Saying with a Bullet, you will be Sent Back with a Bullet… President Bio Confirms 2028 Elections, Dispels Rumours of Re-Run of Elections

President Julius Maada Bio,jpg

By Amin Kef (Ranger)

In a recent announcement, President Julius Maada Bio confirmed that Sierra Leone’s next national elections will be held in 2028. Speaking at a ceremony in Bo on Thursday May 23, 2024, President Bio addressed rumors spread by some politicians about an upcoming election in June, denouncing them as false and aimed at creating confusion.

“The country belongs to everyone, and a group of people will not decide to cause confusion and make the lives of others miserable,” President Bio stated. He issued a stern warning: “We came through ballots, and anyone who comes with a bullet, you will be sent back with a bullet.”

This strong statement comes amidst claims by members of the main opposition party, the All People’s Congress (APC), that a Tripartite Committee was set up to ensure a rerun of the June 2023 elections. U.S. Ambassador ,Bryan Hunt, an initiator of the Committee, has publicly denied these claims. The Tripartite Committee, including representatives from the opposition APC, the ruling Sierra Leone People’s Party (SLPP), and the government, is expected to present its report to President Bio next month.

On May 24, 2024, the APC issued a press release, signed by the National Secretary General of the Party, Lansana Dumbuya, expressing profound disappointment in President Bio’s recent speech. The APC criticized the President’s threatening rhetoric, especially in light of the ongoing economic hardships facing the nation. The APC emphasized the importance of the Agreement for National Unity, which condemns hate speech and violence, urging both parties to work towards national cohesion.

Also, the opposition Whip in Parliament labeled Bio’s statement as a genocidal threat to the citizenry, highlighting the escalating tension between the ruling Sierra Leone People’s Party (SLPP) and the APC.

“The APC reaffirms its unwavering dedication to the fundamental tenets of democracy, freedom and the rule of law,” the statement read. The party called for unity and peaceful dialogue, in line with the Bintumani Agreement, to ensure the political stability and peace of Sierra Leone.

The APC urged citizens to remain calm and to be patient as the Tripartite Committee completes its crucial work, expressing hope for collaborative efforts to guide the nation towards a peaceful and prosperous future.

In another development, the APC also frowned at recent Government actions, accusing the SLPP-led administration of undermining national unity and democratic principles.

In a letter dated May 2024, the Party outlined their grievances, focusing on the reappointment of Edmond Sylvester Alpha as the Electoral Commission of Sierra Leone (ECSL) Commissioner for the Southern Region and the ongoing constitutional review process.

The APC claims these actions violate the National Unity Agreement established in October 2023 and compromise the efforts of the Tripartite Committee on Electoral Systems and Management Bodies Review. This Committee, which includes the opposition APC, the ruling SLPP, and the government, is expected to present its report to President Bio next month.

Furthermore, the APC argues that the constitutional review process is being conducted unilaterally, without necessary engagement with political parties, stakeholders, and the public. They accuse the government of amending the 1991 National Constitution without proper participation, despite a consensus from the October 2023 National Dialogue to pause any constitutional changes pending the Tripartite Committee’s report.

The reappointment of Edmond Sylvester Alpha has particularly angered the APC, who claim it was done without the mandated consultations with registered political parties, including the APC, as required by Section 32 of the 1991 Constitution. The APC sees this as a blatant disregard for constitutional provisions and legal norms.

In response to these issues, the APC has requested a meeting with President Bio to discuss their concerns and has indicated they may pursue legal remedies if their grievances are not addressed satisfactorily. Emphasizing the importance of maintaining peace and stability in Sierra Leone, the APC expressed a desire for a constructive response and reaffirmed their commitment to democratic values and the rule of law.

As the political climate in Sierra Leone grows increasingly tense, all eyes are on the Tripartite Committee’s upcoming report and the government’s response to the opposition’s demands.


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