Sierra Leone Telegraph: 6 July 2016
Fellow Sierra Leoneans.
Political Violence is threatening to derail Sierra Leone’s fragile democracy.
Disturbing reports from Constituency 001 in Kailahun District, indicate a rapidly deteriorating situation ahead of the July 9th by-election.
People have been brutally assaulted and normal life has been generally disrupted. It is reported that many local leaders of the opposition SLPP spent last night in hiding.
This appears to be a rational, even if a temporary response to a situation in which the governing APC party has a singular monopoly over the instruments of coercion, intimidation and repression.
Political violence is a crude voter suppression strategy employed by an unpopular regime to deny victory to opposition candidates.
I witnessed this phenomenon as a young activist during the era of APC one-party dictatorship under the late Siaka Stevens.
In recent times this foul strategy is being pushed to centre stage wherever the government has been rattled by the rise of a wave of popular opinion that seems set to sway votes in a different direction.
Political violence is very bad for the health of our democracy. It undermines trust in government; it breeds a climate of authoritarian rule; and, worse, it bleeds the soul of the nation by its corrosive effect on all institutions, including the police and army, with incalculable implications.
Whatever the reasons for the mounting tension and unacceptable escalation of virulent partisanship, the Alie Kabba Campaign is calling on all actors in the unfolding drama to return from the abyss and engage on common grounds of peace, tolerance and respect for the will of the people.
We condemn all forms of political violence, for our democracy will remain precariously fragile if we allow political violence and thuggery to determine the outcome of elections in Sierra Leone.
The international community is watching us as we inch our way closer to national elections in 2018.
The choice is ours to play by the rules of democratic engagement and gain the respect of all, or reverse the proud example we set as a nation when the SLPP peacefully handed over power to the then opposition APC party in 2007.
Let’s keep faith with our commitment to democratic principles of governance, including peaceful elections and unfettered access to the ballot. In this direction, everyone, especially the government in power, has a responsibility far beyond the here and the now.
It is a responsibility that must be taken pretty seriously because it hinges on the very survival of our democracy, and the ultimate stability and progress of our nation!
One Country, One People!
Your Humble Servant,