Integrated Elections Security Planning Committee (IESPC)

THE INTEGRATED ELECTIONS SECURITY PLANNING COMMITTEE (IESPC) FRAMEWORK; 2012 – 2023.

In the build-up to the general elections held in 2012, the National Security Council (NSC) established an ad-hoc committee designated as the Integrated Elections Security Planning Committee (IESPC). The IESPC concept serves as a framework for an integrated approach in the provision of security for all general and bye-elections in Sierra Leone. The framework has been used for elections security in previous elections and in the recently concluded multi-tier elections of 24th June 2023.

The National Security Coordinator (NS Coord), through the National Security Coordinating Group (NSCCG) will activate the IESPC after the announcement of the date for general elections. The committee is coordinated by him and its secretariat is serviced by the Planning and Inter Agency Relations (PIAR) Directorate within the Office of National Security (ONS), with the Director of PIAR chairing its meetings.

The IESPC is a multi-sectorial arrangement that brings together the relevant elections security management stakeholders and it is composed of state and non-state actors including:

  • The Office of National Security
  • Ministry of Internal Affairs (MIA)
  • Sierra Leone Police (SLP)
  • ICPNC
  • Republic of Sierra Leone Armed Forces (RSLAF)
  • Sierra Leone Correctional Service (SLCS)
  • National Fire Force (NFF)
  • Human Rights Commission (HRC)
  • WANEP
  • UNDP
  • Irish Aid etc

The broad mandate of the IESPC is the provision of overall coordination for the provision and management of election security throughout the electoral cycle. Its roles and responsibilities include the following:

  • The development of an Integrated Elections Security Strategy
  • The development of a holistic Communication Strategy
  • The development  of an election security Training Manual
  • Mobilization of resources for the Security Sector
  • Representing the Security Sector in election security meetings
  • Developing a concept note on Elections Road Mapping
  • Engaging EMBs to discuss the Election Road Map
  • Creating a climate for a safe and secured environment before, during and post-Elections phases

The IESPC is divided into sub-committees. These include Communications, Training and Operations sub-committees. These sub-committees spearheaded the development of the following elections security documents:

  • Elections Security Communication Strategy (Chair NEW)
  • Elections Security Training Manual (Chair ONS HR Director) and
  • Election Security Strategy (Chair SLP)
    • All strategies have a gender and human rights component with a focus on vulnerable groups.

Prior to the 2018 elections, the IESPC undertook the following activities:

  • Nationwide training to prepare security personnel for the Civil and Voter Registration process-February 2017
  • Election Violence and Security ToT course in Accra, Ghana –  March, 2017
  • Multi-Agency monitoring visit to Kono and Kailahun – July, 2017
  • Election Security Gold Level response tested during the National Security Exercise

 Activities prior to the 2023 elections included the following:

  • Developed a comprehensive Communication Strategy, Election Security Strategy and an elections security Training Manual
  • Developed SOPs and identified security personnel to deploy to the IESPC Secretariat      
  • Had UN Data Analysis Advisors in support to the Situation Room and Early Warning Mechanisms
  • Multi-Agency Nationwide Threat and Risk Assessment conducted (District Risks Mapping)

Key election messages for relevant groups for the general elections

  • Political Parties
  • Respect Electoral campaign periods
  • Encourage political tolerance
  • Discourage supporters loitering
  • Discourage consumption of alcohol
  • Use legal procedures to seek redress
  • Accept outcomes in good faith
  • Show respect for officials and the process
  • Avoid the use of able-bodied men as marshals  
  • Youth Groups, Women & Disabled
  • Ensure you register during the CVR process
  • Ensure your vital statistics are correct for registration
  • Avoid provocative behavior
  • Cooperate with officials
  • Do not vote twice
  • Give preference to the elderly, disabled, pregnant and lactating mothers
  • Election Observers/Civil Society Groups
  • Don’t dictate to ECSL officials
  • Observe, record & report
  • Report anomalies promptly and quietly
  • Promote non-violence campaigns
  • Provide relevant information to security personnel
  • Help sensitize the public
  • Display a high level of vigilance and professionalism
  • Do not put on political colours and emblems
  • Do not engage in political party activities

Note:

The following operational documents relating to the work of the IESPC have been uploaded into the ONS website on www.ons.gov.sl under the heading “Policy Documents.”