Tanzanian poll is likely to usher in a new era of authoritarianism. Here’s why

President John Magufuli has closed down all the reliable means to evaluate allegations of foul play. Getty Images

Dan Paget, University of Aberdeen

Tanzanians voted in their general election on October 28 in a poll that pitted popular opposition chief Tundu Lissu against incumbent John Magufuli. As the votes are counted, Dan Paget explains why incumbent John Magufuli is likely to be declared the winner, and what his second term will mean for democracy in the East African nation.

How do you rate the independence or fairness of the Tanzania election commission now and in the past?

We should wait until all the results have come out before passing judgement. However, provisionally, I no longer have faith in Tanzania’s National Electoral Commission or the validity of the election results. The validity of elections should be something that is determined by independent bodies and rigorous procedures. However, I am afraid that guesswork and judgement are the only means at our disposal to assess the validity of these elections, because other avenues to verify it have been blocked in advance.

It is never easy to know when to give credence to allegations of election manipulation. Such accusations can always be made in bad faith. If the election commission were independent, and governed by a cross-party board, one might trust them to arbitrate these allegations. Instead the constitution gives the president the authority to appoint the heads of the commission. The opposition has been calling for the commission to be reformed for years.

In the absence of an independent electoral commission, and independent courts, normally one would turn to independent observer missions. They routinely deploy large teams which observe the conduct of the election and assess irregularities, but these missions have been kept away. So have many of the most respected domestic election observers, such as the Legal and Human Rights Centre. The conclusions of the few observation missions present will be important. So will be the judgements of Tanzania Election Watch, which is assaying the conduct of the election remotely. I recommend their preliminary report.

Altogether, the reliable means to evaluate allegations of foul play have been all but closed down. Given all that, it is hard to know what to do except to give prima facie credence to the widespread allegations of election fraud made by the opposition and many analysts.

Their claims acquire weight from the stream of videos and photographs shared via social media. These largely unverified reports appear to show the manipulation of the electoral register, ghost polling stations, pre-filled ballots, pre-printed ballots, ballot-stuffing, polling agents disqualified or barred access to polling stations, and a variety of other irregularities.

What puts it over the top is the scale and character of the victory for the ruling party – Chama cha Mapinduzi – that has been reported so far. Results are still coming in, and final judgement should be suspended until we have a complete picture. Nonetheless, the ruling party’s victories have been declared in places you would least expect them to win, and at a scale which is hard to believe.

The popularity of the opposition and the ruling party alike is difficult to discern, especially given the absence of opinion polls. This makes the size of rallies one of the few indicators of party popularity left available to us. The rally is a treacherous indicator of party popularity. Nonetheless, as I have argued elsewhere, we can draw a tentative, negative conclusion: opposition support has not collapsed. It is not negligible. If it had, we would not have seen large opposition rallies so consistently. This inference is consistent with the opposition’s wide organisational base.

Nonetheless, so far, officials have declared the defeat of the opposition’s most admired leaders in their greatest strongholds. Household names like Zitto Kabwe, Freeman Mbowe, Joseph Mbilinyi, Halima Mdee, John Heche and Esther Bulaya have all lost their seats. These defeats, moreover, are by astounding margins. Altogether, it is hard to see why the National Electoral Commission and the wider infrastructure which oversees elections in Tanzania should be given the benefit of the doubt.

The police made regular arrests of opposition candidates and broke up heir rallies. To what extent were the police – and by extension the government – a factor in the eventual outcomes?

The police have certainly been a forceful presence in this campaign. The video evidence of them firing teargas, breaking up meetings, arresting opposition candidates and committing acts of brutality are available on social media for all to see.

On the instructions of state officials, first the leading opposition candidate for the presidency of Tanzania, Tundu Lissu, and then the leading opposition candidate for the presidency of Zanzibar, Seif Hamad, were temporarily barred from campaigning.

It must all have had an effect on the election outcome.

Alongside the police has been the army. They have been deployed to oversee the election in parts of the country, and there are multiple albeit mostly unverified reports of brutality and murder at their hands.

But their actions need to be interpreted in the wider authoritarian context. Tanzania has always been an authoritarian state. The old authoritarian architecture was never removed after the reintroduction of multiparty elections in 1992. But there has been a sea-change since 2015 when Magufuli came to power. Things that were permitted in 2014 are not permitted today. The media are censored. Political parties are oppressed. Politicians and civic activists are harassed, in court and out of it. Rallies were banned for four years. There has been a spate of violence by anonymous actors, which context suggested but did not confirm were connected to the state. That context is key. The trajectory of party politics in Tanzania has been shaped by it. It is crucial to everything.

Based on what you know so far, was the 2020 election a step forward or backward in Tanzania’s path to fully free and fair elections?

So far, it seems that this election will usher in a new era of authoritarianism. Any resemblance that Tanzania has borne to a liberal democracy seems to be slipping away. Not only is the apparent scale of election manipulation unprecedented. The authoritarian landslide which seems to be in the making will be presented by the regime as a vindication of its extreme authoritarian project over the last five years.

My speculative opinion is that President Magufuli and his ruling Chama cha Mapinduzi will use the super-majority that they seem about to award themselves to enact their authoritarian developmental vision. They will institute a deeper and further-reaching authoritarian agenda. This might include lifting presidential term limits, but it is also likely to include the institution of further measures that consolidate the party’s authoritarian transformation of Tanzania.

Dan Paget, Lecturer in Politics, University of Aberdeen

This article is republished from The Conversation under a Creative Commons license. Read the original article.

Society For Democratic Initiatives (SDI) Calls For Democratic Policing Under The New Direction

By Emmanuel Saffa Abdulai

On the 4th April, 2018 President Julius Maada Bio assumed the mantle of leadership from former President Ernest Bai Koroma as President of the Republic of Sierra Leone.

Emmanuel Saffa Abdulai

In his party’s New Direction manifesto, he promised a New Direction for Sierra Leone as a united, peaceful, progressive, dynamic, confident, enterprising and happy nation where the people have unlimited access to jobs, food, education and health services and where there is equal justice and equal opportunity for all. 

Twelve Months on, there have been instances involving the Sierra Leone Police and the general  public which hinge on the manner in which they have been discharging their constitutional mandate. Today’s ideal is “democratic policing.”

This means, broadly, a Police force that is publicly accountable, subject to the rule of law, respectful of human dignity and that intrudes into citizens’ lives only under certain limited circumstances.

It is on this basis that as an Institution that has worked extensively on human rights and democratic good governance in Sierra Leone since its inception in 2003; and has engaged with Sierra Leone authorities on a range of issues, we would therefore like to take this opportunity to raise with the issues that require President Maada Bio and his new government’s urgent attention.

On this, we want to bring to his attention that the Sierra Leone Police should be mindful of the fact that the right of Freedom to Peaceful Assembly and Association can be exercised by individuals, groups and associations. Participation in peaceful assemblies helps ensure that people have the opportunity to express opinions they hold in common with others and supports dialogue within civil society and among civil society, political leaders and government, as well as being important for the full enjoyment of other Human Rights.

Mr. President Sir, the restriction on the freedom of association creates a chilling effect on people and limits their ability to exercise their Right to freedom of peaceful assembly. There is a justifiable culture of fear in Sierra Leone because people know that if they come out to protest, they will be intimidated by the police in one way or another and it is unlikely that anyone will stand up for them. 

The right to freedom of peaceful assembly, together with the closely related rights to freedom of Association and Freedom of Expression, is enshrined in human rights treaties to which Sierra Leone is a party, including the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR), the Africa Charter and the constitution of Sierra Leone explicitly provide for the Right to the Freedom of Assemble which include the Right to protest. Member states to these treaties have an obligation to respect, protect, promote and fulfill these rights, that is, to ensure that their  own agents do not violate these rights further that no restrictions are imposed on them other than those which are demonstrably necessary and proportionate for a legitimate purpose permitted under international law; to protect the exercise of these rights against interference by third parties; and to ensure that individuals within their jurisdiction are able to exercise these rights in practice.
It will interest you to again note that the Sierra Leone Police have used lethal and excessive force to disperse protests over the past 10 years with impunity. This approach limits the right to freedom of peaceful assembly and creates a chilling effect, with people reluctant to exercise this right due to fear of intimidation and violence 

SDI is of the view that democratic policing should be viewed as a process and not an outcome. Societies experience a continual tension between the desire for order and liberty. There is a paradox in the fact that a democratic society needs protection both by police and from the police. Given the constitutional mandates of Police in democratic societies, citizens must continually ask “how efficient do we want police to be and under what conditions are the police discharging their responsibilities?
Democracy, whether viewed as a process or an end condition, is defined by broad values involving participation and formal rules. But for most persons most of the time, these are removed from daily life. That is not true for the police, the agency of government that citizens are most likely to see and have contact with.

All democratic societies use police to control crime and to contribute to public order (e.g., mediating and arbitrating disputes, regulating traffic and helping in emergencies). However, the organizational conditions under which police operate, the means they use and the ends they seek vary greatly between democratic and non-democratic societies, even as there are overlapping areas involving the control function of policing
One element in defining a democratic society is a police force that:1) is subject to the rule of law embodying values respectful of human dignity, rather than the wishes of a powerful leader or party 2) a police can intervene in the life of citizens only under limited and carefully controlled circumstances and 3) is publicly accountable

On Tuesday 17th July 2018, the Executive Director of Native Consortium – a civil society activist Mr. Edmond Abu was invited by the Sierra Leone Police to give an account of a peaceful protest he intended to stage over the removal of fuel subsidies which consequently led to the increase of fuel product prices in Sierra Leone from Le. 6,000 to Le.8, 000 
His Excellency, SDI fully believes that citizens have the fundamental human right to protest on government policies without any limitation or hindrance from the Police as provided by the 1991 Constitution Section 26 (1) which states “Except with his own consent, no persons shall be hinder in the enjoyment of his freedom of assembly and association, that is to say, his right to assembly freely and associate with other persons and in particular to form or belong to any political party, trade unions, or other economic, social or professional associations, national or International, for the protection of his interest”

Similarly, an opposition politician who is the Leader of Alliance Democratic Party, Mr. Mohamed Kamarainba Mansaray was again invited to the Criminal Investigation Department (CID) for allegedly speaking his mind on radio and television interviews he granted to Radio Democracy Good Morning Salone program and the Africa Young Voices (AYV) respectively.
As a democratic state, free speech is guaranteed which is a principle that supports the freedom of an individual or a community to articulate their opinions and ideas without fear of retaliation, censorship, or sanction. The term “freedom of expression” is sometimes used synonymously but includes any act of seeking, receiving, and imparting information or ideas, regardless of the medium used.

Freedom of expression is recognized as a human right under article 19 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights (UDHR) and recognized in international human rights law in the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR). Article 19 of the UDHR of which Sierra Leone is a party thus states that “everyone shall have the right to hold opinions without interference” and “everyone shall have the right to freedom of expression; this right shall include freedom to seek, receive and impart information and ideas of all kinds, regardless of frontiers, either orally, in writing or in print, in the form of art, or through any other media of his choice”

It is important for the Sierra Leone Police and Public officials to note that “Freedom of expression…is applicable not only to information of ideas that are favourably received or regarded as inoffensive or as a matter of indifference, but also to those that offend, shock, or disturb the state or any sector of the population”.
It is on this basis that SDI strongly condemns the actions of the Sierra Leone Police and also notes that individuals have the right to express their opinions with regards the state and on government policies. Government in turn has the mandate to correct any information which they deem as inaccurate or misleading rather than to arrest or invite citizens to the Police for expressing their fundamental rights

We believe that it is government’s responsibility to protect the universal rights and freedoms of all Sierra Leoneans and foreign nationals living in Sierra Leone. As the fountain of honor, the President wields great influence in ensuring that the Sierra Leone Police (SLP) respects and enforces the rights and freedoms embodied in both part III of the 1991 Constitution as well as international human rights instruments. What he says in support of rights and freedoms can have significant influence in consolidating democratic policing.

We therefore urge the President and his government to make these issues a priority. We divided our recommendations on each subject into those that can have near-immediate impact on the human rights situation of large numbers of people, and those that will require longer-term commitment of political will and resources; There should be robust engagement between Sierra Leone police and the communities they serve around the policies and priorities of policing.

• Police actions should be guided by rules and policies that are transparent and formulated with input from the public
• The Sierra Leone Police should develop and use sound metrics of success that encompass all of the goals of policing, including community trust.
• The Sierra Leone Police should ensure they adhere to conventions and treaties signed by the government of Sierra Leone on behalf of its people 
• The responsibility of the police is to protect lives and properties and also provide security for peaceful protests when the need arises 
In anticipation of your usual cooperation, we thank the President in advance for taking robust action on this all important issue

WHO Director-General warns civil unrest in the DRC could affect fight against Ebola

The WHO Director-General Dr Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus has said efforts to end the outbreak are continuing after recent disruptions, but further interruptions could have serious consequences, he warned.

Dr. Ghebreyesus was in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) over the New Year to Ebola-affected areas to review the response at this critical phase.

Civil unrest resulted in vandalism to an Ebola transit centre in Beni and several other health facilities last week. The insecurity slowed down vaccinations and epidemiological surveillance and follow-up for several days.

“I’m concerned about the impact of the recent disruptions at this critical moment. This outbreak is occurring in the most difficult context imaginable. To end it the response needs to be supported and expanded, not further complicated. Ebola is unforgiving, and disruptions give the virus the advantage,” said Dr Tedros.

On the three-day mission (31 December 2018 – 2 January 2019) to Beni, Butembo and Komanda, Dr Tedros took stock of the outbreak, spent time with affected communities, and personally thanked responders for their dedication. WHO has 380 response staff in North Kivu and Ituri working together with hundreds more from the Ministry of Health and partners. 

WHO/L. Mackenzie
On the three-day mission (31 December 2018 – 2 January 2019) to Beni, Butembo and Komanda, Dr Tedros took stock of the outbreak, spent time with affected communities, and personally thanked responders for their dedication.

“The Ebola responders are sacrificing a lot,” said Dr Tedros. “They’ve worked flat-out for months, away from their families, to combat one of the world’s deadliest viruses in a risky environment. I’m proud of them, and I wanted to tell them that personally over the New Year holiday.”

Director of the Wellcome Trust and Chair of WHO’s Research and Development Blueprint Dr Jeremy Farrar joined the mission to see the outbreak first-hand.

“I came away humbled by the dedication of the Ebola responders, but worried by the immense challenges they face in such a complex environment. This outbreak is in a critical phase. It is vital the international community recognizes this and ensures the DRC and WHO have the support needed to ensure this outbreak does not spiral out of control,” Dr Farrar said.

Since the outbreak began in August 2018, there have been 608 cases and 368 deaths in North Kivu and Ituri provinces. To date, more than 54,000 high-risk contacts and frontline responders have been vaccinated, and almost every new patient receives one of four investigational treatments, something which was never previously possible during an Ebola outbreak. 

The main challenges are the security environment, pockets of mistrust among affected populations, and poor infection prevention and control in many public and private health facilities. Under the government’s leadership and working collaboratively with UN and NGO partners, WHO is committed to addressing these challenges and ending the outbreak.

Article published courtesy of the WHO

Sierra Leone: Civil Society Condemns Attacks on Freetown Mayor


Yvonne Aki-Sawyer

Despite efforts by political stakeholders to address political violence in the country the recent attack on the mayor of Freetown by a crowd of people believed to be supporters of the SLPP, who were gathered outside their party headquarters, just yards away from the Mayor’s City Council office, has again raised political tensions.

Legal Access through Women Yearning for Equality Rights and Social Justice (L.A.W.Y.E.R.S), has condemned the action and calls on the Sierra Leone Police to conduct its investigation into this incident thoroughly and charge the matter to court expeditiously.


Date: 28/5/18


Legal Access through Women Yearning for Equality Rights and Social Justice (L.A.W.Y.E.R.S) notes with grave concern and dismay, the verbal and physical attacks on Her Worship the Mayor of Freetown, Yvonne Aki-Sawyer, on Wednesday the 23rd of May 2018.

L.A.W.Y.E.R.S condemns these acts of violence and calls on the Sierra Leone Police to conduct its investigation into this incident thoroughly and charge the matter to court expeditiously.


The vicinity around the SLPP party office has become a no-go area to anyone other than supporters of the SLPP party

L.A.W.Y.E.R.S urges all who witnessed the incident or with information about it, to come forward and assist the Police to ensure that the perpetrators are brought to justice.

Her Worship the Mayor of Freetown, is a major figure in our society, a role model to Sierra Leoneans of diverse backgrounds, and the destructive symbolism of the attacks on her cannot be underestimated.

L.A.W.Y.E.R.S therefore urges all citizens to stand up against violence, especially against women and girls.

L.A.W.Y.E.R.S wishes to bring to the attention of H.E. the President of Sierra Leone, Julius Maada Bio, and his government, that the 25th of November is recognized as the International Day for the Elimination of Violence Against Women. L.A.W.Y.E.R.S therefore requests that this year in Sierra Leone, the day is observed nationally with a series of events across the country, highlighting the adverse consequences of violence (in all its different forms) against women.

L.A.W.Y.E.R.S expresses our solidarity with the Mayor and all other women subjected to similar attacks as they try to go about their daily jobs. We pledge our continued support of the Mayor’s efforts to improve the quality of life for all residents of Freetown.

Lois Anita Kawa



11 Percival Street


Sierra Leone: Dr. Sylvia Bluden challenges the election of Julius Maada Bio as President of the Republic of Sierra Leone




Dr. Sylvia Bluden

Sierra Leone Constitution (Act No. 6 of 1991) under Section 48.(4) says *”While any person holds or performs the functions of the office of President, no civil or criminal proceedings shall be instituted or continued against him in respect of anything done or omitted to be done by him either in his official or private capacity.”*


As a prominent Student Activist back then in 1991, I had supported such an inclusion as we need a sitting President to be well focused away from distractions of Court Cases. However, it was also made clear back then that such clause does not mean an elected President cannot be joined in suit when the recent Elections which brought him to office, are being petitioned to be overturned.

*This was one of the several fatal mistakes done by current president H.E. JULIUS MAADA BIO when himself and two others petitioned the Election of Ernest Bai Koroma as president in November 2012. They included APC party along with National Electoral Commission (NEC) but they erroneously did not include President Koroma as a Respondent to their lawsuit. The error was quickly picked up by Lawyer Berthan Macauley who was representing the APC. Citing that and other reasons like late filing, late payment of judicial fees, no security deposit, Berthan Macauley Esq. asked the Supreme Court to throw out Maada Bio’s petition as the primary beneficiary (President Koroma) of what was being petitioned, had not been joined in suit as a Respondent.* The Court agreed with many of the arguments and threw out Bio’s petition for sake of the fatal mistakes.

You may ask if the situation is not in conflict with itself since NOT including the sitting President in the court case makes the proceedings to be fatal whilst including the sitting President makes the proceedings to _*appear*_ to be against Section 48.(4) of our Constitution. Actually, it is just an appearance. A closer reading of words of Section 48.(4) shows a sitting President can indeed be included as a Respondent in a petition of an election which happened whilst he was not yet President.

Furthermore, I believe the answer to this conundrum has already been answered by the Supreme Court itself via its actions of sixteen years ago in *APRIL 2002* when the Supreme Court fully accepted a case against 2002 Elections eligibility of a sitting President (H.E. DR. AHMAD TEJAN KABBAH) and went on to sit on the matter.

That happened when one citizen by the name of *DANIEL SANKOH* on 11th April 2002, dragged the then President of Sierra Leone *H.E. ALHAJI DR. AHMAD TEJAN KABBAH* to the Supreme Court. That matter against President Kabbah was accepted for hearing by the Supreme Court and deliberated upon without any restraint on Supreme Court from Section 48.(4) of the Sierra Leone Constitution. Legal luminary Dr. Ade Renner-Thomas had defended President Kabbah at the Supreme Court back then in 2002. Dr. Renner Thomas, one of our most brilliant legal minds, successfully argued on behalf of President Kabbah. Subsequent to winning the case for President Kabbah at the Supreme Court, Dr. Renner Thomas was later appointed to be Chief Justice by President Kabbah. *The main point here is that a sitting President in April 2002, was sued at Supreme Court and had to find a very good lawyer to defend himself over an Elections eligibility matter.*

So, it is against the precedent of the Elections matter of *DANIEL SANKOH versus PRESIDENT AHMAD TEJAN KABBAH* that His Excellency President Rtd. Brigadier Julius Maada Bio has been made a Respondent party to answer to my Elections Petition filed yesterday, Monday April 9th 2018 at the Supreme Court of the Republic of Sierra Leone.

Yes, I can confirm that in my capacity as a citizen of Sierra Leone who voted in the Presidential Elections, I have yesterday Monday April 9th 2018, filed a *STRONG* challenge of the election of Julius Maada Bio as President of the Republic of Sierra Leone. I filed a 38-paragraphed Petition alongside other needful paperwork as well as Affidavits and paid the required legal Cash Deposits for Securities as per Law established. I have also ensured I paid all needful filing fees on time so as to avoid my Petition being thrown out of Court for lateness as happened to the 2012 petition of Julius Maada Bio against Ernest Bai Koroma.

I had to do the Petition all on my own because all lawyers, approached by me so far, have shied away from being associated with the matter. One of them bluntly told me this morning that if Honourable senior judges of the Judiciary were being treated in the jungle manner in which one judge was treated last evening by supporters of President Julius Maada Bio, then what will happen to ordinary lawyers who decide to associate themselves with such a Petition against the Election of someone like President Maada Bio? I am however not afraid. I want to believe President Bio’s regime will even make extra efforts to ensure no harm comes my way as I carry out this democratic exercise. Afterall, no-one harmed him or his lawyers when they petitioned the election of Ernest Koroma in 2012.

I do know that I have taken a very strong case to the Supreme Court yesterday. I do believe the case I have built is even stronger than the one taken to the Kenyan Supreme Court that caused the Kenyan presidential elections to be overturned. *However, I recognize the Honourable Judges of the Supreme Court will have the final say. I will humbly accept whatever their findings may turn out to be.*

Meanwhile, I am continuing to reach out to various lawyers, especially amongst the APC ranks, in the hope I may find a lawyer who is brave enough to help me make the legal arguments at the Supreme Court. I will keep you all informed on that aspect.

Fortunately, the rules of Supreme Court allow for ordinary citizens without lawyers, to file in person. So I have singlehandedly used my late grandfather Prof. Solomon A.J. Pratt’s law books to read and research on how to approach the Supreme Court on my own without any lawyer helping me. I am very proud to announce that I have successfully done so yesterday and this afternoon, the final paperwork were concluded. With immediate effect, the judiciary’s process servers are now set to serve the Petition on all concerned including on H.E. President Julius Maada Bio who is one of the four (4) Respondents in my humble Petition to overturn the declaration of Nfa Alie Conteh that Julius Maada Bio was duly elected as President.

*Whilst I fully recognise H.E. Julius Maada Bio as my President under the Law, I firmly believe that H.E. Julius Maada Bio was NOT duly elected as President of the Republic of Sierra Leone so I have gone to the Supreme Court to ask them to nullify the outcome of the Election, order fresh elections within 90 days of their Order and in the interim 90 days, appoint the Speaker of Parliament as the new Head of State until fresh elections are held.*

The full details of my 38-paragraphed Petition against the Declaration of NEC’s Mohamed Nfa Alie Conteh that Julius Maada Bio was duly elected, will be published shortly. Meanwhile, the first page of the 38-paragraphed Petition I filed yesterday at the Supreme Court Registry plus copies of receipts of my payments to Judiciary, now accompany this update. Please feel free to re-share them. May God bless Sierra Leone.


I remain,

*Dr. Sylvia Olayinka Blyden, OOR*

Tuesday 10th April 2018.

Sierra Leone: Alleged SLPP vigilantes attacked and humiliate Appeals Court Judge

By Desmond Bangura

Despite the pronouncement by President Bio that ‘he is a president for all Sierra Leoneans’ after he was sworn into the office, self-styled vigilantes of the SLPP  are now targeting and assaulting public officials.

ACC (1)

Justice Reginald Fynn

Justice Reginald Fynn, an Appeals Court Judge, was on Monday alleged to have been attacked by a group of men claiming to act on the ‘orders from above’ and manhandled out of the vehicle.

Sources said the self-styled vigilantes claimed they were acting on the orders of the ‘Task Force on Vehicles’ which mandates no government vehicle should ply the roads after 6pm.
Sources said Justice Fynn was driving home to his Adonkia Residence when he was stopped and the vehicle taken to the Lu mley Police Station where several vehicles had been taken away from people driving home after work.
Nationwide, activities of the self-styled SLPP vigilantes and some supporters of the SLPP are causing public outcry and prompting efforts by other SLPP supporters to take measures to address the anomaly.
In Kono, east of the country, hundreds of northerners are being pursued by people suspected to be supporters of the SLPP. Most of the victims, among them children, are presently seeking refuge in Masingbi.


Sierra Leone: Northerners fleeing political violence in Kono

By John Koroma

Victims of political violence during a stop in Masingbi

As President Julius Maada Bio initiated a cross-party committee to address political violence in the country, scores of nothern tribes including Temne, Limba, Loko and Yalunka, are allegedly driven by threats of violence in Kono.

This follows the re-run presidential elections in which majority of people from these groups voted for the defeated North-Western based APC political party.

Yesterday scores of northerners left Kono for their homelands and made a stop gap at Masingbi, a northern town bordering Kono in the east.

The victims lamented threats, discrimination and many forms of inhuman treatment by the perpetrators.

The situaton remains tense as there is no way yet the government has taken active measures to solve the country’s political crisis that has resulted to spate of violence against political opponents.