Following the violence protest on August 10th this year, Leader of the main opposition All Peoples’ Congress (APC) in Parliament, Hon. Chernor Maju Bah, has Wednesday,August 17, called on the Government to take immediate steps to ameliorate the situation in hand.
Speaking at a press briefing held at his office,Parliament Building,Tower Hill, the opposition leader said the events leading to, and which unfolded on 10th of August, 2022, provided a clear indication that there has been an erosion in the gains made in strengthening reconciliation, social cohesion and peace building in post-war Sierra Leone.
He said the events further point to the fact that the nation has not succeeded in using constructive means of dialoguing to maintain peace, stability, social cohesion and security in Sierra Leone.
Hon. Bah therefore called on Sierra Leonean to remain calm and law abiding and urge Government to immediately take the following steps to ameliorate the situation by ensuring that the number of people killed during and after the incident is made public, with their corpses handed over to their families for dignified burial rites.
He also urged that a record of all those incarcerated is provided to the public and the families granted access to them, maintaining that government should ensure that their rights are protected through speedy and fair access to a court of law.
He added that they should also be provided with legal representation, where they cannot afford one.
“In line with the above, I endorse the call for an Independent Committee to speedily and conclusively investigate the August 10 demonstrations and its aftermath. However, it must be ensured that the composition and conduct of the Committee is credible and non-partisan with the sole aim of providing truthful findings and proffer recommendations that will amongst other things help to provide redress for the families of victims,” he stated.
The opposition leader called on the Inter-Religious Council (IRC), and other Civil Society Organizations, Council of Paramount Chiefs and community leaders to mobilise and take the right steps in engaging all relevant stakeholders, with the aim of helping to promote reconciliation, healing and social cohesion, in country.
Hon. Bah also called on the International Community to continue providing the required political support and inspire the much needed political will to overcome the challenges that the nation is currently contending with.
“On the 10th of August, 2022, our country suffered yet another phase of shocking violence emanating from a clash between protesters and security forces. These disturbances resulted in the loss of the lives of several civilians and security personnel of the Sierra Leone Police. Unfortunately, the painful events of August 10, continued for several days further claiming the lives of citizens in harrowing circumstances as in the cases of Hassan Dumbuya (Evangelist Samson) and others,” Hon. Bah stated.
He continued to express profound condolences to the families who lost loved ones. “As the nation grieves, let me state that I strongly condemn violence of any form and believe that there are much more progressive and constructive approaches to communicate our concerns including peaceful protests,” he said adding that “I would also reiterate that in any democratic dispensation, citizens have the right to use protest to demonstrate their concerns as long as those protests are peaceful, and are within the remit of the law”.
Hon. Bah noted that citizens including Mohamed Kamara (Med Kay) of the All Peoples Congress were arrested even before the 10th of August demonstrations and are still in detention.
“In conclusion, let us be reminded that what unites us is mightier than tries to divide all”.