This medium was made to understand that the Sierra Leone Police (SLP) has observed with disdain in recent times that some political parties have been using their supporters as security apparatus (Marshals) whenever their parties have activities. Some Political parties have even gone as far as using these Marshals as personal security or body guards.
It is against this backdrop that the Inspector General of Police (IGP) Dr. Ambrose Michael Sovula on the 3rd March 2021 called on the leadership of the various political parties in his office at Police Headquarters to have a very frank discussion on the issue of marshals.
In a very assertive posture, the IGP openly and frankly admonished party representatives that the use of marshals in any shape or form is illegal and does not have any legal base.
He went further to say that; “we cannot have the SLP as the national law enforcement body and at the same time have another body or component seemingly to serve the same purpose”. The IGP categorically told them that the use of marshals by political parties is not allowed and will not be tolerated for as long as the SLP is in existence.
Several contributions were made by representatives of the Sierra Leone People’s Party (SLPP), the All People’s Congress (APC) party, the Coalition for Change (C4C) party and the National Grand Coalition (NGC) party. The Meeting ended in a very peaceful atmosphere with a concluding resolution that very few political party marshals could be allow to work alongside the Police but however insisted that it is the SLP that should always provide security for all Political parties in the country.
On the same issue, in a Security Sector media release dated 3rd March, 2021 and signed by Abdulai Caulker, Acting National Security Coordinator, for and on behalf of the Security Sector, it was clearly highlighted that the public is informed that the Sector is concerned about the growing trend amongst political parties in nurturing able-bodied party loyalists as marshals.
It underscored that the idea of organizing party stalwarts to serve as marshals for political party contenders has characterized the country’s political landscape spanning a decade.
Political parties, it stated, were allowed to organize marshals to complement the efforts of the security forces by maintaining decorum during political activities and campaigns.
“Indeed, the conduct of marshals used to be largely peaceful and unprovocative, but presently this is not the case,” the Release furthered adding that lately, the Security Sector has had to contend with violence incited or perpetrated by marshals set up by political parties across the country, clearly undermining peace, security and national development.
The Security Sector maintained that in consideration of the potential threat posed to national security by the continued use of marshals, a ban has been placed on the cultivation/grooming and use of marshals by all political parties with immediate effect.
The Sector is assuring political parties and the general public that it has the capacity to provide professional security services to all who are entitled and to maintain law and order in the country.
It continued by reminding the leadership of all political parties of their obligation to ensure that the conduct of their members is not inimical to national security.
“They are therefore encouraged to use their influence on their members in a positive way to foster peace and security in the country,” it admonished concluding that the law will frown at any political party, person or group of persons who attempt to contravene the ban on the use of marshals by political parties and/or under the guise of any other social grouping.
(C) The Calabash Newspaper