Opposition APC criticises political and civil society’s response to the Makeni ACC standoff

Sierra Leone Telegraph: 14 October 2020:

After receiving widespread condemnation for his supporters’ behaviour last Thursday outside his home in Makeni, where hundreds of angry youths staged protests and blocked the road leading to his house, to prevent Anti-Corruption Commission investigators from meeting with him, former president of Sierra Leone – Ernest Bai Koroma is today enjoying the support of his party – the All People’s Congress Party (APC), who yesterday issued a statement.

The former president is accused by the Commission of Inquiry into corruption, mismanagement, and abuse of power by his government during his two terms in office – between 2007 and 2018, involving hundreds of millions of dollars.

This is what the APC National Secretary General – Alhaji Osman Yansaneh said in his statement:

“The All People’s Congress is appalled by the flurry of press statements coming from supposed democratic institutions in regards to the incidence in Makeni on 8th October 2020 when the Anti-Corruption Commission was scheduled to meet with the former President, H.E. Dr. Ernest Bai Koroma.

The statements hurriedly condemn the gathering of residents of Makeni who were out to show solidarity with the former President in respect of several instances of intimidation, name-calling and harassment against his person. The APC is particularly dismayed by the fact that these institutions are overly selective in their condemnation of acts in the current state of affairs in Sierra Leone.

While we detest every act of lawlessness and every threat to the peace and stability which our party has sustained in Sierra Leone throughout our tenure in governance we must register our disappointment over the failure of state and some non-state institutions to denounce the endless spate of human rights abuses, violation of constitutional rights of expression and assembly, abuse of processes and victimization perpetrated by the government of H.E. Julius Maada Bio since his assumption of office in 2018.

Sierra Leone enjoyed peace and political calm for almost two decades since the end of the war, and much of that dispensation was superintended by the APC Party. Former President Koroma’s administration had all the hallmarks of democracy, peace and stability. There were no political prisoners; opposition politicians suffered no form of harassment while the rights of expression and assembly were guarded with utmost candour.

Sierra Leone excelled in international rankings on peace and tolerance and the former President received global attention for his demonstration of statesmanship. We conducted Presidential elections in 2018 without any form of intimidation of the opposition and handed over power peacefully despite the blatant irregularities that attended the results.

Since this government entered State House our party officials and supporters have become the object of countless incidences of oppression, incarceration, killings and trumped-up legal charges. As a political party we have made several petitions to the Supreme Court on issues ranging from elections to the conduct of the Commissions of Inquiry but all of them were discountenanced with criminal arrogance. Yet none of these institutions bothered to denounce this as recipe for chaos.

The government on several instances has used both police and military forces to stifle peaceful protests of citizens, and in most cases live rounds of ammunition were fired at unarmed civilians. Many have died and many more injured by this show of brute force by state security personnel.

Senior members of the APC who were either Ministers in the former administration or current Members of Parliament have consistently been arrested and molested by officers of the current government. One such case is Alfred Palo Conteh’s matter.

The former Minister of Defence, Minister of Internal Affairs and head of the National Ebola Response Centre was incarcerated for several months on bogus treason charges. He was later acquitted of the said charges but he is still behind bars despite several attempts by his lawyers to bail him pending the determination of his appeal against other less serious charges.

The Anti-Corruption Commissioner has on a number of occasions ordered the detention of people who were already persons of interest and were being investigated by the Justice Biobelle Georgewill Commission of Inquiry on the same issues raised by the latter.

Sierra Leoneans are witness to the National Electoral Commission’s rogue handling of Bye Elections across the country and how the former Chief Electoral Commissioner would in one instance announce results declaring the APC candidate winner and later reverse his declaration in the interest of the SLPP candidate.

In another instance (in Constituency 110) the Commissioner’s refusal to announce the victory of the APC candidate even though the results indicate a clear victory only reveals a trait of ineptitude attendant with blatant disregard for democratic processes in a fashion that is out of place in the civilized world.

We need not mention that in each of these elections SLPP rented thugs led by senior officials of their party who are also government ministers have showed up to disrupt the voting process, harass peaceful citizens and destroy voting materials in the full glare of the police. Neither arrests nor investigations were made to look into these several acts of violence.

Additionally, while there is a ban on secret societies and masquerades Sierra Leoneans have witnessed on several occasions when masquerades show up at gatherings and occasions organized by government officials and sometimes no less a person than the President would be seen dancing with them. No press statements were made to condemn such acts of lawlessness.

The APC is wondering how long will state institutions turn a blind eye to all of the horrible acts of injustice perpetrated by the government only to issue out statements to condemn the gathering of people who have lost confidence in the institutions that are constitutionally mandated to protect them. For how long will this lip service to democracy and the rule of law continue?

President Koroma has, through an official press release and a leaked audio on his conversation with the Inspector General of Police committed himself in very clear language to the ACC probe and any action that promotes the rule of law. This is in keeping with his demeanour as a respecter of the law.

In conclusion, while we call on our numerous supporters to be peaceful and abide by the rule of law our resolve is strengthened to guard against any collusion by state institutions to cloak the truth and to work within the confines of the law to defend against campaigns of calumny executed by the SLPP government against the former President and members of our party.

By this release we call on our development partners and the international community to note the level of hypocrisy displayed by these supposed democratic institutions of the state and some non-state actors. We remain undaunted.

God Bless Sierra Leone. Long live the APC.

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

14 Comments

  1. Hashim, you’re a patriot and a nationalist. You also swim in objectivity. Your assertion that SLPP should be left alone to set the pace in fighting corruption is a gem. By squeezing the swindlers to give us back what they swindled SLPP must be aware that one of these days APC will gain the upper hand and will in turn do the same thing to them. Therefore SLPP will try to walk a straight path. Our country will be the beneficiary.

  2. Ernest Koroma is planning his way back to power in 2023. The constitution does not bar him from doing so. What the constitution bars is that you cannot exceed two terms at a go. But if he takes a hiatus and come back, legally he can vie again for the highest position. Reliable sources some very close to the former president have hinted that all these show of force by the former president is to gauge his popularity and from the look of things the decision makers in the APC are giving it a serious though to have the former president run against the current President in 2023.

    And believe you me, I think that the former President will win on the first ballot. He is very popular in the North and western area of Sierra Leone. The question is, who would be his running mate. Would it be the Koroma / Sam Sumana winning team of 2007 and 2012? Only time would tell.

    With Ernest Koroma back at state house all the corruption charges against his party members would be reversed with immediate effect.

    • State House is in sight just “2023 yards” away. Have they started packing their suitcases? I hope they do. Thank you very much for your wise views, which I appreciate, Ms Aminata Conteh. God bless the APC Leader, former President Dr Ernest Bai Koroma, Chief Sam Sumana, Dr Samura Kamara, the Mayor of Freetown Yvonne Aki Sawyer, Dr Sylvia Blyden and of course, the wise Ms Aminata Conteh. Noted.

  3. Yansaneh – ‘pragmatic’ is not only a distortion but insult to our thought processes. This lumpen I part of the bandwagon working overtime to destroy the very fabric of our APC. He’s part of the generation bent on destroying every little chance of progress both at party and national levels. Yansaneh was the architect of Koroma’s botched ‘more time’ effort, and he’s part of the usurpers desecrating the party by blocking the ACC from doing its work.

    Leave the ACC to do its work unhindered or without any undue harassment. If we’re all determined to deal the corruption syndrome a blow, lets allow our opponents to set the pace so that we’ll follow during our future leadership. But again, like paopa, we think our leaders are small gods- untouchable and spiritual over lords

  4. Indeed the so called civil societies in our nation are nothing but an opportunistic bunch. Most of the figure heads of these civil societies are in bed with the regime albeit soliciting funds from our international partners in the guise of advocating for democracy and other human rights abuses perpetrated by the state. With the exception of a few reputable ones like CARL, many of them are so entrench into politics that its a herculean task to distinguish their actions from those party insiders.

    Majority have transformed themselves as mouth piece for the regime, ready to condemn and point the finger at the opposition whenever a disturbance happen while remaining mute whenever the regime orchestrate killings and torturing of innocent citizens.

  5. There’s some element of truth in the APC statement . I shall concentrate on the Earnest Koroma issue. The former President should be held entirely responsible for the straits in which he finds himself and which has rendered him a de-facto prisoner- unable to leave Makani. No one in control of their faculties can contrive an interview/arrest outcome of any session the former President may have with ACC as of now. I believe it would be a case of ACC saying to Earnest “thank you sir for answering our questions, you will hear from us later”. And the whole atmosphere will be transformed.

    But for the former President to cry foul even before the game begins and not calming down his supporters portrays a man lacking in self confidence and pleading guilty to allegations. Earnest Koroma should think carefully about what an elderly man said to me years ago: “Think young man, there is always a way out”. These must be tortuous days for the former President made worse by the glare of both local and international media. I hope ACC doesn’t submit his name to ITERPOL which would make him liable to arrest by any country that is a signatory to the International Police Organisation.

    Common Mr former President, put on the clothes of a typical African elder, it will work wonders for you. Sierra Leone is not European, it’s African. Right now any confrontation with the Bio government will bring you out second best and leave you worse for wear. Gather your Makeni people and tell them that you don’t want any violence for your sake, and then ask ACC that you’re ready to answer their questions. If you take the bull by the horn you may well get to the point where you will wave the cape at it and it will stand still.

    • The ACC I believe is not the right institution to contact “INTERPOL”. More importantly, INTERPOL has limits – “All our actions are politically neutral and taken within the limits of existing laws in different countries”. Do they get that? Do they believe INTERPOL will interfere in such a divisive and politically toxic issue in any country? Bottom line, the Bio SLPP kakistocracy itself is not credible.

      You don’t condone corruption today to fill your pockets and condemn it tomorrow to empty other people’s pockets. If you want to fight corruption and you were corrupt in the past, start the process including yourself. It’s just ridiculous and that is not going to happen in Sierra Leone if you don’t include yourself. I hate to say it, but I will say it again. President Bio definitely is struggling to govern the country and his Bio SLPP kakistocracy is not credible with investors in my view. Investors have all ran away because of the political instability in the country.

      Finally, if you are unable to govern, you won’t get the sweet of office privileges. Former President Ernest Bai Koroma is going to stay in Sierra Leone and enjoy his sweet of office resources with respect and dignity. Let us first of all ask the International Court of Justice to investigate the massacre at Pademba Road Prisons before inviting INTERPOL to a silly joke. God bless former President Ernest Bai Koroma and his lovely family. Yeah.

  6. Well if you want to know the definition of naked abuse of state power, immersed yourself with what is going on in Sierra Leone, since president Bio was sworn in as president of the republic of Sierra Leone back in 2018.If I had my crystals ball telling me by the end of 2020 our country would be battling a disease called COVID19 and and Bio dictatorship, I would have asked the gods to do everything in their powers to stop it. Our country has already gone through a lot, we don’t need an other plague. It doesn’t take a genius to work out, this government has strayed way out of their election party manifesto commitments, like trying to bring our country together.

    Instead Bio, and all the presidents men have unashamedly, engaged themselves in political vendettas and harassing, victimising, and in some cases killing people they consider Bio’s opponents – real or imagined. Apart from the free education flagship, this government can’t name one important national development project that they have undertaken to secure the future economic wellbeing of our country. In certain ways I blame the leadership of the APC party for giving Bio a yard, now he is walking a mile or even a marathon all over them. This charade of abuse of state power by this president working in concert with our public bodies should have been nipped in the bud, if the APC party hadn’t stayed silent when Dr Blyden and Major Alfred Paolo Conteh were arrested and charged to court.

    Now the state institutions that are meant to serve or defend its citizens against the excess of the state have given up all pretence of being honest broker’s. Now we can clearly see which side they are on. It should not be. Because if you think Bio is paying out of his own pocket, so you owe him a favour you are mistaken. The public is paying you for the service you render, even though you are acting against them. They have sold their soul to Bio and his government, and defended the indefensible. May God bless Sierra Leone.

  7. It’s a disgrace folks are still not apprehended and squeezed, as it were in most countries where heads of state are dragged to gaol to answer questions on State Crime.

  8. Muchas Gracias – Ambassador Yansaneh, You have been an outstanding friend and brother to the good people of Sierra Leone throughout your lengthy tenure in office even until now; Because of your pragmatic approach in addressing the daunting issues affecting our beloved nation, and your unflinching devotion to the principles of Democracy the Legendary APC keeps on getting stronger and stronger – we can’t be touched, of that enemies can be rest assured! Now there is a time and a season for everything under the burning sun – a time to win and a time to lose, a time of peace and a time of strife – we are now in the latter days of human progress!

    Please be made fully aware that integrity, mutual respect and honesty are the biggest losers in this mindless charade – they are now nothing but empty meaningless words…Everything is up for grabs and for sale, even the precious souls of men, kids, and women is being bought and sold for pocket change by the shambolic SLPP cabal now in full control of Sierra Leone, my only precious home. My findings have indicated that there is not a single State Institution in Sierra Leone currently that is not being controlled like a puppet on a string directly from State House – all of these shadowy schemers have been bought ten times over for pieces of scraps, and measly handouts, and for crumbs that fall periodically from the tables of the inglorious SLPP.(lol)

    We will never ever surrender, yield or succumb to authoritarian rule in Sierra Leone no matter what all these shady, corrupt institutions say or do – lies and deceptions will only open wider the doors repression and bondage, it is only the majestic truth that will set all of us free. Ya heard!

    • STARGAZER: Let me assure you. If it was the days of the Communist APC one party rule you would have been arrested and then disappear or end up at Mafanta Prison with no juristic process. We who survived are witnesses to the brutal and lawless ideology of the APC. so there is nothing you can say to justify a better administration and democratic process which is but strange to your ability to comprehend.

      If the APC can brutally kill and Murder its own Kindred and elite in the party then what lesson have any of you got to lecture Sierra Leoneans? Lonta

  9. Yeah. This statement by the APC makes me feel good. When the APC strikes back, the narrative becomes very hard for their opponents to control or respond to. How will they reply to this all powerful statement from the Legendary and indomitable APC? As one political analyst whispered to me a few moments ago, the APC is commanding the narrative on every issue since 2018. Surprisingly, with proof and convincing argument, to make them credible in the eyes of the people of Sierra Leone and the International Community.

    He went on further to say to me, that investors are now waiting for the next APC Administration, to help jump start our poorly managed economy and make Sierra Leone the Paradise of Africa, with massive infrastructural development, building of manufacturing plants etc, to provide the jobs that people in Sierra Leone dearly need. Finally, he asked me a question of interest to the people of Bonthe City – “Do you know why the Niti Port Project failed”?. Regrettably, I replied with a big fat NO, that left me dumbfounded.

    After Nissan BO, Nestle and Cadbury rumours, we are now hearing about the Niti Port Project, which should have brought thousands of jobs to the people of Bonthe City. Never mind the odds against the APC presently, it’s all bollocks, which could be overcome easily by making the right party political decision. God bless Ambassador Yansaneh for blessing Sierra Leone and may God bless Sierra Leone and its people.

    • The great honourable chief Matturi, your commentaries are right on the money sir. For the first time since my arrival, I venture out yesterday, driving from the East end of the capital Jui/Hastings, towards the central business district and onto the dead west Peninsula — Ogoo Farm, Hamilton, stopping at Mambo settlement.

      The fact is, the only visible infrastructural developments are those left by the APC, with the exception of the double naming culvert (can’t be called a bridge due to its short span), Wallace Johnson/Sengbe Pieh bridge adjoining Juba and the Lumley community. Upon approaching the bridge, the oddity becomes more obvious by the absurdity of naming a single bridge 2 names. Literally, these nincompoops have 2 sign boards on the opposite side of the bridge bearing each of the names hahaha. How petty can one be??

      Anyway, on my way back to the east, I decided to ply along the Regent/Grafton road constructed by the Chinese during EBK’s tenure. A small subsection of the road was left out during that construction, reasons unknown to me. However, despite funding already secured by the former regime to complete that small section, it remains a death trap. The Chinese are said to have been award the contract but almost 3 years now, a distance spanning less than 3 miles have yet to be completed. I got stuck into that death trap late last night for almost 2hrs with almost all vehicles in standstill. I will definitely avoid plying that route again in the foreseeable future.

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