Another opposition politician – former Freetown Mayor arrested

Sierra Leone Telegraph: 19 August 2019:

There are reports tonight of the arrest in Freetown of another opposition APC strongman – the former Mayor of Freetown, who is also the Acting Chairman of the APC Western Area Committee – Mr Herbert George Williams.

His arrest by Sierra Leone police today brings the total number of opposition APC politician now arrested to 24.

Last week, one of those arrested and placed behind bars at Pademba Road Prison – Mr Victor Doherty Remoe, was granted bail and will appear in court again this week, along with the other 23 APC detainees.

It is not clear why former mayor Hebert George Williams (Photo) has been arrested today. But it is thought his arrest is related to the violence which took place at Hamilton in the far west of Freetown last month, during a political rally held by the opposition APC, where the ruling SLPP party by-election candidate Josephine Jackson accused APC supporters of destroying her property.

Parliamentary By-election in Hamilton constituency 110 will take place this weekend – Saturday 24 August 2019.

The opposition APC are accusing the ruling SLPP of staging the riot in Hamilton, so as to discredit their party and have its members arrested on trumped-up charges of violent conduct.

Tonight there are unconfirmed reports that the opposition APC Chairman of the Western Area Rural District Council – Kasho Holland Cole has been granted bail.

Kasho Holland Cole will appear in court on Thursday, 22 August 2019, along with the other 23 APC detainees.

In another related development tonight, it is being reported that the chambers of the controversial Magistrate who is hearing the case involving all 24 opposition APC detainees – Magistrate Hannah Bonnie, was broken into by unknown persons. It is not known whether any items relating to the case was stolen.

16 Comments

  1. “I don’t think my question was about the history of the APC during Siaka Stevens tenure. So I clearly don’t understand the relevance of addressing such issues. I am sure you can agree with me that we are now in the 21st century, hence we are dealing with contemporary issues affecting our motherland.” Young4na

    Young4na, I think placing things and events in their proper historical context is very important. Among other things, historical context helps us understand why things exist they way they do and why many events happen.

    We cannot understand current political developments in our country if we failed to understand the historical evolution of those events. Accordingly, it is correct to argue that APC violence and thuggery today have their historical roots in the diabolical rule of Siaka Stevens. Indeed, the pogroms of that despicable era set to tone and laid the path on which the APC of today treads.

    Of equal importance is an issue that opponents of president Bio often raise. It is argued that Bio dismissed APC supporters from political positions upon assuming office. That is a legitimate argument. But what many in the APC fail to realize is that political appointments are simply what they are. The incumbent serves at the pleasure of the current political dispensation.

    Perhaps, more importantly, folks refuse to raise the issue that Ernest Koroma had filled all political and diplomatic positions with tribal and regional friends as if they were the only ones entitled to serve Sierra Leone. I could have been a beneficiary of that bigoted trajectory of developments since I had relatives turning the wheels of APC. But I refused to be on the wrong side of history.

    Did folks expect Julius Bio to embrace a corrupt and broken workforce machinery? Again, historical context is important here because it helps us understand why president Bio fired en masse diplomats and other political functionaries upon assuming power.

    For our country to develop and become a society where justice and equality exist for all, our history must be told so that we can avoid making the mistakes of the past. The government of president Bio has a mandate to protect life and property. I really believe that Bio is doing a remarkable job. But it is incumbent upon all to respect law and order while upholding the fundamental tenets of democracy and the rule of law.

    Again, cheers to the Sierra Leone Telegraph for providing us a platform where we can raise our voices.

    • Mr. Bangura, I believe most people will agree with me that, in a given debate or discussion, what yields the highest performance ratings or credibility of any participant is, when that participant addresses questions posed head-on instead of using diversionary tactics to fool the audience. In other words, the credibility of our utterance is judged solely on the basis of fact supporting evidence.

      You have declared on numerous occasions in this platform that the APC party is the one and only party that is responsible for lawlessness, violence and indiscipline in our nation. To refute your claim, I presented to you several SLPP political incidents in which violence, lawlessness and indiscipline occurred, and asked for your deliberation. Instead of you owning up and correct your misleading statements, a diversionary tactic is being employed.

      In my first attempt to get answers from you, a history of the APC back in the 60s and 70s was brought forth by you. Now in another diversionary tactic, you have chosen to discuss why Bio dismissed all former APC officials when he assumed office. I am really having a hard time in figuring out the connection between what the APC did in 60s/70s and the violent activities that took place solely within SLPP party functions. In the same token, I can’t see the correlation between violence in SLPP functions and the sacking of former APC officials.

      By all indications, violence, indiscipline and lawlessness can never be defined differently. In our nation’s recent memory, both political parties, APC and SLPP, have shown the tendencies to orchestrate violence, indiscipline and lawlessness. Thanks to technological advancements, most of us have archives of physical evidences in the form of pictures and video clips in our smart phones depicting these detrimental acts taking place at both the APC and SLPP functions.

      The mute assertion that the APC is the sole party prone to violence cannot be anywhere close to being factual. Time and again, the evidence and facts are not just there. So until someone can prove beyond reasonable doubt that in contemporary Sierra Leone politics, the APC party is the only political party capable of instigating and perpetuating violence and lawlessness, I highly recommend we refrain from making such unfounded assertions.

  2. Mr Saidu Conteh, please tell me the story about the pregnant woman is fiction, and not true. My wife and I just can’t stop laughing. I have never heard anything so funny in my life. One minute my wife says shes feeling sad for the husband and wife, and the next moment she is screaming with uncontrollable laughter in tears. You have just made our day. Thank you!

  3. Mr. Sahr Matturi, I respect the position you’re playing in this forum as the referee unless in the case of Chief Samsumana then you tend to jump off the fence or staying in the grey area. But I hope you stick to your original statement which is the truth and nothing but the truth, and I know you don’t want to be dragged in the process of throwing mudslinging in this forum.

    The key question you asked is “Why are bye- elections becoming so problematic and contentious these days?” So I’m just comparing the three elections. With regards to the NEC chairman’s credibility in the eyes of the opposition that I personally considered as sore losers, unlike the SLPP that lost an election in the district of President Bio to the APC party and recently in Kono to the C4C by a slight margin ( thank to the non participation of the APC), the SLPP accepted both results gracefully. For the APC when it comes to election results, they don’t only distrust NEC but the whole international community.
    MAY GOD BLESS YOU TOO..

    • OK Alusine. It’s just one of those moments where the OXFORD DICTIONARY makes one very excited to play around with the Queen’s language. It can be upsetting sometimes. But I’m sorry about that. I respect your views and the views of everyone on this platform. Criticisms are no problems. I’m just fine with that.

      By the way, we are all for the same goals. In addition to that, your contributions on this platform are brilliant and formidable. Never mind. No malice. Understood and let’s move on. GOD BLESS YOU.

  4. Young4na – please, no more personal attacks or name calling. David Bangura is perfectly entitled to freely express his opinions or views, without any obligation to justify himself, nor disrespect from fellow forumites.

    Here at the Sierra Leone Telegraph, we take the principles of mutual respect and free speech very seriously. So please keep within due bounds. Thank you.

    • Mr. Thomas, Joe Koroma said on AUGUST 16, 2019 AT 4:21 AM: “Young4na, I find it curious that you would accuse me of being a propagandist for the ruling party, yet you find it very convenient to display a level of sycophancy in favor of the violent APC. I don’t need any lessons from you as far as Salone politics is concerned, especially when those lessons have no factual basis”

      With all fairness, the above response from Joe Koroma was directed at my person a few days ago. I believe the keyword in contention here is “sycophancy”. In brief it could be defined as: a person who tries to win favor from wealthy or influential people by flattering them.

      So in the context of this platform, we are of the understanding that some of us belong to political parties and to an extent act as surrogates in the forum. In light of this, some of us may sometimes say things to please our political masters. With such understanding, I never took it highly offensive when the word sycophancy was directed at me. I know its the rule of the game when you participate in a political debate. People will always label you with different names. So I clearly did not see much issue with the word itself because I know myself and what I stand for. Nevertheless, my sincere apology to Mr. Bangura.

      Another word in contention is “Propaganda”. Again here a simple definition — “information, especially of a biased or misleading nature, used to promote or publicize a particular political cause or point of view”. Again, in the context of this forum and the topics of debate,Ii clearly did not see any issues in incorporating this word in our debate and exchanges. Once again, since this is deemed by Mr. Bangura as offensive, my sincere apologies to him.

      I believe in fairness across the board. So in light of this, I am hoping a prohibition on using the following 2 words: “sycophant” and “propaganda” is instituted across the board. I have always thought that if you throw yourself in a political debate, you must be ready to wear a thick skin. Nonetheless, I am willing to abide by whatever rules that are stipulated, as long as they are fairly applied across the board. Thank you.

  5. Young4na,

    Stop trying too hard and wasting your time to convince me to your baseless viewpoints. I know the APC very well and I am familiar with what they are capable of doing at any given time.

    I came of age in the Siaka Stevens era and was a student at Fourah Bay College during the 1977 mass student demonstrations. So I have seen APC violence at close range and have been victimized by it.

    The APC is a political party that can resort to primordial and violent tendencies at any time to destabilize society for the sole purpose of grabbing political power. Siaka Stevens cleverly used this strategy to his advantage and APC stalwarts after him have never seen it wise to deviate from such dastardly tendencies.

    It follows that the Government of Sierra Leone cannot abdicate its constitutional duties in clamping down on lawlessness and violence and protecting life and property. Anything short of this on the part of the GOSL will be a dereliction of duty.

    While I am very grateful to the Sierra Leone Telegraph for establishing a forum for the democratic exchange of ideas, I don’t want to feel trolled by a forumite to look at Sierra Leone from his untenable perspective.

    Furthermore, I neither indulge in name calling nor do I condone uncouth behavior on a public forum for the purpose of scoring cheap political points. Therefore, I will not respond in kind to you calling me a propagandist and a sycophant.

    I have no need for propagandist or sycophantic inclinations since I have no political ambitions in Sierra Leone. Additionally, I am very happy with what I do for a living and would not want to be expose my family to political violence.

    The only time I ever supported a political party was the UNPP of Dr. John Karefa Smart in 1996. After Karefa-Smart, I admired and supported Tejan Kabbah and not his party. Kabbah established the institutions of democracy, which Ernest Koroma willfully destroyed by injecting tribalism and regionalism into politics.

    Do you expect Maada Bio to become president and discard his supporters by maintaining Ernest Koroma’s coterie of tribal and regional friends? Under the circumstances, although I will never seek SLPP membership, I support president Bio and believe that with time, he will transform Sierra Leone into a productive and prosperous society.

    In a nutshell, I have described the evolution of my political thoughts. We can agree to disagree on issues facing our country without resorting to name calling and profanities. Thanks.

    • David Bangura, I have no interest in convincing or persuading you into anything, rather, I am all about presenting facts in the midst of the barrage of falsehood being peddled in this forum. Time without number, you have mentioned this false narrative that the APC party is the only party associated with violence, lawlessness and indiscipline. However, in recent memory, our country has been subjected to numerous violent and lawlesss incidents in various communities where the only party involved was the SLPP. I presented to you a few of these political incidents and asked that you deliberate on who the perpetrators were; not surprisingly you divert the discussion into something unrelated.

      I believe in second chances, so with all due respect, please address the question of violence, lawlessness, and indiscipline that took place in numerous SLPP political functions. Were those violent and senseless destruction of lives and properties done by the APC also?

      I don’t think my question was about the history of the APC during Siaka Stevens tenure. So I clearly don’t understand the relevance of addressing such issues. I am sure you can agree with me that we are now in the 21st century, hence we are dealing with contemporary issues affecting our motherland. I believe the topic is the observed continuing spate of violent, lawlessness, and indiscipline taking place within the nation’s political climate. No one is talking about the 60s or 70s. What happened in the 60s or 70s has happened, no one can change that. So why waste your time and energy living in the past?

      Clearly, there is a big generational gap between you and I, which makes sense now why you are still living in the past. I happen to be a millennial—born in the 80s; so my outlook of things are completely different compared to folks from your generation. Instead of sowing the seeds of discord and political tensions, I am more interested in seeing a Sierra Leone with full potentials having all her leaders working in unison for the good of all. With all things being equal, I have a long way to go. I see no rationale in applauding a regime whose approach is to annihilate any opposition, while the larger society continues to live in abject poverty. As a Sierra Leonean, my loyalty lies in mama Salone only, not to any political party, so I care less about APC or SLPP.

  6. Once in faraway India, with the stars shining at midnight,a pregnant Bengali woman was soundly asleep,when suddenly she was awakened by painful contractions in her bowels,and stomach – The time to bring forth a new life had finally come. She was rushed to the hospital,and under the supervision of dedicated midwives,strangely,brought forth a tired looking little old man,about 90 years old,instead of delivering the normal bouncing,happy baby boy.

    The Father was aghast, saw the infantile-old man,and ran like a gazelle for his life. The mother went hysterical,and berserk,with cries of pain,and tears,then also walked away leaving the 90 years looking old infant on his own. The midwives didn’t know what to do so they put the child in an orphanage to thrive,or perish out of their sight. Who has ever seen a child that was capable of aging,and reaching the ripe old age of 90 years in nine months?

    Well, there is such a child,and he is called Sierra Leone. Independence brought forth a new nation, not so long ago,and strangely this country still in its infancy,has outgrown many older nations,and matured so quickly in acts of corruption, thefts, wickedness,tribalism,and hatred far beyond its years. Such an eerie,unnatural maturity,has left many level headed, well meaning people, truly afraid, perplexed,and confounded.

    Sa Lone,so very young and fragile,yet so old in the most evil,detestable ways of the world! At first,the SLPP’s snipers lenses were only focused on Mr Cole, and a few others; now they are on the Former Mayor of Freetown,Mr Williams,and strangely, both men belong to the opposition APC.

    Its clear – This SLPP government believes in the effectiveness of the tactics of fear,threats,and intimidation. Their leader is a man that belongs in the International Criminal Court for the truckloads of crimes against humanity he has committed. He is the perfect Poster boy for Tribalism, whose hands are dirty,and stained with innocent blood. And without any doubt,hands down,he fully represents all the silliness,wickedness,ugly traits,and worst characteristics of the African people.

    First they tried lawlessly,seizing Krio lands,and that failed miserably; now they are at it again,mischief makers, targeting the best,and brightest of the Krio people. If this lawless,undemocratic,pathetic government continues to “Throw the Book” unjustly at the opposition, then rest assured,we will resist,and fight their every move and actions until 2023,when they are voted out of Power for good.

    Think on this for a minute – Is it right that a Mayor that served his country selflessly, and with fervent dedication is now being singled out, chased,and hunted down by political Predators of the SLPP for no credible reasons whatsoever? Please leave our Mayor,a good man alone. Are you jealous because you will never be loved,admired and considered as honest and as decent as he is? “Pot Belly” Politicians gourmandizing in the SLPP Political Kitchen,leave the opposition in Peace…Rising Sun Will Rise Again.

  7. BINGO!! Mr Sahr Matturi just said it all in his comment. “Remember what happened in kono . OH BOY! The voters just went and sent a BALLISTIC message to the whole country that, they know what they want and know what they are going to do. EASY.”
    The answer is yes, after the APC party lost the bye election in Tonko Limba in the Kambia district where the first election campaign was rigged with violence and death of a young man, the lifetime leader of the APC instructed his Secretary General to inform the world that they will no longer be involved in any election as long as the current Electoral Commissioner Mr. N’fa Alie Conteh occupied that position. They kept their word for the kono election so there was peaceful, credible and free election and the best man won. The same electoral commissioner announced the result and there was peace on earth.

    Now in Krio we always say: “We will never lick our spit from the ground“ and that’s what the leadership of the APC party has done because Mr N’fa Alie Conteh is conducting the bye election in the resident constituency of the lifetime leader of the APC who handpicked the APC candidate that the high court ruled against because of violence.

    The APC lifetime chairman who is notorious for not keeping his promises just moved from his command and control bunker in Makeni to this constituency and some of his supporters choose to impress him by either inciting or perpetrating violence against the opposition, and even intimidating a judge. I hope the authorities will get to the bottom of this even after the bye election.

    There is a possibility that the APC leadership will resort to violence if they win or lose this bye election and I hope that the security will deal with the cause of the problems rather than the symptoms which is the lifetime leader of the APC party.

    If the international community can prosecute violent leaders like late Foday Sankoh, former president Charles Taylor of Liberia and even former president Laurent Gbagbo, I personally believe that after all the pain and suffering that this nation has been through, we will do whatever it takes to eliminate violence in our beloved country through the judiciary.

    • Mr. Alusine Fallay, not so fast. Your BINGO celebration is very premature. First of all, follow the events carefully. Note the time both elections were held and the circumstances which they were held. I reckon that, you are good at READING and COMPREHENSION.

      The NEC and it’s CHAIRMAN will never have had the guts to do what they did in Kambia in Kono. No WAY. NO DICE. Furthermore, the NEC chairman has no credibility in the eyes of the OPPOSITION. So please don’t misinterpret my GOLDEN COMMENTS. They are so precious to be taken out of context.

      Mr. Alusine Fallay there struggling with understanding my GOLDEN COMMENTS. COMPREHENSION has been lost. Thanks Mr. Fallay for your premature BINGO CELEBRATION and may GOD BLESS YOU.

  8. Those opposition APC stalwarts that are claiming that the SLPP staged the riot in Hamilton in order to discredit the APC are wrong. The SLPP has nothing to gain by mimicking a historically well known APC behavioral trait – lawlessness and violence. On the contrary, it is the APC that had vowed to render Sierra Leone ungovernable as long as the SLPP was in power.

    I have said it over and over that APC folks have the leverage in this unfortunate situation. They are the catalysts of political violence and thuggery in Sierra Leone. They can choose to be law abiding citizens by putting a halt to their political aggression and lawlessness. Our gallant police men and women are simply discharging their duties, which include protecting life and property. The fact is, law abiding Sierra Leoneans want a peaceful Sierra Leone that can be transformed into a productive and prosperous nation.

    • David Bangura, your propagandist approach in this forum is exposing you to the highest degree of sycophancy. Despite the glaring facts that this SLPP regime, composed of the PAOPA mentality, are violent, lawless, and indifferent, you continue to make fallacious claims regarding the toxic political climate in the nation.

      Now before you continue making yourself look bad, please explain to this forum who was/were being the following violent and lawless incidents:

      1. APC supporters in the southeast randomly attacked and billions worth of properties damaged, immediately after the SLPP was declared the winner of the 2018 elections.

      2. The killing of a young supporter of John Benjamin during the flagbearship campaign in Shegbwema

      3. The attacks and vandalization of vehicles belonging to Isata Kabbah, John Benjamin, and other SLPP party leaders at the SLPP headquarter in Freetown.

      4. The recent SLPP riot in Bo town during which properties were damaged and Prince Harding was scapegoated as the orchestrator.

      I can go on and on, however, I will stop here for now, hoping you can at least provide answers to this forum regarding what I have listed thus far. Remember, incident 3-4 happens during SLPP intra-party activities, so please watch your propagandist nature.

      Lastly, this forum comprises of highly intellectual participants, so you are not dealing with your typical villagers who will buy into whatever you sell them. Nothing short of the facts is acceptable. Awaiting your response.

  9. Why are bye-elections becoming so problematic and contentious these days? They all have similar traits as regards to the political events preceding the bye-elections. Either it is police beating up opposition supporters and journalists on the streets of Kambia, teargasing an opposition leader on the streets of Port Loko, and now the mass arrest of opposition members and supporters in Freetown. What are they after?

    I don’t just get it. Maybe, someone out there knows what is happening and the rationale behind these unfortunate events. The most important tool and power of the voters is, to use their voting right to do the right thing at the BALLOT BOX. Remember what happened in Kono? OH BOY! The voters just went and sent a BALLISTIC message to the whole country that, they know what they want and know what they are going to do. EASY.

    Finally, I hope the people of constituency 110 will do what is right for them, despite the mass arrests. Ce Tout.

  10. I am not sure who the presidential advisers are; however, I think its a foolhardy approach in continuing to portray a toxic political climate in the midst of the worst economic situation our country is facing since time memorial. This notion of win all, take all mentality needs to be reconsidered. A house divided against itself cannot stand.

    Sierra Leone comprises of numerous ethnic groups. Like so many other African nations, these ethnic groups are divided into political ideologies. So any government of the day that wish to succeed must find a way to consolidate support from these diverse groups of people.

    Due to illiteracy and rural cultural upbringings, most of these ethnic groups cannot politically think for themselves. They look up to their sons and daughters who have acquired education and are in the political arena as their leaders.

    Irrespective of how we think of them, these leaders are highly respected and revered at their various communities. In a way, they are the mouth-piece of these communities, they enjoy huge influence on the affairs and decision making of these communities. So any government of the day that wishes to make headway in these communities must work in concert with these leaders.

    The continuing arrest of opposition leaders needs to be reconsidered by the Bio regime. Sierra Leone is a democracy, The existence of other political parties and opposing views are guaranteed under the constitution. This notion of the party in governance having the ultimate say with no room for compromise or create room for opposing views is nothing but a failed strategy.

    The EBK regime used all the tools in its arsenal — intimidation, bribery, arrests, political appointment in lucrative positions, etc to silence the opposition. Not only did they fail miserably, they have been kicked out of governance. So I am really baffled as to why the Bio regime will replicate an extreme form of such a failed strategy.

    Please presidential advisers, we are living in the 21st century and a democratic nation. These political arrests, intimidation and injustices, will not bear good fruits. Please advise the regime to reconsider. Remember, Salone is a democracy, opposition parties with opposing views will always exist. This fact cannot be changed.

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