APC responds to president Bio’s terrorism accusation

Sierra Leone Telegraph: 11 May 2020:

Two days ago, president Julius Maada Bio of Sierra Leone stunned the nation in a national TV and radio broadcast, when he told the people of Sierra Leone that:  “Evidence emerging from investigations have named known local leaders and members of the APC as being responsible for inciting, planning, financing, mobilising, and in some cases actively participating in violent terrorist attacks against the people of this country.”

He also went further to state that:  “The silence of the national APC leadership on the active participation of their members and executive members in these acts of terrorist violence, senseless loss of lives, injuries and wanton destruction of public and personal property is truly disconcerting,” – a very serious charge against the country’s main oppposition party, which could lead to the arrest of senior executives of the party and possibly also – the banning of the APC party from politics in Sierra Leone.

But president Bio presented no evidence to support these very serious allegations against one of the oldest political parties in the country – with the largest number of seats in parliament, following the 2018 general elections, until the ruling SLPP seized at least 10 of those seats, thus taking away the APC’s majority without proper due process.

In response to the president’s branding of the APC as a terrorrist party, the executives of the APC party yesterday issued a public statement, accusing the president of  wrongly implicating the APC in the pockets of violence and rioting that erupted last week in some parts of the country, as well as the disturbance at the Pademba Road prison which led to security forces killing at least a dozen unarmed prisoners.

This is what the statement says:

1. It is with great disappointment that we listened to the speech delivered by his Excellency the President Dr Julius Maada Bio on the 8th day of May 2020, bordering on the current security situation in the country. In that statement, the President referred to our Party leadership and membership as “terrorists” and threatened that his government will “hit hard and it will continue to hit even harder until this fight is won”.

2.The APC laments the fact that His Excellency the President could use the national address to denigrate a legitimate political institution which existence is in accordance with the 1991 Constitution of Sierra Leone and the Political Parties Registration Act of 2002. It is therefore important for the general public to note that the APC is not in any ”fight” with the Government.

3.We are dismayed that the Party has been wrongly implicated when the President asserted emphatically that: “Evidence emerging from investigations have named known local leaders and members of the APC as being responsible for inciting, planning, financing, mobilising, and in some cases actively participating in violent terrorist attacks against the people of this country”.

4.The APC Party wishes to make it known that we are a law abiding Party and since 4th April, 2018 when President Bio was sworn into office, we have kept within the confines of the law and have resisted all forms of provocation and intimidation. APC Party Offices were vandalized country wide, party loyalists brutalised, raped and killed. Many of our members had their houses burnt down and some were forced to seek refuge in strange lands where they continue to languish in misery and squalor.

5.The APC would like to bring to the attention of the international community and the nation that the statement of His Excellency the President of 8th May, 2020 describing the leaders and members of the APC Party as ”terrorists” could serve as a precursor to go after peaceful  citizens of this country.  We therefore  call for their assistance in  reminding His Excellency the President of his commitment to be a president for all Sierra and for the sustenance of the security of the state.

6.You may also recall that in response to these unfortunate incidents, the APC Party sent a high powered delegation to meet with President Bio and his team in a bid to seek an amicable settlement in the best interest of peace and stability in Sierra Leone. The APC delegation included the Deputy Chairman and Leader, the National Secretary General, the APC Leader in Parliament and his Deputy, and the 2018 Presidential Candidate.

7.His Excellency was gracious enough to set up a Cross-party Committee to address the concerns the APC Party brought to the attention of His Excellency in that meeting. At the end of the day, despite all the efforts of traveling all over the country, gathering evidence of violent incidents and the report was presented to His Excellency through the Director of the Office of National Security, nothing was done about it up to date.

8.The international community and development partners would also note that even though we had serious reservations about the outcome of the 2018 Presidential and Parliamentary elections results, we did not resort to violence. Rather, we went to court to seek redress. Regrettably, our cases are yet to be listed or addressed over two years on.

9.The SLPP government sent in the Police to beat up our members of parliament (MPs) and brutally chase them out of the Well of Parliament to pave the way for the imposition of a minority speaker. Yet, the APC did not resort to violence. Instead, we issued several press releases calling on the Government and the international community to intervene.

10.On the 31st May, 2019, two important events took place that breached the Constitution and statutory provision of our country:

1.The Judiciary ruled to kick out ten (10) duly elected  APC MPs from Parliament and ordered the swearing in of non-elected SLPP candidates who had lost the elections in outright contravention of the 1991 Constitution and the Sierra Leone Public Elections Act of 2012;

2.The SLPP government attacked our Party headquarters, brutalised our members and detained 146 of them in custody. Some of them are still languishing in the courts to this day. Yet, the APC did not resort to violence.

11.You would all recall the blatant display of thuggery and rigging in recent by-elections but most especially in Thonko-Limba and Constituency 110 in the Freetown Peninsular. We all witnessed how the SLPP government used the Sierra Leone Police, State functionaries and thugs including the Minister of Transport and Aviation to violently disrupt the elections and deprive APC of our much deserved victory. At least one life was lost in Thonko-Limba. At that time the international community urged the Government to setup an inquest into the death of the 14-year old school boy. All of these cases have been taken up with the Judiciary for redress but regrettably, no action has been taken. Yet, the APC did not resort to violence.

12,Our revered development partners would recall the widespread sacking of thousands of Sierra Leoneans, including some with security of tenure as provided for in the 1991 Constitution. They were all perceived as having some links with the APC. They are now jobless and languishing at home. Yet, the APC did not resort to violence.

13.The fight against corruption is one that the APC is on record as championing. We strengthened the powers of the Anti-Corruption Commission (ACC). We were therefore not averse to the setting up of Commissions of Inquiry (COI) that are consistent with the provisions of relevant portions of our Constitution and which do not infringe upon the fundamental rights of its citizens. We raised concerns that the COI were set up in contravention of the Constitution. The APC took the matter to the Supreme Court for interpretation. The matter is yet to be listed. Two years since, the APC did not resort to violence.

14.APC believes in free speech and the defence of fundamental human rights. The track record of the former President Ernest Bai Koroma in this sector is very apparent. Regrettably, the APC leaders and members have come under incessant attacks, harassment and intimidation. Many of our members have been arrested and detained on trumped up charges. The APC is seeking redress through the courts, yet, we have not resorted to violence.

15.The SLPP government chose to unilaterally terminate existing contracts of investors, increase taxes and make it increasingly impossible for the private sector to flourish in Sierra Leone. This naturally has attendant implications for the economy. But yet President Bio has chosen to blame the APC Party for the mass closure of big corporations and enterprises the APC government had attracted.

16.We note His Excellency’s reference to contributions he made in the fight against Ebola when the APC Party was in governance. While the APC appreciates his sacrifice, we shall restrain ourselves from delving into the nitty-gritty of President Bio’s involvement in the fight, and how it was facilitated by the goodwill of former President Koroma and the Government of Sierra Leone.

17.But even in the absence of any goodwill from the Government, the APC has reached out to communities, developed sensitization messages, distributed food and other essential items to the needy and played our part (which we will continue to do) in the fight against Covid-19.

18.The APC further notes, with deep curiosity, His Excellency President Bio’s comments on efforts made by the Government, including dispatching a delegation headed by the Honourable Vice President Juldeh Jalloh to Former President Koroma in Makeni and leading to a meeting between President Bio and former President Koroma at State House. The meeting was intended to promote peace and foster national cohesion.  Admittedly, these steps were quite laudable. During these engagements, a joint-communique between the SLPP Government and the APC Party was signed which was expected to serve as the basis for continued dialogue between the parties – APC/SLPP.

19.A joint-meeting co-chaired by the Vice President and our Deputy Leader and Chairman took place over six months ago. The Vice President promised to bring the outcome of that meeting to the attention of His Excellency. Unfortunately, however, the government showed little or no commitment to translate the content of the communique into reality. Nothing has happened since then in spite of our continued calls on the Vice President to reconvene the meeting.

20.It is our hope that the Government will focus on pursuing genuine peace and national cohesion through meaningful dialogue. Describing a significant percentage of our citizenry as ‘terrorists’ is certainly not how to keep Sierra Leone united and peaceful.

21.The APC Party wishes to make it known that we remain committed to peace and stability in Sierra Leone. We however believe that there can never be genuine peace without justice. We therefore call for peace and justice in Sierra Leone. We therefore insist on an independent investigation into the 29th April, 2020 alleged ‘prison break’ at the Male Correction Centre, Pademba Road, and the unfortunate incidents at Lunsar, Tombo and other areas in a bid to bring to book all those involved in perpetrating violence.

22.We take this opportunity to reiterate and pledge our loyalty and support to the peaceful people of our beloved nation and to pledge again all our endeavours to improving the long-term welfare of all Sierra Leoneans.  We also herby register our heartfelt condolences to the families and friends of those who lost their lives on the 29th April 2020 at the Pademba Road Male Correctional Centre as well as to those who lost their lives in the violent disturbances in Lunsar and Tombo.

Long Live the Republic of Sierra Leone! Long Live the APC Party!

Signed: Amb. Alhaji Dr. Osman Foday Yansaneh, National Secretary General — APC

14 Comments

  1. John 13:34-35 A new commandment I give unto you, That ye love one another; as I have loved you, that ye also love one another.By this shall all men know that ye are my disciples, if ye have love one to another.

    • Thank you very much Rev. Fr. Patrick JMA Deen. The Lord also said, “Do not take revenge on others or continue to hate them, but love your neighbors as you love yourself. I am the Lord”. Leviticus 19:18. Do they hear that? God bless Rev. Dr. Patrick JMA Deen and help all men to love one another, instead of taking revenge and hating them. Amen and Amen. Father God.

  2. Mr. Matturi, President Bio promised Sierra Leoneans that he will win the fight against CORRUPTION, ILLITERACY AND LAWLESSNESS. Now that he is at the verge of winning the first two through the just concluded COI and the Free quality education, corruption is fighting back and now the president is focused in fighting lawlessness within the laws of the land just to protect the lives and properties of our citizens, so I personally believe that majority of the people are thankful to our president.

    I was born in Freetown, but I spent the best time of my life (teenage) in Makeni were I have large family by marriage so I can testify that the aside from politics, the people of Makeni are not only hospitable but peace loving, and they do not deserve to be potentially used as human shields in order to protect corrupt politicians. My humble prediction is the peaceful people of Makeni will first advice the lifetime chairman of the APC party to resign from politics to act as an elderly statesman and if he decides to continue to make the country ungovernable before the release of the government white paper from the COI, they will choose peace by handing him over to the government to face justice.

  3. APC have for long vowed to make this country ungovernable and they are working in that trajectory. They put up all those fights because they wanna scare away good investors. Is that not a way of bewitching this nation? President Maada Bio get style for una, this government will continue to press hard and harder until lawlessness is eradicated.

  4. It’s regrettable that Mr. Tommy Martyn is talking about politics in the 70s in this new decade. The only thing that makes sense to me, is the last statement, which of course I appreciate very much. Many patriots including myself remain committed to make sure that barbarity and violence are completely stamped out of Sierra Leone politics in this decade and the future. Thanks Mr. Tommy Martyn for reminding me of the politics of the dark ages in Sierra Leone’s history.

  5. Mr Abu Paul Conteh always like to be seen as smart or intelligent, though he seems otherwise … best to ignore such assuming character traits.

  6. The editorial comments in paragraph 3 and the APC response in paragraph 11 contradicts each other. The editor says that 10 seats were seized by the SLPP from the APC without due process thus reducing the APC majority in parliament.
    However, the APC posits in paragraph 11 that the judiciary ruled to kick out 10 elected APC members from parliament and ordered the swearing in of SLPP members. Did the editor notice the contradiction before going to press?

    • Mr Conteh – the simple reply to your point raised is that the High Court ruling did not instruct SLPP to covert those 10 seats into its possession. Those seats were taken over by the SLPP without a court order or fresh elections. Furthermore, the Appeal Court is yet to hear APC’s appeal. Hope this clarifies our point.

  7. Hello Mr Fallay,
    Can you please chronologically lay bare all the ‘LIES’ the APC statement cited and list the ‘CORRECT’ statement?

  8. Finally we heard from the APC party, putting out a statement in response to President Julius Maada Bio statement on the 10th of May ,debunking most, if not all the allegations he made. It seemed to me both parties are treating us, the majority of peace loving Sierra Leoneans like children whilst governments and their opposition around the world are busy working together in fighting the new COVID 19 pandemic ravaging their populations and putting in policies both politically and economically that would have been unheard of few months ago. Meanwhile, our politicians in Sierra Leone are busy tearing themselves apart in the eyes of the world and putting our fragile country’s peace on the brink.

    The priority for most governments is fighting the R-word. Once they defeat the R-word, they will able to open up their countries from lockdown and once again resume economic activity. But in Sierra Leone both parties are prompting the R-word. As a result we the poor ordinary Sierra Leoneans that just want to go about our business, are bearing this irresponsible behaviour from our politicians. We all recalled the sacking of the former vice president during the Ebola crisis.Our political class don’t seemed to learn anything from the past. It is about time we all working together and defeat the R-word, so our country can move forward. My R-word in the Sierra Leone context is REVENGE! So your excellency if you want to put Sierra Leone to the road to economic recovery, you have to fight the R-word, and put an end once and for all to this circle of revenge politics.

  9. This statement from the main opposition party is a disgrace to Sierra Leoneans all around the world because it’s not only LIES but an insult to our intelligence . Most of the incidents that the APC has stated and concluded with “Yet the APC did not resort to violence,” is the reverse because most of the violence and terror have already been conducted by the APC politicians and thugs before the SECURITY INSTITUTIONS responsible for the protection of Lives and Properties reacted to restore law and order.

    It’s also unfortunate that the real “MUMU” lifetime leader of the APC or even his Secretary General do not have the courage to condemn all of the violent and terrorist acts that have recently been perpetrated towards the citizens, because they are afraid of reprisals from the monsters or proxy they have created to incite and transmit destructive propaganda and terrorizing messages through the social media will also turn on them. Hopefully the message of the President will be a wake up call for the lifetime leader of the APC party because my humble prediction is sooner or later, the people of Sierra Leone will mobilize to his bunker in Makeni and hand him over to the government to face justice just like the late rebel leader Foday Sankoh.

    • Mr Alusine Fallay, maybe I misunderstood your prediction. Are you talking about the peaceful million march, that Sierra Leoneans are thinking of day and night to force the Bio SLPP to deliver on its promises? Please correct me if I’m wrong. Thank you very much Mr Alusine Fallay, for predicting the mobilisation of the million march of Fed up Sierra Leoneans to force the Bio SLPP deliver what they promised in 2018, instead of predicting Sierra Leoneans marching to Makeni.

      You are right to some extent to name Makeni, because Makeni will one day be the political capital of Sierra Leone. A city right in the heart of Sierra Leone and more important, it’s strategic geographical location/position. A city that was well designed by God to appear invincible from attack by enemies. God help unity and peace grow amongst Sierra Leoneans and God bless Mr Alusine Fallay.

  10. Indeed. With no evidence of terrorism by the APC, snatching of 10 seats from the indomitable APC, 58 percent of the population supporting the APC presently due to the reckless state of affairs of the Bio SLPP and unlawful incarceration of some APC champions, they start talking about terrorism.

    Does President Bio and the Bio SLPP want to tell me, the world and many Sierra Leoneans, that 58 percent of Sierra Leoneans are terrorists? That message won’t fly anywhere in the world. Bottom line, each time the indomitable APC and it’s cool headed leadership come out with its rallying and unifying message, the Bio SLPP goes into lockdown. Can you imagine? God bless the APC and it’s responsible and peaceful LEADER and leadership.

    • Sahr Matturi I only like to point out that the Apc as we know it ruled with iron hands throughout the early 70s until they were overthrown. The only point that matters is an eye for an eye is not going to solve anything.

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