December 8, 2017 By Memunatu Bangura & Ransford Felix
Flagbearer for the National Grand Coalition (NGC), Dr. Kandeh Kolleh Yumkellah has expressed concern over the raft of changes within the security sector by President Ernest Bai Koroma, adding that the move could hint at instability in the country ahead of crucial elections early next year.
With barely ninety days to the elections, President Koroma on Wednesday appointed former Deputy Inspector General of Police Richard Moigbeh as the country’s new Inspector General of Police, replacing Francis Alieu Munu. The latter has been sent to neighbouring Liberia as ambassador. Dr. Al-sheik Kamara is now Deputy Inspector General of Police.
He also appointed Major-General Brima Sesay as the new Chief of Defence Staff (CDS), and Brigadier-General David Taluva as his deputy, while Ansumana M. Idriss is the new Deputy National Security Coordinator at the Office of National Security. Also, Major (Retired) Dr. Mathew Kamara has been appointed Deputy Director General, General Intelligence and Security Unit.
Addressing newsmen yesterday at SLAJ headquarters in Freetown, Dr. Yumkella noted that: “The attention of our party has also been drawn to the sudden and abrupt changes recently effected in the Security Forces on the eve of the 2018 Elections and considers the move as another deliberate attempt by the Ruling Party to create a semblance of insecurity and a false sense of mistrust and unease in the populace.”
The erstwhile United Nations undersecretary asserted that the changes in the upper echelons of the security sector, a key elections management body, could be a ploy to compromise the elections in favour of the ruling All People’s Congress Party (APC).
He said ministers who are largely seen as ruling party loyalists have been put in charge of key security and elections related ministries, thus increasing suspicion that they could compromise their respective institutions and the entire electoral process.
Dr. Yumkella called on all members of the nation’s security sector to remain autonomous, jealously guard their neutrality and resist any attempt by the ruling party to subvert and derail their constitutional mandate.
He further urged them to maintain peace and ensure free, fair and credible elections in order to maintain and uphold Sierra Leone’s democracy of Sierra Leone.
The NGC flagbearer vehemently rejected and opposed the recommendation in the Government’s White Paper on the Constitutional Review Committee calling for an amendment of the threshold from 55% to 50%+1 as requirement to determine the president in the forthcoming elections.
He told journalists that the NGC viewed the provision in the White Paper and its replication in Section 10 of the Bill entitled “The Constitution of Sierra Leone (Amendment) Act, 2017” as “a blatant attempt to manipulate the election process to work in favour of the Ruling Party.”
“The Government’s attempt further constitutes a flagrant violation of the 1991 Constitution and undermines the spirit and intendment of the Truth & Reconciliation Commission as well as Section 2 Article 2 of the ECOWAS Protocol on Democracy and Good Governance,” he said.