Published on November 27, 2010 by Cocorioko News · 5 Comments
COCORIOKO has obtained the full report of the investigations into the Kono disturbances conducted by the non-partisan Political Parties Registration Commission ( PPRC). Despite all the vuvuzela noise in some sections of the opposition media accusing the All People’s Congress ( APC ) of staging the said attacks, the PPRC Report has found no evidence to support these wild allegations. “The PPRC could not get any prima facie evidence as to whether the violent attack on their(Ed-SLPP) delegates was prompted or motivated by the leadership or supporters of any party or movement. “ This finding by the PPRC is a blow to the credibility of the SLPP newspapers which had been pointedly accusing the APC of orchestrating the attacks and even blaming the leadership of the party. Surprisingly too, the APC too suffered during the disturbances as the PPRC found that “On the 15th November 2010, the houses of the APC District Secretary-General, an APC Councillor, Mr. Sondifu and the Beth Konold Pre & Primary school, Kono were splashed with human faeces. It was learnt that the school is headed by the elder brother of Councillor Sondifu of APC “.
According to the PPRC , ” This report is based on an eye witness account (observation) of the violent events as seen in Koidu City by the PPRC Regional Staff; Interviews … conducted with members of the APC, PMDC and SLPP in Koidu City. This was done with the view to present a balanced and true report of the political violence that took place on the 12th and 13th November, 2010 in Koidu City; Personnel of the SLP based in the Tankoro Police Station were interviewed to get h own side of the story.”
Many questions immediately come begging after looking at the methodology of the investigations and the conclusions arrived at by the PPRC. Why was the SLPP press so absolutely certain that the attacks were conducted by the APC ? If the APC was responsible for the attacks , why were the PPRC regional staff, members of the SLPP, APC and the PMDC , as well as the Police unable to lay a finger at the real perpetuators of the feces -smearing attacks and disturbances ? Did the Freetown-based opposition media rush to judgement once again ? Who is more credible and more likely to speak the truth –The PPRC or the SLPP press ? Is this another cock-and-bull story stagemanaged by the SLPP , like the so-called “rape ” of women at the SLPP Headquarters last year ?
WE ASK OUR READERS TO GO THROUGH THIS REPORT DILIGENTLY AND COMPREHENSIVELY AND SEE WHY THIS NEWSPAPER HAS A FUNNY FEELING THAT WE HAVE NOT HEARD THE TRUTH YET ABOUT THE KONO ATTACKS . READ :
Report Title: ATTACK ON THE SLPP IN KONO DISTRICT, EASTERN SIERRA LEONE
Report submitted by: THE POLITICAL PARTIES REGISTRATION COMMISSION (PPRC)
Reporting Period: 13th – 15th November 2010-11-22
The Political Parties Registration Commission (PPRC) is a constitutional body established by an Act of Parliament. PPRC has the mandate to register and monitor the conduct of political parties in accordance with sections 34 and 35 of the 1991 Constitution of Sierra Leone and all the provisions of The Political Parties Act (Act. No 3) of 2003. The monitoring of the political situation in Koidu City by the PPRC is in line with its constitutional and statutory mandates.
On the 13th of November 2010 the PPRC set out to monitor the simmering political tension in Koidu City, Kono District in which it was alleged that the Sierra Leone Peoples Party (SLPP) offices situated on Kainkordu Road was splashed with human excreta by unknown persons. It was confirmed that this incident occurred on the eve when the SLPP leadership, party supporters and aspirant flag bearers were all set for Kono as part of the SLPP national tour to present their flag bearers to its members in that District. Based on these allegations, the PPRC dispatched its regional staff to monitor the situation in Koidu City with the following objectives:
a. To ascertain whether the SLPP office in Koidu City was splashed with human excrement and gather information on who the perpetrators were;
b. To ascertain whether the splashing of human excrement on the SLPP office on Kainkordu Road in Koidu City was orchestrated by any political party operative;
c. To monitor and present a report on any political violence and its perpetrators in Koidu City;
• This report is based on an eye witness account (observation) of the violent events as seen in Koidu City by the PPRC Regional Staff;
• Interviews were conducted with members of the APC, PMDC and SLPP in Koidu City. This was done with the view to present a balanced and true report of the political violence that took place on the 12th and 13th November, 2010 in Koidu City;
• Personnel of the SLP based in the Tankoro Police Station were interviewed to get h own side of the story;
3. Limitations and constraints
a. The PPRC was constrained by the lack of financial and logistical resources to deploy its staff in Koidu City prior to the arrival of the SLPP delegation in Kono. However, the Commission was able to respond to information on alleged political violations.
b. It was difficult to get prima facie proof to link the behaviour of the riotous youths to any political party. Therefore the Commission cannot say with certainty whether the actions of the youths were motivated by any political party;
4. A call to commitment of Political Parties to non-violence
On the 20th October 2006, nine political parties mentioned here below endorsed the Political Parties Code of Conduct. This was a clear commitment by the leadership of parties that violence and intimidation are unacceptable in electioneering processes. Paragraph 17 of the Code of Conduct for Political Parties states thus:
“All Political Parties that have subscribed to this Code accept that intimidation, in any form, is unacceptable, and leaders of these Parties will direct their officials, candidates, members and supporters not to intimidate any person at any time.”
The parties that endorsed the Code of Conduct for Political parties are:
• All Peoples Congress (APC);
• National Democratic Alliance (NDA);
• Peoples Liberation Party (PLP);
• Peoples Democratic Party (PDP);
• Peoples Movement for Democratic Change (PMDC);
• Revolutionary United Front Party (RUFP);
• Sierra Leone Peoples Party (SLPP);
• United National Peoples Party (UNPP);
• Convention Peoples Party (CPP);
5. Detailed Findings
Below are detailed findings of the simmering political situation in Koidu City:
a. The SLPP party office situated on Kainkordu Road, Koidu City was splashed with human excrement on the morning of 13th November, 2010 before the arrival of the SLPP Delegates to Kono. The SLPP Young Generation Leader in Kono District was also a victim of this uncivil act. His residence was also splashed with human faeces. These allegations have been confirmed by the Chairpersons of the APC and PMDC in Kono. Unfortunately, the PPRC staff could not obtain any clue or information on the perpetrators of this uncivil act;
b. That while the SLPP meeting was in progress at the Fachima Hall in Koidu City, the PPRC Regional Staff (East) saw a Jeep with registration number ACF 620 allegedly belonging to one Adamu Eze, widely believed to be a supporter of the All People’s Congress (APC) Party entered the precincts of the Fachima Hall in Koidu City. The back wind screen of the Jeep was largely covered with red clothe. This was in the full view of the public and the Sierra Leone Police. The vehicle was seen full of youth chanting provocative slogans. However, they were ordered by the Sierra Leone Police (SLP) to vacate the precincts of Fachima, but no arrests were made at that time;
c. The Chairpersons of APC and PMDC in Kono District as well as the Young Generation Leader of SLPP interviewed confirmed that the SLPP meeting held in Fachima Hall was largely peaceful. The PMDC Chairman further confirmed that the meeting ended peacefully and after which participants and observers retired to their various destinations;
d. It was witnessed by the PPRC Regional Officer when the SLPP delegation in Kono was pelted with stones by irate and unidentified youth damaging vehicle wind screens and injuring some members of the SLPP delegation as well as passers-by. The PMDC and APC Party District Chairmen interviewed could also not say those responsible for the attack on the SLPP delegates;
The PPRC staff saw unidentified youth on the rampage setting up road blocks at strategic road intercessions and the Koidu City Centre. Youth were evidently seen molesting individuals they perceived to be supporters of the SLPP. In the process, two cars belonging to SLPP members – Alpha Timbo Esq. and Dr. Kaddi Sesay were damaged during which Hon. Emmanuel Tommy was injured;
e. On the night of Saturday 13th November 2010, Boie Enterprise belonging to the brother of one of the aspirants for SLPP flag bearer ship, Mr. Usman Boie Kamara, at the Opera Complex was attacked and some of the furniture vandalised.
f. A Blue 4 Runner Jeep with registration number AAF 388 belonging to a local businessman was vandalized along Kainkordu Road. The driver was seriously beaten and stabbed in the head by youth because he was perceived to be a supporter of the SLPP;
g. On the 15th November 2010, the houses of the APC District Secretary-General, an APC Councillor, Mr. Sondifu and the Beth Konold Pre & Primary school, Kono were splashed with human faeces. It was learnt that the school is headed by the elder brother of Councillor Sondifu of APC;
h. The Sierra Leone Police provided security to the SLPP delegates during their stay in Koidu City. However, it was observed that the police were outnumbered by the irate youths. In the circumstance, it was observed that the Police had to seek reinforcement from the Motema Police Division to help quell the situation. In the process, the Police arrested two youths for their alleged involvement in riotous behaviour.
The Commission having examined the entire situation in Kono based on eye witness accounts and interviews has made the following conclusion:
a. That the uninvited entry of Adamu Eze widely believed to be a supporter of the APC into the precincts of the Fachima Hall with Youths where the SLPP was having their meeting is in the least an act of provocation and a show of political intolerance;
b. It has been confirmed that the SLPP delegates were attacked and pelted with stones through no fault of theirs. They did not provoke any situation that could warrant an attack on them by any group or group of individuals. Furthermore, the Commission concludes that there is no logic in the argument that SLPP supporters had attacked themselves in Kono. The APC and PMDC representatives invited in the meeting have confirmed that the meeting in Fachima Hall went on peacefully and there is every reason to believe that no differences arose that could have led to a spontaneous attach on the SLPP;
c. The PPRC could not get any prima facie evidence as to whether the violent attack on their delegates was prompted or motivated by the leadership or supporters of any party or movement. However, the Commission urges the Sierra Leone Police to further investigate the attack on the SLPP delegation and bring perpetrators to justice without undue delay;
d. The number of Police personnel responding to the attack against delegates of the SLPP and other citizens was not commensurate. This was evidenced by the fact that police reinforcement had to be brought in from the Motema Police Station.
7. Call to Action
a. The leadership of all the Political Parties are urged to unreservedly condemn the violent attack against the SLPP delegate in Kono. The attack on the SLPP is a demonstration of lack of political tolerance and civil behaviour. Violence must be condemned at all times irrespective of any political affiliation or status;
b. The leadership of the APC must rise to the occasion and condemn the attempt by Adamou Eze to enter the precincts of Fachima Hall where the SLPP members were having their meeting. This is more so when he was seen with youths chanting provocative songs. This does not augur well in any democratic dispensation;
c. Political Parties are urged to adhere to all of the provisions in the Code of Conduct for Political Parties to which they are signatories. Furthermore, Political Parties are called upon to sensitize their membership and supporters on the content of the Code of Conduct for Political Parties;
d. PPRC urges restraint on the part of all political party leaders and their supporters in Kono District to refrain from provocative actions that will breach the peace and security of the District.
Government of Sierra Leone
The PPRC calls on the government of Sierra Leone to activate the implementation of the Joint Communiqué signed between the All Peoples Congress Party and the Sierra Leone People’s Party on 2nd April 2009;
a. Given the involvement of youth in the violence in Kono, the Commission wishes to draw the attention of the Government of Sierra Leone to Paragraph (9) of the Joint Communiqué which states:
“Both parties [APC & SLPP] recognize the problem of youth unemployment and, if not solved, the risk that this could pose for peace and stability in Sierra Leone.
Both parties re-affirm their commitment to disband all so-called youth task forces
Or any other militant youth groups…”
b. The Government of Sierra Leone through the Ministry of Finance to provide adequate resources to the PPRC to engage in activities aimed at building the culture of political tolerance, hosting of inter-party dialogue and the fulfilment of all of the mandate of the Commission;
Sierra Leone Police Force
The PPRC calls on the Sierra Leone Police Force to investigate the violent incidents and the uncivil behaviour in Kono and bring the perpetrators to justice in accordance with the General Criminal Law, the Public Order Act of 1965 and duties of law enforcement officials;
a. The PPRC calls on the international community to support the Sierra Leone Police in processes involving elections management, crowd control and other professional skills.