Sierra Leone opposition APC accuses SLPP government of political harassment

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.

5 Comments

  1. Sierra Leoneans let’s maintain and enjoy the peace of the country. Making political incitement is not good for a country. Let’s focus on development and change the lives of the common man.

  2. This is the reason why some of us think Salone will not change at least in the next 20 years. The SLPP has in a very short time done many things which the APC did over a period of 10 years.

    Where is the change? In fact they are worsening the situation on certain issues like the ethnic composition of the cabinet, massive sacking/replacement of public servants, the role of the vice president (recent swearing-in of the secretary to the president) and now the press freedom. This Kawusu issue will be seen as wanting to silence those journalists who have an APC accent, even though to some of us, his articles should not get much attention because of his affiliations.

    Ernest Koroma in his dying days as president, almost became a dictator, but he did not take any action on the pressmen perceived to be SLPP. I think the military accent of Bio has to disappear, because so far he has been doing things like an active soldier in governance.

    The most serious issue to me so far, is the size and ethnic composition of the cabinet which he had bashed out before becoming a president and has worsened under him.

    Again,the issue of electoral violence and tensions are all centered around the winner takes all system of government and no political party wants to address this issue.

    One can remember the comments made by Bio, Leema and others before and during the elections about the likelihood of a rebellion if they were to be denied victory. Today they are very relaxed when talking or reacting to issues; and the desperation on the other side is increasing, if one would have listened to Karamoh Kabba Conteh(parliamentarian)and Mohamed Bangura.

    In the history of our country, leaders are yet to address the issue of tribal representation, thus causing tension and unnecessary violence during and after elections.

    I have said it before and will say it again without hesitation, that Bio has named the most ethnically imbalanced cabinet with over 70% mendes in the most powerful positions. There are names of Northern origin but those people are either born there in the south-east or have strong southern roots or connections.

    Will there ever be a leader who will try to diffuse these tensions or anxieties of staying on the sidelines? Personally, this is the saddest thing for our country, because successive governments have done nothing or little to change people’s lives economically.

    Why do our people have to go through this for a politics that does not deliver, apart from the governors and their families and friends?

    The next elections will even be more tense, and if the APC succeeds, they will surely want to do the same. How long should this trend continue?

    There is a temne and a limba for groups representing more than 40% of the population and this in fact will lead to sabotage for the government not to succeed. Shouldn’t we start to talk about ethnic representation instead of regions?

    We have to hit the nail on the head to address this issue of political tensions and intolerance. It happens in developed countries so why not in Salone.

    We have to dare to talk about issues that are a problem in the society for development. The messages going around on social media are an impediment to progress, so our governments have to listen and act.

    We don’t deserve to have this around for the next 50 years because politics does not reward the ordinary man if you are not in governance or related.

    Thanks for your attention

  3. The APC cannot be in opposition and simultaneously be governing Salone. If a member of the APC is wanted by law enforcement, why should the APC want to obstruct justice?

    I have a feeling that the APC is so afraid of an impending inquiry into its stewardship in the last ten years, that it is deliberately trying to obstruct justice in even the most minute of circumstances involving any of its members. Shame on this destructive political party.

  4. This does not look like harassment. Stealing Classified Government documents is a serious crime in any Country.

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