Former President Ernest Bai Koroma Breaks Silence

By Foday Moriba Conteh

As the country gears to hold its June 24th 2023 General Elections, the Former President of the Republic of Sierra Leone 2007-2018,  Ernest Bai Koroma has in a press statement dated 17th June, 2023 shed light on the Elections Related Tension and Violence In Sierra Leone.

He said that it has been five years since he graciously handed over the reins of power to the then opposition Sierra Leone People’s Party (SLPP), under the leadership of the current President, His Excellency Julius Maada Bio which he said was possible because, at the end of his constitutional two terms, conducted peaceful, free, fair, inclusive, and transparent elections.

Ernest Bai Koroma stated that he is a firm believer in democracy and as the President at that time, he knew he had the responsibility to protect the peace, security and stability of our beloved country, Sierra Leone. Therefore, even when there were objections to irregularities in the final results, they prioritized peace and allowed the smooth transition of power to the SLPP and he then left the capital city, Freetown, where he had lived for over 40 years, and retired to his home town, Makeni.

“Unfortunately, the transition process in the All Peoples Congress (APC) was very arduous, and despite my desire to retire from active politics, I had the obligation to support the stabilization and reorganization of the party. Once it was obvious that the party was on the path of electing a new executive, I resigned from the position of Chairman and Leader,” he revealed.

The Former President maintained that in the last four years, he has dedicated his time to supporting the noble efforts of institutions such as the African Union (AU), the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS), the West African Elders Forum (WAEF), and the Brenthurst Foundation, in the quest to promote peace and democratic transitions across Africa and he is proud of what they have achieved so far, and he remains committed and dedicated to supporting processes geared towards achieving and maintaining peace, security and stability on the continent.

He said that however, back home, the situation has not been ideal, which is why he refrained from commenting on national issues, to avoid his views being taken out of context and that his desire has been to allow peace to reign, and for the democratic process that the country has embarked on since the end of the civil war in 2002, to evolve naturally.

“Having served our beloved nation for two consecutive terms, in the immediate post-conflict context, I understand the toll of violence and the destruction Sierra Leone has endured. The process of peacebuilding and reconstruction is very herculean, and there is still much work to be done to improve the lives of our people. It would therefore be devastating to allow our country to relapse into violence and instability,” he maintained.

Ernest Bai Koroma said it is in view of this stark reality  against all odds, the he is compelled to make this statement, because this is about a peaceful, stable, secured and forward-looking Sierra Leone; and not about any individual or group.

He called on Sierra Leoneans, not to be distracted and their focus should be on creating an enabling environment for citizens to exercise their civil and political rights peacefully instead of stoking the flames of division, hate and conflict, they should, as he always do, discourage and condemn violence in the strongest unambiguous terms, adding that political leaders and their supporters should refrain from making inflammatory and divisive statements, and should show leadership and bring an end to the tension in the country.

The Former President used the opportunity to call on all champions and defenders of democracy, human rights, the rule of law and peacebuilding; especially those who have stood with them during the darkest moments in our nation’s history, including the United Nations, the African Union (AU), the European Union (EU), ECOWAS, the Commonwealth Secretariat, Governments of the United Kingdom, the United States of America, Nigeria, Guinea and Ghana, to pay close attention to Sierra Leone and they should make their voices heard in the protection of peace, democracy, and the rule of law in our beloved nation and to work with all parties to ensure that the current developments, and the concerns of all parties are addressed.

He further entreated civil society, including faith-based organizations and the media, to maintain a non-partisan position, be more vigilant and proactive in de-escalating the political tension and they should also continue to promote social cohesion and contribute to a peaceful outcome of the elections.

“To the elections management bodies, the security forces and the judiciary, I kindly urge you to put country first, in carrying out your constitutional duties. Your work should respect the wishes and aspirations of the people of Sierra Leone. You have a duty to ensure that your conducts strengthen the confidence and trust of the people in the sensitive jobs you are privileged to perform for our beloved nation. This is a crucial period in our country’s history, and the safety and security of our people is in your hands,” Ernest Bai Koroma concluded.


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