PUAWUI – Dr Sama Banya: Sierra Leone Telegraph: 09 May 2020:
Almost a year ago to the day, that is in May, 2019, I published an opinion in my Puawui column with the title, “When enough is enough- time to call the APC’s bluff.” The Sierra Leone Telegraph edition of the article suddenly appeared on social media within the last few days.
Whether it was in response to the spate of the recent security incidents and threats in some parts of the country is now immaterial, but it’s appearance was timely.
In that article I gave a historical account of the unsocial activities of the APC since 1968, both in and out of power. In particular I reminded readers of the open threat by the then leader of the APC Presidential candidate Ernest Bai Koroma to make the country ungovernable if his party did not win the 2007 Presidential runoff election.
I reminded readers of the brutal and unprovoked attack by APC supporters on the headquarters of the Sierra Leone People’s Party (SLPP) immediately the APC candidate was declared the winner. I gave instances of other attacks on the party at different times in the eleven years administration of the APC.
There were the brutal activities of high ranking APC personnel like Musa Tarawally, Pat Sowe, Paolo Conteh and others at various times but especially at by-elections. There were also the open biased activities of law enforcement officials like I G Acha Kamara, Karrow Kamara, and the misuse of the military in bye elections by Paolo and other high ranking military personalities.
Philip Tondoneh’s house in Kono was burnt down; we came under teargas even as we were having a 60th Anniversary Thanksgiving Service and pouring of Libation in our headquarters; the list is endless.
Fast forward to the 2018 Presidential and Parliamentary elections and the atrocities, including murder of the ruling APC, were many.
Since the APC lost that election and true to the 2007 threat of their leader, they’ve refused to accept the reality or the election or given peace and reconciliation a chance.
Foreseeing what lay ahead, President Bio organised a third Bintumani Conference In 2018/19. The APC said they wouldn’t attend and they did not.
President Bio despatched His Vice President, not even his chief minister to the former President inviting him to a meeting in connection with fighting against the Coronavirus pandemic which met with a negative response.
One must then ask to what kind of a meeting or conference, Dr Kandeh Yumkella of the NGC and the leader of the C4C respectively want from Bio and his government?
Rev Gbokoma Spence and his “people of God” who persuaded Bio to meet with Ernest in 2012 for peace and reconciliation have been conspicuous by their silence.
Although President Bio has still urged the various CSOs and human rights groups to expand their mandate, in the opinion of many of us, some of these groups have made themselves conspicuously irrelevant by their biased positions since the SLPP assumed the reign of government.
President Bio has spoken – So which way out?
Bio has spoken; he has spoken like a statesman. Beyond that he has spoken like the head of state and President of Sierra Leone. He has spoken in answer to the many concerns of us his people and our friends in the international community.
No one is being threatened; Peace abiding and peace and reconciliation seeking citizens have nothing to fear. But there will be no room, no accommodations for lawbreakers, would-be saboteurs, criminals and any who wish to destabilise Sierra Leone.
The new IGP and Police council have taken the first steps to curb indiscipline and ineffective officials.
The APC has not condemned any of the violence at Pademba Road prison, Lunsar or Tombo. Their only concern has been the welfare and safety of their supporters in detention. But the COIs will go on.
The judiciary is being urged to deal with cases of lawbreaking etc., with some speed. These are statements of reassurance that law-abiding citizens may go about their normal business, as together we continue to deal with the world’s most dangerous current enemy the Covid – 19 disease.
No more kid glove!
In March 2019 President Bio invited leaders of the opposition parties – including former president Koroma to State House. Should president Bio have kept on the momentum to build the trust and confidence necessary for sustainable peace in Sierra Leone, by following up on that meeting with regular dialogue, as was proposed by the Sierra Leone Telegraph?: