Sierra Leone government reacts to last Sunday’s rioting in Freetown

Sierra Lone Telegraph: 28 January 2020:

Following last Sunday’s violent and destructive rioting by youths in the central business district of Freetown, where dozens of ruling party supporters were arrested by police, accusations and counter-accusations by the two main political parties – APC and SLPP continue.

But this evening, the government through its ministry of information and communication has issued this public statement, expressing concern over the effects this continuous political violence and instability are having on the country’s image and economy:

“The attention of Government has been drawn to a public disorder incident that occurred on Sunday 26th January, 2020 along Ecowas and Wallace Johnson Streets in Freetown. The incident resulted in several injuries and malicious damage to vehicles and buildings in the vicinity.

“These acts undermine the efforts of Government to rebrand the country as a favourable destination for foreign direct investment, tourism and business. Government will therefore spare no effort in ensuring that Sierra Leoneans and all other nationals resident in this country enjoy a peaceful and serene atmosphere in our journey  to rebuild the  economy and continue to create a society that will cater for the needs of the present and future generations.

“Whilst noting that Peace and Security are essential for stability in governance and provides a nurturing ecosystem for development, Government hereby encourages all citizens to remain calm, exercise restraint whilst the Sierra Leone Police continues its investigations.

“Government assures all that it will fully investigate this act of violence and lawlessness and bring to book all perpetrators and their sponsors as the incident constitutes a clear threat to peace and stability in the country.

“Government encourages members of the public who have relevant information regarding this incident to direct such information to the Media and Public Relations Unit of the Sierra Leone Police at its headquarters on George Street, Freetown.”

Yesterday, the police confirmed that it had arrested dozens of youths at the scene of the rioting and is conducting a full investigation, the report of which will be published.

10 Comments

  1. This is too awkward for our young democratic dispensation. Certainly while the current government was in opposition, this kind of obnoxious behavior were not observed during the days of APC government. The previous government was governing at ease without any speck of obstruction in a very peaceful atmosphere. Apparently, these urgly activities are definitely the machinations of opposition supporters and thier stewards to justify to the international community that the country is unstable as a way of scaring potential investors.

    The persistent public disturbances is a recipe for chaos; and if not control at this scale will obviously lead to national unrest. The Constitution well underscored public disturbances order where culprits responsible for such disorder should squarely face the law. The government’s lasser-faire attitude to tackle the defaulters is providing room for such unabated behaviour. SLPP government should be courageous to aggressively prosecute defaulters,ed otherwise if the situation is not address within the ambit of law it will be too late.

  2. The Sierra Leone Peoples Party (SLPP) is in disarray! And the fragmented cracks within the upper echelon of the party, are gradually losing their cohesive forces and, are becoming visible to the disappointed and dejected SLPP grassroots supporters. The present violence on the streets of Freetown is not as a result of animosity between SLPP and APC youths. The real war is between the ‘Old SLPP’ and the ‘new direction SLPP, or the ‘new SLPP’.

    On the left corner is the strategic and loyal Dr Prince Alex Harding – a veteran SLPP operator with a tilt towards the original national values – representing the ‘Old SLPP’. And on the right corner, is the inexperienced and unpredictable blue eye of Maada Bio, in Bartilo Songa, – some kind of an aloof and assertive stooge – representing the ‘new SLPP’ and the Paopa Movement. The feud between these two factions came to a climax in mid-July 2019 when President Bio ominously dumped Prince Harding out of the lucrative position of Chairman of the Board of the National Telecommunications Company (NATCOM).

    The ‘Old Boys’ are now entrapped in a situation whereby they can offer lukewarm support to Maada Bio, and risk increasing the odds against the party winning the 2023 elections; or completely toe the line of the illusionary and dangerous paopa philosophy, and sadly watch their beloved party gradually being dragged into the arena of gutter politics.

    Intrinsically wedged within these two major factions are the disgruntled and disenchanted SLPP ‘faithfuls’ who abandoned the party before the 2018 elections. Today, this third camp is somewhat in the wilderness and would most likely prefer to come back to their roots – the original SLPP. But how are they going to fuse into the current SLPP set up – especially with the anarchist paopa mentality ushered in by Maada Bio and his clique?

    The ordinary paopa ‘soldiers’ (or recruited thugs from various regions) are not interested in the future dynamics of the party; for now, their main focus is to be rewarded for their dedication and services rendered to the movement. Travelling all the way from Kailahun or Bo, and finding yourself in the capital Freetown, without any source of income for quite a while, can be very challenging even for a hard-core soldier of fortune. Thus, it is olnly logical that the desperation, resentmentand anger of this dangerous and idle group has a high propensity of spilling over the streets of Freetown.

    Today, as it stands, the current Chairman and Leader of the SLPP, Dr Prince Alex Harding, is seen by this young and wasted labour force as reneging to his promise of hope and a bright future. But what can Mr Harding, who ironically engineered the election of Maada Bio, do in the present circumstances – especially when most of the cylinders in the ‘new direction’ vessel seem not to be firing at all? Can Bartilo Songa come in and perform miracles (real jobs) for these paopa mobsters? Has Maada Bio built a monster that is becoming too hot to handle? Olnly time will tell how these complex jigsaw pieces will continue to hold together.

  3. The President should crack down on these useless people who are spoiling the good image of the Country. The President is doing a good job we must support him.

  4. These are useless people predominantly from the provinces. When other countries are trying to improve their economy, medical facilities, tackle corruption etc, which Sierra Leone is disgracefully behind, good for nothing people are fighting for politicians who don’t even care about their welfare. O’ Sierra Leone. I hereby support the president to deal with these waste of space, good for nothing low lives.

  5. What a shame Sierra Leone is returnig backward. Let us beaware that Sierra Leone is a truly democratic state. This country belongs to all Sierra Leoneans. We must respect our democracy, after a long suffering civil war. What Sierra Leone need is PEACE, LOVE and HARMONY.

  6. The youth or unemployed people are playing havoc to the economy of the country. I do believe people are tired receiving just talks about the economic problems the country is suffering now. I know the government aim is to bring foreign investors into the country but it seems there is no peace and how can they invest in a country where rioting and vandalism exist?

    The APC once promised that Sierra Leone will never be at peace until they come back to power; and they will make the country ungonvernable. I am sure this is what they are doing. Every week we hear about problems and damages the people are suffering. Should these people not work for peace and live a happy life?

    Sierra Leone is heard of all over the world with troubles between party factions. They must work hard helping the president to have a stable and peaceful government. Brothers and sisters working under pressure is not good for anybody. Please give him a chance to prove himself worthy as president of the country. LONG LIVE SIERRA LEONE AND HER PEOPLE.

  7. We have only one country – Sierra Leone. The destiny of our country depends on us the citizens – not any political party or foreign partner. The most important mission we should concentrate on now is uniting Sierra Leone behind a single national development ideology that is based on love, equality and justice for all.

    The country is too small to be divided in such a devilish manner simply because of the selfish interests of few politicians. I think SLPP and its stalwarts ought to have outgrown these divisive tendencies, bickering and violent engagements with the opposition by now. We have no reasons to fight over anything in the name of political differences. Let brotherly love prevail. God bless you.

  8. Finally,the trumpets of concern,warnings,and awareness the Sierra Leone Telegraph,and others have been blowing loudly has clearly been heard by an indifferent,and lackadaisical government,hell bent on exacting revenge on the law abiding, peaceful, progressive, patriotic opposition APC. When will these SLPP rice thieves come to the realization,that civility, order,and peace,are prerequisite requirements for the enhancements of tangible,credible, progress,and sustainable growth?

    How many garments of shame,and blame do these tribalistic Big budget over spenders,wish to wear,before they become contented with destroying our fragile nation,and reducing it to rubble? Whatever the outcome of the flimsy, cosmetic investigations of the corrupt Sierra Leone Police, who are hand puppets being controlled by the SLPP, turns out to be, I can guarantee you,that their fabricated, spoon-fed findings,and conclusions,will have already been tainted by the shady,crooked hands of State House (lol)…Rising Sun Will Rise Again.

  9. Again, the regime has the supreme power and authority to stabilize our nation. All the key governing elements in the nation, the judiciary, the parliament, the police, the army, and the presidency all belongs to the regime. So there is absolutely nothing that will stop the regime to institute laws or enforce our existing civility laws. Criminals, thugs and law breakers must be arrested and face persecution. Tribe, region, political party affiliation should never be a factor in determining which law breaker should be persecuted.

    If the government really want to instill discipline, they must start to reign in with their so called party thugs. Get rid of all of them. Encourage them to find something useful with lives rather than allowing them to waste at the party office, inhaling drugs and other illegal substances. Political party offices should never be harboring thugs and criminals simply because they can be use as attack dogs for opposition members. It makes absolutely no sense for a civilize society.

    The police have full jurisdiction to maintain law and order, while providing full security for all citizens. If the police are left to do their job without political influence, there will be no need for party thugs. The police are supposed to provide security for all political parties wether they are in governance or not. If security is needed at the political party offices, the police officers have the full mandate to fulfill that – Not uneducated youths, induced with drugs, using them as pawns for political leaders mischiefs.

    So please Mr. Government, do your job as expected. Elections were held 2 years ago, the time for politics is over. The citizens of Sierra Leone are desperate for improvement in their lives. Sierra Leone belongs to all citizens, not just political party members. Let’s get to work before the unthinkable happens.

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