“Silence Is Not an Option” Declares SLPP North America Alliance in the Wake of Shocking Pre-Election Violence against SLPP Supporters and Officials in Kono District
WASHINGTON, DC, USA – The SLPP North America Alliance (SLPP-NA Alliance), an alliance of members from Chapters of the opposition Sierra Leone People’s Party (SLPP) resident in the United States of America, is deeply disturbed by the reports of unprovoked attacks on SLPP supporters and officials in Kono and the defilement of the Party’s property with “human excreta” during the weekend of November 13 and 14. It is shocking enough that these dastardly acts orchestrated by elements known to have links with the ruling party occurred during the course of an SLPP national tour to introduce candidates for the approaching leadership contest as well as a meeting to present the Party’s candidate for the imminent Kono District Council bye-elections for Chairman – democratic exercises fully protected by the Constitution of Sierra Leone.
SLPP-NA Alliance calls on the Government of President Ernest Bai Koroma to categorically condemn these willful acts of violence and intimidation which not only violate the constitutional right of citizens to peaceably assemble, but make a complete mockery of the much-vaunted Joint Communiqué signed by the APC and our Party in April 2009 following a similar spate of politically motivated violence directed at our members and supporters. Silence is simply not an option, particularly given reports that the Police forces, as in prior instances of violence against our Party, failed in Kono to respond appropriately or in a timely manner to the unfolding events. This troubling trend clearly raises doubts about the independence and impartiality of the state security apparatus, especially with critical national elections looming. SLPP-NA Alliance therefore demands that the Sierra Leone government promptly establish an independent investigation into the cause of these continued acts of political violence and intimidation against our Party as well as the unacceptable conduct of law enforcement agents.
SLPP-NA Alliance is concerned about what this upsurge of political violence portends for the 2012 elections, if it is not quelled. We therefore urge the Government to demonstrate with utmost urgency a zero tolerance for any person or group, irrespective of party affiliation, that perpetrates even a single act of politically motivated violence anywhere in Sierra Leone. As a first step, it must speak out to not only denounce the perpetrators of the violence in Kono, but to ensure that they are prosecuted and punished. Silence is no longer an option.
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