An open letter to Sierra Leone’s Inspector General of Police – Dr. Richard Moigbe

Jusu Kallon Esq: Sierra Leone Telegraph: 16 February 2018

Permit me to start by acknowledging the daily sacrifices of the Sierra Leone Police (SLP) in securing our internal peace and security, whilst contending with stormy election issues within our liberal constitutional framework. It is my considered view that one has to be foolhardy enough to envy your person and office at this time.

Sir, I salute you for honouring the invitation of our Membership of the Sierra Leone Bar Association (SLBA) for the Launch of the “Handbook on Electoral Laws and Processes”, held at the British Council Auditorium on 12th February, 2018. During the said Launch, you gave quite an interesting talk on the challenges and successes of the SLP. Laudable indeed.

Sir, you also spent reasonable time on the topical issue of Police Restriction/Ban on the Movement of People on Elections Day, 7th March 2018; albeit you could not stay on for the Question and Answer Session. (Photo: Head of Sierra Leone Police – Dr. Richard Moigbe).

During your said presentation, I saw a marked difference from your earlier position which, I consider worthwhile: That the said Restriction/Ban is limited to private and commercial vehicles. That people are free to move around, as long as they refrain from unlawful acts. Granted.

However, one needs not emphasize the fact that there are many voters who did not register close to their homes and premises during the Voter Registration Process. There are equally aged and physically challenged electorates, whose best bet to accessing Voting Centers is via private or commercial means. This is particularly so for many in Urban Centers and Communities across the country, where most of the Voting Population reside.

It is fundamentally my view that for the forthcoming elections to be Free, Fair and Credible, all eligible voters must be provided unhindered means and access to the Polling/Voting Booths to cast their votes.

Clearly, you where spot-on in saying that this country has maintained some level of civility in the way elections have been conducted in the past.

Sir, why give the impression (now) as though we are still in the war years? Why should the country come to a halt on Elections Day?

How about those who did not register to vote and want to go about their normal business? Have you considered the economic effect of restrictions?

Sir, with the utmost respect to your and institution’s position, one can excuse the Sierra Leone People’s Party (SLPP) and all other Political Parties, who have decided not to sign your MOU.

In other words, they have every reason to be suspicious. Sir, why not? It is said that anything too good to be true is certainly not.

Political Parties can better or best participate in an election where their supporters are allowed unhindered access to the Polling Booths.

Accordingly, I implore and entreat you to have a rethink of your current position by presenting the Elections Day as a normal day, so that, people can have unhindered access to their private as well as public and commercial vehicles to enable them quick access to Voting Stations or normal business routines. Thank you for your time.

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