The United Nations Peace Building Funds (UNPBF) has approved a project submitted by the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) and the United Nations International Children’s Emergency Funds (UNICEF),
titled “Promote the Creation of an Enabling Environment for the Conduct of Peaceful Elections and the Strengthening of Social Cohesion in Sierra Leone”.

One of the key interventions in the project is the roll-out of the application which is a comprehensive support package designed by UNDP at the global level and has its core online monitoring and fact-checking platform.

The project aims to minimize tensions and prevent conflict by identifying and analyzing disinformation and hate speeches in the electoral process.

Owing to the above, UNDP and UNICEF, considering the Sierra Leone Police as a key institution and an essential component in the electioneering process, decided to engage the SLP at their Headquarters’ conference room, George Street, in Freetown.

The engagement looked into a wide range of issues, notably, the media strategy, community engagement, and sensitization in policing the electioneering process.

AIG Mohamed Braima-Jah, the Ag. The Director of Operations, spoke extensively on the issue of social media, its usefulness, and challenges; more so on the issue of hate speeches and incitement, of which the Police are trying very hard to minimize such emerging threats from social media misuse.

AIG Sahr Yomba Senesie, outgoing Director of Gender and Community Affairs, dilated on the preparedness of the Police in policing the three-tier elections to provide a safe and secured environment.

He further noted that the SLP collaborates with other agencies to fight crime and is equally focused on strengthening partnerships with other agencies for the smooth policing of the electioneering processes before, during, and after; he added.

ASP Mohamed Bobson Senu, the Deputy Head of Media, stressed the essence of the weekly press briefings, a platform to inform and enlighten the public about its activities, policies, and operations. He further threw light on the courtesy call made by some Civil Society Organizations to the Inspector General of Police William Fayia Sellu; expressing a desire to sign an MoU with the Police which shall take into cognizance partnering with the Police on fighting crime.

Superintendent S. S. Conteh the Deputy Head of the Community Relations Department (CRD) clearly and distinctly spoke on disinformation and misinformation which he said, are some of the challenges of social media. He furthered that, there is a challenge in detecting fake videos, that tend to misinform the public.

On this, he appealed for the training of police personnel, especially the police media team.

The UNDP and UNICEF team led by Augustine Golama, from the Ministry of Political and Public Affairs, commended the Police for being receptive, educative, and informative, as much has been learned by them.