Sierra Leone Telegraph: 1 January 2019:
On Friday, 28th December 2018, National Secretary General of the opposition All Peoples Congress (APC) party – Osman Yansaneh, issued a public statement, stating that his party will not subject itself to any Kangaroo court style commission of inquiry.
Osman Yansaneh said the commission of inquiry is a witch hunt against North Westerners and senior APC officials.
Yansaneh (Photo) said in his statement that it is unacceptable for permanent secretaries who served as administrative heads, vote controllers and chairmen of ministries procurement committees in the previous government, are being politically protected because the majority of them originate from a particular region of the country and belong to a tribe which constitute the majority of supporters of the Bio regime.
He said that the APC will robustly challenge what he referred to as the illegitimacy of the SLPP witch hunt commission; and called on all APC appointed ministers and deputies and heads of departments and agencies that are presently out of the country to return to Sierra Leone and liaise with the party for consultations.
”The Party further calls on all those who have been dismissed because of their political stance that have been perceived as Pro-APC to report to the party office with their letters of dismissals, as the party is in the process of validating data for subsequent legal and political action.
”The Party takes full responsibility for this advice to its former ministers and heads of departments and agencies until its legitimate call to include the ‘Rule of Evidence’ and to summon permanent secretaries, who were the key players and mandatory signatories to all accountable monetary governmental transactions is adhered to,” Yansaneh said.
But yesterday 31st December 2018, the head of Sierra Leone Police – Dr. Richard Moigbe, sternly responded to what he called “inciting press release From the National Secretary General of the All Peoples Congress Party (APC)”. This is what he said in a published statement:
“The Sierra Leone Police wishes to inform the general public that it is privy to a press release signed by Amb. Alhaji Dr. Osman Foday Yansaneh, National Secretary General of the All Peoples Congress Party (APC) dated 28th December, 2018.
“The Sierra Leone Police considers the press release to be unfortunate and not good for national security as it skews on inciting political, ethnic, and regional divide that will subsequently lead to national instability.
“Against this background, the Inspector General of Police (IGP) and cross section of his Management team had audience with Amb. Alhaji Dr. Osman Foday Yansaneh, Mr. Karamoh Kabba and Mr. Fornah at Police Headquarters on Saturday 29th December,2018.
“During the meeting, the IGP made it categorically clear to the National Secretary General that he will be held fully responsible and accountable for any unlawful outcome of the press release that will breach the public peace and security and was therefore advised to retract it.
“This engagement was followed by a press conference at Police Headquarters during which the implications of the press release was made clear to the Press in the presence of Amb. Alhaji Dr. Osman Foday Yansaneh and team.
“He however, responded by owning up to the content of the press release as the official position of the APC but however, distanced himself and the party from any act of violence and also disassociated the APC from individuals making negative/ inciting statements on the social media, including the so called Gibril Bangura which he described as ” Dastardly statements “.
“The Sierra Leone Police is therefore warning the leadership of the APC Party including the National Secretary General to desist from sending inciting messages to its members, sympathizers and followers that have the tendency to undermine the peace and security of the country. Any such misleading message put out to the public will be meted with the full force of the law. (Photo: Head of Sierra Leone Police – Dr Richard Moigbe).
“We have also observed that certain individuals or groups have been engaged in processions and protest without the permission of the Sierra Leone Police. All should note that this contravenes the 1965 Public Order Act and defaulters will be DEALT with according to law.
“We want to ASSURE the general public that the security situation is under CONTROL and you should all go about your normal business. We wish you a happy and prosperous New Year (2019).”
With this statement from the Inspector General of Police, it seems a line has been drawn in the sand for the opposition APC not to cross, so that peace and stability can be maintained in the country.
This was the government’s official response through its ministry of information, to APC’s public statement accusing the government of tribal witch hunt:
“The attention of the Government of Sierra Leone has been drawn to a Press Release widely circulated on social media, dated 28th December 2018, authored by Osman Foday Yansaneh, Secretary-General of the All People’s Congress.
“Government notes with deep disappointment that at a time the nation is transitioning into the new year with a great deal of optimism, and Sierra Leoneans at home and abroad convinced that with the milestone accomplishments and critical steps already registered by the New Direction administration, Sierra Leone is indeed on the right trajectory, a handful of self-serving individuals think they could subvert the people’s aspirations in their quest to escape democratic accountability.
“The pith and substance of the rather diabolic, sinister and inflammatory press release seeks to generate hate and disaffection towards the Commission of Inquiry, to instigate and/or afford persons of interest to the commission the opportunity to escape justice on the eve of the commencement of the commissions in January 2019.
“Apart from the naked trademark-appeal to tribalism and regional sentiments in the release, government views with serious concern a portion of the release in the fourth paragraph as follows:
‘The APC reiterates its position that former APC appointed Ministers and Heads of Department and Agencies will not subject themselves to any kangaroo court Commissions of Inquiry which are clearly a targeted witch-hunt against North Westerners and senior APC officials…’
“We wish to inform all and sundry that the APC is not on trial, and there has never been an attempt by the Bio-led administration to persecute anybody. For instance, the ongoing recovery of public funds by the Anti-Corruption Commission from officials who served under the former APC Government, clearly demonstrates that the fight against corruption is not a witch-hunt.
“Rather, there was widespread corruption, and some of those involved are taking responsibility by returning stolen public funds which will be used to provide essential services for the citizens.
The purpose of the commissions is clear as spelt out in the three constitutional instruments recently passed in parliament.
“Government is seriously concerned that even though 81 percent of Sierra Leoneans overwhelmingly support the institution of the commissions of inquiry, a small group of paranoid former APC officials are hell bent to derail the commissions even before they commence work in January.
“Government similarly notes that the APC rank and file have clearly and unequivocally assumed full responsibility for the advice contained in the release, and therefore government and the people of Sierra Leone, as well as the international community have taken sufficient notice and record of that advice.
“Let it therefore be noted that Government will hold the APC leadership including its Chairman and Leader, to bear the greatest responsibility for any such invited ethnic violence. Accordingly, the Government will invite the International Criminal Court (ICC) to investigate and prosecute the APC leadership for fanning the embers of ethnic violence or xenophobia.
“It is important to note further the recommendations of the Governance Transition report, Cabinet indeed approved the same, pursuant to which Constitutional Instruments Nos 64, 65 and 67 were laid before the House of Parliament.
“The said instruments were sufficiently debated; a motion by the APC seeking a declaration of nullity of the instruments woefully failed even when the APC thought they had the preponderance of votes; and the instruments upon maturity eventually became law.
“What more critical tests will the APC require; and so all APC has decided to give the majority of Sierra Leoneans as our new year’s gift is a press release calling on former state functionaries to shun legal and well-established processes of accountability all in the name of protecting those who have been allegedly involved in broad daylight robbery and believe they will be held above the law.
“We wish to use this opportunity to inform the moral guarantors of our hard won peace that the APC is threatening to incite ethnic violence and undermine the hard won peace and security the current peace and security, reverse our economic gains, plunge our people into more hardship and bring back the sad echoes of war which the whole country has gladly forgotten.
“In the same vein, we wish to draw the attention of civil society and other pro- democracy institutions to remind the APC that democracy is not just about the holding of periodic elections, but it’s also about democratic accountability.
“Finally, we wish to assure all sierra Leoneans that while we remain committed to a free, fair, transparent and credible commission of inquiry, we will not allow anyone in whatever guise to toil with our national peace and security as this country has suffered for far too long.
“We are therefore calling on all peace loving Sierra Leoneans to reject any calls to participate in any forms of demonstration without authorization from the appropriate authorities as any breach of public peace will be appropriately dealt with and those involved will face the full force of the law.”