In a move that is described as strategic, the Presidential candidate of the main opposition Sierra Leone People’s Party (SLPP), Brig. (Rtd) Julius Maada Bio yesterday engaged the leadership of the Sierra Leone Police, led by IG Dr. Richard Moigbeh on issues of security governance as part of his engagement with governance institutions in the country.
While thanking the Police leadership for welcoming him and delegation at a short notice, the SLPP Presidential candidate noted that he is aware of the cumbersome and critical role they play in the maintenance of peace and security as a premier security force.
He thanked the rank and file of the Police Force for the good work and expressed the hope that the force will always be a force for good.
However, Brig. (Rtd) Julius Maada Bio raised a number of concerns with the managers of the country’s security especially their role during elections and called for the establishment of guidelines for policing the March 7th elections.
He said with the establishment of policing guidelines for the election and with a clear line of communication between his party and the police force, it would lead to a drastic reduction of problem, as both the police and the SLPP membership will know what to do and what not to do before and during the elections.
Among concerns he raised were, the heavy handedness of police officers against SLPP members, the multiple/ rolling voting of some police officers on patrol on election day, the arrest and detention of SLPP Polling Agents and other forms of intimidation tactics which some Police officers employed during the 2012 elections as issues that need to be looked into by the police leadership.
Brig. Julius Maada Bio also brought to the notice of the police leadership what he referred to as ‘disturbing trend’ of alleged arson attack on the premises of three SLPP Chairmen around the country.
Responding, Police IG, Dr. Richard Moigbe thanked Maada Bio and entourage for what he called ‘frank discussion’ which he said, shows that the flagbearer of the SLPP is indeed looking forward to a peaceful election.
He assured the SLPP delegation of adequate security for all Sierra Leoneans irrespective of political affiliations during the electioneering period.
He said the police had developed a strategic development plan spanning for years with strategic focus on election and the safety of every citizens in every community around the country.
Dr. Moigbeh said the Police will look urgently into the issues raised by the leadership of the SLPP. He however dismissed claim by the National Chairman and Leader of the SLPP, Dr. Prince Alex Harding that the Police is anti-SLPP. “We are not anti- SLPP and we have no reason to be anti- SLPP”, Dr. Moigbeh assured.