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Rigged Elections!
*Unbriddled Tax & Tariff Increments
*Upgraded Suffering

*Failed Coups & More


  • Rigged Elections!
    *Unbriddled Tax & Tariff Increments
    *Upgraded Suffering
  • Failed Coups & More
    By Ibrahim Alusine Kamara (Kamalo)
    2023 was eyed as the dawn of a new era in Sierra Leone. It was the year deemed by many as the time Sierra Leoneans could be assured of brighter hopes. Unfortunately, rather than being the year in which the country was to be tracked on the path of steady growth and development amid flourishing democratic governance, the ugly things that brought upon the country an 11-year brutal civil war in the 90s are visible all over the place again, refreshing the bitter memories of that war, which ravaged every fabric of development in Sierra Leone.
    As it stands, growing fears are everywhere among the people who are suspicious that their country would have been placed on a powder keg that may explode at the slightest touch of things. If politicians and other concerned state functionaries
    are not honest with themselves, all aspirations to propel this country to any development level would be a big joke.
    Just when Sierra Leoneans were near the tier of celebrating a year full of brighter hopes, a corrupt conscience took the better part of politicians and handlers of the country’s independent democratic institutions so that they deviated from executing their state functions with probity, but instead, worked in concert to undermine the democratic process.
    To satisfy the vagaries of politicians without seeking the good of the country, even though the conditions for a PR system didn’t exist, the Electoral Commission Sierra Leone (ECSL) invoked it – an alleged ploy to help the government to rig the 2023 elections. This alleged ploy was legitimately sanctioned by the Judiciary with the Supreme Court ruling of January 27, 2023, stating that the President acted lawfully by proclaiming the PR system for the June 24 2023 elections and that the EC-SL worked within the framework of the law.
    Then came the National Delegates’ Conference of the All Peoples Congress (APC) party held in Makeni in February. Upon its wrapping up, the party made a triumphant entry into Freetown with their elected presidential candidate on the 22nd of February 2023. On that day, the presidential guards perpetrated violent attacks against APC members, including the just elected Secretary General, Lansana Dumbuya Esq., who accused them of robbing him of his money and commandeering his vehicle and that of his colleague.
    The Secretary-General and many others, including Mayor Yvonne Aki-Sawyer of the Freetown Municipality were harassed, intimidated, and some mercilessly beaten resulting in them visible physical injuries and psychological trauma.
    In the aftermath of all the political parties getting their presidential candidates and running mates ready for the election show, the country was fever-pitched with political campaigns. Politicians were crisscrossing the nooks and crannies of the country, canvassing the electorate to vote for their party in the June 24 elections.
    In April 2023, the Identification Cards of the registered voters printed by ECSL were distributed amid dissatisfaction that its printing was not only poor, but the quality was of low grade, and their black and white photo features were very dark that the holders’ faces could not be identified in many cases. The Cards were also marred with errors of either gender identification, first and last name problems, address errors, blurred pictures, and many other inaccuracies, bringing about heated debate and harsh criticisms against the ECSL, alleged to have embezzled 10 million dollar election funds, and the government, accused of being complicit in a bid to rig the elections.
    Sensing that they had lost it, the ruling SLPP couldn’t allow their works over the 5 years of their tenure to speak out for them but stooped low into calling for an alliance with the National Grand Coalition (NGC) to help them secure a second term. But the event to sanction the said alliance at Bintumani Hotel was more of a bunch of disgruntled members who once broke away returning after a failed political venture!
    Sequel to the blowing of the campaign whistle, however, while the ruling Sierra Leone People’s Party (SLPP) had a field day in campaigning across every district in the country, the main opposition APC was thwarted in some parts of the southeast where its supporters were either intimidated, beaten up, or chased out.
    Even as the 2023 elections were just a few months to hold, the Bio-led SLPP Paopa Government continued to unleash its atrocities into the political landscape.
    Apart from tactically tearing the NGC apart, many other political parties were muzzled to limit democratic participation and competition. The third largest political party in the country, the Coalition for Change (C4C) party, has the sad and bitter experience to tell in its political journey.
    Ahead of the 24th June 2023 general elections, the ruling party members and supporters continued to wreak havoc on perceived opponents. They reportedly stormed the homes of APC supporters in some parts of the southeast, beating them mercilessly whilst looting and vandalizing their homes. Some were chased out of their places.
    Reports abounded about how active APC operatives were subjected to arbitrary arrest in the southeast by police officers acting upon orders from above. Undoubtedly, the former Western Area Regional Chairman of the National Grand Coalition (NGC), Arthur Pierce, who had just pitched a tent with the APC was whisked off to the Criminal Investigations Department (CID). In further blatant political intimidation and harassment, 5 APC strongmen were arrested in a week. Tamba Koroma, an APC nominated Councillor for Western Rural, was asked by police officers to report at the Waterloo Police Division, while one of the party’s former presidential aspirants, Omrie Golley’s residence at Aberdeen was stormed by a truckload of police officers, searching everywhere and arrested three of his workers present at a time he was away in the diaspora.
    In related political intimidation and harassment tactics, even the presidential candidate of the APC, Samura Kamara, and his entourage were attacked on campaign days lawfully allotted to the party by the Electoral Commission Sierra Leone (ECSL).
    Rumours were also rife about how the SLPP had hatched undemocratic moves as the newfound strategies to silence the opponents, including the surreptitious seeking of discontented members of the opposition parties to grease their palms heavily to become internal spies for the government.
    Against the backdrop of the tangible irregularities marring the electoral process with all warnings for the ECSL to right wrongs they had injected into the same, the APC presidential candidate issued a 72-hour ultimatum to all ECSL commissioners to resign or he will lead a procession to their offices in protest. It was when the supporters of APC were converging at their party headquarters offices that security officers reportedly acting on orders from above stormed there, firing live bullets and killing one.
    The June 24, 2023 elections came and the electorate pulled toward the polling centres in huge numbers to cast their votes. Before the results were announced, some security forces breezed into the APC party headquarters on Old Railway Line in Freetown again and triggered sporadic gun firing, killing one devoted member, Matron Hawa Dumbuya.
    Shortly later, the brighter hope of the people was suddenly thrown a monkey wrench as the ECSL in connivance with the Bio government manipulated the outcome of the elections in favour of the incumbent president Bio and his SLPP. Since then, Sierra Leone has been gradually slipping from the frying pot to the fire.
    The APC led by Samura Mathew Wilson Kamara rejected the announced results, calling them manipulated and skewed amid vehement condemnations of the critical stages of the election process, including counting and the tallying of the results, by all international and local election observer missions. The global community, including the United States, United Kingdom, and European Union, among others requested ECSL Mohamed Kenewui Konneh to publish the results of the elections polling station by polling station.
    The ECSL defied such demands, however, saying it was against its constitutional mandate. Economic and political sanctions were, therefore, instituted against a government regarded as “illegitimate” and travel bans against individuals who undermined the country’s democratic process were imposed, consequently letting loose a socio-economic hell for Sierra Leoneans never imagined before!
    Funds to enable the government to bankroll its functions are not forthcoming, and even the much-expected MCC package of five hundred million dollars is being withheld. This has further ignited a tsunami of economic hardship and suffering in the country as the government has increased taxes and tariffs on every good and service in the bid to generate revenue, and the year 2024 will be the worst as a killer Financial Act for that Fiscal Year is now waiting to rubbish everyone’s earning power, especially the poor and even the average!
    While the masses are panicky over what would be in store for them in 2024 as 2023 is fast fading away, the fear of the people is being suddenly exacerbated by an alleged failed coup attempt, coming just after a Communique had been signed and its attendant tripartite committed established and launched by President Bio to review the 2023 electoral circle and previous electoral systems. On top of that, even as one of the articles of the communique’s resolutions is to cancel all politically motivated court cases, those that had lived for over five years now and were not considered again have been invoked freshly.

Many have, therefore, dubbed 2023 as a year of hope that has sadly turned into one of disappointment and adversity for most citizens of Sierra Leone!

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