The National Election Watch (NEW) has reported that there had been a reappearance of election thuggery during the recently concluded bye-elections.
NEW explained that in constituencies 49 in Port Loko and 103 in Western Area an organized group of about 30 men dressed in black attire in two Hilux vans referred to as “APC Election Task Force” created tensions in certain polling stations in both constituencies.
NEW stated that, “the APC Task Force’s presence was considered intimidating, and their reason for being there was unclear”. NEW also revealed that violence was reported in Port Loko where this task force complacency in responding was disappointing.
They pointed out that this behaviour was outrageous and should not be condoned, especially when the country was preparing for the local council elections.
NEW said they condemned this action and called on the leadership of the ruling party to investigate this action of thuggery and lawlessness, adding also that “Sierra Leoneans’ interests now lie in development and the rule of law and the government of the day should ensure national interests above their party ones”.
NEW also reported that the March 29th parliamentary by-elections had a very low voter turnout of less than 30% in all of the constituencies 103,49,42,28.
They however stated that NEC officials were in all the constituencies and worked well to ensure that voters had no problems during the vote. They also said voting materials were adequate in all the polling stations.