-says police unwilling to arrest or investigate perpetrators
February 26, 2018 By Ibrahim Tarawallie
The National Grand Coalition (NGC) has bitterly complained ‘constant intimidation and violence’ against their supporters across the country, allegedly by operatives of the ruling All people Congress (APC), with police doing nothing to investigate the alleged incidences.
According to the party’s Campaign Manager, Lawyer Sulaiman Banja Tejan-Sie, the issue was not only bound to affect the electoral process but has the tendency to undermine free, fair and credible elections.
Tejan-Sie told a presser in Freetown on Friday, February 23, that the refusal of the police to properly investigate incidences of alleged intimidation and violence against NGC supporters was very unhealthy for the country’s democracy because they do not believe that such would guarantee free, fair and transparent elections.
“Our supporters have constantly be intimidated, especially in Magburaka and Matotoka and we have made series of reports to the police but none have neither been treated seriously nor any arrest been made.
“But when the APC do the same, our supporters are arrested and incarcerated,” he said.
He explained that on Wednesday, February 21, one of their supporters in Mile 91 was stabbed on the leg, adding that even though the matter was reported to the police, nothing has been done.
He added that at PWD Junction in the west of Freetown, one Alhaji Kamara, an NGC activist, was arrested by some APC supporters under the guise of enquiring about details of voters ID cards, and has since been in custody.
“We believe and want to call on the government to ensure that all state actors, especially the police and court stay neutral as we approach the elections. We have had series of meetings with the police on the issues but it seems that they are not in touch with their officers across the country,” Tejan-Sie added.
He called on the police to investigate incidences of violence and intimidation against their supporters and charge the perpetrators to court.
While asking for a level playing field in the electioneering process and for the police to be allowed to do their job unhindered, the NGC Campaign Manager reiterated his party’s commitment to peaceful elections, despite widespread intimidation against their supporters.
“We will continue to respect the laws of the land and appeal to our supporters to remain calm and respect the views of other political parties,” he assured.
When contacted for his response to the allegations by the NGC, Head of Police Media and Public Relations, Superintendent Ibrahim Samura remarked that they always investigate cases brought to them by various political parties and that they do not side with or give preferential treatment to any one party.
He confirmed that they were currently investigating matters brought to them by some political parties, including the NGC, but stressed that violators of the law are treated as criminals and not supporters of political parties.
“The police is not a political entity. We are not going to score any political gain by supporting a political party as against the other. We have arrested and charged people to court for offences committed and we are creating a level playing field for all political parties,” he said.
IMANIFESTO Report: How Sierra Leonean Politicians Plan to Fix Country’s Challenges, IMANI’s Analysis and Recommendations Ahead of the March 7 Presidential Elections. See P.5