By Ishmael Sallieu Koroma
The United Nations Resident Coordinator in Sierra Leone Babatunde Ahonsi has called for a prompt investigation over violent incidents that occurred on 7th June 2022 in Bendugu town, Sambaia Chiefdom, so that perpetrators may be brought to justice.
The violent incident which happened ahead of a by-elections for the Member of Parliament of Constituency 056, left scores of people with injuries and damage to properties.
‘’The United Nations deeply condemns all forms of violence and calls on all parts of society – including political leaders and party supporters, traditional and religious leaders, national and local institutions, and citizens in general – to commit to a spirit of tolerance and to work together to maintain peace in Sierra Leone,’’ a statement from the United Nations in Sierra Leone.
The United Nations in the country therefore urged for dialogue, including between political parties, to resolve political differences adding that it stands ready to support such dialogue process.
In a statement on his Facebook page , the former Presidential candidate in the 2018 elections Dr. Samura Mathew – Wilson Kamara said ‘’This is how the SLPP governs Sierra Leone intimidating opposition leaders and their supporters, shoot to kill them, prevent them from their rights to assemble and participate in democratic processes. But why is the Vice President the one laying the foundation for such intimidations and orders to shoot on sight?’’
The former Presidential candidate added to his post by questioning the presence of the country’s Vice President Dr. Juldeh Jalloh to visit areas holding bye elections on the day the Political Party Registration Commission (PPRC) has scheduled for them as opposition to campaign in Tonkolili , Northern of t part of the country .
‘’He (Juldeh) did it just last week in Portloko and now in Tonkolili. But he and his SLPP cohorts will not succeed silencing opposition. The people (Sierra Leoneans ) are well aware of the unprecedented rise in the cost of living ,poor quality , education , dark cities , destroyed healthcare systems and poor hygiene ,’’a Facebook post from SamuraKamara2023 noted
Meanwhile, the governing Sierra Leone People’s Party (SLPP) in a statement signed by its Deputy National Secretary General Dr. Robert Chakanda expressed dismay a letter of complaint written by the main opposition APC’s interim Secretary General Honourable Abdul Kargbo in which a litany of woes was catalogued, which accused its supporters adding that the letter goes further to accuse the paramount chief of Bendugu in the Tonkolili District of being the mastermind of an attack on APC supporters during a rally organized by the party.
‘’We would like the public to know that, from records, the SLPP and violence are NOT compatible bedfellows. Violence has never been a tool of the SLPP and the party does believe in thuggery as a political tactic. The party has earned a reputation for peace and harmony and would not do anything to change that perception,’’ a statement from SLPP Party reads.
According to the ruling party, it said that, the area in which the main opposition APC Party claims it was attacked by their supporters is a perceived stronghold of the former stating their party cannot be foolhardy to expose their supporters to harm and danger by attacking the APC in their stronghold adding contrary of the claims and with marked reference to the incidents with pictorial evidence of violence, there is a string of barbaric attacks orchestrated by APC supporters against innocent citizens and supporters of the SLPP.
‘’The Paramount Chief in question has never received any instruction from the SLPP leadership to organize an attack on the APC. As a matter of fact, he is Paramount Chief for everybody within his chiefdom and cannot be openly seen taking sides in politics. The APC is crying wolf where none exists. In their very letter of complaint, they exposed their lack of depth and evidence of an attack in its supporters, with the constant use of ‘allege,’’’ the statement added.
The party added that the letter has no substance and could be another gimmick of the APC to portray the SLPP as a party of violence and thuggery which it is not known for and therefore urged its supporters to be law abiding and peaceful and to carry out their campaign exercises in peace armed with the messages of the huge achievements of the SLPP government of President Julius Maada Bio thus urging them to be vigilant as the APC may be planning to attack them, which could be real reason why they are accusing the SLPP of an imaginary attack on them.
‘’We appeal to the security forces, the ECSL to scratch beyond the surface of the complaint of the APC and come out with the truth,’’