Sierra Leone Telegraph: 15 August 2019.
Another opposition APC politician has been arrested by police in Sierra Leone, in what many now fear is a continuation of a major crackdown on the opposition by the ruling SLPP, as by-election in the Hamilton constituency in Freetown draws closer.
This brings the total number of opposition APC politicians arrested in Freetown to 24, all of whom, with the exception of two are tonight spending another night at Pademba Road prison, since their arrest over three weeks ago.
The latest to be detained is the chairman of the Western Area Rural Council, Mr Kashor Holland Cole. He was arrested yesterday outside the magistrate court in Freetown, where 23 APC opposition detainees were appearing for their third hearing.
Kashor has today been released on a Two Hundred Million Leones bail
At yesterday’s hearing in the courtroom of the controversial magistrate – Hannah Boni, who many are accusing of being a ruling party surrugate, bail was granted to the 73 year old Mr Victor Remoe Doherty, the father of journalist Vickie Remoe.
It is understood that the 73 year old is suffering from serious multiple health conditions. He was granted bail on the request of the Attorney General, after he was refused bail by magistrate Hannah Boni on two occasions .
But the remaining 22 APC politicians were all refused bail yesterday, and will appear again on the eve of the Hamilton By-election, 23rd August 2019.
According to reports, the chairman of the Western Area Rural District Council, Mr Kashor Holland Cole (Photo) was arrested by police yesterday after he was refused entry into the magistrate court to listen to the cross-examination of the first witness for the prosecution hearing – SLPP candidate for the Hamilton By-election, Josephine Jackson.
Police said a warrant for his arrest was issued following the rioting which took place in Hamilton a few weeks ago, where the SLPP candidate – Josephine Jackson alleged that Kashor Holland Cole was also involved in the violence that saw the destruction of her property.
But critics are describing Kashor’s arrest along with that of the 23 other opposition APC politicians as politically motivated and retributive justice.
They are all facing a 23 count charge, ranging from riotous conduct to damage to property.
The executive officers of the APC are protesting the arrests. They say the aim of the ruling SLPP is to intimidate their members and prevent the APC party from organising a strong campaign in advance of the By-election taking place in Hamilton on the 24 August 2019.
What is certain though, is that this wave of political arrests and intimidation is destined to destroy Sierra Leone’s democratic foundation and foment instability in the country, if it continues.
This is bound to make Sierra Leoneans as well as foreign investors nervous about the future of a country that just eighteen years ago, had come out of a ten year civil war, the causes of which are beginning to show signs of emerging once again.
These arrests come on the back of the wholesome disqualification of a dozen opposition APC parliamentarians from taking their seats won at the last general elections in 2018, accused of electoral malpractice.
As a result of these disqualifications, the opposition APC’s majority in parliament has been drastically cut, thus making the ruling SLPP party the largest single majority party in the Houses of parliament.