Sierra Leone Telegraph: 22 February 2021:
There are allegations of the beating and stabbing of a young man in the Penguia Chiefdom in Kailahun last week by SLPP supporters, ahead of the hotly contested Constituency 010 bye-election in Kailahun.
According to sources, the SLPP candidate took campaigners and police officers to Penguia Chiefdom on the day the incident happened. It is alleged that the young man’s legs were also broken by thugs.
The independent candidate contesting the election – Ibrahim Sylvester Jusu Hengela, is said to be a young student from Njala University, who defected from the SLPP after the constituency’s preferred candidate was rejected by the party.
It is understood that President Bio himself had invited the SLPP candidates for the party’s symbol to Freetown, where he personally chose a lady called Zainab Kama Braima for the party’s symbol to contest the election, rather than respecting the local party membership election process. This is what sparked the violence, the Sierra Leone Telegraph has been informed.
The president is said to have sent his personal delegation to ‘talk’ to the young independent candidate to step down from the contest.
The Political Parties Registration Commission (PPRC) news briefing published today, reported that the three candidates and representatives contesting the bye-elections in Constituency 010 in Kailahun District – John Allieu of the APC, Zainab Kama Braima of the SLPP, and the Independent Candidate -Ibrahim Sylvester Jusu Hengela – over the weekend pledged to continue their campaigns peacefully, ahead of the 27th February 2021 Parliamentary bye-election.
In their peace messages, all three candidates admonished their supporters to be law-abiding – before, during, and after the elections.
The candidates advised their supporters and the electorate to report issues of concern to the relevant authorities and not to take the law into their hands. This they say is for the good of the Constituency on one hand and the country as a whole on the other.
Admonishing the candidates, the Chairman of the Political Parties Registration Commission- Mr. Abdullai Masiyambay Bangura, expressed the commission’s disappointment at the way and manner the supporters of the candidates have conducted themselves during the campaigns. This he says is a total disrespect to the electorate, and that this must stop forthwith.
He advised the police to bring the perpetrators and those who incite violence to book, without fear or favour.
In his statement, the Chairman of the National Electoral Commission – Mr. Mohamed K. Konneh, assured the candidates and the leadership of the parties that the elections will be conducted freely and fairly, and that the winner will be a winner for the people.
In his statement, the Assistant Inspector General of Police – East, Thomas Lahai assured all that his force will professionally police the elections without fear or favour.
He advised the candidates and electorate to be law-abiding before, during, and after the elections.
Other key stakeholders addressed the meeting, including representatives of Democratic Institutions, Office of National Security (ONS), Human Right Commission Sierra Leone (HRC-SL), National Commission for Democracy (NCD), National Elections Watch (NEW), Paramount Chiefs, Chiefdom Authorities, and the Sierra Leone Association of Journalists (SLAJ) – all added their voices to the call for a peaceful election.
Before the joint stakeholders meeting organized by PPRC and NEC on Saturday, the PPRC on Friday held a similar meeting in Sandaru, Penguia Chiefdom, after a stakeholder meeting in Daru on Thursday 18th February 2021.
The Sierra Leone Telegraph contacted the SLPP Secretary Genral – Umaru Napoleon Koroma for comment on the allegation of the beating and stabbing of the young man last weekend by SLPP supporters in Panguia, ahead of the bye-election, but no response was received at time of publishing. We will update this story as when we get response from the SLPP party.
The Sierra Leone Telegraph has decided not to publish the shocking video of the murdered boy’s mother weeping unconsolably beside her dead son.