Following the High Court injunction that restrained the National Electoral Commission (NEC) from conducting the March 27 run-off election, pending the hearing and determination of the matter in court, there were wild rumours making the rounds on social media that the Sierra Leone Police, in response to the injunction, had “sealed-off” the premises of NEC. Some people even went further to say that the Police had instructed NEC staff to stop work and ordered them to vacate the NEC’s premises.
POLICE CHIEF DR. RICHARD MOIGBE
Whilst monitoring the social media, the SLP Media Team realised that the BBC stringer in one of his social media posts sought to debunk that information. But for whatever reason(s), some people held firm to that erroneous information and continued to spread it wild, with a negative undertone.
Our investigation revealed that the intentions, undoubtedly, were not far from the usual desperate move by certain people in society to portray the SLP in a bad light; with the view to bringing it into disrepute. We hold the view that their objective was and still aimed at denting the image of the Police by feeding the “gullible” public with tainted information that could bring to question the credibility, neutrality, and fairness of the Institution during this critical period of our nation’s political history.
The question is, were the Police there at NEC or did they go there at all? The answer is yes! but not for the purposes rumoured around. For the records, the SLP, before now, had maintained and continued to maintain a static deployment at the NEC’s premises. In addition, the SLP, on a daily basis, undertake routine patrols around the NEC’s Western Area Headquarters, as the premises are considered to be important and critical to the nation.
The SLP, as an Institution, has a sacred responsibility to protect lives and property; for which the staff and premises of NEC are no exception. Let it be known, therefore, that after the High Court ruling on 24/03/18, certain lawyers who are connected to the matter in court, for which the injunction was granted, approached the SLP’s leadership and requested for a police escort to enhance their movement to the premises of NEC, so as to serve notices to certain officials working therein. The request was granted and a police escort was provided.
This is a normal practice, as the Inspector General of Police is the Sheriff of the court, and by extension, the State. People familiar with the operations of the courts in Sierra Leone, (especially for issues bordering on the serving of processes/notices and the like), can attest to this fact. The Police, for most times, are called upon to assist, in this direction; given its constitutional functions, as an Institution of the State.
The information, therefore, making the rounds that the SLP had sealed-off the premises of NEC Headquarters and/or ordered NEC officials to stop work and vacate the premises, on account of the court’s injunction, is/are deliberately false, misleading, and mischievous. At no point did the SLP seal-off NEC’s premises or ordered her staff to vacate the premises.
Whoever was and still peddling such erroneous information was and still not helpful to maintaining the stability of the State. Admittedly, their actions fell far below the expected standards of fair and accurate reporting.
For any information and clarification, please call the Toll-free 112 line from all mobile networks in Sierra Leone.
SLP Media Team.