Office of National Security activates two election security secretariats for Sierra Leone's General Elections

May 28, 2023

Office of National Security staff in a briefing

UNDP/Fatmata Katta

As Sierra Leone’s general elections are approaching, the country’s security agencies are stepping up plans to ensure t the campaign and voting process will be peaceful.

On 11 May, 2023, the Office of National Security (ONS) launched two dedicated election secretariats (the National Situation Room (NSR), and the Integrated Elections Security Planning Committee (IESPC) which will work jointly to provide credible information to the public and consult with relevant authorities to address potential acts of violence.

Addressing members of the NSR during the activation ceremony, the National Security Coordinator and ONS Head, Abdulai Caulker said, "the close collaboration of the IESPC and the NSR is key in responding to national security threats and addressing violence before, during, and after the elections.”

Mr. Caulker called on the two secretariats to work in a coordinated manner and to collaborate with other situation Rooms established by other organizations, to ensure credible information is shared with the public.

As the early warning response hub for national security, including, election security and disaster management, the NSR will process calls to its 119 tool-free line. In addition, it will report serious incidents at political rallies including campaign violence, on polling day, and on issues of elections rigging; and share with the IESPC which serves as a conduit between NSR and other situation rooms, for further clarification before dissemination to the public. 

IESPC will enhance the security sector’s ability to manage potential election-related conflict, promote collaboration and expertise-sharing between the agencies, and raise public awareness and trust. It also oversees the elections security communication strategy. 

The staff of the two secretariats includes senior personnel from the Sierra Leone Police , the Armed Forces , the Correctional Center, and the National Fire Force (, as well as representatives from civil society (in IESPC), the Political Parties Regulation Commission , the Electoral Commission of Sierra Leone , the National Elections Watch and other elections management bodies. 

The activation of the NSR and IESPC was made possible thanks to the technical support of the joint UNDP/UNICEF UN Peace Building Funding (PBF) project (“Promote the creation of an enabling environment for the conduct of peaceful elections and the strengthening of social cohesion in Sierra Leone”) which deployed two UN police advisors and provided information and communication technology equipment (19 laptop computers, 57 tablets, 10 mobile phones, and other ICT materials ) to strengthen the data collection and analysis capacities of the two secretariats. 

The overall goal of the project support to ONS is to contribute to a peaceful and secure environment before, during, and after the June 2023 multi-tier election processes in Sierra Leone through preventive and mitigating activities of the Security Sector. 

The Joint UNDP/UNICEF PBF project “Promote the creation of an enabling environment for the conduct of peaceful elections and the strengthening of social cohesion in Sierra Leone” is administered by UNDP with the funding support provided by the UN Peace Building Fund.