Sierra Leone Telegraph: 13 December 2021:
Sierra Leone police today arrested and detained the Eastern Regional Chairman of the country’s main opposition All Peoples Congress (APC) party – Ms Diana Finda Konomanyi and Ms Femi Claudius Cole (Photo above) who is the Chairman of the opposition Unity Party as well as serving as Chairman of the Coalition of Progressive Political Parties (COPPP). Although Diana Finda Konomanyi was later released without charge, Femi Claudius Cole and several others remain locked up in police cell.
Has Sierra Leone become a police state where civil liberty cannot be guaranteed?
Early this evening, Dr. Dennis Bright – Chairman and leader of the opposition National Grand Coalition (NGC) party, who himself was invited to the Police HQ on 7th December 2021 for speaking out against the government’s controversial midterm population census, said he went to speak with Ms Femi Claudius Cole at the CID, who tonight will remain in police custody without charge.
According to Dr Bright, this morning Ms Claudius Cole accompanied Diana Konomanyi of the APC to CID, where she had been invited for questioning regarding a video she made last week, encouraging her Kono people not to take part in the census.
Although Claudius Cole was not herself invited for interrogation by the police, yet she was arrested and detained about statements she too had made about the census.
Ms Claudius Cole is understood to have told the police that, if they were going to interrogate her about statements she had made in the media about the census, they needed to present her with the transcript, video or audio as evidence.
After communication between CID and the Attorney General’s office, it was decided that Ms Claudius Cole should be detained without charge, until the police can find the transcript to corroborate their story, however long it takes.
Dennis Bright said he made some efforts to mediate and have Ms Claudius Cole released, but the authorities were adamant because they feel slighted by her refusal to be interviewed without the transcript. “We are meeting the Attorney General tomorrow morning at 7.30 am,” Dennis Bright said.
Another member of COPPP, APC’s Deputy Organising Secretary – Mr Karamoh Kabba was also arrested today, allegedly for riotous conduct whist in a procession that accompanied Diana Konomanyi to the CID.
But despite a police officer confirming that Mr Kabba was not in the procession, a senior officer named Senessie is said to have ordered his arrested along with several other supporters of Diana Konomanyi.
Mr Kabba and the others have all been charged and will appear in court tomorrow Tuesday.
The government it seems, is determined to crush any form of opposition now in Sierra Leone, especially those political parties belonging to the Coalition of Progressive Political Parties (COPPP), for their determined effort to stop the Mid-term Census, which both the EU and World Bank have withdrawn their support.
According to the opposition parties calling for a boycott of the census, “the census is poorly planned and organised, as well as badly received by the public.”
Opposition parties are accusing the government of using the Mid-term Census as an opportunity to gerrymander the composition of Parliament, by creating new districts and constituencies in SLPP strongholds in the southeast.
Mayor of Freetown – Yvonne Aki-Sawyer (Photo) who went to CID headquarters to speak with Femi Claudius-Cole, explained what happened: “I have just left the CID Police Station where I was visiting Madam Femi Claudius-Cole, Acting Chairperson of the Consortium of Progressive Political Parties (COPPP). She went to the CID to accompany Madam Diana Konimany who was invited for questioning in relation to the Mid-Term Census and was then detained. Madam Femi is in good spirits although as I understand it, she has been detained without charge or bail.
“APC Deputy National Organising Secretary Karamoh Kabbah has also been detained. His whereabouts are unknown.”
Since winning the 2018 presidential elections and losing the parliamentary elections, the ruling SLPP has been turning up the political temperature on opposition political parties in rthe country.
The police were accused last month by an EU report of failing to be independent and impartial.
Folks, this country we called our mother land Sierra Leone will never move forward if we don’t agree as one nation to come together. As I usually said it that, the only game that APC can play and succeeded comes 2023 if possible, is to nominate the right candidate and campaign with their accomplishment during their 11 year tenure in office. In the last election 2018, Bio’s SLPP had nothing to say about you then, but is to define you to voters that, enough is enough, their the victory rains down on them to wins the” State House”. I believed that the APCs not worried about the other elections like: parliamentary and the other petty elections, they only cared and focused on the state house, O boy, have my sympathy.
Smearing Bio without the right candidate won’t succeed brother. This gentleman that fought and sacrificed his life for his country, removed and eliminated” a one party state” in the country, if we are not grateful to God and thanks this man for his honorable service, well that mighty God Has rewarded him. Creating too many parties for his defeat, let me say this to you again, it is not a better working tactics, it’s a failed move. Before 2018 presidential election, Bio was smeared, characterized with all such of names, he will not travel to USA, murderer, blood in his hands, beats his wife, stolen $18,000000.00 and so on.
Now let me remind you of one thing, the former defense minister under NPRC( Mr. Komba Mondeh), because he’s not running for office; I never heard one single APC party official or supporter mentioning his name of what he did to the country, when he was trusted to travel out of the country to buy “ammunition” during the war, and what happened? APC can’t you remember that? the time he came back, why didn’t you prosecute him? and why nobody talking about him? the answer is, he is not running for office period. As for me, Ms. Femi Claudius is a woman that I love and she’s no threat to Bio’s victory. I am more happier today because the most educated candidate Dr. KKY has started reason out and calculating his movement, I wish Dr. Dennis do the same. You just criticizing the census etc, why all this folks?. Take care…
It is common legal principle – an accused person or persons right to silence. That is, your human rights not to speak to authority without the presence of a lawyer. Speaking or making a statement about a Census does not constitute a crime. It may be summary offence but not a criminal offence. Total irrelevant to see Dr. Abass Bundu or attorney general for such trivial issues. My case rested and hope they got released asap without delay. AFRICAN DEMOCRACY. It is called CONTROLLED DEMOCRACY. AH AHH AHHHH1
Thanks for reading my contribution.
Diana Konomanyi was invited because she preached hate crimes in her video. She informed the people of Gorama Kono that they should resist the census because the SLPP wants to add their number to the mende land in Gorama Mende which is in keeping district.
These two chiefdoms had a bitter history when they were combined. Late president Stevens to avoid further bloodshed in the 70 separated the two ethnic groups with one remaining in Kono District and another in keeping district. So if a politician who herself is from another chiefdom(Nimikoro) that shares border with Kenema district targets another chiefdom with inciteful speech under the guise of free speech, that is something the policeman will should investigate to avoid these people turning on each other again as it was in the 70s before they were separated.
Now we can all agree that this census or censor, to use the right language that befits Bio’s ulterior motives for holding this socalled census is to censor the opposition parties that are increasingly making their voices loud and clear. Bio is getting jetty because his government have ran out of ideas, and the struggling people of Sierra Leone, are now openly voicing their opposition to Bio’s dictatorship. If there is any such thing as opinion polls, Bio might just hovering around the 20%percent mark. Below of what one expects from a sitting president. And his credibility gap might just break all records for straying from the truth. Promises made and promises not delivered. When the people that voted for you, starts to question your credibility, then is about time you reassess your social, economic, and political priorities.
He is using the census as a sledge hammer to silence the opposition., Dr Samura, Dr Bright and now Mrs Femi Cladious Cole, one of the few remaining politicians left standing in the face of the oppressive nature of Bio’s one direction dictatorship. We have seen this sort of things happened before. Former Liberian leader Master Sergeant Samuel K Doe, laid the ground work for his ultimate down fall. I and certainly no Sierra Leonean wants to see Bio’s government exit the political stage the way Doe did, or indeed Colonel M. Gaddafi,but someone within Bio’s circle should remind him, you cannot continue to manufacture political enemies, and create a sense of chaos, and expect the Sierra Leonean public to go along with it.
What the country is crying out for, is political leadership that have a sense of responsibility, and knows their duties they owe to the people that elected them in the first place . People gave up their rights and liberties, in the privacy of the polling booth, and secretly voted for you, because they believe in the promises you made to them, through the 2018 SLPP manifesto you stood on. Namely fighting corruption, and working towards bringing a divided country together. Suffice to say Mr President, majority of the 34 manifesto pledges remain a distance pipe dream for a sick and tired hungry nation that wants to see genuine changes, not gimmicks. As Sierra Leoneans we are sick and tired of being sick and tired of your government grandstanding and political brinkmanship. You spent your first two years fighting Dr Blyden and Rt Marjor poaulo Alfred Conteh, on trumpeted charges, now you are spending the rest of your term picking up fight with the opposition in Sierra Leone. As in the scriptures it says “As it was in the beginning, so it shall be in the end” So Bio’s legacy will be the fighting President. Not for his people and country, but for his family and friends. His goal is to stay in power. Even our international development partners can see through the lies and deceit.
I personally believe that Femi Claudius Cole is a wannabe Dr. Slyvia Blyden. The difference between them is, Dr. Slyvia Blyden has integrity and is very cool and calculated in her demeanor as compared to Femi Cole who can lie through her teeth and she seems to be very bitter and angry, which explains why she had 0.2% votes in the 2018 presidential elections.
Kudos to our security apparatus for taking preemptive measures since the election of President Bio as compared to late President Tejan Kabba.
He ignored some warning signs in the name of Freedom Of Speech and democracy which brought destruction of lives and properties in Freetown. But thanks to the intervention of ECOWAS, United Kingdom and the United Nations, we are still enjoying democracy. Once again, the destructive APC party under the leadership of the lifetime leader initially used so-called King Adebayor to INCITE unrest within our country immediately they had lost the 2018 presidential election, which resulted in the Pademba Road Prison, Tombo, Lunsar, and Makeni incidents. But fortunately our gallant security did whatever it takes to restore law and order in our beloved nation. Now the lifetime leader has recruited Dennis Bright and Femi Cole of COPP to replace Cornelius Deauux for inciting Freetonians for another destruction of lives and our merge infrastructures. “Prevention is better than Cure”.
Through out history the world knows that dictators, autocrats, tyrants, usually start showing their deadly claws in a small way to watch the reaction of the people.
If the people react in a feeble, nonchalant way, they will bare their fangs. And if the people still display docility, they will destroy them. This is usually accompanied by a security apparatus solely dedicated to the regime, always ready to do its filthy work. We had a dose of this in the Stevens years. The blow that Momoh took in 1992 was not actually meant for him but for Sheki, who had skillfully stood out of the way.
Bio now believes that he has absolute power, having inserted his tribesmen/women in key positions, hence his reckless behaviour in arresting and locking up all those who dare to oppose him. Just what is the crime of Femi Claudius-Cole – for just saying “I disagree “? People who cannot argue their way out of a disagreement quite often lack self-confidence, instead they resort to obnoxious inclinations. History is full of the ultimate demise of dictators. Do we still remember the Arab Spring? What about the demise of Adolf Hitler who barely escaped the clutches of Russian forces?
With people being arrested and detained without charges just for standing against the mid-term census, one would expect the Chairman for life of APC (Earnest Koroma), who has amassed huge international recognition, to at least make a statement opposing the illegality of it all. But the man can only fling his weight within APC circles, he is a coward, an accomplished sissy.
“God made two ears and one mouth so that we can listen more and talk less”. To be very precise to my audience, I am with the opinion that this census is going to bring out very valuable information that our country has never had. You all can agree with me that for several years governments of one political party to another political party used to chase out ghosts workers from the country’s payroll and the end result was nothing to write about. But when the National Civil Registration Authority (NaCRA) Sierra Leone stood up to solve the problem, we all saw it. This is just a simple example of what modern technology does. This is again another test for the digital age we are living in so please give peace a chance to allow the process to move on.
In our modern world today, political strongholds has no full impact on the outcome of result as compared to the past. Otherwise, there is no need for us to have independent candidates in our parliament.
Peace comes from the individual person. As long as you are peaceful within yourself, society remains peaceful.