WADEMOS calls for highest standards of professionalism during elections 

The West Africa Democracy Solidarity Network (WADEMOS) has urged law enforcement agencies and security personnel to uphold the highest standards of professionalism and impartiality during the elections as promised during pre-election visits. 

WADEMOS made the call when they embarked on a pre-election solidarity mission to Sierra Leone ahead of its forthcoming presidential, parliamentary, mayoral, and local council elections slated for June 24, 2023.

In a statement issued by the Communications and Digital Platforms Officer, Jonah Eledi, it is imperative that security forces act without any form of intimidation or bias, avoid over-securitization and allow citizens to exercise their right to vote freely and without fear.

The mission, which took place from May 15 – 18, noted the high level of mistrust coupled with the spread of misinformation and disinformation and hate speech against political opponents, suppression of the political and civic space, poor quality of the Voter ID Card, and low voter education on the electoral systems as some of the challenges characterizing the political environment.

“WADEMOS’ monitoring of the electoral environment subsequently shows an improvement in voter education and sensitization in support of peaceful and credible elections by all stakeholders. 

“We recognize the Electoral Commission for Sierra Leone’s (ECSL) ongoing countrywide training of election officials, the enhanced sensitization of voters on the Proportional Representation (PR) system for the legislative and local council elections and mechanisms for post-election adjudication for parliamentary elections, and the campaign against election offenses.

“WADEMOS similarly applauds the efforts of political parties to promote peaceful and credible elections with the signing of the Peace Pledge.

“This disinformation campaign poses a serious threat to the integrity, peace, security, and credibility of the electoral process.Again, we vehemently condemn the incessant spewing of hate speech and the rise of ethnocentric, inflammatory, and incendiary language particularly through social media.

“To this extent, we call on all stakeholders to uphold the mediation and dialogue mechanisms defined in the election regulations and laws notably the Political Parties Regulatory Commission (PPRC) Act, the Public Elections Act of 2022, and the 1991 Constitution to address all complaints and petitions related to the election,” the group said.