Sierra Leone Telegraph: 17 August 2023:
Sierra Leone’s main opposition APC party has published a statement denying claims that the party has agreed to abandon its “non-engagement with the Bio-led government” policy, following a meeting between party leaders and representatives of the country’s Inter-Religious Council.
This statement comes as the US government, through its Ambassador in Freetown made it clear yesterday on national radio that the US government does not accept the results of the June 24 general and presidential elections that is keeping President Juluis Maada Bio in power for another five years in office.
The Electoral Commission (ECSL) is being accused by the opposition APC and the international community of rigging the ballots to keep President Bio in power.
In response to the swearing in of President Bio to another term of office in June 2023, the opposition APC said it will cease all political engagement and cooperation with the ruling SLPP and its Bio-led government, until its demands are met, including the publication of all disaggregated polling station results and a re-run of the elections by the ECSL under an independent chief electoral commissioner.
The opposition APC are also boycotting the country’s parliament, effectively transforming Sierra Leone into an undemocratic, de-facto One-Party state, and it is this context that religious leaders decided to meet with the APC to find a pathway to end the political crisis in Sierra Leone.
Following the conclusion of those talks, there were rumours claiming that the APC has decided to end its boycott, but this was quickly laid to rest by the APC leadership by publishing this statement yesterday:
LEADERSHIP OF THE ALL PEOPLES CONGRESS (APC) MEETS WITH THE INTER – RELIGIOUS COUNCIL OF SIERRA LEONE AND THE INDEPENDENT COMMISSION FOR PEACE AND NATIONAL COHESION
The membership, supporters of the APC, and the public are hereby informed that following several requests for a meeting received by the Party from the Inter –Religious Council of Sierra Leone and the Independent Commission for Peace and National Cohesion, the National Advisory Committee (NAC) of the Party, at a meeting held on the 10th of August 2023 mandated the National Executive to entertain the requests from the said institutions and listen to their calls for a meeting.
On the 14th and 15th August 2023, the Party, respectively, met with the Inter – Religious Council of Sierra Leone and the Independent Commission for Peace and National Cohesion. At the meetings, what came out clearly from them was that they wanted to know, first-hand, what the Party’s contestations are and the way forward in resolving the impasse between the Government and the Party. We responded that our concerns are open knowledge and that we must be sincere in any dialogue by firstly pointing fingers where the conflict emanated from.
We want the public to know that the APC’s position of non-participation in governance still stand. However, just like all conflicts are resolved at the table, the APC is not averse to sitting at the table and talk through their demands, subject to such dialogue being facilitated by a credible external independent arbiter or institution.
Therefore, the party wants everyone to know that although the party met with these institutions, the party did not engage in any form of negotiation, but merely listened to them, and presented the party’s position, which is generally known to everyone.
Lansana Dumbuya Esq. – National Secretary – General, ALL PEOPLES CONGRESS (APC)