By Francess Wright
One among diehard political supporters of the main opposition All People’s Congress (APC) Party, Amadu Anthony Bangura, must now be thanking his stars for narrowly escaping death on the 21st June, 2023 at the party’s headquarters in the capital of Freetown during an aborted protest.
As tensions keep rising across the country ahead of Presidential and general elections scheduled to hold on Saturday, 24th June, 2023, the incumbent ruling Sierra Leone People’s Party (SLPP) and the opposition APC are locking horns in a political race that has been considered to be very close.
Embolden by the call of the APC Presidential Candidate, Dr Samura Kamara, for supporters to assemble at the Party’s main office in Freetown from where they will proceed to the office of the Electoral Commission for Sierra Leone (ECSL) in order to protest their grievances, APC supporters came out in large numbers on the 21st June,2023. However, they met a heavy police presence within the vicinity of the Party Office, whose mission was to forestall the protest based on the lack of a police clearance on the part of the protesters.
Before it was even 8:00 am, Amadu Anthony Bangura, was seen among other overzealous youthful supporters of the party, clad in the party T-Shirts dominantly bearing red and white party colours with various slogans engraved on them as well as caps bearing the red and white colours of the APC party. They were seen chanting very provocative opposition catchphrases against the incumbent SLPP Party, whose Presidential Candidate is the current seating President, Julius Maada Bio.
Energetically, mobilizing party supporters , offering them party T-Shirts to put on before advancing to the ECSL Office, Amadu Anthony Bangura, by then a very influential personality among the youth wing of the party, was very determined, from his body language, to register their utter dissatisfaction against the electoral management body’s handling of the electoral process accusing it of impartiality.
APC supporters like Amadu were heard firmly expressing the view that the incumbent President Julius Maada Bio has, in the last five years, not competent enough to judiciously handled the country’s economy which they claimed is evident in soaring prices .They stoutly oppose the SLPP claims of the prevailing crisis on external forces such as the Coronavirus and the war in Ukraine.
According to them his shortcomings therefore calls for him to be voted against. The APC supporters, also demanded the resignation of the ECSL’s Chief Electoral Commissioner, Mohamed Konneh, that the elections should be postponed in order to make time for their demands to be satisfactorily addressed.
As the number of APC protesters swelled and persistent attempts made to proceed from the Party office to ECSL, the Police and Military started firing teargas canisters with the aim of dispersing them. However, when it became apparent that they were obdurate to disperse, some even saying they will sacrifice their lives, the Military and Police started firing live bullets.
One of the flying teargas canisters narrowly missed Amadu Anthony Bangura’s head and he was lucky to dodge from the forefront escaping the scene to a nearby neighbourhood.
Despite the mounting political tension, the Presidential, Parliamentary and Municipal Elections went on relatively peaceful on the 24th June, 2023. The outcome of the Presidential election saw the re-election of President Julius Maada Bio to the chagrin of the main opposition APC, accusing the ECSL of not fairly conducting the election.
Amadu Anthony Bangura, worst nightmare came in the wake of the multi-tier elections since long before the election he has been identified and seen as one of the over zealot disciples of the APC Presidential aspirant, Dr Samura Kamara in particular and the party in general who have vowed that by all means necessary they will not allow the SLPP to emerge victorious. He started receiving threatening remarks and calls mainly stressing that his life will never be peaceful again, especially the role he played in opposing the SLPP. On a particular night irate SLPP supporters living in his community attacked his residence with threats to manhandle him but fortunately for him he was not in at that time.
As if his political persecution has just begun, he lost his job for no justifiable reason only to be interpreted along the lines of political marginalization as a result of his political activism and radicalism. Because of the persistent threats, his family members were forced to move away from the community to reside with other relatives.
To escape the ordeal he has been going through, Amadu decided to relocate to his village and undertake farming. However, with no solid support, he again decided to return to Freetown in order to see how he could eke a living. To his utter surprise and greatest fear he again faced the persistent death threats. Seeing that things were becoming desperate he decided to leave Sierra Leone for neighbouring Guinea, according to close relatives.
After sometime the whereabouts of Amadu Anthony Bangura was not known until a relative intimated this medium that he secured a visa and has left the country.
According to the relative it will be safe for him if he continues to live out of the country otherwise from the look of things he will certainly face a long jail sentence or mob justice.
The relative continued by stating that now that the SLPP has formed a Government and the main opposition has decided to participate in State Governance with the occurrence of military coups in the West African sub-region his safety cannot be guaranteed.