In Sierra Leone – SLPP is the most violent party but always first to cry foul
The SLPP is always the first to point a finger at the APC whenever acts of violence are being perpetrated in the country. They will cite examples of politically motivated violence in the past and blame the orchestration of such violence on the APC party. But time and again the SLPP has been proven to be the provokers of most of the politically-related violence in the country. Their media operatives are always quick to go to the local and international media and paint the APC party as a band of illiterate or semi-illiterate thugs and hooligans whose only knowledge of democracy is to perform violent activities as a way of intimidating the opposition. But the recent acts of violence carried out by some SLPP supporters in the City of Bo on Friday, November 2, against supporters of the PMDC party, is a clear testament to the claim above that the SLPP has always been and will continue to be the provokers of violence in the country because they have never won any free and fair elections in our country. They have won either through rigging or manipulative techniques that favor them at the polls.
The Friday incident was a clear example of how the SLPP party and its operatives are very desperate and determined to provoke violence around the country from which they could blame the APC party and shamelessly give the excuse that they could have won the elections had it not been for such violence.
The Peoples Movement for Democratic Change (PMDC) party was scheduled to have its rally in the City of Bo on the Friday in question. As usual, SLPP’s Harold Tucker, who is the candidate for the Mayoral position in Bo town, decided to hold a meeting with his supporters the same day along Kojowa and Konkodo Street Junction; clearly contravening part of the provisions by the National Electoral Commission (NEC) which stipulates that no other political party should hold rallies or meetings on a day that a particular political party has been scheduled by NEC to have a rally or meeting.
PMDC supporter wounded by SLPP Thugs
Realizing the violation of the electoral provisions as they relate to campaign activities, one of the PMDC supporters, Foday Lumeh, went to Kojowa and Konkodo Street junction and alerted Mr. Harold Tucker on such violations. Mr. Tucker was said to have given orders to his supporters to ruffle Foday, which they did; and one of the supporters hit Foday with a rod on his upper left eye from which Foday suffered serious bleeding and five stitches. Upon hearing about this, other PMDC supporters rushed to the scene and tried to wrestle Foday out of the vicious hands of these SLPP barbarians. In the process, one other PMDC supporter, Alfred Harding, was hit in the back of his head with a rod and sustained injuries as you can see in the picture above. The third victim of this unprovoked act of barbarism was a young man by the name of Ibrahim Jalloh who was hit heavily with a stick in the lower abdomen and was later reported to be bleeding from his genitals. I went to the hospital to see this young man but I was told I could not see him because Doctors were still doing some tests on him to determine if there were other internal problems apart from the bleeding.
I went to the local police station to obtain some information from the investigating officer but as usual, they could not give me any information beyond telling me that they are investigating the matter and therefore could not release any information to me. Six names have been submitted to the police but the Investigating Officer is yet to execute any arrest of the suspects. The six names included Boter Foray; Mohamed Sannoh; Mariama Korbeh; Sara Gbajah; one Isatu and another young man commonly known as Joker. This is not surprising, given the fact that Bo and its environs are considered a political stronghold of the SLPP party and the majority of its population is SLPP. It should also be understood that the SLPP supporters in Bo town have had a long-held misplaced perception that Bo town belongs to them, at least politically, and therefore they have control over anything and everything in that township. According to Foday and many other people that I spoke with, including some SLPP supporters, this is not the first time Mr. Harold Tucker has provoked acts of violence in this elections campaign. He did the same thing on October 20th. If these acts of barbarism are not put in check, SLPP supporters will continue to provoke violence in the days leading to the elections on November 17 and even beyond. They have to understand that the Southeast is part of the Republic of Sierra Leone and therefore no one political party can claim political supremacy over that area, especially if you are just an opposition party and not the ruling party. We want to enjoy true democracy in which people are free to affiliate with any political party of their choice. We cannot let our hard-won peace be hijacked by a group of political bandits whose only aim is to ensconce themselves in power by all means necessary regardless of the consequences to the nation.
Retired Brigadier Julius Maada Bio has been portrayed as one who epitomizes violence as a result of his past predispositions to acts of violence against his fellow citizens during his days in the NPRC and during the campaign for the presidential candidacy of his SLPP party. And quite recently, he has also demonstrated tendencies of aggression and violence when he deliberately refused to give way to a Presidential Convoy – an act that could have thrown this nation into turmoil if the Presidential Guards had reacted to Mr. Bio’s blatant disregard for authority. President Koroma has jokingly appealed to all his supporters during the last rally in the Capital city of Freetown that if Mr. Julius Maada Bio or any of his supporters confront any APC support, please “Give them Way”, it is not weakness! In the local Creole parlance it simple states: “Gee Den Way”! “Nor to Weakness”! Mr. Julius Maada Bio has to be seen this time around as someone who has control over his supporters; or who, at least, can come out publicly and denounce acts of violence. The truth is that, he has not done so yet and may never do so till it is too late. President Koroma has been on top of his game in terms of propagating a non-violent campaign and election message.
We therefore call upon the National Electoral Commission (NEC); the Political Parties Registration Commission (PPRC); Civil Society groups; the National police; and the International Community to look into these acts of violence and find a way to halt the SLPP on their dangerous tracks so that our country, which has enjoyed relative peace over the years, does not go down the drains again.
Brima M. Turay, Act. PRO; APC North America
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