CONCERNED SIERRA LEONEANS PRESS RELEASE….
Recent incidents of politically motivated violence, naked abuse of power, violation of the human and political rights of citizens, and suppression of freedom of expression in Sierra Leone, do not only signal desperation on the part of the ruling All People’s Congress (APC), but also point to an ugly future. Concerned Sierra Leoneans-USA has been closely following the goings-on in Sierra Leone, and condemns, without reservation, the following incidents:
1. On December 12, 2015, a parliamentary bye-election in Bombali was conducted in Constituency 030 by the National Electoral Commission. For exercising their rights to vote their conscience, allowing an opposition party barely six months old, the Alliance Democratic Party led by Mohamed Kamarainba Mansaray, to perform extremely well in the heartland of APC, some villagers in the Constituency were intimidated by officials of the ruling APC Party. Some of the villagers faced threats of losing their wives and family.
2. On Thursday, December 17, 2015, Jonathan Leigh, the editor of the Daily Independent newspaper, was picked up by three officers acting on “orders,” and detained for what the officers called, “false publication.” Jonathan Leigh had published news about the politically motivated violence leading to the bye-election in Constituency 25 on Saturday, December 19, 2015 in Kono. How false could that have been?
3. Leading to the bye-election in Kono, the home of the local opposition leader was razed and a vehicle allegedly belonging to a government Minister, was destroyed. Members of the opposition SLPP were selectively arrested and detained.
4. Two U. S. citizens of Sierra Leonean descent were recently ordered arrested and detained by the Deputy Inspector General of Police, Richard Moigbueh. The only crime the two Sierra Leoneans committed was expressing their opinions about the state of affairs in Sierra Leone. In particular, one of them said what everyone knows is true; that is, the Sierra Leone Police and the Judiciary are not only the most corrupt, but that they are inimical to the health of the country. In an interview on Radio Democracy, Richard Moigbueh defended his action by referring to the above statement as a threat to national security. No doubt, the Deputy Inspector General, Richard Moigbueh, knows pretty little about national security.
5. Last week, Dr. Alie Kabba, one of the flag bearer aspirants of the opposition SLPP, was dragged to court on a charge of bigamy. He was refused bail and sent to the Pademba maximum prison. For a man who did not commit a capital offence or pose a serious threat to national security, and one who was not a flight risk to be denied bail was a very clear indication of this government’s total disrespect for the rule of law and the rights of its citizens.
Sierra Leoneans must not sit idly by and allow bad History be repeated in their country. They must stand up and DO SOMETHING. This is the time for a peaceful citizens’ march against oppression and bad governance. If this trend is not checked, our ugly past shall be our future.
Signed: Sheikh Umarr Kamarah, Ph.D.
(Spokesman and Public Relations Office, CSL- USA)