Chericoco Briefs Press on Position of APC MPs after Aug 10 Violence
During a press conference held on Wednesday 17th August 2022 at the Committee Room One in Parliament, the Leader of the main Opposition in Parliament, Hon Chernor Maju Bah, has stated that the country has suffered yet another phase of shocking violence, emanating from a clash between protesters and security forces.
According to Hon Chericoco, these disturbances resulted in the loss of the lives of several civilians and security personnel of the Sierra Leone Police. Unfortunately, the Leader said the painful events of August 10, continued for several days, further claiming the lives of citizens in harrowing circumstances, as in the case of Hassan Dumbuya (Evangelist Samson) and others.
“I continue to express my profound condolences to the families who lost loved ones. May their souls rest in perfect peace” Hon Bah stressed.
He furthered that as the nation grieves, “let me state that I strongly condemn violence of any form and believe that there are much more progressive and constructive approaches to communicate our concerns, including peaceful protests.”
Hon Bah also reiterated that in any democratic dispensation, citizens have the right to use protest to demonstrate their concerns, as long as those protests are peaceful, and are within the remit of the law. Again, he noted that citizens, including Mohamed Kamara (Med Kay) of the All
People’s Congress were arrested even before the 10th of August demonstrations and are still in detention at the police. He said the events leading to and which unfolded on 10th of August, 2022, provided a clear indication that there has been an erosion in the gains made in strengthening reconciliation, social cohesion and peace building in post-war Sierra Leone.
Hon Chericoco said that more than ever before, there is the need for all to reverse this trend by reflecting on where we have gone wrong and what the nation can do to ensure that the gains made over the years to consolidate peace, are not lost. He maintained that violence can only undermine stability and development. He therefore called on all Sierra Leoneans to remain calm and law abiding, and also called on the government to immediately take steps to ameliorate the situation by ensuring that the number of people killed during and after the incident are made public, with their corpses handed over to their families for dignified burial rites.
The Leader of the main opposition in Parliament also urged government to display a record of all those incarcerated to the public and their families granted access to them. He stated that the government should ensure that their rights are protected through speedy and fair access to a court of law. Hon Bah said victims should also be provided with legal representation, where they cannot afford one.
In line with the above, the opposition Leader said he endorsed the call for an Independent Committee to speedily and conclusively investigate the August 10 demonstrations and its aftermath.
However, he said it must be ensured that the composition and conduct of the Committee is credible and non-partisan, with the sole aim of providing truthful findings and proffer recommendations that will, amongst other things, help to provide redress for the families of the victims.
The Leader further took the opportunity to call on the Inter-Religious Council (IRC), and other Civil Society Organizations, Council of Paramount Chiefs and community leaders to mobilise and take the right steps in engaging all relevant stakeholders, with the aim of helping to promote reconciliation, healing and social cohesion, in our beloved country.
“I cannot over emphasize the crucial role of the Civil society in the consolidation of democratic good governance in Sierra Leone, as we draw closer to the 2023 elections. I also call on the International Community, to continue providing the required political support and inspire the much needed political will to overcome the challenges that our nation is currently contending with”.
In conclusion, the Leader reminded all that “what unites us is mightier than what tries to divide all”.
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