Armed Personnel Intimidate Voters

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At Polling Center 16160, Ward 430, Constituency 125 (Buxton Methodist Primary School at Charles Street), Mohamed Sowa informed AYV that an armed RSLAF personnel was permanently stationed inside the station; and that when it was brought to the attention of international observers at the scene, the lone armed military personnel informed that it was his duty.

However, according to Mr. Sowa who was there as party agent representing the Sierra Leone People’s Party (SLPP), the armed RSLAF personnel in question, despite being prevailed upon to leave the polling station and deploy elsewhere; resisted, saying, he agrees to the condition but that, he would be coming in and out of the polling station from time to time.

Try as AYV could, the armed personnel in question refused to respond to questions and even pushed away this reporter.

But following intervention by local and international election observers at the scene, the matter was resolved. Partners in resolving this issue included National Election Watch (NEW), Citizens’ Advocacy Network (CAN), HEAL- Sierra Leone among others.

In other developments, there were similar reported incidences of instances that can be described as: ‘intimidation’ perpetrated by certain military and police personnel designated and deployed in this area to provide security during and after the 31st March, 2018 presidential runoff.

Contrary to the above scenario, the performance of security forces (military and police) at polling center 16185 situated at Belia Park (Eagle Basket-mouth Court), ward 434, Constituency 127 indicated that, they (police) were on top of the security situation at this particular polling station.

Party agents that also spoke on the above issue included Aiah Martin Kanawa of polling center 16156; ward 429, constituency 124 who stated that he is of the opinion that the process is peaceful and that his presidential candidate and party are willing and ready to accept the result of the presidential runoff election.

Polling Center Manager (PCM) of polling center 16164, ward 430, constituency 125 (Open Space Amazing Grace Primary School), Sadiku Kamara said he was in charge of three thousand, four hundred, thirty eight (3,438) voters and that he would ensure that each of these voters exercise their right as long as they report to his center.

At the same Amazing Grace Primary School, a party agent, Ebu Richards complained that initially when the polls were opened as early as 7AM on 31st Saturday, March, 2018, the process was fair, transparent and credible.

However, she mentioned that apart from a misunderstanding about a voter who wrongly marked a ballot paper which took the intervention of party agents, national and international election observers at Center 16164, ward 430, constituency 125 to correct, it could have sparked into an incident.

Investigation continues.