President Bio declares war on violence and shuts door on national reconciliation

Sierra Leone Telegraph: 09 May 2020:

President Julius Maada Bio has delivered his long awaited address to the people of Sierra Leone on the rapid decline of law and order in the country, as well as the spate of civil disturbance and youth violence.

His address comes following a meeting he was to have had at State House with the international community representatives comprising of the  diplomatic corps, UN, EU, IMF, and World Bank. But there are unconfirmed reports that the meetimg was cancelled by the president shortly before it even started, sensing perhaps that the international community was going to press on the prsesident to extend an olive branch to the opposition APC to seek national cohesion.  But these reports are yet to be confirmed or commented upon by State House.

Speaking on national television last night, president Bio spoke passionately about his determination to fight and win the fight against rising violence and social disturbances in the country, which he said are being fuelled and instigated by some senior members of the opposition APC party.

President Bio referred to some executive members of the APC – without naming names, as terrorists whilst stopping short of calling the APC party a terrorist group.

” 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 violence terrorist attacks against the people of Sierra Leone ,” president Bio told the people of Sierra Leone.

It seems the die has been cast. There are worrying times ahead in Sierra Leone, which could lead to more confrontations between the ruling SLPP and the main opposition APC, as president Bio has now left very little or no room for national reconciliation. All gloves are off for a full blown confrontation with the APC.

“One would therefore expect that the leadership of the All People’s Congress, like the leaderships of the other political parties in Sierra Leone, would have publicly and staunchly condemned as well as dissociated the party from any persons or groups of persons who incite hate, associate with and support violence, or participate in violence against the state. They have not. Instead, the leadership has made public statements that have heightened tensions,” the president said.

Speaking about those members of the APC that are currently being detained and awaiting trial, president Bio said:  “Persons who have been arrested are not being held because of their political beliefs or their professional work as journalists. Beating a journalist to death, persistently inciting people to violence against the state, the unauthorised carrying of loaded firearms, burning down the homes and vehicles of Chiefs, burning down hospitals and community health centres, burning down police stations, destroying telecommunications installations, burning down large parts of prisons, violently killing persons with machetes and iron bars, are all criminal offences. What each and all of them have done are not peaceful political expressions. They are either being held on criminal charges or being investigated for criminal violence and terrorism-related offences.”

“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. And let us be very clear, fellow citizens. The actions of these persons are not peaceful political expressions as one expects in a democracy. Their actions are carefully planned, coordinated, well-orchestrated and executed acts of violent terrorism targeting the state, state officials, public buildings, and private persons and property. Like terrorists elsewhere, they even record their acts with telephone cameras, run self-valorising commentaries on their acts of extreme violence and killings, and share those synchronously in WhatsApp forums.”

“My Government will hit hard and it will continue to hit even harder until this fight is won because this is a fight for the unity, stability, development, and the future of the only place we call home. It is a fight that we must fight and it is a fight that we must win.”

“In conclusion, let me re-state that any act of violence will be dealt with within the broad spectrum of the law. Citizens have an obligation to obey law and order. Those who think that by fomenting trouble and inciting violence in this country, they can derail and distract the government from fighting corruption, attracting investors, and meeting its promise to deliver development of this nation, know now that you will lose this fight.”

Tough speech indeed.  But is the president’s speech likely to engender peace and longterm stability?

Watch the president delivering his speech here:

 

This is the full text of the president’s speech:

Fellow Citizens: Today, I want to call on all Sierra Leoneans to celebrate the ties that bind us as a nation and not the angers that blind us. We convened a national convention that agreed to institute a permanent commission for peace and national cohesion that would identify and address all triggers of conflict in our nation. Over and over again, I have asked every Sierra Leonean to contribute to building inclusive and resilient national institutions, to consolidate our democracy, and to build a peaceful Sierra Leone.

The Sierra Leone Association of Journalists has acknowledged that they practise journalism freely and we are working with them to repeal obnoxious laws and further enhance professional development in journalism. Civil society organisations speak up freely and hold Government accountable and we are grateful that they are playing their part as citizens. Organised labour organisations, professional organisations, religious bodies, Paramount Chiefs, community stakeholders, the private sector all continue to contribute positively to our peaceful co-existence as a nation. The international community in Sierra Leone continues to engage with Government and Sierra Leoneans in general in fostering peace and supporting development.

In this Holy Month of Ramadan, Sierra Leoneans, irrespective of ethnicity and political party, buy and sell in the same markets, live peacefully in the same communities, and break fast and worship Allah Subuhanah wa T’Allah together and in peace. Presently, Sierra Leone is contending with COVID-19 that has already killed over two hundred thousand people worldwide including Sierra Leoneans at home and abroad. We will remember them and their families.

We will also continue praying for our compatriots and their families who are currently battling with this highly infectious and deadly disease. I thank and urge all my fellow Sierra Leoneans to continue complying with all hygiene and public health directives as we work hand-in-hand to rid this country of the Corona Virus.

I also call for solidarity and cooperation from all well- meaning Sierra Leoneans across this great nation to join us in informing and mobilising our communities to prevent, curtail, and protect against COVID-19. It is at times like this, in our country’s greatest hour of need, that we should all voluntarily stand up for our shared values, our common destiny, and the only place we call home.

When Ebola ravaged our nation, I did not wait for an invitation or a telephone call to lead my party’s social mobilisation and fight against Ebola. I travelled to every part of this country that was accessible to me and delivered a message that was in consonance with the government’s strategy and objectives in fighting Ebola. That is what serving the national interest is -not waiting to be begged pleasantly to serve your country and putting your country’s interests always above all else.

As President, I have reached out to all Sierra Leoneans to work together to make this country a peaceful place for all of us. I dispatched the Honourable Vice President to former President Ernest Bai Koroma to initiate dialogue on fostering peace and resolving the acrimony of division. I followed that with a personal invitation of the entire leadership of the All People’s Congress party to State House, (including former President Dr. Ernest Bai Koroma), to discuss the way forward for a peaceful and united Sierra Leone.

In the post-meeting memorandum of understanding, we resolved on working urgently on building a united and cohesive Sierra Leone free of patronage, threats, hate, virulent partisanship, and corruption. But within those two years, there has been an unrelenting barrage of attacks against the state, state officials, public and private persons and properties. This hearkens back to
a public threat issued by the losing Presidential candidate that the All Peoples Congress party would make the country ungovernable.

One would therefore expect that the leadership of the All People’s Congress, like the leaderships of the other political parties in Sierra Leone, would have publicly and staunchly condemned as well as dissociated the party from any persons or groups of persons who incite hate, associate with and support violence, or participate in violence against the state. They have not. Instead, the leadership has made public statements that have heightened tensions.

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.

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.
And let us be very clear, fellow citizens. The actions of these persons are not peaceful political expressions as one expects in a democracy.

Their actions are carefully planned, coordinated, well-orchestrated and executed acts of violent terrorism targeting the state, state officials, public buildings, and private persons and property. Like terrorists elsewhere, they even record their acts with telephone cameras, run self-valorising commentaries on their acts of extreme violence and killings, and share those synchronously in WhatsApp forums.

For each of the attacks at Lunsar, Foredugu, Tombo, and the prison breakout at Pademba Road Correctional Centres, known agents and associates of the All People’s Congress party have publicly predicted the precise date, target, and nature of the attacks. There is an obvious pattern. These attacks are therefore premeditated, orchestrated, and executed with a clear objective – to make the state ungovernable.

Persons who have been arrested are not being held because of their political beliefs or their professional work as journalists. Beating a journalist to death, persistently inciting people to violence against the state, the unauthorised carrying of loaded firearms, burning down the homes and vehicles of Chiefs, burning down hospitals and community health centres, burning down police stations, destroying telecommunications installations, burning down large parts of prisons, violently killing persons with machetes and iron bars, are all criminal offences. What each and all of them have done are not peaceful political expressions. They are either being held on criminal charges or being investigated for criminal violence and terrorism-related offences.

Incitement to extreme criminal violence, arson, murder and attempted murder, other felonious acts targeting the state, state officials, public officials, private citizens, and public and private persons are not peaceful political actions meant to foster peace in Sierra Leone.

The right to free speech is guaranteed in our democracy and in our constitution. But no democracy guarantees a right to speech that incites criminal violence, foments hate and divisiveness, causes public disorder, and threatens the security and stability of the state.

I am certain that our international partners agree with us that prosperity and development are possible only when there is peace and stability. Countries that have prospered have always ensured first that peace and security are maintained. Our international partners, as moral guarantors of our peace, should therefore single out and wholeheartedly condemn persons and organisations
associated with these acts of extreme violence against the state.

In peaceful democracies, citizens strive for the common good, peacefully cohabit with other citizens, and advocate for and protect their rights through peaceful norms and practices. Our enforcement agencies and the justice sector will ensure that every citizen’s right to due process is respected and justice is dispensed speedily and without hindrance, fear, or favour. The rule of law is supreme. No citizen, absolutely no citizen, is above the law.

My Government has been closely following events of the last few weeks. The security sector has closely analysed the prime movers, financiers, causes, nature, and patterns of violent acts. Our responses are therefore well-informed. As Commander-in-Chief, I have ordered the intelligence and security forces to use all available resources, and take all measures necessary within the laws of this country to deal promptly, decisively, and robustly with all acts of violence against the state.

Anybody who incites, plans, supports, undertakes, or is involved in any manner of violence in this country will be dealt with harshly. We will use all instruments of state power and resources permissible under the laws of this country to deal firmly and decisively with these violent terrorist attacks against the state of Sierra Leone.

I have also ordered urgent reforms within the security sector. The objective is to make their leadership more decisive, more effective in crime prevention and deterrence, and to maintain peace and stability in the face of extreme acts of terrorist violence against the state.

I have called for more citizen engagement so that communities are more intimately involved in preventing crime and the causes of crime. I want to personally encourage civil society organisations to expand their scope of work to capture these dynamics in their daily work with communities.

I have also ordered urgent reforms within the correctional system to provide for safe and secure custody in line with international best practices while developing a reintegration component focused on skills training and entrepreneurship.

I am aware that the courts are closed because of COVID-19. But given the prevailing circumstances, I will appeal to the Chief Justice to consider appropriate measures to adjudicate the cases that emerge from this widespread insecurity. Equally, given the destruction to the Pademba road Correctional Centre and the burning down of police stations in parts of the Country in addition to over- crowding in the Correctional Centres and police cells, there is a need to think about decentralizing court hearings.

In conclusion, let me re-state that any act of violence will be dealt with within the broad spectrum of the law. Citizens have an obligation to obey law and order. Those who think that by fomenting trouble and inciting violence in this country, they can derail and distract the government from fighting corruption, attracting investors, and meeting its promise to deliver development of this nation, know now that you will lose this fight.

My Government will hit hard and it will continue to hit even harder until this fight is won because this is a fight for the unity, stability, development, and the future of the only place we call home. It is a fight that we must fight and it is a fight that we must win.

I thank you and God Bless Sierra Leone. (END)

25 Comments

  1. Frankly, I am not surprised at this address by the President. In my comment to Dr Kandeh Yumkella’s article – “President Bio must work quickly on unifying the people of Sierra Leone” posted on 6th May this year, I stated that the President lacks the credentials to build a partnership framework. The President’s address clearly demonstrates that he is not ready for building a partnership. He is forging ahead and CANNOT turn back. Now then there were those 29 people executed during his NPRC days (collective responsibility) and, lately, 11 unarmed inmates and wardens gunned down during the recent prison riot – BLOOD! BLOOD! BLOOD!

    Students of Shakespeare will recall the famous quotation in Macbeth – “I am in blood stepp’d in so far … as go o’er” – and draw an allusion. And Fatima Bio, the President’s wife, seems to be taking a leaf out of Lady Macbeth’s book – calling for mob justice for her husband’s opponents and/or critics. How will ALL this end? Well, your guess is as good as mine.

  2. “I’ve been following you all this while. My only advice to you is for you avoid giving out inciting speeches. Let allow peace and cohesion to rein. Your over excessive of freedom of speech will one day lead you into danger if care is not taken now.” – Peter Tucker.

    Peter Tucker, Sierra Leone is about 60 years old, after gaining independence in 1961. When do you expect “peace and cohesion to rein”? Today, I will give you the benefit of the doubt. Next time you threaten me, I will make sure that, I put you squarely in your place – intellectually, of course.

  3. If indeed President Bio has been reading the Sierra Leone Telegraph,he should have learned a lot of pragmatic lessons from a few rare,and brilliant minds on this forum by now;Although i have been on the sidelines watching,i am proud to say this newspaper has been able to showcase some exceptional individuals,audacious men,with the keenest insights,courage,and sincerity that can be matched only in advanced democracies.What a total waste of time it would be for our President to be surrounded by countless,ceaselessly gushing fountains of knowledge,yet be unable to drink,and make prudent use of them.

  4. Does the President even read this paper or any opinions about himself? I always think it’s odd when people on this forum address the President directly, like he comes to this website, read the articles/comments about himself, and actually responds. Everything that is happening in Sierra Leone is all President Bio’s fault. If he was actually doing his job, you know improving all aspects of this country and providing leadership for the Sierra Leone populace, he wouldn’t be seeing as much unrest. People are tired of his ineffectiveness as their elected leader.

    No one is going to come and save the country for him, aka “investors”. That responsibility falls squarely on the president, and his government. These outburst are just symptoms of the greater problem that is Sierra Leone. His speech was divisive, and harmful to the prosperity of this nation. He needs to put on his big boy pants, and communicate across parties to work on getting this country in better shape, instead of playing the blame game.

    • Dear sir/madam, I can confirm that President Bio reads the Sierra Leone Telegraph. I dont know whether he comments on this forum, but YES – I can authoritatively confirm that he reads the Sierra Leone Telegraph.

  5. It would be great if Sierra Leoneans start hearing statements like “The opposition and myself through the approval of parliament”, rather than “I and I and I” forever. I, I, I does not illustrates democracy in my view. it’s only in JUNTA dictatorship, you hear statements like –
    “I of myself, I by myself and I for myself”. Bottom line, democracy is hard to practice by any former JUNTA SOJAMAN. God bless the Sierra Leone opposition.

  6. Its surprising how myopic some Sierra Leoneans are in their judgement of the cause of the current problems in mama Salone. I will remind you Young4Ha that the current fraud election mayhem you are accusing others of all started during the era of Ms Christina Thorpe as Chief Electoral Commissioner who together with her cabal, engineered, bastardised the electoral process to get the APC party elected into the executive and it will surprised you to know that after the runoff of the 2007 presidential elections, 3 out of 4 of the electoral commissioners openly condemned, disagreed and cried foul when she was declaring the results.

    As a mature political party the SLPP party proud of what they had achieved, narrated where the security, socioeconomic conditions of mama Salone was when the NPRC 11 military govt handed over the governance of the country to them in 1996 and what the Ahmed Tejan-Kabbah SLPP led govt had achieved during his 2 terms of elected presidency during his administration with his handing over speech in 2007 to the EB Koroma led APC party government. During the APC led govt 11 years leadership they bastardised the electoral laws to suit them and there grip for political powers indefinitely.

    • “ I will remind you Young4Ha that the current fraud election mayhem you are accusing others of all started during the era of Ms Christina Thorpe as Chief Electoral Commissioner”. What exactly are you talking about Senesie Boima? You appear to be delusional my brother. Did I mention any election fraud ever in this forum? Wow, this is one prime effect of political fanaticism, people give up their capacity to think for themselves. Senesie, it appears your cerebral is misfiring on you bro. Slow down man!!

  7. The immaturity of President Bio and his advisers have now become glaringly clear in his address to the nation.Let him be reminded,that hurling threats at seasoned politicians,instead of choosing amicable avenues,and channels for promoting civilized dialogue, and mutual respect will only inflame things even further.The principles that govern all progressive democracies do not make provisions for intimidation,threats, and arbitrary arrests.

    I sense that the President knows his hands are stained with the blood of unarmed prisoners that can never be washed away,and he is totally overwhelmed by fear of the consequences to come.The boys in governance,still think they are wearing military boots and uniforms; they are obsessed with power, and even the deadly pandemic snuffing lives away in their clouded eyes, wasn’t even worth mentioning in the President speech…State House,its clear,is already a Failed House.

  8. Very objective response. This offers a conspicuous evidence of a mind that has the Country at heart – he doesn’t take sides but simply addresses the issue at hand in an utterly objective fashion. I hoped we’d all learn from this response.

  9. The same old blame game and blackmailing of the APC party; after the paopa SLPP has messed up big time! The catch phrase the nation was looking forward to – the thorough INVESTIGATION of the causes of the disturbances at Lunsar, Foredugu, Tombo and the prison ‘breakout’ at Pademba Road Correctional Centre – was not even mentioned in a speech full of superfluous, threats and propaganda. Anyhow, although the main objective of the speech was to drive home the message of FEAR to the people, and especially the leadership of the APC party, there was an element of fear on the part of the President, as he envisaged the likelihood of being dragged to the International Criminal Court (ICC) in the not so distant future.

    The critical question is, was the speech intended to bypass the much needed independent inquiry into the cold blooded slaughtering of 11 inmates and 2 officers at the Pademba Road prisons? President Maada Bio believes that State House is his permanent residence, even though he has failed the nation on all fronts: economic, social, and political; and as well as on morality. His nonchalant attitude in the fight against COVID-19, and his main focus on intimidating and controlling the populace, is evidence in his determination to strengthen his grip on power. He knows the end of his futile first term in office is just on the horizon.

    • I’ve been following you all this while. My only advice to you is for you avoid giving out inciting speeches. Let allow peace and cohesion to rein. Your over excessive of freedom of speech will one day lead you into danger if care is not taken now.

      • Mr Tucker – it seems you are new to this forum. Please do not threaten or seek to curtail freedom of speech here. No one is making inciting or hate speeches here. You’ve been warned. If you cannot abide by our rules, you can simply leave. Thank you.

  10. I personally believe that the lifetime leader of the APC Comrade Ernest Koroma has missed a golden opportunity to respectfully resign from politics after his 11 years rule just like his predecessor or late Solomon Berewa and Vice President Victor Foh did. Now President Bio has drawn a line on the sand and taking the fight to his door step by labeling him as a TERRORIST LEADER.

    Late President Kabba together with the international community were successful in nailing down President Charles Taylor of Liberia and Johnny Paul Koroma which sent a message to the whole of Africa that democracy is the only way out and now President Bio has to protect the lives and properties of his people from the ideology of GREED AND TERROR. My only advice for the lifetime leader of the APC is to quickly condemn incitement and terror and step aside from his position and help transform his party through free and fair election instead of SELECTION .

  11. President Bio, as head of state and commander in chief of the armed forces of Sierra Leone should be made aware he is the elected leader of all Sierra leoneans. North, South, East, and West. In his address to the nation he tried to apportion blame to leaders of the All Peoples Congress party, for what is happening in the country. To some extent, correct me if I’m wrong he went on to say he expected a statement from the former president Bia Koroma. Mr president I can see your point in trying to reach out ,in the name of peace and stability, but I totally disagree with you on that. With all due respect to you and the office of the president, you are sounding like President Donald J.Trump blaming all the ills that the United States of America is going through, to the former president Obama, in this case blaming the present crisis engulfing our beloved Sierra Leone on the former President Bia Koromo.

    There is an written rule in American politics,that former president, never make public statements about policies of the present adminstration. Maybe that is the principle under which the former President Bai koroma is adhering to. I can’t think for him, but that is what I suspect. Our democracy is young, so in the interest of peace and stability in Sierra Leone, I think former President Bia koroma, should break with such convention and issue a statement not as a chairman of the APC, but as a former elder statesman. Mr President Bio you are our elected leader.

  12. It’s appalling to observe individuals who claim to love our nation trumpeting and celebrating the president ill-advise idea of labelling an opposition party as a terrorist organization without any substantiative evidence. During the Arab Spring in Syria, the labelling of peaceful demonstration by opposition parties as terrorists resulted to that country laying in ruins for the most part and millions of lives lost. The downfall of Libya was a result of Gaddafi labeling of opposition parties as terrorists, hence refusing to open any peaceful dialogue with them. The same happening in Yemen and many other unstable nations around the world.

    We all know you cannot put off a fire inferno by using fire. America, the greatest military in the world has been fighting terrorism for decades without success. Today they are in negotiation with the Talibans in Afghanistan for peaceful resolutions. The issues of political violence and citizens unrest can be squarely blame on both SLPP and APC. Both parties encourage extremists elements who in many occasions have orchestrated violence and destructions. There are documented cases of these extremist elements and the law enforcement are very much aware of these individuals. If indeed the president wants to fight against lawlessness, one will think the arrest of these known political thugs should supersede rather labeling an entire party as a terrorist group. We seriously need to tone down the rhetoric, else we will all regret the end results. Lonta!!

  13. It’s oppressors and dictators that always label their opponents as terrorists to silence them. What Bio and whosoever wrote that stupid speech failed to realise is that they’ve singled-handedly used a vile speech to scare investors away. Who in their right mind will invest in a country wherein a leader has declared war on terrorists?

  14. What is good for the Ganger, is good for the Goose. Well said Mr. President. You really did justice with your speech yesterday. I personally applaud you. Nevertheless, “talk is cheap.” Please put everything you said into action. Don’t let your speech be like most of the many proposals you’ve been dishing out since your became the leader of this country, with nothing implemented so far as I know. Your countrymen need action, real fast. Time and time waits for no man, Sir. Am pretty sure a good number of international and national investors are holding on to their check books observing how the security situation in the country is progressing. We all know the country needs them all, now. Honestly, Sir, you’ve not been proactive dealing with several State Matters.

    Now we’re all paying the price. You have had everything, and still has all the apparatus in your power as President of the Republic, to use to amicably and decisively handle all of these thuggery and lawlessness in our beloved Sierra Leone, but you failed, Sir. Now is your opportune time to “hit the iron when it’s still hot,” Sir. Be a decisive leader. The World is watching! Yet, the World is behind you, for the sake of democracy and solidarity. Thank you, Mr. President for your attention. Lonta!

  15. “Tough speech indeed. But is the president’s speech likely to engender peace and longterm stability?” The answer is yes. But President Bio must take certain bold and uncompromising steps in the war that he has declared on terrorism. What is probably new in the president’s award-winning speech is that he used the term ‘terrorism’ to define acts of violence against the state in Sierra Leone. Thus, Sierra Leone is now in the company of such countries as Nigeria, Mali, Cote D’Ivoire and Burkina Faso where political violence equates to terrorism. Also, the president by correctly calling out the All Peoples Congress (APC) and associating it with terrorism means that the APC can now be formally looked at as a terrorist organization in the same way that Boko Haram in Nigeria is considered a terrorist organization capable of destabilizing the entire sub-region of West Africa.

    Thus, President Bio can no longer call on the APC for reconciliation talks. Responsible democratic formations do not hold dialogues with terrorist organizations bent upon the violent destruction of the state. Instead, President Bio must start the process of formally inviting the International Criminal Court (ICC) to Sierra Leone to investigate Ernest Koroma, Osman Yansaneh, Samura Kamara, Minkailu Mansaray, and Palo Conteh. Evidence abounds that they are behind all the terrorist activities at Pandemba Road Prisons, Lunsar and Tombo. Most ICC investigations in Africa are initiated through the invitation of national governments and sovereign courts. The ICC roping in the APC leadership and locking it up in the Hague goes a long way in bringing sustainable peace and stability to Sierra Leone.

    • Is Mr. Bilal Coleman really serious about President Bio inviting the ICC to Sierra Leone? With the magic number of 40 plus people now killed under President Bio’s watch, does Mr Bilal Coleman believes that will ever happen? By the way, I asked Mr. Bilal Coleman, most recently, if he would accept any requests made by the next APC government, to the ICC to indict all those involved in the massacre of our prisoners and prison officers in cold blood at Pademba Road Prisons; he ran away as always from this glorious platform.

      Now, he comes back, trying to beat the gun. No way Mr. Bilal Coleman. You can’t hide from me. I’m always by the corner of the textbox waiting patiently for you. May God help Mr Bilal Coleman say to the people of Sierra Leone and the ICC, all those responsible for the massacre of our prisoners and prison officers at Pademba Road Prisons on that dark day.

  16. I fear for the ordinary people of sierra leone. Worrying times are coming ahead. Under the cover of fighting terrorism and violence, soon democracy will go step by step into a dictatorship if Sierra Leoneans together with parts of the international community will not stand up.

  17. If President Bio is determined to hit trouble makers very hard he must be seen to do so even handedly to win the respect of the nation and the international community. There should be no more “arata “sponsored by SLPP. There should be no Lahai Lema driving around as a provocateur to light up the flames of violence. It never should be a case making fish of one and foul of the other. NO BIAS.

    The levers of power are after all in the hands of the President. His main objective should be to use them within the law, this holds true even in countries which consider themselves as the backbone of democracy. Political violence was introduced to our dear in the beginning of the nineteen seventies as Siaka Stevens was on a stampede to consolidate his power. It would be an accolade on President Bio if he mustered enough objectivity and aloofness to destroy it forever.

  18. We appreciate the President for coming out of his hibernation or coccooning to address the nation over recent ugly events in the country that is reminiscent and reminds us all of the chequred history of our country, punctuated by powderkegs, tinder boxes and faulty lightning rods. There are so many important lessons to be drawn from that painful history. Strong-arm tactics by ruling Governments have resulted in coup-detas, regional conflagrations like the Ndogbowusu and outright civil war. In all of these cases, Governments-of-the day, inspite of their tough-talk and war-like postures, were either overwhelmed, kicked out of office or had to rely on the security largesse of the international community to stay in charge.

    President Bio, as one of the leading members of the National Provisional Ruling Council, could attest to that indisputable fact. We all could recall the reasons given for overthrowing the APC and the spectacular failure of the NPRC to end the hostilities with the RUF,who were once tagged as terrorists. Don’t forget the time frame given to end that war, their key promise. It behoves me, therefore, to hear our Excellency, use the T-word. He should be careful what he wishes for. He should steal a glance around the Sub-region to see how Nigeria, Cameroon, Mali, Nigeria, Burkina Faso are doing. I must remind him that Sierra Leone sits right on a gaping faultine of political instability called West Africa. Be careful!. Let us all pray for peace to reign in Sierra Leone. I personally believe both APC and SLPP are no good for Sierra Leone. May be, just may be, the penny will drop soon in the enlightened national consciousness of Sierra Leoneans, and my sentiments are echoed and become commomplace.

  19. Very tough talk indeed. But what evidence is President Bio basing all these accusations on? I believe, a leader of any democratic country must have concrete facts on any issue before talking about that issue. You can’t just go on the air and say, I believe “this” and I believe “that”. What facts have the President got that suggests, that the APC or some members of the APC are behind the violence? It’s better for the citizens and the international community to know those facts Mr. President. There was no mention of Coronavirus or even the loss of life for our prisoners and prison officers on that dark day. Can you imagine that happening anywhere in the world? Accusing the APC of not commenting on the disturbances is the same as the President keeping quiet.

    Has another front just opened? How many fronts will be opened before President Bio and the Bio SLPP concentrate on the fight against Coronavirus? I don’t believe that intimidating and sending threats to the opposition and its members is the right way forward after the slaughtering of our prisoners, prisoners and the arrest of opposition members, Dr Sylvia Blyden and Mrs Conteh. Finally, investors and donors will definitely scare away from this speech. It’s sort declaration of war on the APC. God bless Sierra Leone and may God help Dr Sylvia Blyden and Mrs Conteh be released unconditionally. God help establish an independent commission of inquiry into the massacre at Pademba Road Prisons.

  20. Wow, the uncertainty in our nation just skyrocketed to a higher level. One would thought a presidential address will bring reassurance and ameliorates citizens concerns and fears, however, this particular speech just makes matters worse. Despite the many evidence by this administration of instigating violence to name a few: the forceful imposition of the speaker of parliament, the surreptitious manipulation of the judiciary to forcefully remove 10 members of parliament belonging to the APC, the various election violence with documented members of the SLPP tampering with election materials including the killing of a boy at Tonko Limba, the deliberate decision by the chief justice to sideline any case brought forth by the opposition and other organizations against the regime etc etc.

    The president deliberately ignored these facts, pointing the finger solely at the opposition. This is a classic example of the dictatorial regime, never acknowledging any wrong doing but always pointing fingers at the oppressors. Darker days are indeed ahead of us.

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