As Politicians commence elections’ campaigns across the country, there is the need to admonish and remind the Sierra Leone Police Force (SLP) of their role to impartially provide security for all and sundry irrespective of status and political affiliations in the country.
I write this piece in response to the back and forth press leases between the Sierra Leone Police and the main opposition party, All People’s Congress (APC) wherein the Police raised concern about an audio on social media and also reminded the APC about the Public Order Act No 46 of 1965.
The APC on the other hand remined the Police of citizens right to peaceful protest which is a fundamental right guaranteed in chapter III of the 1991 Constitution of Sierra Leone.
Additionally, in another APC press release, the APC complained of how their party supporters were being attacked allegedly by supporters of the ruling SLPP party wherein the Police allegedly arrested the APC victims and took them to Bo leaving the SLPP perpetrators.
Let me state this, the bias behaviour of the Sierra Leone Police is not new in the eyes of Sierra Leoneans.
The Police has been accused of being manipulated and controlled by ruling party politicians over the years.
To buttress the above, the 2018 SLPP Manifesto states, “We will build on the progressive reforms of the security sector that commenced after the end of the war, with a focus on professionalization, de-politicisation and equipping of all forces and agencies for effective service delivery.”
The SLPP in 2018 promised to de-politicised all forces and agencies for effective service delivery. Despite the promised made and since the SLPP is not at the receiving end at the moment, the Sierra Leone Police does not seem to have changed for the better.
The SLPP experienced the same ill-treatments at the hand of the police when they were in opposition, and they were not happy about it and even promised to depoliticise the police and other forces, yet they have not effectuated their promise.
The APC which was accused of using this same Police at their advantage is now at the receiving end, but my question is, how long shall Sierra Leoneans continue to experience this unfair manner of policing from the SLP?
I want to implore the leadership of the Sierra Leone Police and security agencies to maintain impartiality particularly during the June 24th elections. The police should not allow to be utilised by politicians to either harass or intimidate citizens of Sierra Leone.
I also want to remind the Sierra Leone Police and other security agencies that they have role to play in furthering the democratic process in the country by ensuring that they provide safe environment for all Sierra Leoneans prior, during and after elections irrespective of political affiliations.
To the ruling party politicians and their supporters, I want to remind you that few years ago, you were in opposition and many of you were treated unfairly by these same police some of you are encouraging to mal-treat your fellow Sierra Leoneans because of political differences.
You are now in a better position to change the bad policing pattern in the country because the SLPP will not remain in power forever, yet you are nurturing the bad policing habit of treating opposition members unfairly and unreasonably in the country.
To the opposition and their supporters, I also implore you to obey the laws of the country and also ensure that you play your own part in maintaining the peace, stability, and tranquillity in the country. After all, you had the opportunity to effect positive change in the Sierra Leone Police when it comes.
Disclaimer: Comments expressed here do not reflect the opinions of Sierraloaded or any employee thereof.
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