U.S. Assistant Secretary for African Affairs Molly Phee: Register to Vote!

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I, and other officials and friends in Washington who follow Africa, watched in sadness and dismay as the events of August 10 unfolded. We mourn with Sierra Leone the unnecessary loss of life on that day and urge a transparent investigation into allegations of excessive use of force.  In response to these incidents, the United States has called for all to exercise restraint, temper rhetoric, and begin an honest, inclusive dialogue.   We have also underscored the importance of freedom of expression and freedom of peaceful assembly.  These fundamental freedoms are enshrined in the First Amendment of the U.S. Constitution, and in Articles 19 and 21 of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, to which the United States and Sierra Leone are both parties.  Of course, all protests should be peaceful and political violence is never acceptable.

Sierra Leoneans will have the chance to make their voices heard in next year’s election.  The first step will take place between September 3 and October 2, when Sierra Leoneans can register to vote.  I urge all eligible Sierra Leoneans to take advantage of this opportunity and register, and to remain involved in the electoral process by informing yourselves about the issues and exercising your right to vote.

Sierra Leone and the United States have a lot in common. As fellow democracies, we believe that Governments should reflect the will of the people. We believe citizens have fundamental rights, and those rights should be protected.   We believe the best form of Government is one that is inclusive, where the voices of all members of society are heard. These guiding principles require our continued attention and effort.

Sierra Leone has much to be proud of since the difficult days of its civil war.  You have held free and fair elections, undertaken successive peaceful transitions of power, and are ranked as one of the most peaceful countries in Africa.  I urge you to continue building on these past successes through dynamic participation in your admirable democratic process.

 

1 COMMENT

  1. “I, and other officials and friends in Washington who follow Africa, watched in sadness and dismay as the events of August 10 unfolded. We mourn with Sierra Leone the unnecessary loss of life on that day and urge a transparent investigation into allegations of excessive use of force. “-Molly Phee

    Allegation of excessive use of force! Who is making the allegation? Law enforcement all over the world use force commensurate to the threat to coil the threat and stopped further loss of lives and properties. The 10 August 2022 riots although coined by the rioters to be peaceful, started with the killing of unarmed general duty police personnel on camera and burning of police stations that were built to serve some of the vulnerable communities. As videos of the rioters emerged on social media, it was observed that some of the rioters were armed with machines guns. It would have been foolhardy for the armed wings of the police to respond to such murderous crowd or rioters’ with batons and protective screen. The only reasonable response for any reasonable police forces to undertake was to use force that was commensurate to the force use by some of the rioters. Unfortunately, many where cajoled to join the riot thinking it was just a sing and dance and insult the government when in reality the faceless instigators were bent to cause mayhem including killing of law enforcement personnel who would impede their actions.
    While a diplomat has the right to address the issue of force calling it excessive is been insensitive to the killings of law enforcement officers who were not part of the riot squad and it is a disservice to over six plus more million Sierra Leoneans whose lives were disrupted by gun totting rioters.

    In the USA, just making a police officer feeling afraid of his safety can justify your death in some state. Civilians with guns are justified to come out to kill demonstrators in order to stop them from setting ablaze public and private properties. Thank God we do not have that in Sierra Leone. Our only hope is our law enforcement and they unfortunately became targets of law breakers because of their sacred and dangerous work.

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