcement of the results by the National Electoral Commission (NEC).
The WSR-SL deployed 507 observers across the country. We commend the people of Sierra Leone for their peaceful and orderly conduct throughout the process. The WSR also commends the National Electoral Commission (NEC), the Sierra Leone Police and political party leaders and supporters for playing their part and contributing to the peaceful conduct of the polls.
We set up a call centre for members of the public to report on elections related incidents via our toll free number 977. We are pleased to inform you that the number of calls reduced drastically from 1914 (5th – 7th March 2018) as compared to 484 from the 31st March to 2nd April 2018 of which only 49 were reports were complaints about intimidation of voters by security forces and stalwarts from both political parties.
The WSR-SL observed the following on polling day:
- Physical violence and attacks on NEC staff and voters specifically at Polling Station 06 of polling centre 16172 at the YWCA Preparatory School Brookfields, where a female voter was assaulted by the NEC Ballot Box Controller. Prior to this incident the latter had likewise been assaulted by a male voter.
- At the Brookfields Hotel in Freetown, an ensuing fracas between APC and SLPP supporters created tension, fear and unrest in that area.
- At Constituency 087, Ward 269, in Bo district, a NEDC staff Wata Kawa was caught staining ballot papers with ink.
- At the Dwozark Community Centre, Polling Centre 16190, Polling Station 06 tensions arose and voting came to a standstill when it became known that the number of voters on the Voter register exceeded the number of ballots deployed by NEC. The situation was resolved by NEC hours later and through the intervention of the WSR-SL, everyone was able to exercise their franchise.
The WSR-SL expresses the following concerns:
- The shutting down of the Internet;
- Gun shots fired at Juba close to the residence of the SLPP Standard Bearer.
The WSR-SL is encouraged by the signing of a communique by the flagbearers of the APC and SLPP enabling the NEC to continue the tallying and counting of the ballots. The WSR urges all political parties and their supporters to remain calm and peaceful for the collation, tallying and announcement of the final results by the National Electoral Commission, and to accept the official elections results when published by the NEC.
The Women’s Situation Room-Sierra Leone appreciates the cooperation of the NEC and the Sierra Leone Police who staffed our Intervention Desks.
“PEACE DAE NA WE HAN”