• July 26, 2023

SIERRA LEONE AT WAR – Former Paopa Members

SIERRA LEONE AT WAR  – Former Paopa Members
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According to some members of the Fifth Parliament of the Second republic, a state of war exists in Sierra Leone. For a nation that has tasted the blood of war, Sierra Leone is slowly reverting to the days of her civil conflict owing to yet another elections impasse that pits the incumbent, his army and police that are reputable for shooting first before asking, against the main opposition, the people of Sierra Leone and the international community.

If “war can be described as the absence of peace” then Sierra Leone is presently at war as the incumbent keeps insisting on his elections victory and all that it entails, going as far as naming a cabinet and taking the oath of office in Parliament, while the main opposition has laid down the gauntlet that if the elections impasse is not settled the country should prepare for nationwide protests in six months’ time that would make the state ungovernable.

‘This looks like a repeat of the 90s. And this is what President Bio is hoping would happen for him to release his former dogs of our past civil war that have not been properly decommissioned psychologically to really reverse us to the warring years. We think Bio has a fascination with being a despot as he is leading the nation to either an all-out confrontation or a change in the narrative of how elections are won in Sierra Leone,’ said a former PAOPA member that was not recently named to what he described as ‘President Bio’s stolen elections victory cabinet’.

According to former members of the ruling elite circa 2018 to 2023 the people and nation of Sierra Leone have not known peace since 2018, ‘when a stolen mandate was first allowed by the main opposition for the sake of peace and national cohesion’, adding that ‘if we allow for this to happen a second time then we will be truly heading back to our 70s and 80s style of democracy under Pa Sheki (Siaka P. Stevens)’.

President Julius Maada Bio’s former bedfellows informed this medium that since 1996 the nation had been making steady progress and gains in the consolidation of peace and national cohesion as political parties were being made ethnocentrically or regionally hence nationally balanced. Before 2018 they said civil servants representing all the regions were hired to work for the Government of Sierra Leone, not for a political party or personality.

‘Therefore we must see that the obvious lack of peace across the country, the pause that you can see across the business landscape in the capital and the hinterland that something is off and that the people are not happy. The people are living under the fear and veiled threat from a man people know is part of the reason for our 11 year civil war. President Bio’s win has only been celebrated by some of his supporters, as many in the party are afraid to confront him on how he won his so-called elections victory,’ the men informed.

The staunch SLPP supporters say the obvious lack of peace was not lost on the members of the Inter Religious Council of Sierra Leone and the Speaker of the ECOWAS Parliament, who shuttled between Freetown and Makeni all aimed at convincing the APC godfather, Ernest Bai Koroma and current flagbearer, Dr Samura Kamara, to convince the rest of the APC to attend Parliament and the town, city or village councils across the country.

It must be recalled that the results of the 24 June elections, especially the presidential result, have not been accepted by the main opposition parties, our elections observers (local, regional and international) and the international community. They have all called for either a release of the disaggregated polling data per polling station, as is the generally accepted practice, or do a rerun of the presidential polls as many people were disenfranchised that day and polling results doctored to give the incumbent a comfortable but highly questionable elections victory.

So far, and despite the opening of the Sixth Parliament of the Second Republic, the main opposition APC save one of their member has stayed out of government. The party believe that their candidate was robbed of his rightfully earned victory, for which they blamed President Maada Bio and his “New Direction kleptocrats (thieves)” they say so robbed the people of the money meant to solve the nation’s problems that it resulted to runaway hikes in the prices of goods and services that forced many to come out and protest across the country, for which many of them were summarily gunned down by trigger happy police officers working on instructions from above.

‘We have been in a state of war since Bio took over. Despite dropping his PAOPA friends from his cabinet, President Bio is still PAOPA. He is just presently trying to tone down the rhetoric by dropping people from his regime he should have dropped way back when to show the people that he had no sacred cows in his cabinet or government. But now that it is a little bit too late for that we see him making the changes we had been hoping he would have made last term.’

‘But he is making such changes under the wrong set of circumstances. Had he won the presidential election above the surface as per our observers, the new cabinet would have been one for the record books because what we see are some of the great performers from the past regime that were retained by President Bio this time around. Sadly, his government cannot be allowed to continue on a stolen elections victory mandate. Nothing the president does will make us accept the elections results as announced by Commissioner Konneh,’ the men stated.

Meanwhile, to qualify their claim that Sierra Leone is in a de facto state of war, the former PAOPA members asked rhetorically: ‘if there was no war why is everyone calling for peace?’

They continued: ‘The reason people are calling for dialogue is because there is no peace. If we continue like this until the APC ultimatum, and if the president and his party refuse to concede, then we will be heading to all out battles on the streets because we will not allow for anyone, no matter if you were a General in God’s Army and had fought Leviathan, to rule us on a stolen elections victory mandate. It should not be right for President Bio and some of our partisans to be celebrating and insisting on his victory even though we know he didn’t win the way God would have someone win an election. We cannot allow this to happen for a second time in a row.’

Members of the main opposition say that it is now obvious that Sierra Leone is at war, ‘a war of words at present’ they added. The APC supporters have said they will not allow for President Bio to rule them based on a disputed elections victory after his handpicked elections commissioner failed to release the actual and still demanded results from all the polling centres.

‘There cannot be peace if President Bio continues to occupy State House. We don’t expect the international community to be encouraging President Bio by allowing him and his lackeys to attend conferences and meetings with democratically elected presidents and their representatives. They should know that his presence and the presence of his appointed cabinet members at such gatherings would tarnish the sanctity of how such leaders came to power.’

‘So yes, we are in a state of war, except that we are only hearing words and not guns at present. We pray we will not be heading to another winter of discontent for our people. The international community can put a stop to this; if they don’t they will have themselves to blame for allowing Bio to lead us back into another national situation as they did in the 90s,’ they warned.

Credit: JSKL 

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