Sierra Leone Telegraph: 26 June 2016
The Sierra Leone Telegraph has today been reliably informed that report of a violent attack on one of Sierra Leone’s presidential aspirants in the coming 2018 elections – Mr. Moseray Fadika (Photo: Moseray Fadika – centre, with former Nigerian president Obasanjo – left) is untrue.
Yesterday’s report, presented as breaking news, said that “Moseray Fadika was admitted in hospital following a deadly attack by alleged thugs of the Education Minister – Minkailu Bah in Mile 91, east of the capital Freetown.”
The report also went on to say that “Moseray Fadika was left badly affected and his car seriously damaged.”
The Sierra Leone Telegraph contacted Moseray Fadika’s communications team, and also his secretariat for comment on this story, but no reply was received.
But a source close to Moseray Fadika gave this statement to the editor of the Sierra Leone Telegraph: “I don’t know where people cooked that report. Moseray Fadika had a successful trip to Mile 91 and came back to Freetown safely. As a matter of fact, he had his night prayers as he is used to at the Fullah central mosque in Magazine throughout the night.”
Umaru Fofana has also confirmed that the report is “absolutely untrue”.
Today, 27 June ,2016, Fadika’s Communication Team has issued this statement:
“The Moseray Fadika Trust (MFT) strongly refutes allegations being circulated in the social media in which Pipul Pikin Media erroneously reported that His Excellency Ambassador Gibril Santigie Moseray Fadika was “admitted in hospital following a deadly attack by alleged thugs of a Government Minister in Mile 91 town”. These reports are untrue.
“MFT would like to state that at about 1.00 pm on Friday, 24 June 2016, His Excellency Ambassador Gibril Santigie Moseray Fadika, was on a visit to Mile 91 Town, where he was warmly welcomed by a large number of young people and community leaders.
MFT notes that the Central Mosque where Ambassador Fadika was expected to perform the “Jumma Prayers” was closed, allegedly on the instruction of a Government Minister, according to reports by a local youth group. The Imams later opened the Central Mosque and invited Ambassador Fadika to join them in prayers, but the Ambassador and his entourage were unable to pray in the Central Mosque due to the delay
“Ambassador Fadika performed ‘’Jumma Prayers’’ in another Mosque and later held meetings with the people in Mile 91 Town. The meetings were very productive and successful, with a high turnout. There were no attacks against Ambassador Fadika as erroneously described by Pipul Pikin Media reports. Ambassador Fadika and his entourage returned back to Freetown safe and sound.
“It is important to also mention the fact that Ambassador Moseray Fadika was not admitted in the hospital. The Ambassador, however, sought medical consultation as part of a routine medical arrangement.
“For the avoidance of doubt, MFT would like to reiterate that, in line with its Public Engagement Policy (PEP) which is in consonance with His Excellency President Dr. Ernest Bai Koroma’s Agenda for Prosperity, Ambassador Fadika is committed to promoting peace and development in the country. Ambassador Fadika is in good terms with members of the All Peoples Congress (APC) Party and has a very great relationship with Government Ministers.
“Allegations that a Government Minister allegedly instructed thugs to prevent Ambassador Fadika from praying at the Central Mosque in Mile 91 cannot be substantiated. MFT is, however, investigating and monitoring the situation to ascertain whether any Government Minister was involved. We will provide additional information as and when appropriate.
“And it is in this regard that in this particular event, MFT categorically denounces Pipul Pikin Media devious allegation, especially as Ambassador Fadika and his entourage were not attacked in Mile 91 Town. Ambassador Fadika will continue to travel across the country to engage poor people and community groups including youth and women, with a view to support their local projects and help them work their way out of poverty through job creation and business development.”
Although this report of Moseray Fadika being subjected to violence is clearly false, what is worrying though, is the increasing political violence in Sierra Leone, which if not curbed by the police will destroy every hope of a free and peaceful election in 2018.
This concern was echoed by the country’s Political Parties Registration Commission (PPRC), following violent attacks on opposition politicians and supporters in various parts of the country last week.
This is what the PPRC said on 20 June 2016:
“The Political Parties Registration Commission (PPRC) wishes to express repugnance over the level of repeated violence and intolerance in the build-up towards the By-Elections in Constituency 050 in Port Loko District and Constituency 001 in Kailahun District.
“The Commission vehemently condemns such dastardly actions by political party supporters/members, as it will daunt the growth of democracy and the country as a whole.
“Such conduct by party members and supporters are superfluous, unacceptable and very much against the tenet of good governance and democracy. Politics should be devoid of violence, thuggery, and unpatriotic activities.
“The Commission also notes with grave concern the unfortunate incidences in Lunsar and Kailahun Districts. The Commission is of the view that use of thugs in our political scene is counterproductive and will mar our quest for peace in Sierra Leone.
“The Commission is also calling on the Sierra Leone Police to investigate and bring to book those involved in the incidents in Lunsar and Kailahun District.
“Political party members and supporters should take note that political parties are established by the 1991 Constitution of Sierra Leone to participate in shaping the political will of the people; disseminate information on political ideas, and social and economic programmes of a national character.”
The civil society group – NEW, also issued a statement condemning the political violence in the country. This is what it said:
“ July 9th Bye Elections campaigns marred by Political intolerance and Violence.
“NEW is appalled at the level of repeated political intolerance and violence showing up in the Bye elections campaigns in Constituencies 001 and 050 in Kailahun and Port Loko Districts respectively.
“Even though there had been stakeholders’ meetings in the respective Constituencies with clear campaign schedules, Candidates and Party Stalwarts are refusing to adhere to the consensus decisions taken at those meetings.
“Saturday 18th June, 2016, the Alliance for Democratic Party (ADP) with their leader and candidate Mohamed Kamaraiba Mansaray contesting for the bye-election, were visiting Magbongbo and Maronkor villages and on their way back to Lunsar at about 2pm, it is alleged that some APC youth thugs on motor bikes attacked them at Magbongbo village
“The ADP Candidate’s vehicle was damaged; mirror smashed, his driver and some supporters on the entourage sustained injuries.
“Also in Kailahun, APC supporters during their campaign led thugs to the house of the SLPP candidate Mrs. Navo KaiKai at her Gbanyawalu area residence, and the rival groups started stoning each other leading to Police shooting several tear gas canisters creating undue chaos in the locality.
“The following state functionaries Mr. Allieu Bah, Minister of State Vice President Office, Mr. Maya Kaikai , Minister of Local Government and Rural Development and Mr. Augustine Nyuma Kortu, Deputy Minister for Labour and Social security were identified as front liners in the scene.
“NEW strongly condemns the level of intolerance and violence occurring during election campaigns. It is very unfortunate to note that we are still witnessing these demeaning situations that are not supposed to be part of our Political Party processes.
“It is criminal according to the 2012 Public Elections Act for anyone to be involved in such behavior, and therefore we urge Political Parties to refrain from instigating the Youths to perpetuate violence on their political Party opponents during electioneering processes.
“The Government of Sierra Leone, Political Party Registration Commission (PPRC), National Electoral Commission (NEC), Sierra Leone Police (SLP) and All Political Parties are well advised to come out very strongly to condemn thuggery, political violence and intolerance.
“NEW continues to support an open and inclusive political space and affirms that political participation is a right; therefore we must all allow citizens to exercise their full political rights which will strengthen and deepen our democracy.
“NEW will continue to observe all the Elections and Electoral processes in Sierra Leone and report their findings to various stakeholders and to the People of Sierra Leone.
“NEW is a civil society coalition comprising local and international NGOs, Community Based Organizations (CBOs) and local associations with a common objective of supporting free and fair elections. A credible election process must be transparent and free from fear.
“NEW has been operational since 2002 and observed many international and local Electoral processes.”
Was Fadika’s death related to this violence meted out against him? Time will tell.
Incidents of violence in electoral processes in the country are a serious matter of concern. The government must tackle it quickly with severity; demonstrate its authority by sending signal to organizers of violence that such bad influence is intolerable in a democratic system like ours. This undemocratic and uncivilized behavior of individuals or group of party militants should have no space in our society.
Politics is not an act of savagery or an arms battle; it is about setting out good governance ideas along with leadership acumen for driving the nation to progress and prosperity, getting the right message across to convince the people without any kind of intimidation.
It is the responsibility of the government to provide reliable security to all party leaders and militants during electoral campaigns, throughout the exercise. It is also a compelling responsibility of the police to provide safety net to all participants in party politics during election campaigns. The cost for providing these services comes from the tax payers’ money.
The police must at all times accompany party leaders and militants on their campaign trails to ensure that their political activity is free from violence, intimidation and interruption. A repeat of what happened to Mr. Mohamed K. Mansaray mustn’t be tolerated.
The failure to address violent behaviors in politics will only drive the country back to chaos and state of anarchy with widespread upheaval across the country.
Every individual or group of people has a legitimate right to self defense on the wake of an attack by violence. No individual or group of people would remain passive while being attacked by outsiders, posing a threat to their lives and personal safety. Violence is always meted by violence. This is the break point where uncontrollable violence can erupt in the country. And no militia forces can mitigate such violence quickly.
This is why the government should order the police and security forces to act swiftly at this early stage, in order to avert a large scale upheaval in the country. Security forces must surveillance all political parties’s activities at all times and act impeccably to respond to any kind of violence by political party militias, investigate violent cases thoroughly and hold accountable party officials who nurture and condone violent behaviors of their militants.
Government’s failure to address the issue of violence the earliest possible, until things get out of control; they are to blame for not delivering on their duty of responsibility to the nation.
The people hopefully expect our security forces to take this matter seriously so as to avert widespread violence in electoral processes.