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A response to SLPPs allegations on security situation in Sierra Leone

A response to SLPPs allegations on security situation in Sierra Leone

The attention of Government has been drawn to a very mischievous press release circulated by the opposition Sierra Leone People’s Party (SLPP) with a deliberate attempt to misinform members of the public and at the same time to drive fear in the minds of the citizenry at a time when President Ernest Bai Koroma is preaching the message of peace and national reconciliation.

The recent press release signed by the flag-bearer of the SLPP, Julius Maada Bio, suggesting that the ruling All People’s Congress (APC) party is recruiting and arming ex-combatants for the purposes of registering pro-APC supporters simply exhibited dishonesty in handling public affairs and possibly an indication of ignorance as to how the National Electoral Commission (NEC) handles the registration of citizens for electoral purposes. If any group of persons are guilty of disregarding NEC rules and regulations, and if any group of persons is anxiously undermining state institutions for the purposes of gaining political power – however hopeless in their efforts – it is the members of the SLPP.

The SLPP’s press release contains grave allegations close to suggesting that the Ministers of Defence and Internal Affairs are on the verge of committing a coup d’etat by arming ex-combatants and other civilians, but gives no justification as to why the two ministers would want to arm members of the public or any proof to the effect. Government has already verbally denounced the contents and vicious agenda of the SLPP’s press release and at the same time continues to remind members of the public that Maada Bio’s press release seeks to scare people of goodwill out of Sierra Leone.

By circulating such a sadistic press release which dishonestly claims that ex-combatants are being re-armed and that citizens from neighbouring countries are being smuggled into the country for purposes of registering them for voting, some foreigners in Sierra Leone have already commenced to dispatch their wives and children out of the country for fear that the November elections would be a bloodbath. One of the mobile companies rolling out has already shut down its offices waiting for further instructions from their proprietors.

Maada Bio’s press release can be seen as a satanic document aimed at creating a state of instability and uncertainty in Sierra Leone. Many credible observers have drawn the conclusion that a poorly-organized and poverty-stricken SLPP cannot win the presidency in November. It is exactly because President Koroma has worked so assiduously to earn himself a second victory on the first ballot that has made the SLPP jittery to the extent that they are bent on infusing a state of instability by provoking violence to cause the international community to suggest power-sharing. This power-thirsty strategy of the SLPP is already widely known, and Maada Bio’s press release is supposed to be the document to prepare the ground for the violence which the SLPP is planning to introduce or has already started introducing. In other words, the press release will be kept as a document in the SLPP’s efforts to convince the international community that ‘we said so’.

The truth of the matter, however, is that, it is the SLPP that has developed the tradition of bringing in citizens from neighbouring Liberia to the so-called SLPP strongholds of the south-east for the purposes of swelling their votes as manifested in previous elections, causing elections chief James Jonah to slice at least 70.00 votes in 1996 and Christiana Thorpe to cancel many results in 2007. But the introduction of the biometric system of registration has certainly wrong-footed this tradition. Going by the argument of one of the elders of the SLPP, Dr. Abass Bundu, the south-east of Sierra Leone belongs to the SLPP and that party dominates that part of the country. Therefore, if the argument is extended, it is the SLPP that has the opportunity and wherewithal and clout to recruit people from neighbouring countries to that part of Sierra Leone.

Government has also noted Maada Bio’s reference to the International Criminal Court (ICC) – a foolish suggestion that has no substance at all. For a series of questions can easily be asked: which human rights offences have been committed in Sierra Leone by this government? How many Sierra Leoneans have been executed extra-judicially or even judicially? How many have been deprived of their political rights? Who has violated the state Constitution? Any attempt to respond to these questions can easily suggest that it is the likes of Maada Bio that should qualify for appearance at the International Criminal Court for overthrowing a legitimate government, violating citizens’ rights, and executing people extra-judicially.

But apart from the history of violence and coup-making for which the present NPRC/SLPP opposition is known, President Koroma, classified as one of the most effective leaders in Africa, will definitely appreciate the presence of the ICC  in Sierra Leone prior to, during, and after the forthcoming elections. In fact, Maada Bio fully knows that it is President Ernest Bai Koroma who, after the Bo incidence where SLPP supporters went on the rampage to burn down buildings, initiated the idea of inviting the ICC to Sierra Leone. Just recently also on 21st January 2012 at the Attouga Stadium, making reference to the violence in Constituency 104 apparently carried out by operatives of the SLPP, President Koroma again reiterated his stance about inviting the ICC to Sierra Leone. Maada Bio can only pretend he does not know this, or he is playing a covering-up game, each of which is too bad for a presidential candidate.

Close to five years in office, President Ernest Bai Koroma has exhibited a sense of fair play and has allowed his political party to compete in free and fair elections to the extent that the ruling APC has actually lost political contests in bye-elections without any political reprisals or mayhem. It can be stated that Maada Bio, who has never been put to the test in administering a civilian government, can only learn from the experience of President Koroma who decided to learn from the bottom of the political system by first contesting for parliamentary elections before going for the presidential bid. The President’s experience in politics therefore puts him in a stronger position than all the other candidates for the November polls.

The attempt by the SLPP to send the wrong signals to the international community with the wailing of their members, pretending that they are the weeping boys, can at best be described as childish tantrums. This government will continue to promote the whole concept of fair play, freedom of expression, freedom of association, and the supremacy of the rule of law; and the President himself is such a gentleman that even a large number of SLPP supporters respect and admire him. Obviously, it is unfortunate for the rank and file of the SLPP that they are currently being led by a very unpopular and baggage-carrying presidential candidate who cannot match the shining qualities of President Koroma.

Even though a few of their members in the SLPP shout all over the country insulting very respectable citizens, it is exactly because of the indiscipline that has taken over the affairs of that party, and sometimes exhibited by very old people in the SLPP, that has caused some level-headed supporters of that party to desert it and switch over to the APC. The indiscipline of the SLPP is found in the fact that that party disregards simple parliamentary procedures by boycotting very important state functions such as the presidential speech from the throne. Indiscipline within the party is also found in the fact that even a statutory electoral body like NEC is openly insulted by unruly members of that party. Codes of conduct set by the Political Parties Registration Commission (PPRC), the regulatory authority that supervises the conduct of parties, are willfully ignored by the SLPP. Even the Judiciary is not spared of their venom as they behave in a wanton manner even during court proceedings. The Sierra Leone Police, which the SLPP claims was their baby, is not respected by the majority of their membership who apparently believe that defiant and deficit behavior is the only way by which a party can prove that it is a strong opposition.

It is necessary to emphasize the fact that neither the government nor the APC as a party is engaged in arming ex-combatants and/or other civilians, just as it is totally untrue that the government is encouraging non-Sierra Leoneans to be registered for the forthcoming elections. The fact of the matter is that, there are currently no provisions for Sierra Leoneans outside of the country to exercise their franchise in their countries of residence. It is therefore legitimate and legal for those who can afford it to return home and take part in the electioneering process.  And it is the influx of these Sierra Leoneans that has ruffled the SLPP to the extent of lying that ex-combatants are being armed.

The efforts by the SLPP to divert the attention of the President or the government from changing the face of Sierra Leone through the Agenda for Change are certainly puerile and futile.

Government reiterates its commitment to ensuring free, fair, and transparent elections through the adequate capacitating and equipping of all relevant stakeholders, including elections-related stakeholders and the law-enforcement agencies, in order to protect and safeguard this democracy that we have toiled for thus far and cannot mortgage on the altar of innate selfishness and primitive partisanship.

It should be stated that Government is viewing the option of taking appropriate legal measure to address the issue and also uses this opportunity to make it clear to members of the public that the country is in a state of stability, and that the vicious SLPP press release should not cause any member of the public to panic, even as more details of Government’s actions will be transmitted when and as necessary.



09 FEBRUARY 2012

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    13th February 2012
  • DEMOCRACY UNDER TEST BY BAI KOROMA AND HIS APC IN SIERRA LEONE .When Ernest Koroma sent this alarming letter in 2007 did the SLPP have the police invite him for questioning and evidence?
    Written by Ernest Bai Koroma His Excellency, The America Ambassador, Hill Station, Freetown.
    Your Excellency,
    Let me take this opportunity to thank you, on my personal behalf, on behalf of the All Peoples Congress (APC) Party, and in the name of all Sierra Leoneans, for the steadfast interest of your country/organization for Sierra Leone.
    Your concern for the Peace and Stability of our nation, and the prosperity of our people is not only highly appreciated, but will remain etched on our minds for a long time.

    We as a people have come a long way form the devastation and trauma of an eleven-year war. We have today laid the foundation for a stable national political environment. The current elections are another visible step in the consolidation of the process of nation building. And while we congratulate our people for their resilience, we must also register our gratitude to all those who have contributed to this achievement.
    Your Excellency, in spite of all this however, we have observed with increasing concern the development of a very serious and dangerous situation which clearly threatens the peace and stability this nation has achieved. It is now a matter of certainty that the leadership of the Sierra Leone Peoples Party (SLPP) had absolutely no intention of participating in this election process in the spirit of fair play and transparency. They had hoped in their self-delusion to win these elections “Massively” as the Vice President Solomon Berewa has frequently asserted. The results of the first round of voting clearly shocked them. They never believed that the people of this country had lost all faith, trust and confidence in them.
    The eleven year governance of the SLPP revealed to all Sierra Leoneans, the political bankruptcy of that Party, the moral deficiency and venal character of its leadership, and the complete uselessness and failure of its vaunted policies. The people of Sierra Leone with their faith in Democracy have consequently spoken through the ballot box with the victory of the APC in the first round. This victory will be finally concluded in the second round of voting, when the APC in partnership with the patriotic and courageous leadership of the Peoples Movement For Democratic Change (PMDC) will consign the now politically irrelevant and discredited SLPP to the dustbin of history. This is our commitment.
    Let me now bring to your attention, Your Excellency, some of the many conspiratorial plans that the SLPP is actively and dangerously putting together to either steal the Presidential run-off election or completely disrupt it.
    1. In the first place, a meeting between the Kono Paramount Chiefs and Vice President Berewa was very recently held in Freetown, at which the Chiefs demanded the following
    (1) To transfer the Local Unit Commander (LUC) in Tankoro, Kono District and the LUC in Moyamba.
    (2) An amount of Five Hundred Million Leones to be provided by the Vice President for the Kono Chiefs to prosecute their agenda in Kono.
    The transfer of the LUC Police Officer was immediately effected by the Inspector General of Police on the direct instruction of the Vice President. Meanwhile, Mining Companies, Business houses etc are now requested to provide the Le 500 million for the Kono Chiefs.
    1. Secondly, the role of NEC Officials Hindowa Momoh, Executive Secretary Edward Nyalley Regional Commissioner East, and Massaquoi Logistics Officer, in advancing the agenda of the SLPP of which they are members, has been visibly roguish. These three men have not only dishonoured themselves, but have brought much discredit to NEC which is now widely talked about. Their corrupt activities were concentrated in Kailahun, Kono and Kenema districts where the SLPP registered incredibly high votes.
    In one district now widely known to be Kailahun, the election fraud led to a comment by the Chairperson of NEC Dr. Christiana Thorpe when she said:
    “In four cases, the results of the stations were suspicious, and the Commission was not satisfied that the results are completely credible. In three cases namely Polling Centres 1078, 1168 and 1084 recorded a higher number of votes cast than registered voters, and there was no valid explanation for the occurrence”.
    What is of further interest is, how many such instances took place that NEC might have failed to notice? To what extent was the integrity of the election not compromised.
    1. On Thursday 23rd August at 3:30 am ten ex-combatants of the army were arrested with assorted and dangerous weapons by a patrol team of OSD Personnel at Sani Abacha Street. These were quickly released on the orders of the Vice President.
    2. Most of the Returning Officers who conducted the elections are SLPP members, and were deliberately deployed in APC strongholds to slow down the voting. In SLPP strongholds, they clearly allowed multiple voting.
    Your Excellency, let me now provide you with cogent information regarding SLPP plans for the second round of voting.
    1. Having long secured the cooperation of the three senior NEC officials already mentioned, the SLPP now intends to further infiltrate the Commission to secure the services of others, and further discredit NEC.
    2. In Kono District, having secured the Chiefs, the SLPP now intends also to use the Poro Secret Society to openly intimidate non-members of the Poro to leave the district. Most non-members are APC people.
    3. Several reports have fully confirmed that Tom Nyuma, Maada Bio and Finance Minister John Benjamin, former members of the defunct NPRC Military regime are now actively recruiting army ex-combatants and thugs to deploy them in Kono and Freetown, to undermine the process in their favour in Kono, or disrupt it and have it nullified in Freetown. This was what the SLPP did in 1967 when they instigated an army coup after they lost the elections.
    4. In addition to the foregoing, and the credible intelligence reports we have received, regarding SLPP plans to prepare their own result sheets and tamper-evidence envelopes with the obvious connivance of SLPP NEC officials. We therefore demand with Your Excellency’s support, the following:
    (a) That international observers be fully involved concerning the security of the voting materials
    (b) That four copies of the result sheets be prepared for every Polling Station and signed by all NEC Officials and Polling Agents. The agents must keep their own copies of these result sheets for their party’s record.
    (c) We appeal to the international observers to visit and carefully monitor as many stations as possible to fully monitor the voting process and authenticate the results before they are sent to Freetown.
    Your Excellency, let me in conclusion state that with the people now clearly on our side, and the help of God, APC will win these elections. We are therefore concerned about the potential to have these elections disrupted. Any such occurrence can only be to the disadvantage of the APC. Since the SLPP has an ugly and disconcerting history of not accepting defeat at elections, they intend to use every nefarious strategy and tactic to subvert the election process. We shall consequently find such behaviour totally unacceptable.
    We in the APC are working to ensure that these elections present a clean, positive and acceptable image of Sierra Leone, in contrast to the 11 years of a traumatic war through which the world has perceived us. Sierra Leone must now join the global community as a respectable member, contributing our national worth to the progress of the human race. We have responded for a long time now with dignity and restraint to the naked provocation and the lawless behaviour of several SLPP members, supporters and thugs. Let me now state and affirm that any further actions to undermine the integrity of the forthcoming Presidential run-off election by the SLPP, their members or supporters, and no matter how highly placed they may be, will be met by a very appropriate response.
    To preserve the peace and security of this nation and its people is our collective duty. Any attempt to undermine this through violence or politically bad behaviour, that responsibility will be laid squarely at the doorstep of the SLPP.
    I therefore call on the international community to act decisively now to prevent the disease from taking root in our body politic, rather than searching frantically later in the U.N. for a cure long after the disease may have gone out of control.
    May I thank Your Excellency, very much for your kind attention.
    Please accept the expressions of my sincere respects and best wishes for the continued excellent relations between Sierra Leone and your country/organization.
    Sincerely yours,

    Hon. Ernest Bai Koroma
    Leader and Presidential Candidate
    All Peoples Congress Party.
    Your Excellency,

    13th February 2012
  • It is a pity for a Country called Sierra Leone. I knew APC during the days of Pa Shaki, Momoh and i know APC president Koroma. I can recall the statement of Preso of APC when he assumed power, he said he is a great admirer of Pa Shaki with all the myhem is he had course during his reign so is what Ernest koroma want to repeat by intimidating his political opponent. We can now see how the country is now moving backs as he said he is going to run the country like a business with a lots of corruptions and strike which have never happened under the administration of SLPP Pa Kabbah. We as citizens know how SLPP had worked immensly to bring peace in this country,reintegrating excombant into the society, embarked on infrastructures like buildings, court barrays, hospitals, schools, police stations VP office and treasury and providing buses for all institutions of higher learning, to name but the few. i am digust of hearing people say that SLPP didnt do anything in the country. As long as we live God Almight revail the truth oneday so that people will know who is fooling who.

    10th February 2012

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