Freetown was close to going up in political flames – where was the president and his senior ministers?
Sierra Leone Telegraph: 29 April 2016
Whilst large numbers of unemployed and disaffected youths and supporters of the Koroma government were drowning their sorrows of poverty and joblessness, by dancing in the streets of Freetown on Independence celebration day, a brutal carnage was being unleashed by the police on members and supporters of the country’s main opposition SLPP in their party office.
Those old enough to remember their history will take note that this was the same political tactics used by the former ruling APC party dictator – president Siaka Stevens against the opposition SLPP to muzzle and take away their civil liberty, which led to the declaration of a One Party State in the 1970s.
It was not just the brutality of the Internal Security Unit (ISU) of president Stevens that was the only worrying concern for human rights activists back then.
It was the president’s Machiavellian manner with which he plotted against and trapped the opposition into reacting, which then prompted his deadly security apparatus to unleash violence on unarmed citizens.
As a result of the widespread civil disturbance and violence that ensued, president Stevens was able to take advantage of this breakdown in law and order to declare a state of emergency – effectively a police state under his direct command.