Political tension rises in Sierra Leone ahead of publication of Elections Report

Sierra Leone Telegraph: 5 June 2024:

The US embassy in Freetown yesterday said that it “applauds the strong and unambiguous statement by the SLPP and APC condemning all forms of hate speech and urging constructive political discourse in the run-up to the release of the final report of the Election Review Committee on June 19. We strongly support these efforts consistent with the Agreement for National Unity to promote peace, social cohesion, and democracy in line with the aspirations of the Sierra Leonean people.”

That statement was made by the US embassy in response to a joint letter published two days ago by both the ruling Sierra Leone Peoples Party (SLPP) and the All Peoples Congress (APC), expressing concern at the “rising tensions in our political discourse, both within Sierra Leone and among our diaspora communities.”

The joint statement reads: “The SLPP and APC have jointly committed to the Agreement for National Unity to address these challenges. This landmark agreement aims to peacefully and respectfully resolve political differences; strengthen our democratic institutions; resume regular cross-party dialogue; unite Sierra Leoneans across all divides.

“This pledge reflects our shared dedication to advancing Sierra Leone’s broader national interest.

“We firmly support free speech and freedom of the press as fundamental rights that uphold our democracy. However, these rights come with responsibilities and must never be abused. The SLPP and APC both believe that: Free speech should not be used to incite violence; Individuals should not be disparaged based on ethnicity, nationality, religion, gender, or political affiliation; Hatred against any ethnic or religious group must not be spread

“We are gravely concerned about recent instances of hate speech by some political commentators, both in Sierra Leone and abroad. Such behavior is unacceptable and contrary to the values of both the SLPP and APC. We call on all Sierra Leoneans to reject hate speech and understand that it has no place in our political discourse.

“The SLPP and APC support the investigation and prosecution of individuals who incite violence, as it is a crime under Sierra Leonean law. These actions must adhere strictly to legal and human rights standards. In the current political climate, protecting the rights of all SLPP and APC members and supporters is crucial.

“We urge our international partners to support our efforts to ensure justice is served fairly and thoroughly. Their assistance is vital in maintaining a just and peaceful society.

“As the deadline for the final report of the Electoral Review Committee approaches, we anticipate an intensification of political discourse. We call on all Sierra Leoneans to engage in this dialogue respectfully and with dignity, avoiding personal attacks and threats of violence. Hate speech has no place in our country, and those who spread it have no place in our political parties.

“The SLPP and APC are dedicated to continuously monitoring and addressing hate speech and violence. We will collaborate with civil society organizations and international partners to ensure a safe and respectful political environment.

“Together, the SLPP and APC are committed to building a peaceful and respectful Sierra Leone for all its citizens. Let us unite to create a future where political discourse is conducted with respect and our democratic values are upheld.


Umaru Napoleon Koroma, National Secretary General-SLPP

SIGNED: Lansana Dumbuya, National Secretary General-APC

Last week, President Bio published what appears to be an appeal for peace in his happy new month message: “As we embrace the start of this New Month, let us remember that our love for Sierra Leone is at the heart of our identity as its citizens. The depth of God’s blessings for Sierra Leone surpasses our understanding. As your President, I am dedicated to creating a thriving environment for transformative growth of our esteemed country. Let us nurture the peace and extend the same warmth and love we give to strangers to our fellow compatriots, Together, let us uncover the abundant opportunities that exist within.”

But many are questioning the President’s sincerity, after being accused of the extra-judicial killing of hundreds of Sierra Leoneans under his watch, since coming to power in 2018. The ex-military brigadier remains unrepentant.

With the Tripartite Committee set up to investigate the conduct of all post-war elections in Sierra Leone and make recommendations that will prevent the recurring rigging of votes, elections violence, political intimidation and other electoral malpractices, preparing to publish its report in the coming weeks, tensions are rising across the country.

Many in Sierra Leone are expecting the Tripartite Report to recommend a re-run of the 2023 elections, following what the opposition and independent electoral monitoring groups refer to as lack of clear evidence showing President Bio the winner of the 2023 election.

With the Electoral Commission (ECSL) refusing calls to publish all polling station results as required by the country’s Constitution, it remains to be seen whether the Tripartite Committee at their closed-door meeting with the ECSL last week, has been granted access to all polling station results as part of their investigations.

One possible recommendation of the Tripartite Report is for the main opposition APC party to go to the Supreme Court to seek a nullification of the 2023 election results and be granted an order for a re-run of the election.

Given the likelihood of widespread chaos and instability once the report has been published in a few weeks, ECOWAS will be sending a mission this week to Sierra Leone to meet various stakeholders, including ruling and opposition parties, the Tripartite Committee, and the international community to sensitise and soften reactions. (Photo: ECOWAS Miassion to meet in Freetown ahead of Tripartite Report)

ECOWAS have also announced it will be sending its ECOMOG Standby Force to Sierra Leone to work alongside security forces in the country to help stabilise the country and keep the peace.


  1. The Americans should not help us solve our problems, we should sort them out and solve them ourselves as an independent sovereign nation, although our behaviour points to the contrary, because Bio and his SLPP are determined to hold on to power come what may. Killing their brethren in the process means nothing to them.

    Everyone knows, or should know, including the Americans, the primary cause of the current tensions and apprehensions in the country, which have all but in name resulted in the total collapse of the country.

    To help those who honestly don’t know, they should be emphatically and unambiguously informed that had the 24th of June 2023 elections been conducted according to nationally and internationally accepted standards,no one would have heard the word “tension” in the country.

    The only help Sierra Leone needs at this critical and precipitous moment, not only from the Americans, but from all those who stand for basic democratic principles is for them to be unyielding in telling Bio that all he needs to do is to have his electoral commissioner, Mohammed Konneh, release the real results of the 24th June 2023 elections. It’s that simple. It’s not an unrealistic demand.

    SLPP and APC may put out or sign all kinds of statement, but what must be remembered is that the signatories are not the downtrodden in society who go to beg hungry everyday. To borrow the old adage “a hungry man is an angry man “. Democracy must prevail in Sierra Leone, although “it is the worst form of government except for all the others” (Winston Churchill). One is even forced to wonder at this moment where the Western Democracies stand, vis – a – vis Sierra Leone.


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.


This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.