Sierra Leone Telegraph: 5 June 2018:
Political tension is rising again in Sierra Leone, after the recent murder of an opposition APC party politician in the far west of the capital Freetown.
Although the police are yet to make an official statement about his death, members of the APC party are blaming ruling SLPP supporters for his killing. SLPP are denying the allegation.
But now, members and officials of the opposition APC party are even more furious, after a senior APC party grandee was last week summoned by the Criminal Investigations Department for questioning, regarding the publishing of a leaked government memo.
This is a statement issued today by Cornelius Deveaux, National Publicity Secretary of the APC party:
“The All People’s Congress notes that Jara Kawusu Conteh (Photo), member of the editorial board of the We Yone newspaper and the party’s National Publicity Secretariat, was invited to the CID on Monday June 4, 2018, on orders from above, and was interrogated on the charge of ‘economic sabotage’ for allegedly sharing a leaked memo originating from the office of the then Secretary to the President, David Vandy, which was addressed to the Financial Secretary with a directive to immediately suspend the implementation of the Financial Acts 2016 and 2017.
“The party views the insistence by the investigating officers that beginning today Tuesday June 5, 2018, Jara Kawusu Conteh should, on a daily basis, report to the CID while investigation continues, as another intimidating tactic of the SLPP, a gross infringement on his fundamental rights and an alarming threat to free speech which is a critical cornerstone of democracy and inclusive governance.
“The All Peoples Congress views with disdain the incessant disregard for fundamental human rights and free speech perpetuated by the SLPP government in its sixty days in office and would want to remind the SLPP that while in opposition its functionaries, in the persons of Alpha Saidu Bangura, Kutubu Koroma and Lahai Lawrence Leema to name a few, made a lot of unsubstantiated and inciteful statements about former President Koroma and his government but they were never invited to the CID on any orders from above nor did the APC government at any time suppressed the enjoyment of free speech.
“This pattern of governance by the then APC government was aptly communicated to President Bio in the handing over notes of President Koroma, wherein the former President was very clear in asserting that “civil liberties and democratic freedoms enjoyed by Sierra Leoneans are unprecedented”, and that he was magnanimous in accommodating criticism, even when such criticisms were untrue and disrespectful.
“It is against this background that the party views the gross human rights violations and attempts to stifle free speech as incompatible with our democratic aspirations as a nation and a blemish on the integrity of a nation, that is reputed for holding firm to the tenets of democracy, good governance and human rights.
“The party therefore calls on the CID to immediately drop the charge against Jara Kawusu Conteh and that he should, henceforth, discontinue to report to the CID on a daily basis.
“The party also views this Jara Kawusu Conteh fiasco as a deliberate ploy by the SLPP government to divert public attention from the much talked about killing of an APC zonal chairman by supporters of the SLPP and would want to urge the Sierra Leone Police to move speedily with the investigation and bring the culprits to book.”
The Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS), last week said that it will be sending a delegation to Sierra Leone again to help diffuse the rising political tension in Sierra Leone., as the SLPP continues to accuse the opposition APC of trying to sabotage its newly elected government.