It’s reprehensible that international and regional elections observers widely describing the March 7th and 31st elections in Sierra Leone as free, fair and successful, downplaying the spread of low-intensity forms of violence that took place across the country in the lead-up to the elections, on polling days, and the ongoing extreme violence in the immediate aftermath of the run-off election.
The manipulation during the electoral processes present politics of fear across the country, the persistence violence and intimidation could have profound implications on the stability, development and democratic consolidation process achieved during the past decade.
The phenomenon of electoral violence can also intensify into, long-drawn-out conflicts, as evident in Rwanda, Burundi and Côte d’Ivoire, after clashes over their various electoral procedures and election results.
Sierra Leoneans must continue to work very hard to avoid such a devastating pathway. However, the ruling Sierra Leone Peoples Party has been ineffective in handling the menace of electoral violence across the country, undermining the faith of many citizens in this new administration.
We therefore call on President Julius Maada Bio to immediately facilitate the deployment of law enforcement authorities in all violence hotspots and localities that are more susceptible to violence. President Bio must further ensure the establishment of strong and independent judicial inquiries into the violent atrocities perpetrated against members of all political groups in Sierra Leone.