By Sylvester Samba.
West Africa Network for Peace Building (WANEP) and a consortium of Civil Society, state and non-state actors with support from USAID, has in a press conference reiterated that the just concluded election process thus far was generally peaceful. Speaking from their Election Situation Room, Radisson Blu Hotel at Aberdeen in Freetown, WANEP outlined several observations among them are; inadequate voting materials at locations that had to cater for additional security deployed; allegation of campaign activities around polling stations; cancellation of Mayoral ballot in Bonthe District; allegations of intimidation of Police personnel by certain Presidential candidates: various levels of interruptions at certain stations and allegations of exclusion of observers in the counting process.
According to WANEP observers, the following recommendations were made together with their partners that political parties and their supporters continue to remain calm and abide by the protocols governing the declaration of results; NEC should expedite the release of the results and provide regular updates; the security personnel should continue to exercise the highest level of professionalism; the mainstream media should continue to report responsibly; citizens should show restraint in sharing inflammatory information about the election results on social media.
“In conclusion, we recognize the ongoing efforts of the former heads of state of Ghana, Nigeria, Liberia and former Vice President of South Africa in ensuring the conclusion of the peaceful conduct of our elections…To our international and development partners and in particular USAID, we express our profound gratitude to you for accompanying us through this journey”, WANEP noted.
During the election, WANEP Election Situation Room has received reports on the electoral process from its 500 accredited observers across the country.
The Situation Room was made up of four operational sections comprising of Data Gathering Room, Analysis Room, Decision Room, and the Communications Room. The Central Coordinating Situation Room was located at Radisson Blu in Freetown, while a Satellite Situation Room was located in Kono district.
“The choice of the satellite ESR is informed by the high level of violent threats to the peaceful conduct of elections in this district as identified from the National Early Warning System (NEWS)”, WANEP noted.