12 March 2018

Sierra Leone: Polling Day Processes 'Unfolded Peacefully and Orderly' - AU Observers

Former South Africa President Kgalema Motlanthe (second from left) headed the AU EOM in Sierra Leone. He was joined by other ex-Presidents from the continent, who head other observer missions

The African Union Election Observation Mission (AUEOM), headed by former South Africa President Kgalema Motlanthe, told pressmen in Freetown last Fridy (9th March) that they observed the opening and closing processes in 18 polling stations and observed the voting process in 192 polling stations of which 55.2% were in rural areas and 44.8%(86) in urban areas and 11.1%(2) in rural areas.

"The mission noted that polling day processes unfolded peacefully and orderly," said Mr. Motlanthe.

The AUEOM mission, he said, coverage polls counting in 88.9% (16) of the polling stations in urban areas and 11.1%(2) in rural areas, while observers reported queues outside polling stations prior to opening, and in some instances noted that voters were not properly directed to the appropriate polling stations.

"The mission also reported late opening at 38.9%(7) of the polling stations visited, however voting began at no later than 7:30a.m. except for mayoral election at isolated places in Bonthe," the AUEOM statement said, adding that the late opening was largely due to late setup of polling stations by officials and in one case, the late arrival of polling materials at the Any Barray Court polling centre in Bonthe.

The AUEOM said they observed that polling staff and party agents were competent, while closing and counting procedures were largely good.

The observation team said the statement was just a preliminary report and that a final report would be released upon the conclusion of the process and shared with the relevant authorities.

As part of their recommendations for consideration, they urged appropriate affirmative action measures to enhance women's participation and security measures such as restriction of vehicular movement on Election Day.

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