Sierra Leone Telegraph: 12 May 2019:
A new political row has broken between the SLPP government and the main opposition APC, after the government withdrew security personnel attached to former President Ernest Bai Koroma, without consultation – it is understood.
Writing yesterday in a public statement, president Koroma accused the police of the “abrupt transfer and replacement” of his security by the Sierra Leone Police without “consultation”.
This is what the former president’s statement said:
“Government Withdraws State Security Attached to former President Ernest Bai Koroma
Freetown – 11th May, 2019.
“The Office of Former President Ernest Bai Koroma hereby informs the general public and the international community that effective today, 1300 hours local time, all state security attached to former President Ernest Bai Koroma have been withdrawn.
“This comes after a follow up meeting this afternoon 11th May, 2019, between the former President and the Brigade Commander North – Brigadier David Alpha – and the Assistant Inspector General of Police (AIG) North – AIG Ambrose Michael Suvula.
“Both the Brigade Commander and the AIG informed the former President that while the state would not impose on him any security personnel that he did not approve of, their instructions were to withdraw the security detail currently attached to him contrary to Part III – Miscellaneous Retiring Benefits (13 -22) of The Pensions and Retiring Benefits of Presidents and Vice – Presidents Act No 2 of 1986.
“The general public would recall that an official Memo was issued on Thursday, 9th May, 2019, by the Sierra Leone Police directing the withdrawal of the police security personnel attached to the former President as well as the deployment of a set of new personnel.
“However, the former President had no prior information about such changes and only happened to stumble upon such critical changes to his personnel security detail after the said memo was disseminated on social media.
“As a result of this, the former President objected to the abrupt changes owing to the fact that he was neither notified nor consulted prior to the changes. He then urged the Inspector General of Police to revert to the status quo.
“Unfortunately, the state has insisted on the decision to withdraw the personnel and in effect, the former President is now left without any state security”. END OF STATEMENT
What political observers find troubling is the way highly sensitive matters of national importance and ramifications are being exploited for political reasons by all sides.
How communication between the government and the former president could have broken down to such appalling level, beats anyone’s imagination, and needs sorting out fast.
There ae rumours the former president is now seeking security personnel from ECOWAS and in particular, from neighbouring Guinea.
If true, this could lead to a major escalation of the current political conflict between the ruling SLPP and the main opposition APC.
A very dangerous precedent has been set by the SLPP government, and this does not bode well for Sierra Leone’s fragile peace. Common sense must prevail.
See the press statement here: