As we draw closer to the upcoming election on June 24th, 2023, Sierra Leone finds itself in a precarious situation. Our beloved nation is being pushed toward the edge by the actions of our political leaders and their supporters, who are gradually sowing the seeds of potential conflict. It pains me deeply to witness the growing polarization and division within our society.

The ruling Sierra Leone People’s Party (SLPP) has been accused of preventing the main opposition party, the All People’s Congress (APC), from effectively campaigning in their strongholds. This alleged restriction on political activities is a direct assault on the principles of fairness and democracy that we hold dear. In a true democracy, every political party should have equal opportunities to present their agendas and engage with the electorate.

Equally concerning is the APC’s threat to disrupt the electoral process, citing claims of electoral inconsistency and fraud. While it is essential to address any genuine concerns regarding the electoral process, such threats only undermine the democratic foundation upon which our nation is built. We must find ways to resolve these issues through peaceful, legal, and constructive means.

However, one cannot ignore the role played by a certain individual called Adebayo, an alleged APC supporter residing in Holland. His incendiary statements and actions have further fanned the flames of conflict. It is disheartening to see someone with influence using their platform to promote discord and division among our people. We must condemn such actions and encourage a culture of peace, dialogue, and understanding.

Additionally, the inconsistent operations of the Electoral Commission of Sierra Leone (ECSL) have contributed to the prevailing atmosphere of doubt and speculation, further exacerbating the political tensions in the country. The enactment of over 20 electoral reforms by the SLPP government within a year has raised legitimate concerns about the transparency and fairness of the upcoming election. It is crucial that the ECSL promptly addresses all legitimate concerns raised by political parties, primarily the All People’s Congress (APC), and restores public confidence in its operations.

Furthermore, the proliferation of misinformation and disinformation, particularly on social media, has worsened the situation. Both Sierra Leonean diaspora and local actors are using these platforms to spread false information, adding fuel to the fire and exacerbating tensions. We must be vigilant in verifying the accuracy of the information and rely on credible sources to make informed decisions about our nation’s future.

The silence of civil society organizations, media outlets, the judiciary, and the Sierra Leone Police is a cause for deep concern. It gives the impression of a “state capture” situation, where their lack of action in the face of escalating tensions raises suspicions of undue influence and compromises their roles as guardians of democracy. We strongly urge these institutions to step up and fulfill their responsibilities in guaranteeing a fair and peaceful electoral process.

Additionally, it is disheartening to see the involvement of our religious and tribal leaders in the political discourse. Instead of promoting unity and peace, they have aligned themselves with specific political factions, further deepening divisions within our society. We call upon these influential figures to prioritize national cohesion and encourage dialogue and understanding among their respective communities.

On Saturday, June 24, 2023, Sierra Leoneans will head to the polls to choose their next set of leaders who will govern the country for the next five years. It is a crucial moment for Sierra Leone, as our collective actions will shape the future of our nation’s peace and stability.

The actions of our political leaders, the suppression of opposition campaigning, allegations of electoral inconsistencies and fraud, and the spread of misinformation have created a perilous environment. We must urgently address these issues to restore public trust in our electoral process and prevent further escalation. It is through open dialogue, transparency, and a commitment to the democratic ideals we hold dear that we can ensure a peaceful and inclusive election that truly represents the will of the Sierra Leonean people.