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24th June 2018

SLPP Govt. Accused of Curtailing Rights of Opposition Supporters in Sierra Leone!

By a press release (31/05/18)

Local and international SOS appeals have been made to highlight the supression of opposition supporters by the ruling SLPP government.

 

Reports say a frightening pattern is emerging with the new SLPP government of President Julius Maada Bio. Since its shock elections victory, the SLPP party is curtailing the rights of people to assemble even for the smallest event, especially in Freetown. (Photo: Mr. Charles Margai, right, the Sierra Leone Justice Minister needs to look in to this issue).

After the controversial reopening of parliament, the government deliberately prevented the people of Freetown from going to parliament for that session through intimidation by armed police personnel. Those Freetown residents who witnessed the process were brutalized. Also brutalized were opposition APC members of parliament who were violently thrown out of the Well of Parliament by armed officers, the first time this has ever happened in Sierra Leone.

In relation to the court actions against APC MPs, reports say the SLPP government violently prevented Freetown citizens from witnessing the proceedings. The presiding judges even prevented lawyers for petitioned MPs from representing their clients.

During Independence Day celebrations on April 27, the SLPP refused Freetown residents their rights to culturally celebrate the anniversary whilst other towns including Bo were allowed to celebrate. The OBBA Bo School anniversary was a case in point and President Bio an old boy of the school was also in attendance.

A cleaning exercise was slammed on Freetown residents recently, with movement restrictions in contravention of the laws of the land. Such mass restrictions should only be done in cases of State of Emergency. The SLPP not only violated this, but they also disorderly extended the period in which residents of Freetown were prevented from moving around their city.

Thousands of events by Freetown residents, including weddings and other social and cultural events had to be cancelled because of the unnecessary extension, with huge economic and psychological costs to the ordinary people.

During the formal Opening of Parliament by the President, Freetown residents were for the first time prevented from going into the precincts of parliament to show support for their MPs. Armed officers were intimidatingly all over the place, and the few available invitations were selectively dished out to SLPP supporters.

This pattern of restricting the rights of Freetown residents and constant intimidation is growing. The President motorcade moves along Freetown’s streets like it is in enemy territory, complete with very visible weapons of destruction. A new phenomena called ‘traffic arrest’ by residents is emerging, further restricting the rights of the citizens of the city.

A frightening development has also reared its ugly head as people born and bred in Freetown are losing their jobs in the capital city or worse still are being transferred to far away regions without any consultations.

It must be noted that these violations of the rights of Freetown residents started on the very night of the SLPP victory when terror was rained on thousands of Freetown residents including beatings, stabbings, invasion of private homes and destruction of property.

Reports say SLPP vigilantes chased people out of their private cars, or officially assigned government vehicles without law and order. The level of intimidation and violations have since escalated, leading to situations seen in Freetown only during the days of the NPRC Junta in 1996, incidentally led by Maada Bio.

Courtesy: Forward Ever Media

TRIBUTE: ALPHA SHAW


1958 -1980

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