Cornelius Deveaux – APC Publicity Secretary: Sierra Leone Telegraph: 19 January 2019:
The attention of the All Peoples Congress (APC) party has been drawn to two separate press releases issued by the Sierra Leone Association of Journalists (SLAJ) and its Northern Bureau, both dated 18th January 2019, in relation to unsubstantiated allegations of violence and death threats against AYV reporters and Umuru Fofanah respectively.
The membership of the Party and the general public is hereby informed that the allegations are baseless and unfounded and that the APC is yet to receive an official complaint(s) regarding the same from any aggrieved person(s) or institution(s).
The Party therefore views, with serious concern, the allegations as orchestrated conspiracy to bring the hard earned reputation of the APC into disrepute, especially at the time when a delegation from ECOWAS is in the country to mediate the rising political tension occasioned by the way and manner in which the Sierra Leone People’s Party (SLPP) government is abusing power and authority.
In this regard, the National Publicity Secretariat of the APC (Photo) remains of the conviction that the press releases from SLAJ and its Northern Bureau are far-fetched from speaking in good faith in the interest, safety and wellbeing of journalists.
The public will recall that a journalist was allegedly manhandled by supporters of the SLPP and officers of the Sierra Leone Police, not just on the instructions of a senior SLPP functionary, but also in his presence on the day of the bye elections in Tonko Limba, Kambia district, Northern Region which SLAJ is still ominously silent on.
That egregious act of violence and human rights abuse allegedly meted against a journalist and perpetuated by senior members of the governing party and the Sierra Leone Police is yet to be questioned by SLAJ nonetheless mentioned in its most recent press releases of 18th January 2019.
Our attention has also been drawn to the allegations made by the African Young Voices (AYV) Media Empire in relation to the hullabaloo surrounding one of its reporters on its front page commentary on Friday 18th January 2019 edition in which AYV threatens a news blackout on the APC.
Claims that AYV reporters were attacked on the premises of the Chairman and Leader of the APC, and as endorsed in one of the press releases from SLAJ, is totally untrue and deliberately misleading.
This seeming carefully orchestrated conspiracy to bring the reputation of the APC into disrepute cannot be unconnected to the pre-emptive statement by AIG Brima Jah, Director of Crimes Services of the Sierra Leone Police, that the APC supporters attacked AYV journalists and carted away with a camera on Radio Democracy 98.1 Good Morning show thereby prejudging even before a complaint was brought forth to his attention and as if he was present at the scene of the alleged crime.
This was just before he [AIG Brima Jah, the lead investigator] had confirmed that the atmosphere in the precinct of the residence of the Chairman and Leader was very peaceful.
Therefore, we believe that whatever may have happened outside the precinct of the residence of the Chairman and Leader has been prejudiced by the Police and we expect no good faith outcome different from the seeming conspiracy by SLAJ, AYV and the Police to present the APC in a bad light in view of public perception.
We therefore hereby engender AYV’s patience against its hasty threat to shut down the curtains on activities of the Party and news blackout on 68 Members of Parliament, 10 local councils, well-over 200 elected local councillors of the largest opposition in the country.
It would be injurious to democracy and good governance and besides, we stand to be challenged that the APC is certainly the biggest newsmakers in Sierra Leone.
Nonetheless, should the Party receive any official complaint(s) from any aggrieved person(s) or institution(s) the matter will be seriously looked into and where necessary defaulters shall be held accountable.
It is however advisable for victims of the purported misfortunes and their allies to restrain themselves from hasty generalization/conspiracies and/or baseless and unfounded allegations against the APC as clearly demonstrated in SLAJ’s separate press releases and AVY’s threat of news blackout on the APC.
Cornelius Deveaux is the National Publicity Secretary of the All Peoples Congress Party (APC).