United Nations calls for political dialogue to end rising tension in Sierra Leone

Sierra Leone Telegraph: 04 May 2020:

The United Nations through its representative in Sierra Leone is calling for political dialogue between the government and opposition parties, following the killing of several prisoners at the country’s main prison in Freetown, as well as the arrest of opposition politicians.

This call from the UN comes, as civil society organisations and journalists, issued statements demanding an end to political tension and the observance of civil liberty and human rights in the country, amid rising numbers of COVID-19 cases.

This is the statement of the Resident Coordinator of the United Nations in Sierra Leone:

The United Nations in Sierra Leone expresses serious concern over the violent incidents, which occurred on 29 April 2020 in the Central Correctional Facility at Pademba Road in Freetown.

“The United Nations regrets the resultant loss of life, injury and damage to property, and further condemns all forms of violence.

“The United Nations extends its sincere condolences to the bereaved families and wishes the injured speedy recovery.

“The United Nations in Sierra Leone recalls the commitment made by the Government of Sierra Leone, under international conventions and treaties, including the Nelson Mandela Rules, to protect and respect the human rights of all persons deprived of their liberty. It calls for prompt and full investigations into the incidents so that the perpetrators of the violence may be brought to justice.

“More than ever, preventing the spread of COVID-19 should be the overarching priority for institutions and individuals alike, which demands consensus and unity of purpose among all sections of Sierra Leonean society.

“To this end, the United Nations in Sierra Leone calls on all the political parties, their followers, security agencies and the population at large to promote respect for human rights while eschewing acts of incitement and other actions liable to lead to violence and distract from the all-important fight against COVID-19.

“The United Nations in Sierra Leone continues to urge political parties and other stakeholders to engage in meaningful dialogue and continues to stand ready to facilitate such dialogue.”

As president Bio returns to work Wednesday from quarantine, it remains to be seen whether he will show magnanimity and extend an olive branch to the opposition leadership in search of peaceful coexistence for the good of the country, or remain intransigent – risking chaos and instability.

14 Comments

  1. Again Mr. Fallay, let’s stick with the facts. For the last time, late president Kabbah was the key figure that ushered in an end to our nation’s 11yrs civil war, not Bio. The Lome peace accord was negotiated by the Kabbah regime with lead negotiator being my hero and one of the most patriotic Sierra Leone, the late Solomon Berewa. As already alluded earlier, Bio having initially resisted to leave power, women took to the streets defying the heavy handedness of his junta boys. With the eyes of the world laser focus in Sierra Leone, Bio was forced to rethink his decision of peace before elections.

    With Bio forced out, elections were held in 1996 and subsequently, the late president Kabbah signed the lome peace accord with rebel leader Foday Sankoh. Again, Maada Bio was not signatory to the peace accord and there were no reports or evidence of him being present at the time of signing. By all indications Bio was already in America seeking asylum at the time of signing. One quick reminder, the war didn’t end after the signing of the peace accord, president Kabbah struggle with rebel insurgency for another 5years after the peace agreement before he finally succeeded in ending the war in 2002. So please Mr. Fallay, stop this fake news peddling and propaganda. You cannot rewrite history. Remember you are participating in a forum full of intelligent people not the usual villagers that you can just feed any propaganda.

  2. Peace,stability and respect for human rights is key. People no longer have the voice to speak their minds.What is happening now to me has nothing to do with opposition parties.The ruling SLPP govt should realize that the former President Ernest Bai Koroma has sustained this peace over this years by embracing everyone. The SLPP should stop the tribalism and regional sects. We the people are expecting a total embracement for all. Honestly the peace of this nation lies with HE President Bio,only if he’s ready to work with the people of this nation instead of regional sect.

  3. I am a strong supporter of SLPP during the 1996 presidential election. I continued my loyalty to the party in 2002 presidential election. My support ends in 2007 after I realized that the SLPP party failed to improvement human development. I switched to an independent voter for a new direction. Maada Bio came to power surprisingly in 2018. My expectation was to improved education and social development amongst the poor and to foster truthful peace and reconciliation. Instead, he came to power with anger, hatred and envy. He brought with him elements of hatred as cabinet ministers and advisers. Their hatred minds and lack of governance has caused Bio more than he can chew.

  4. Mr. Young4na, you stated “facts matters let’s stop the propaganda!!” The reality is within only THREE MONTHS that then Brigadier Bio led our country, he organized the Bintumani 2 peace process and respected the will of the people and with partnerships from The United Nations, Britain and ECOWAS a peaceful, free and fair election was held which returned our country back to democracy. March 1996 in the Ivory Coast City of Yamoussoukro, 32 year- old Brigadier Maada Bio met with 62 year-old RUF leader and embraced each other and Sankoh’s statement was, “This War must end now, it’s a fight between brothers and it must end now.”

    Despite the fact that the initial negotiations was tense due to strong disagreements between the government and the RUF, the then UN envoy to Sierra Leone Berkhann Dinka was more optimistic about the meeting and the future which resulted in the Lomé Peace Accord. Fast Forward after the 2018 presidential election campaign Retired Brigadier was declared the President of Sierra Leone through a free and fair democratic election, he also organized the Bintumani 3 conference to consolidate the peace and stability of our country and it was evident that the whole international community and all political parties attended but the APC party chooses a different path.

    • Are you really sure Mr. Alusine Fallay, that the APC was the only opposition party, that did not attend Bintumani III? Reply me as quickly as possible. Hear Mr. Alusine Fallay talking about the “then” times. Those were dark times in our country’s history Mr. Alusine Fallay. Because people still remember those “then” dark ages of barbarity and violence, that’s why it’s still happening today. There is nothing good about the then NPRC JUNTA part I and II Mr. Alusine Fallay. God help Mr. Alusine Fallay correct himself and reply me right here, right now.

  5. I dont think you actually know who brought peace in Sierra Leone. Point of correction – not Bio,it was late former president kabba. This present government brought hatred to our country – no freedom of speech. While the former government was 100% so please tell this government to go to the drawing board again so they can rule the country free and fair.

  6. YEAH. Mr. Bilal Coleman now agrees with me. Read what Mr. Bilal Coleman himself has just said and I quote – “Well, most of the ICC’s investigations in Africa are opened as a result of requests by the African governments themselves or the United Nations Security Council”. Thank you very much Mr Bilal Coleman for making that known to people who don’t know and more important, for cementing what I’ve always been saying – The next APC government which of course as Mr. Bilal Coleman rightly said, will definitely make that request. It’s going to happen, because the evidences are now more than enough.
    My question to Mr. Bilal Coleman now is this – will you oppose that request or will you change your mind on what you have rightly said? I hope, Mr. Alusine Fallay agrees with you. God help Mr. Bilal Coleman continue making the right suggestions and moving away from partisan politics. God bless the ICC.

  7. Brethren, what has happened in Sierra Leone again after several years of instability is completely inhumane. I believe that under the regime of Bio this act of slaughtering and wounding people should be the least for the betterment of the democracy of the people. The people of Sierra Leone have experienced the worse and shouldn’t be going back to the dark days.

    My advise to you Pres. Bio is be careful and moderate with your people because democracy will not lead everybody your way; and if it were so you wouldn’t have become president.

    Piece of advice from Dudley S. Debois, a citizen from Liberia.

  8. The United Nations always uses Sierra Leone as an example of success story after the 11 years old civil war which started when then Brigadier Maada Bio did the unthinkable by embracing late Foday Sankoh and later organizing the first free and fair election that finally brought him back to power. I personally believe that they already know that this government is still facing tremendous challenge because the opposition APC party still refuses to accept defeat because they believe that the 2018 presidential election was fixed by western countries especially Britain. May the Almighty continue to bless our country with continuous peace. Amen and Ameen.

    • “ when then Brigadier Maada Bio did the unthinkable by embracing late Foday Sankoh and later organizing the first free and fair election that finally brought him back to power.“

      Sierra Leone 11years civil war ending was ushered in by late president Kabbah, not Bio. The Lome peace accord was signed between Foday Sankoh and president Kabbah. Bio wanted to hold onto power by insisting that elections must only be held after peace have been restored. The citizens disagreed, peaceful demonstrations were mounted by civilians, led mainly by women groups. Bintumani peace conference was held with Bio subsequently agreeing for elections to take place. Facts matter, let’s stop the propaganda!!

    • Mr. Fallay, it seems you are lost. You don’t even know what you want to say. The UN is reminding both parties of their commitment to uphold the peace in the country and you are busy blaming the APC for the ineptitude and brutality shown thus far by the SLPP. Let’s face it, Bio cannot bring this country to its rightful place in the comity of nations. The sooner the SLPP realise the damage it is doing to the people of this country the better for all Sierra Leoneans.

    • Alusine Fallay, you nailed it. APC is a lawless organization that would never be at peace with itself. I read in Cocorioko that APC folks have written to the International Criminal Court (ICC) for an investigation of president Julius Bio. Well, most of the ICC’s investigations in Africa are opened as a result of requests by the African governments themselves or the United Nations Security Council. You don’t expect the ICC to waste its scarce resources on a frivolous investigation of your opponent. Not liking your opponent is not a good reason for summoning a third party to fight on your behalf.

      All international organizations operating in Africa and Sierra Leone know how lawless and violent the APC is. This sordid and repugnant reputation would not draw sympathy from any sober-minded international organization. It is not normal to go to the office of the head state with a gun. Nor is it normal to make inciting statements or orchestrate a prison break during a state of emergency. But if the APC believes that these initiatives are normal, then they should not complain about the good guys (the Sierra Leone police) physically taking out the bad guys (the APC thugs). It is all in the name of a peaceful Sierra Leone.

  9. The international community is by no means unaware of the continuous spate of political unrest, intimidation and violations of citizens rights by the current regime. Extremists be warn!!!

    • These heartless (SLPP) regime supporters are far from the truth. When the APC were in governance we witness peace, development, stability and some amount of national unity. Even though they were often setting the stage for conflict, but the APC ignored it at all level. This is so because there were no political prisoners at any time, no journalist imprisoned because of the exercise of his/her professional duty, no parliamentarian was removed from parliament because of the pretext of having majority, no parliamentary speaker was imposed and the list goes on and on.

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