- Solomon Berewa, the Vice President of Sierra Leone has warned opposition that there will be zero tolerance for electoral violence during the upcoming polls in the country.
Mr Berewa is also part of the Presidential hopefuls for the 28 July polls. He is expected to contest on the ticket of the ruling Sierra Leone People’s Party (SLPP) of the outgoing President, Ahmed Tejan Kabbah.
“The government will fully support the security apparatus to ensure that Sierra Leone’s post-war elections are held a in a peaceful atmosphere free from violence," the VP said.
"Government is shocked that after the bitter experiences of this country during the ten-year conflict, any political party can today advocate and actively pursue the tactics of violence and intimidation,” he said, arguing that the government will not allow a return to an era of political violence and intimidation in the country.
"Not under its watch. It was this form of governance that eventually led to over 10 years of civil war,” Mr Berewa noted, making specific reference to an attack against the SLPP supporters by their opponents on 28 April in the Sierra Leonean capital Freetown, despite under police permission.
The Publicity Secretary of SLPP, Victor Reider, expressed fury over violent attack on the party’s supporters by opposition militants. The wild militants, who promised to fuel pandemonium in the country should SLPP win the polls, stabbed some ruling party supporters on head and decided to pluck out the eyes of some. The attack also left several of their vehicles vandalised.
Mr Berewa asked all political parties to be law abiding and avoid fanning tensions. He said the government wanted a situation where all parties – opposition or ruling party – to obtain a police permit and organise a peaceful rally. He said the opposition All People’s Congress conducted a peaceful rally without being harassed on 14 April after obtaining a police permit.
“The government has full confidence in the measures being adopted by the police to deal with anti-social behaviour,” he said, warning the public not to interpret the authorities’ tolerance as a sign of weakness. “Government is determined to ensure that nothing will mar the elections,” he said.
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