That Sierra Leone has still not returned to full political normalcy and that the international community cannot be assured that another war would not erupt in this war-scarred country is obvious everyday, especially since the SLPP came to power last year. The bitterness and enmity between the two leading political parties–The APC and the SLPP- has exacerbated and there is no hope that violence would not break out whenever there is a bye-election.
Yesterday, violence erupted again, this time in the outskirts of Freetown as supporters of the two parties clashed at Hamilton. According to the APC, Yesterday Monday 29th July 2019 was approved by the National Electoral Commission (NEC) as the day allocated to the APC to launch its campaign and rally in constituency 110 in the Western Area for the bye-elections slated for next month.
The APC complains that during their rally, SLPP supporters attacked them and injured some of their members. While it has not been disclosed what SLPP supporters were doing in the area when the day had been officially assigned to the APC to conduct their rally, the SLPP too complained that their candidate , Mrs. Josephine Jackson, came under attack from APC supporters .
What these persistent reports of violence between the APC and the SLPP demonstrate is that coming to power of former military junta leader, Retired Brig. Maada Bio has completely and alarmingly destabilized Sierra Leone both along tribal and party lines. What is surprising is the failure of the President to speak out when these events occur. He is too busy traveling .
He is the President of the country and his SLPP is the party in control. It has the primary responsibility to maintain peace and public security in the country, but the Bio does not seem to be aware of this. Most often, he has worsened the conflict between the APC and the SLPP through his tribalistic style of governance and exclusive rule ( READ OUR EDITORIAL ).
The international community who spent millions of dollars to restore peace in Sierra Leone following 11 years of brutal civil war must buck up because it all appears as if their efforts, money and resources have gone in vain. Sierra Leone is on the verge of another war.
THE APC VERSION OF THE CLASHES
The APC would like to bring to the attention of the general public that Monday 29th July 2019 was approved by the National Electoral Commission (NEC) as the day allocated to the APC to launch its campaign and rally in constituency 110 in the Western Area.
The launching ceremony at the Goderich Community Centre was successfully conducted and the party members went on the campaign trail as is required by NEC . No other political party is allowed to come out to disrupt the process or come out to campaign. The party members rallied in several villages and towns to sensitize their supporters and everything went on peacefully.
However members of the APC were violently attacked by thugs of the SLPP candidate at Hamilton village.
As a result several APC supporters sustained severe injuries from stabbing and stoning from these thugs . Many victims were conveyed to the emergency hospital for treatment. The Deputy Organising Secretary MR Karamoh Kabba who visited the victims decided to report the matter to the Adonkia Police Station. It was while he was making a statement at the police station that somebody said Karamoh Kabba was present at Hamilton where the fighting took place and was immediately arrested.
The National Secretary General reported this unfortunate incident to the Deputy Inspector General who said he had not been informed by his junior officers about the incident. He promised to look into the matter and get back to me. When the NSG later contacted him again he assured me he will ask the ADONKIA police to take Karamoh kabba’s statement and get him released . The others who are from the SLPP were at liberty to make counter reports or claims.
Up to the time of sending this message Karamoh Kabba is still detained at the Adonkia police station.
The National Secretariat is urging the the police to immediately release Karamoh Kabba and pursue those who disrupted the APC rally and unleashed unwarranted violence against peaceful party members and supporters of the APC .
Amb Dr Alhaji Osman F Yansaneh .
THE SLPP VERSION OF THE EVENT
“In the early hours of this evening, the Sierra Leone People’s Party candidate for the parliamentary bye election in Constituency 110 Madam Josephine Jackson, came under attack by supporters and hoodlums of the APC on the day prescribed for the APC candidate to rally.
“Madam Jackson’s house was pelted with stones and other offensive materials and eventually her vehicle was set ablaze and burnt to ashes by the assailants. Several of her relatives and well-wishers were wounded, an unarmed RSLAF personnel was also injured.
“The SLPP takes a dim view of this incident and unequivocally and in no uncertain terms condemns this barbaric and crude tactic deployed by our opponents who have already sensed defeat in the August polls and want to scuttle it.
“We call on the police to institute a swift investigation of the attack and prosecute whosoever is found culpable. We also demand full protection of our candidate including her house.
“Meanwhile we are admonishing our supporters to remain calm and desist from any retaliatory action. As a law abiding party, we want to respect the security forces and allow them do their work of investigating the ugly incident.
“We want to assure our members in Constituency 110 and any other parts of the country that the party will do everything within its reach to protect them. This attack will not in any way forestall our campaign program. We entreat all to be steadfast and remain law abiding.
“Signed: Umaru Napoleon Koroma, Secretary General”.