We, the undersigned leaders of Kono organizations in the Diaspora strongly condemn current acts of intimidation and violence in relation to the Constituency 025 Bye-Elections scheduled for Saturday, December 19th in Kono District. In particular, we call the public’s immediate attention to the alleged arrests of family members of the opposition party candidate, Sahr Gbondo, as well as the alleged illegal search of his compound yesterday morning. Mr. Gbondo is currently in an undisclosed location within Kono and has expressed fear for his life as well as the safety of his family and supporters.
We have also received information of the alleged “taking in for questioning” of Jonathan Leigh, the editor of the daily Independent Observer, concerning a front page report of the said violence in Kono over the past several days, which included several reported casualties and alleged vandalizing of private and public property.
These alleged activities of intimidation and harassment come on the heel of the appointed Vice President’s controversial address to the people of Kono in Gorama Chiefdom last week. In his speech, Hon. Foh asserted that Kono people must vote for the APC party if they wish to receive development in their region. We view this assertion and other disturbing remarks in Hon. Foh’s speech as a gross debasement of the people of Kono and an attempt to coerce votes through open blackmail. A formal complaint and press release concerning this blatant flouting of the democratic rights of the people of Kono will be issued in due time.
We ask President Koroma’s administration for an immediate investigation of reports of harassment and intimidation of ordinary citizens exercising their constitutional rights to vote in Kono as well as alleged infringement of the rights to free speech and freedom of the press. We ask for public assurance of free and fair elections tomorrow Saturday, December 19th for the people of Sewafe and Gorama to decide their own fate.
Dr. Kai Ngeba, Chair, Kono District Development Association UK
Dr. Fuambai S. Ahmadu, President, Kono Union USA Inc.
Mr. Aiah Fanday, Chair, Kono District Global Organization
Madame Fatima Wahab, President, Kono Diamond Women’s Organization
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