• September 6, 2023

Press Secretary confirms U.S Visa Ban

Press Secretary confirms U.S Visa Ban
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By Hassan Osman Kargbo

It is more than two month now since the controversial presidential election result was announced by the Electoral Commission for Sierra Leone (ECSL), Mohamed K. Konneh that  proclaimed President Julius Maada Bio as ‘winner’ of the June 24 Presidential Polls.

The result brought mixed feelings form both local, regional and international observer missions regarding the credibility of the June 24 polls in the country.

After the pronouncement of the results, the main opposition All People’s Congress (APC) decided not to participate in the governance of the country, according to the opposition party, the result was far from being credible with grave irregularities occurring before, during and after the elections.

Since his re-election, the Bio led-government has received a lot of questions relating to the credibility in the tallying and tabulation processes.

Recently, the United States Secretary of State Antony J. Blinken in a press statement announced the US government’s decision to levy a travel ban on Sierra Leonean officials who they think have contributed to undermining the democratic process of the June 24 Presidential Elections.

The pronouncement of the United States government has given many Sierra Leoneans at home and abroad the fullest assurance and conviction that President Bio didn’t win the election, freely and fairly.

According to the release, the decision reflects the commitment of the United States to support Sierra Leoneans’ aspirations to have free and fair elections in the country. To show the seriousness of the actions, it is also extended to family members of the banned.

In lieu of this, the Press Secretary to President Bio, lawyer Solomon Jamiru, in a radio interview overt 98.1FM on Friday, 1 September, 2023, confirmed that the US visa restriction on certain officials is real.

This is not the first time for Sierra Leone to be put under visa restrictions from the US government, he disclosed.

Jamiru furthered that Sierra Leone is not the only country in Africa that the US has levied visa restriction on, noting that it is the policy of the US.

He continued that government has plans to engage the US government to make sure that the US reconsiders its decision on visa restriction.

‘The government doesn’t want any traveling ban because there are so many benefits in traveling to those countries,’ Jamiru disclosed.

Sierra Leone’s 24 June election was the most peaceful election and to get a traveling ban at this pointing in time does not warrant celebration from any government, he stated.

However, the said restrictions from the US government have clearly exposed the Bio-led government for not winning the June 24 polls fairly.

If election is not a do or die affair, why did the government not allow the process to go as it was supposed to?

Let us wait and see what the future holds for our nation after the US visa ban.

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