President Koroma updates diplomatic community on recent political developments
In a further demonstration of his commitment to the peace and progress of Sierra Leone, President Ernest Bai Koroma (in photo) today told members of the diplomatic community that he found it necessary at this crucial period of national transformation to maintain a transparent level of communication with them “to ensure that we are on the same page on developments in the country.”
Speaking at a meeting called at State House for the purpose, the Head of State said his government has the responsibility to formally inform the diplomatic community about such developments.
THE KONO INCIDENCE
The President narrated that an ugly incident occurred in Kono on Saturday 3rd September when the Minister of Internal Affairs was visiting there. He said there was reportedly a rumour among the youths of Kono that the Minister was going to be introduced as the APC running-mate for the 2012 presidential elections, which apparently did not go down well with some of them who wanted to stop him, in the process causing a police officer in the Minister’s entourage to fire in the air, and the ensuing confusing leading to the injuring of a bike rider.
The President further explained that the situation was brought under control; but that as the head of a responsible government, he has not only unequivocally condemned the action, but has instituted a full-scale investigation into it. He stated that appropriate action will be taken on any defaulter after all the facts would have been made available.
THE BO BROUHAHA
President Koroma said another unfortunate fracas occurred in Bo on 9th September during the visit of the flag-bearer of the opposition Sierra Leone People’s Party Julius Maada Bio in a ‘thank you’ tour. He narrated that according to reports, while Mr. Maada Bio was moving around Bo, disturbances erupted within the vicinity of the offices of the APC and the PMDC where it was alleged that stones were pelted at him, one of them allegedly hitting him. The President further narrated that, afterwards it was alleged that a number of SLPP supporters went berserk and burnt down the APC office in that city, the residence of the APC’s Bo District Chairman and an office of one of the support groups of the APC. He said sadly it was confirmed that a bike rider lost his life, while several people were receiving treatment for various injuries; and that the flag-bearer himself received treatment and continued on his tour to Kenema.
The Head of State said, as a responsible government, a press release on the issue was immediately issued condemning the incident, while at the same time instructions were given for the offices of all political parties to be secured by the security forces across the country to avoid a repeat anywhere else, thereby succeeding in localizing the ugly development in Bo only.
In the face of allegations and counter-allegations, the President said government has set up an all-inclusive committee comprising of the police, the Political Parties Registration Commission, the Inter-Religious Council, Campaign for Good Governance, and the Sierra Leone Association of Journalists to carry out full investigations as quickly as possible with fairness and transparency and to come up with a credible report.
GOVERNMENT’S RESPONSIBILITY TO MAINTAIN LAW AND ORDER
In no uncertain terms, President Koroma said these unfortunate developments were definitely retrogressive, totally contrary to his government’s Agenda For Change, and with the potential to make the country unattractive to investors. He said such counter-productive happenings should be condemned by all patriotic Sierra Leoneans and friends of Sierra Leone.
He stressed that as a government, there’s the great responsibility of maintaining law and order, to build the peace, and to revive the economy. In that regard, the President maintained, anyone found culpable, irrespective of party affiliation or status, will face the full force of the law, as no one is above the law: “I assure you that at the end of this exercise, the law will take its course to the fullest. As we move towards the 2012 elections, we will create the atmosphere where our people can freely choose their leaders without fear of violence. We are going to set an example. If we don’t send the signal that the rule of law has to be maintained, then we stand the risk of losing the gains we have already registered.”
President Koroma appealed to the international community, having been very supportive thus far, to continue to stand by Sierra Leone at a time like this.OFFICE OF THE GOVERNMENT SPOKESMAN MINISTRY OF INFORMATION & COMMUNICATIONS 8TH FLOOR, YOUYI BUILDING FREETOWN
13th September 2011
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