On Friday 27th May 2016, the Ministry of Political and Public Affairs received reports about skirmishes among Sierra Leone People’s Party (SLPP) supporters in Kenema.
The incident reportedly started as a disagreement between two main SLPP factions in what was supposed to be a peaceful meeting , then later developed into a serious stand-off between supporters of Rtd Brigadier Julius Maada Bio and Mr John Oponjo Benjamin.
The situation reportedly led to the destruction of private property and the killing of a young man believed to be a supporter of Mr. John Benjamin. Police have since arrested a key suspect also described as a staunch supporter of Rtd Brigadier Julius Maada Bio.
As we unreservedly condemn this act, we wish to express a serious concern over the recurrence of political violence especially among members of the main opposition party. As the Ministry charged with the responsibility of providing oversight on the activities of political parties in the country, we are calling on the leadership of the SLPP to ensure sanity prevails within its rank and file.
We believe that the foundations of our democracy shall remain weak if the opposition fails to live up to its expectation of providing alternative development policies that will guide government on its mission to accomplish essential service delivery to the people of this country.
In view of this, we wish to make the following recommendations to the Sierra Leone People’s Party.
1) That the national leadership of the SLPP come out with a statement to unequivocally condemn the killing of an innocent supporter.
2) That the party fully cooperate with the police and other law enforcement agencies to bring the perpetrators to book.
3) That the family of the deceased is duly compensated.
4) That the SLPP leadership maps out effective strategies that will bring a stop to the spiraling violence among its supporters.
Finally, we are calling on the Sierra Leone Police and the Judiciary to speedily investigate and prosecute the perpetrators of this unfortunate incident.
The Ministry, on behalf of government wishes to express sincere condolences to the family of the bereaved.
9th Floor, Youyi Building
Government of Sierra Leone, Ministry of Political and Public Affairs
29th May 2016