By Mohamed Massaquoi
Supporters and members of the opposition Sierra Leone Peoples Party, SLPP, have raise grave concern over rumours that the former standard bearer of the in the 2012 presidential election may be banned from participating in any political activity in the country on the pretext that he was part of the Supreme Council of State of the National Provisional Ruling Council, NPRC, which overthrew the All Peoples Congress, APC, administration under the leadership of late President Joseph Saidu Momoh.
Fans of retired Brigadier Julius Maada Bio Bio are particularly concerned that certain members of the current APC regime recently engaged the media to campaign for a mooted third term for President Ernest Bai Koroma, even though the president has categorically told the people of Sierra Leone that this is his final term of office as stipulated in the 1991 constitution which is currently being reviewed.
SLPP Public Outreach Officer for the eastern region, Brima Dawson Kuyateh, said in an exclusive interview that the party was monitoring the ongoing constitutional review process to ensure that nobody is disenfranchised based on his or her political persuasion, adding that they take great exception to the utterances of APC Deputy Publicity Secretary, Robin Fallay, who has publicly propagated a third term plan for the president.
“We are all Sierra Leoneans and we are very much aware of the diabolical plans of the APC to ban Mr. Bio from the political landscape of the country. We believed in Bio and we will continue to stand by him. Any effort by detractors to frustrate his political ambition will be undemocratic; we have spent a lot of efforts to build the democracy every Sierra Leonean now enjoys,” he said, adding that the Constitutional Review Committee should make sure that the process is transparent, accountable and not discriminatory.
Aminata Kamara, an avid SLPP member in Bo, also claimed that they have been reliably informed that certain people are going around collecting information from people so that they can use the data to advocate for the third term in office for President Koroma.
She opines that Bio is the only candidate that can effectively challenge the APC in the 2018 general election.
“Those who want to see Bio out of this race will not succeed, we know there are challenges within the party, but very soon that will be resolved and Bio will emerge as our presidential candidate come 2018. This is more the reason his opponents are making frantic efforts to ban him from politics by using the Constitutional Review process,” she said.
The current 1991 constitution does not impose a ban on any presidential aspirant who may have participated in a military coup, while the Lome Peace Accord of 1991 gave blanket amnesty to those who participated in the eleven years conflict.
Although the Special tried those who bore the greatest responsibility for atrocities, it was limited to war crimes and crimes against humanity committed from 1997 to the end of the war. in 2002.