Sierra Leone Telegraph: 11 August 2022:
Sierra Leone Police headquarters today published its interim report into yesterday’s street protests which saw four police officers and several civilians killed, as President Bio returns home from his holiday to face a nation ripped apart by hate and political discord.
Tonight, as the dust begin to settle, the people of Sierra Leone are looking for answers as to how the nation could have slept walk into the abyss.
Ruling SLPP supporters and some government ministers have already found the main opposition APC party guilty of instigating – if not planning the protest, in the court of public opinion.
This is the statement published by the ruling SLPP chairman – Prince Harding today, which many regard as pouring kerosine into a flame:
“Violent Protests, Insurgency and Coup by Terrorists.
“The Sierra Leone Peoples Party is appalled at the ugly events of Monday August 8 which reached its crescendo yesterday August 10, 2022 when a section of malcontents attempted to violently take over the reigns of government. The SLPP unequivocally condemns this unholy act of attempting to hijack power from the democratically elected government.
“Since April 2018, when the people of Sierra Leone gave the mantle of state authority to President Julius Maada Bio and the SLPP, some rejected and dejected people have vowed to obstruct the peace and security of the country. The activities of the main opposition APC have been consistently directed at rocking the smooth sail of the ship of Sierra Leone under the astute leadership of President Bio. It started with an unfortunate statement made by their vanquished presidential candidate after his defeat in the polls in March 2018, that he will make the country ungovernable.
“Since then, there have been several attempts at actualising that statement. It started with a pattern of arson in which some buildings were targeted and condescended to calls for resistance to state security which has now degenerated to an attempted take over of government.
“It’s now abundantly clear that the whole process was sponsored, engineered & implemented by the APC & its apparatchiks. In addition to d audios & videos made by their leaders & supporters, the so-called protests took place in selected areas perceived to be their strongholds, buildings & structures identified as SLPP owned were vandalized and in some cases gutted down and SLPP leader/members were beaten-up & properties looted or damaged.
“Police representing governance & by implication, the SLPP, were molested, beaten & murdered in broad daylight. Unfortunately the comment by the UN rappatoire prior to the insurgency gave succor to these terrorists.
“As the ruling party, and the one that brought peace to the country after 11 years of brutal civil war we cannot allow mischievous losers to scuttle the hard won peace and democratic credentials of our country to slide. We will do everything possible to nip in the bud the evil plans of anyone. The events of yesterday August 11 are the evidence of the desperation of people who are bent in creating chaos and derailing the peace of ordinary citizens.
“We urge the security forces to be more robust and vigilant in the execution of their sacred duty of protecting the lives of the people of Sierra Leone. We extend our heartfelt sympathy to those fallen officers who were brutally killed in the line of duty. They didn’t deserve to die that way. Our hearts are with the families of the officers and the party will reach out to them.
“We call on the international community and the moral guarantors of Sierra Leone’s peace accord to take necessary steps to engage all actors. We urge citizens and our supporters to be law abiding and carry on with their normal duties. Signed: Dr. Prince Alex Harding, Chairman.”
Sadly, feelings are getting out of control; political tension is rising once again. There are calls for the APC party to be officially proscribed and banned from politics. But is this a logical and viable solution? The answer quite simply, is no. This will only lead to more bloodshed, if not another civil war.
What is certain though, is that the people of Sierra Leone and politicians must now keep a cool head and look for a better way of doing politics in the country, as it is obvious the current model is not working, after sixty-one years of independence.
The police report makes for very grim reading as the total number of police officers killed by frenzied, psychotic youths is confirmed. This is what the report says:
As the people of Sierra Leone make sense of and digest this interim police report, questions must be asked as to whether it’s possible to be hopeful of a better future for Sierra Leone amid so much anger and hatred among some sections of society.
Many in Sierra Leone are calling for divine intervention, though this is not the first time such prophetic calls have been made.
This is what the country’s Inter-Religious Council said today in their published statement:
“The Inter-Religious Council of Sierra Leone (IRCSCL) is dismayed and concerned about the riot and violence across the country that led to the loss of innocent lives and property. We are also shocked because all of this has happened just after a one-week intensive interfaith prayer and fasting (from 25th to 31st July 2022) for peace, unity and national cohesion in our land.
“The IRCSL vehemently unequivocally condemn all forms of riot and violence, and therefore calls on the Government to investigate thoroughly the root cause(s) of this uprising and bring its perpetrators to book.
“Meanwhile, we appeal to all and sundry to maintain peace, law and order, and allow all Sierra Leoneans to go about their normal business.
“We express our sincere condolences to all those who have lost their loved ones and pray that their souls will rest in perfect peace.
“Finally, we call on all religious leaders in this country to continue in prayer and preaching messages of reconciliation, peace, and national cohesion to ensure political stability and development.”
Tonight, the country’s Cyber Security and Monitoring Unit has announced draconian measures to control and stop people sharing stories on social media that may be deemed subversive. This is a retorgrade step away from civil liberty towards a communist police state. This is what they said:
“Peace can not be bought, it is the longitivity of life” My condolence goes to the people of Sierra Leone that lost their lives, the security forces inclusive. Let us note that peace is hard to achieve. Some have sacrificed their services for peace, some their money, some their talents and some their lives. I ask that we all preach peace to make this nation great.
The altruism and largesse of the British, Nigerians, ECOWAS and the UN brought a semblance of peace in the country. It Is certainly not the NPRC who failed woefully to justify their raison d’etre. And of course it is not Bio. It is not the SLPP.
I have no crystall ball but things will become really really ugly. Our sub-region is presently more awash with light weapons than pre-RUF days.So the powers that be must be really careful with the path they want to tread.You do not want to force people into the bush once again with such hard crackdown a la Momoh.
NPRC justification for overthrowing former soldier-turned civilian J S Momoh.
Thanks to the latest technology including the internet and social media, these information can be seen instantly ( live) or through YouTube. Some of us that are old enough and lived in most APC strongholds are not surprised about these atrocities when it’s close to election or during elections campaign.
Propaganda, Lies ,Intimidation and Violence are some of the 99 tactics they implement not only when they are in opposition, but also in governance.
For them during the days of their founder late President Stevens,, his Vice President S.I Koroma was called Agba Satani and he and most of their members and supporters saw Violence as a badge of honor.
Fortunately, Retired President Julius Bio who kicked them out of power is the only person that has made them COWARDS. From 2018 he has hit them hard where it hurts, which is their pockets through the fight against corruption and the introduction of the new currency.
For the 11 years of APC misrule, stealing was their main profession , while most SLPP politicians were engaged in either Education, Agriculture and Mining. Unfortunately, for the past 4 years while in opposition, instead of planning and engaging in productive activities, they are still trying to make our country ungovernable. Thankfully, President Bio has proved to the world that or institutions are functioning and getting stronger. The judiciary is now well respected, the military has nothing to do with politics but maintain and protect the democratically elected government, and under the leadership of Honorable Speaker Abbas Bundu, bad laws have been abolished and good laws established.
Despite all the problems caused by the APC our country has been rated as one of the safest , most peaceful and least corrupt country in Africa.
May the Souls of our Security officers who are constantly protecting our lives and properties whilst we are sleeping, and innocent civilians continue to Rest In Peace.
Grimm as it’s sound where is the political leadership in today’s Sierra Leone ?Dr Hardring one of the leading shadows in the Bio road show have come out with all guns blazing ,trying to pin the blame on everyone else but Bio and his acolytes.Can some one remind him that it is within Bio’s powers the duely elected president of Sierra Leone, that have the powers of the state to change things for the better for all of us not just his ilk that still continue to act like they are in opposition and playing the victim of some crazy manufactured conspiracy theorists that are cooked up at State House. And conveniently served to a nation that is sick to the teeth of this blame games , and political brinkmanship . Where is the help given to the former child soldiers?Even members of the US or British military that serves in wars suffers from PTSD and they are given the necessary help to integrate in civil society .None was forthcoming for former RUF, Karmajors or Sobels ,or all fighters in the Sierra Leonan conflict .
More like we were sitting on a time bomb .We need a Mandela not a Hiltler.Bio was elected on a ticket to lead a polarised and divided nation along ethnic and regional lines ,and have gone through a mad max like civil war and is still trying to recover from the atrocities visited on our nation by our fellow Sierra Leonans brothers and sister .No one will buy in to this monologue of bile and name calling .What our country need is political leaders that can bridge the gab left by the civil war , the covid19 pandemic , the effects of Putin’s war on the Global supply chain of oil and gas , address the cost of living crisis causing men and women going to the streets protesting , and how to put a stop to the vendetta politics that we’ve witness on both sides of political divide in our country .Least we forget at the hight of the RUF civil wars , there were an estimated seventy thousands armed fighters in the country .Now if we take into account majority of the fighters that swelled the rank and file that were doing the fighting were child soldiers now those same children are the ones we saw in those videos beating up and roughing up people .They might have disarm but the killer instinct is still buried like a cip at the back of their brains .
Yes the UN backed disarmament process of RUF fighters, Karmajor fighters took place under the auspices of the Interntaional community .But did any of our so-called elected leaders ever took a deep breath and asked what happened to all those young men and women that were trained to kill or be killed .Failure to acknowledge the problem of those young combatants now in their twenties thirties and labeling them with.name tags because the sitting government have failed them is not only wrong , it is dangerous.
Addressing contributory factors to the current August 2022 upheavals in Sierra Leone include evil and unbridiled greed, tribalism, disrespect and disregard for contributions by the nation’s apolitical audit institutions, lack of transparent accountabilities of current government financial activities with allied misappropriations, malfeasances in public office by current government elected and appointed officers contributing to the reduction in the international purchasing power of our Leone; the list is endless and the current government is intellectually and morally bankrupt in effecting solutions. Until these are addressed, Sierra Leone being currently in the pit will degenerate downhill. The Sierra Leonean attituse – “I am all right Jack and Jane” within Sierra Leone and Diasporan, continue looking other ways! Seton During.