The Sierra Leone People’s Party (SLPP) has denied claims of attacks made on the main opposition All People’s Congress (APC) by their supporters in Bendugu Town, Tonkolili District, North-East Sierra Leone.
There have been reports of violent clashes between the SLPP and the APC in last week’s political rally for the bye election in Sambaia Chiefdom, Constituency 056.
The by-election which is scheduled for Saturday, 24th June is being contested by the two largest parties in the House the governing Sierra Leone People’s Party (SLPP), whose candidate is Tholley Foyoh, and the main opposition All People’s Congress (APC), whose candidate is Jawah Sesay.
The contest is crucial in that it will determine who has the highest number of seats in Parliament.
According to the SLPP, they have read with dismay, a letter of complaint written by the main opposition APC’s interim Secretary General Honourable Abdul Kargbo in which a litany of woes was catalogued, accusing SLPP supporters.
“The letter goes further to accuse the Paramount Chief of Bendugu in the Tonkolili District of being the mastermind of an attack on APC supporters during a rally organized by the party,” SLPP stated.
The ruling party for further stated that, “We would like the public to know that, from records, the SLPP and violence are NOT compatible bedfellows. Violence has never been a tool of the SLPP and the party does believe in thuggery as a political tactic. The party has earned a reputation for peace and harmony and would not do anything to change that perception.”
SLPP went on to state that the area in which the APC claimed it was attacked by SLPP supporters is a perceived stronghold of the former.
“The SLPP cannot be foolhardy to expose their supporters to harm and danger by attacking the APC in their stronghold. To the contrary of the claims and with marked reference to the incidents with pictorial evidence of violence, there is a string of barbaric attacks orchestrated by APC supporters against innocent citizens and supporters of the SLPP,” the party stated.
SLPP noted that the Paramount Chief in question has never received any instruction from their leadership to organise an attack on the APC, adding the Paramount Chief is for everybody within his chiefdom and cannot be openly seen taking sides in politics.
“The APC is crying wolf where none exists. In their very letter of complaint, they exposed their lack of depth and evidence of an attack in its supporters, with the constant use of ‘allege’. The letter has no substance and could be another gimmick of the APC to portray the SLPP as a party of violence and thuggery which it is not known for,” they stated.
“We urge our supporters to be law abiding and peaceful and to carry out their campaign exercises in peace armed with the messages of the huge achievements of the SLPP government of President Julius Maada Bio. We also urge them to be vigilant as the APC may be planning to attack them, which could be real reason why they are accusing the SLPP of an imaginary attack on them,” SLPP added.
They further appealed to the security forces, and the Electoral Commission Sierra Leone (ECSL) to scratch beyond the surface of the complaint of the APC and come out with the truth.