• September 6, 2023

…And Guterres Mocks Sierra Leone Democracy

…And Guterres Mocks Sierra Leone Democracy
Share on

That democracy forms the core value of the United Nations does not warrant the UN Secretary General, Antonio Guterres to define Sierra Leone’s current dispensation as “a symbol of African democratic values”.

The UN we know believes in and supports democracy, promotes human rights, peace, development and good governance, monitors periodic democratic elections, empowers women, girls and youth, develops member countries’ democratic institutions, transparency and accountability and equality as part of its core principles.

These have led us to believe that the UN through its substantive head – Guterres can hardly be bold enough to refer to what obtained in Sierra Leone’s June 24 elections as “democratic”. The UNSG should have looked for a better adjective to describe what Sierra Leone currently looks like among democratic nations in the world.

If at all Antonio Guterres is not in any form of conspiracy with the regime in Freetown against Sierra Leoneans remains to be seen, or discovered.

With his new definition of democratic values for Africa, we therefore humbly ask the UN Sec Gen to kindly offer us a few minutes of virtual lectures on his new concept of democratic values for Africa, in Sierra Leone to be specific, where it has been widely reported that the outcome of a whole democratic election didn’t reflect the will of majority of the electorates. The electoral process, domestic and foreign election observers say, was shambolic and marred in irregularities.

Democracy is a theory where power is vested in the people, which, as per our 24 June elections, is not in the case of Sierra Leone. As recently as the June 24, 2023 polls, democracy emerged only for the will of the incumbent, not the will of the people as it is traditionally required.

Characterised by the absence of key democratic values ranging from arbitrary arrests and detentions, denials of freedom of assembly, association as well as expression, as citizens are not allowed to hold processions since 2018 to date, is the brand of democracy the UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres calls: “Symbol of African democratic values”. FORUM NEWS-SL wonders what exactly the UNSG meant by calling a democracy that does not accept the existence of an opposition as one exhibiting the traits of democratic values; one that unlawfully stormed the supreme foundation of democratic governance – the well of parliament, in 2018 with armed police personnel and dragged opposition – APC MPs out of the chamber; which rendered the national assembly as undemocratic as one can be.

Yet the UNSG disingenuously called Sierra Leone “a model of democratic value in Africa”.

Also democracy with little or no respectability for the rule of law, dependency of the judiciary on the powers that be for instructive dictates on what should be done in the dispense of justice, to name but just a few, are not worthy of being symbols of African democratic values as perceived by Antonio Guterres of the United Nations.

The perception of the UNSG describing Sierra Leone’s recent experience in democratic governance as “a model of democratic value in Africa” begs the question, where has the United Nations been all this while when the electoral process was being deemed as questionable by domestic and foreign monitors and observers?

For the record, the Secretary General of the United Nations should be fully abreast of political, social and economic situations in Sierra Leone through the UN country team. And we do hope that the resident team is doing its work as required by their respective terms of references designed by New York.

Although there are proven records the country is unarguably a strong partner of the UN, that does not qualify the UNSG Antonio Guterres’ latest description of Sierra Leone as a symbol of African democratic values. That is not true and we wholeheartedly disagree with the UN Boss as at now Sierra Leone is far from being democratic under the hegemony of Julius Maada Bio as “president”.

The UNSG’s statement is therefore being widely considered as his personal opinion, considering the fragility of Sierra Leone’s democracy, coupled with what the country went through in the hands of the incumbent party and “president” prior, during and even after the June 24 presidential elections, going as far as events before, during and after our eleven year internecine conflict.

In fact, there is no way “a symbol of democratic values in Africa” can continue to deny its citizens of their rights to peaceful protest since April 2018 to date. Such is not common in a democracy, which is why our people could protest in your countries in Europe and America making their petitions against our government you have called democratic while we here at home aren’t accorded such respect or right to protest, or else we have to face trigger happy security officers who have killed our people across this country but remain nameless, faceless and have seemingly avoided prosecution for such crimes against humanity.

Since it returned to multi-party rule in 1996, Sierra Leone has conducted six periodic democratic elections from 1996 to 2023, with such a budding democratic credential now largely eroded by the powers of the incumbency, making Sierra Leone not worthy of emulation in terms of democratic consolidation.

Moreover, the June 2023 polls exposed ‘electoral irregularities’, which the major opposition All People’s Congress (APC) continues to challenge, to a point of accusing the incumbent Sierra Leone People’s Party (SLPP) of having ‘stolen’ the polls, for which they refused to participate in governance with their rivals – SLPP. The state of affairs under Bio’s misrule is unworthy to be referred to as a democracy. True democracy prevails wherein all the democratic values, tenets and cultures are fully observed and adhered to by all contenders, with no exception, which is not the case in Sierra Leone.

Conversely, the UN SG’s description of the current political mess in Sierra Leone sounds like a mockery of true democrats the world over, as it speaks to the fact that Guterres does not know what is happening in Sierra Leone; not to mention his level of knowledge about the outcome of the June 24 polls.

The UN Chief’s lack of knowledge of political development in Sierra Leone as reported by the African Young Voices – AYV newspaper of Monday, 4 September 2023, continues to attract wide criticisms at home and abroad, and to a large extent exposing the duplicity of the international system, especially the United Nations.

The UN must have read and heard of all the pre-election political intimidations since 2018, onto the eve of the June 24 polls, but still didn’t do anything to address the situation only to wait for the re-election and declaration of Bio as a ‘winner’ of the election. It was then that Guterres hypocritically called Sierra Leone a model of strong democracy, knowing fully well that Sierra Leone as at now is as undemocratic as any nation could be.

And Mr UNSG, you better propound another theory that can better subscribe to the mode of governance in Sierra Leone under Bio, instead of deceiving himself by describing Sierra Leone as a democracy.

Democratic trajectory under the presidency of Bio has since the inception of his leadership has missed its trajectory. That is why Sierra Leone seems to be sliding into despotic military rule rather than the much expected modern democratic values Sierra Leoneans were expecting to be enjoying.

So, United Nations Secretary General, Antonio Guterres should stop mocking Sierra Leone’s democratic situation and find a way of addressing the country’s existing political problem.

Or is it that there is something between you and Mr Bio that we do not know about yet, because this is the second time you have gone against our other international guarantors by courting Bio as if your job depends on it? Or do you know something or have any info about our election result that is different from what the US, UK, EU, AU, ECOWAS and all other well-meaning organisations and countries have stated?

Please let us know, or stop this shameful courting of Mr Bio. Your action is not setting a good example for the present and future leaders of this country, even our citizenry.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *