Sierra Leone Telegraph: 12 January 2024:
Sierra Leone’s main opposition APC party Secretary General – Mr Lansana Dumbuya, has today reported on Twitter that he has been invited by police for questioning at the country’s notorious Criminal Investigations Department (CID) in Freetown, following a statement he published yesterday on behalf of the APC, announcing the party members’ solidarity with their former chairman and leader Dr. Ernest Bai Koroma.
What is very troubling about Sierra Leone today, is the fact that most opposition politicians that are invited to the CID for questioning are usually detained without charge for several weeks if not months, as a form of extra-judicial punishment by the state.
Former President Koroma is currently in detention under house arrest, awaiting treason trial for alleged involvement in what the government says was a plot to overthrow the Bio-led government on 26 November 2023, despite lawyers representing the former president protesting his innocence.
Writing on Twitter today, APC party Secretary General – Mr Lansana Dumbuya (Photo) said: “interesting development, I have just been invited to the CID for issuing out a press statement in support of former President Ernest Bai Koroma.”
Not only has the democratic space become smaller, and the political climate worsening by the day in Sierra Leone, civil liberty and right to free speech are dangerously being endangered by the government and the country’s security forces.
This is the statement by the opposition APC, published yesterday by the party’s secretary general that has offended Sierra Leone Police:
The APC Is Confident Of Former President Koroma’s Innocence, and Stands With Him
The APC is utterly disappointed with, and livid about the distasteful persecution of our former Chairman and Leader, His Excellency Ernest Bai Koroma. The former president diligently and inspiringly served our nation as a two-term democratically elected President.
At the end of his presidency, he gracefully relinquished power in a demonstrable respect for Sierra Leone’s constitutional term limit, and conducted peaceful, free and fair election which ushered in the then opposition candidate as president.
Since he left power in 2018, he has dedicated his time and energy in promoting peace, democratic good governance and smooth transitions across Africa. It is therefore exceedingly hurtful and totally unacceptable for a noble statesman of such high repute and distinguished democratic credentials, to be tarnished with political vendetta and accusations of an involvement in a coup d’état.
Those trumped-up treason and other charges represent a dangerous precedent and a credible threat to the peace and stability of Sierra Leone.
The APC has shown incredible restraint in respect of what is clearly a sustained political witch – hunt, intimidation, harassment and persecution, as promised by the president during his campaign. While we continue to condemn the events of 26th November, 2023, and all forms of unconstitutional change of government, we also strongly abhor the deliberate democratic backsliding and imposition of the increasing tendencies of a one-party political hegemony in Sierra Leone.
Several of our supporters and members at constituency, district, regional and national levels have been arrested and detained for weeks and months without charge. This has been the pattern since 2018.
We have reached a point where the APC would have to face its circumstances with all its strength and wherewithal. We stand firm with our former chairman and leader, as well as our National Organising Secretary, Comrade Bai Mahmoud Bangura.
With the country on the precipice, we strongly urge the SLPP to retract from this dangerous, unproductive path, and take concrete strides to promote peace, rather than hate and political divide. All we have is our beloved country, and it is our responsibility to work together to unify it.
In the meantime, let no one be afraid, the APC is confident about former President Koroma’s innocence. The APC will meet to consider our next actional steps, and we shall communicate them to the public.
SIGNED: Lansana Dumbuya, National Secretary General – APC