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Former Ghana President, John Dramani Mahama, this evening prevented what would have marred an otherwise peaceful and smooth voting process in Sierra Leone.
Mr. Mahama, who is Chair of the Commonwealth Observer Group for the 2018 General Elections, displayed his unique diplomatic and conflict resolution skills to bear when he resolved a disturbing confrontation between the main opposition party, the Sierra Leone Peoples Party (SLPP) and the Police at the end of polls on Wednesday.
The police had apparently stormed the SLPP Tally Centre to conduct a search based on what they said was a tip off that the SLPP had some tracking devices at the Centre. With the SLPP officials led by Presidential Candidate, Julius Maada Bio, refusing to allow the police because they had no warrant, the situation just after the close of polls led to rioting with supporters of the opposition massing up and the police increasing their numbers.
President Mahama, who is highly revered by the people of Sierra Leone, and who had earlier led the Presidential Candidates to sign a peace pledge, was spotted walking through the SLPP supporters and police men around 6.38pm. He later entered the SLPP Tally Centre with the Area Commander of the Police and CID Officers, who had previously been denied access.
Following his personal assessment of the situation and meetings with the SLPP Candidate and the Police, the former Ghanaian President made a couple of phone calls to the Office of National Security and other Security Chiefs, emphasising that “it is important that we de-escalate the tension that is building here. We don’t have to allow a situation that will mar the beautiful voting process.”
The police and army personnel were withdrawn from the Tally Centre just as President Mahama was leaving.