23 November 2012

Sierra Leone: SLANSA Satisfied With Elections Process

Director of the Sierra Leone Action Network on Small Arms (SLANSA), Madam Florella Hazeley, has described the 2012 elections as generally peaceful and orderly, though faced with early problems which were later arrested by NEC.

As one of the non-governmental organizations that observed the 2012 polls, SLANSA deployed 50 observers in the Western Urban, Bo, Kenema, Kailahun, Pujehun and Kambia.

On the whole, the SLANSA director noted that voters turned out in their large numbers to exercise their franchise, which she said demonstrated the awareness of Sierra Leoneans in exercising their voting rights. "People turned out in their large numbers to vote. Sierra Leoneans are now aware of their voting rights and were curious to demonstrate it," she said.

She noted that the organization observed the 2007 elections, deploying over one hundred observers across the country and that they hope to increase the number in the next elections if funding permits them.

Madam Hazeley commended the Sierra Leone police, who according to her, were found to be dutiful and respectful to voters and that there was no reported case of human rights violation. "There were no reported cases of voter intimidation. The police were dutiful and respectful," she said.

She observed that there was little shortage of voting materials, but that such could not disrupt the process, noting that electricity was also among one of the challenges observed, which according to her slightly delayed the counting process.

Madam Hazeley further noted that there were only two political parties - the Sierra Leone People's Party and the ruling All People's Congress - present in most of the polling stations across the country, but that the entire process was transparent. "The counting process was transparent as party agents were present during the process," she said.

She commended NEC for what she referred to as a job well done and that the commission did correct some of the mistakes made in the 2007 elections.

She called on all and sundry to continue the kind of voter education in terms of non-violence elections, noting that "Sierra Leoneans are tired of war and ready to move on with their lives in a peaceful atmosphere.

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