The National Electoral Commission has in a statement issued on Wednesday March 21st, accused the Sierra Leone Police of persistently intimidating their staff through unwarranted intrusions.
“In recent days, however, the SLP has unwarrantedly entered NEC premises, unannounced and at random, interrogated NEC staff, and obstructed them from performing their duties. In addition to delaying the time-sensitive work that is critical to the conduct of the Presidential Run-off election, unsystematic and confrontational nature of these visits has served to intimidate some staff,” the statement said.
The commission reminded the public that it is the constitutionally–mandated body charged with responsibility to conduct all public elections, and that they are currently engaged in preparatory activities related to credible and efficient conduct of the forth coming presidential run-off election in all district electoral offices and regional Tally Centres.
The commission though acknowledged the role of the Sierra Leone Police in ensuring electoral security, adding that they have routinely cooperated with them as working partners – opening their doors, providing information and availing their staff.
The commission reiterated their commitment to conducting electoral activities according to law and upholding the constitutional and human rights of citizens, including their own staff, thus expressing continued willingness to cooperate with the Sierra Leone Police.
NEC further reminded the Sierra Leone Police that ‘the commission is the sole electoral management body charged with the responsibility to conduct public elections in Sierra Leone, and should refrain from actions that may obstruct electoral activities, apparent intimidation of our electoral staff or undermine the credibility and independence of the electoral process in any way.
Meanwhile, the Sierra Leone Police had asked that they be in charge of all electoral materials for the run-off election, but the National Electoral Commission vehemently resisted the bizarre offer and reiterated that they are the sole body mandated to be in charge of electoral materials.
The presidential candidates of the ruling All Peoples Congress and the main opposition Sierra Leone Peoples Party, Dr. Samura Kamara and Retired Brigadier Julius Maada Bio respectively, will go head-to-head in a crucial run-off in which the latter leads by more than 14,000.