Titus Boys-Thompson: Sierra Leone Telegraph: 13 March 2023:
Political rhetoric is steaming in Sierra Leone as the international community becomes embroiled in the discourse or lack thereof within the local political environment. What two local political figures, Sylvia Blyden and Tamba Lamina, both whom claim to represent the voices of opposition parties but in reality are known mouthpieces of the sitting government, have attempted to do in the past weeks to lay blame on key international partners, have not only backfired but have brought with such actions a realization that a state of panic now exists within government that a regime change agenda is in the making.
It is interesting that the government would stay silent about this imbroglio caused by notable agents of theirs, and to attempt a silence is golden approach which is not hurting it more because their silence has been presumed to mean consent.
There is stark parallel with the behaviour of Emerson Lamina and that of Mohamed Bangura who invariably became a fledged concert to the APC. In fact, Bangura’s spat with the then UN Representative was earlier in the life of the then Koroma Government and hence his gain was visible.
In this case, Emerson Lamina has waited until the end of school to take out his maths book. He has failed the relativism test on the basis that this attempt to placate the EU Head of Mission here goes against the facts and the practical realities on the ground.
The APC has had to endure a really taxing time with regards to its internal restructuring but the Party’s resilience showed more clearly by how much visible support it was able to muster after the election of its flag bearer Dr Samura Mathew Wilson Kamara.
Make no mistake, the representatives of the international communities are not blind to have seen that groundswell of support for Dr Samura Kamara and they in their recognition that everything in politics is numbers, cannot ignore such numbers that came out to welcome the triumphant entry of the APC flag bearer to Freetown.
The government has every right to be apprehensive and jittery. This has been a very unpopular government, it has been seen as tribal and purport to further nothing other than a tribal hegemony. This government has been brutal by turning its guns against its citizens that drew the line on self-preservation.
In the conduct of government officials, particular mention ought to be made of those who go out to threaten citizens, some like Lahai Leema and Alpha Saudu Bangura’s support for a shoot to kill order against unarmed citizens to those responsible for the deaths at Pademba Road Prisons, Tombo and Makeni, not forgetting the wilful and cold-blooded killing of Evangelist Sampson, a known APC social media activist.
These atrocities have not gone under the carpet and the government should be rest assured that Sierra Leone’s international development partners have their own dossier on each.
On a more practical note, it has been the nature of disregard to life and liberty that has caused so much concern for the conduct of the impending elections.
Sierra Leone has once seen the sort of bloodshed that awed the whole world, and that was not tribal. What would happen if the events of these present days were to resort to tribal violence?
The country is indeed on a knife edge, and until the country’s development partners take the view to intervene more emphatically for a free and fair elections, then there is a very real prospect of the June 24th elections becoming the most violent and bloody event ever.
The reality of a tribal based conflict is real and the resolve of the opposition to ensure a free and fair vote must not be underestimated. In the end, unless the will of the people is secured, Sierra Leone is at the cusp of a very violent future.
It is for this prospect of an outbreak of violence that it is good for the main opposition APC to impress on the international community that these elections cannot be left to the machinations of rogue elements.
The determination of the people is such that nothing short of an acceptable vote would stop the violence from escalating to what was a very bad and dangerous period in the Country ‘s history.
We all pray for God’s help in saving the people of Sierra Leone during the coming elections, but least said, the prospects are dire indeed.