• July 12, 2021

SLPP Bully of APC Continues

SLPP Bully of APC Continues
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By Joseph A. Kamanda 

The trending political intimidation and bullying of the All People’s Congress (APC) by the governing Sierra Leone People’s Party (SLPP) continues unabated under the watch of the leader, President Julius Maada Bio, as if he does not understand what is happening in the country he claims to be governing well.

Since April 2018, opposition members and their supporters continue to face harassment, provocation and political intimidation of all sorts most times in the full view of the police. And at times even the police form part of political intimidation of APC members and their supporters in the unethical name of serving the government of the day. Civic activists have condemned the havocs but it persists with impunity.

As if Sierra Leoneans are again under military rule, political bullying by the SLPP has lasted for the past three years plus with high tendencies of things even getting worse than what is happening now if moral guarantors in Sierra Leone’s democratic process fail to make timely intervention.

A recent happening of such political coercion by the SLPP is the arrest and detention of the main opposition APC Member of Parliament, Hon. Emmanuel Saidu Conteh, Michael Alpha Fofanah, Nabil Unisa Bangura and Sheriff Jalloh for alleged unlawful possession of firearms, which has continued to expose the governing SLPP political terrorisation of APC members and their supporters across the country.

Hon. Emmanuel Saidu Conteh represents Constituency 129 in Freetown in the House of Parliament; a geopolitical community he is highly acclaimed in for doing extremely well. Before his arrest and detention, Hon. Conteh had just concluded an ultramodern constituency office at 129.  And he is one of the surviving APC MPs from the petition verdict passed by Justice Komba Kamanda that saw the exit of nine APC MPs out of parliament; therefore there is no need to doubt him being chased for the second time by the SLPP.

Also equally important to make mention of is the recent police brutality of his Councillor, Robert Browne, Deputy Chairman, Western Rural District Council, who was last Saturday 10 July 2021 beaten and arrested by the police at the  Adonkia Police Station on the orders of the AIG West, for complaining about demolition at Dodo section in his ward.

However, most topical and trending is the arrest and detention of the Constituency 129 MP, Hon. Emmanuel Saidu Conteh.

Yet, unfortunately for the APC and the young grassroots politician, he was called from Parliament by the management of the Sierra Leone Ports Authority (SLPA) on allegations of firearms found in a Nissan Pathfinder jeep sent by a closed relative of the MP from the United States.

On arrival, according to family sources, the MP met and saw firearms in the office of one of the top managers at the SLPA.

The MP was then arrested and taken to the headquarters of the Criminal Investigations Department, where he and three others have been detained for over a week now without bail, even though bail is free. And the investigation so far is yet to prove the MP guilty.

Besides, up to late Saturday evening, the Inspector General of Police, Ambrose M. Michael Sovula, was reluctant to give orders for the release of the opposition APC MP Hon. Emmanuel Saidu Conteh, for only God knows why.

His APC party leadership in Parliament in the person of Hon. Chernor Ramadan Maju Bah, since the arrest and detention of Hon Conteh, has been working tirelessly to see the release of his member. But all of that seem to be falling on deaf ears of the powers that be.

Activist Thomas Babadi of Civil Alternative Network Sierra Leone, in a letter addressed to the IG, called for the respectability of MPs: IMMUNITIES OF MEMBERS OF PARLIAMENT MUST BE RESPECTED AND THE HONORABLE EMMANUEL SAIDU CONTEH RELEASED UNCONDITIONALLY.  Even after this letter, the MP has continued to be held in detention at the CID.

The MP by law has an immunity which prevents him from all the embarrassments, humiliations and disgrace he has continued to face in police cell at the CID under the leadership of IGP Sovula, who is fully aware of the fact that bail is free but has continued to hold the opposition MP in detention for reasons best known to him and those dictating to him from behind the scenes.

Also in a bid to further ensure the release of Hon. Emmanuel Saidu Conteh, the leadership headed by the Deputy Speaker of the House of Parliament, Hon. Sengehpor Thomas, has issued a letter addressed to the IG calling for the release of Hon. Conteh. This call also seemed to have fallen on deaf ears, as police at the CID headquarters continue to wait for orders from the IG to release the MP.

Leader of the opposition APC in Parliament, Hon. Chernor Ramadan Maju Bah relentlessly continues with his push to ensure the release of his members from police custody.

Sources at CID headquarters have confirmed to Forum that politics is playing a very high hand in the entire matter, as they (the police) had so far found nothing incriminating against the opposition APC MP and it was only left with the IG to order his release.

Though the MP may have made mistakes but the IG should equally know that detaining him unnecessarily is also a violation of the MP’s immunity and his human rights. This idea of punctuating police duty with orders from above must stop now. Ambrose Sovula must try as best as he could to be doing professional policing as this medium always reminds him.

Can somebody please remind Mr Police boss, IG Sovula to play by the rules of professional policing, especially when the head of the House with a high powered delegation has intervened in the matter with a letter addressed to you calling on the police to release his members? What actually your reluctance implies in all of these? Is it that the Deputy Speaker is only playing a diplomatic show man game but deep down in his heart he does not want the release of Hon. Emmanuel Saidu Conteh? Otherwise, no need for you-IG Sovula to be defying him like that.

IG Sovula should bear in mind that he is not working for his chiefdom alone but for the people and government of Sierra Leone within the legal framework of the law which does not warrant him to defy the leadership of the House of Parliament of Sierra Leone; the supreme foundation of democracy and midwifed of the laws of the land.

As a matter of concern and respectability, for the police IG to defy the leadership of parliament which also speaks to the issues of lawlessness of the police boss, display of disregard for the House and lack of synergy between the Sierra Leone Police and the House of Parliament of the country.

In conclusion, the IG should be seen out of politics but if he conducts himself as a politician and continues to play politics with lives and the human rights of people then it is good for him because ashes come back to those who throw them. Thus Mr Police boss stop being part of the SLPP political bullying of the APC.

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