Following political disturbances in the country between the APC and the SLPP, Ernest Koroma’s APC-led government is reportedly under pressure from the international community and civil society groups in Sierra Leone to ensure the closure of the radio stations of the two political parties in the country.
The Rising Sun and the Unity Radio stations of the APC and SLPP, respectively, have been blamed for fanning the flames of political discord and preaching hate messages, especially whenever there is political tension between the two parties. As recent as the 13th of this month, the two parties were at each other’s throats trying to show supremacy in the city.
Speaking yesterday at the usual news briefing at the Information Ministry, Ibrahim Ben Kargbo, the Information Minister, said, “We [govt.] are under pressure from the international community and civil society to shut down the APC and the SLPP radio stations, as it is believed that both stations are not adding value to the democratic process in the country.”
Mr Kargbo did, however, note that as a government, they are aware of the democratic provision for the need for freedom of expression and as such, they see no need to close down the radio stations. The two radio stations, he said seemed not to be part of the development process of the country, and cautioned that “we should be able to control our follower ship.”
The APC government, he said, has not come to divide the country as they have not removed anybody from the army, nor the police. He said the head of the army, Sam M’boma, “does not look like an APC but he is still, just like some [people in the civil service].”
Meanwhile, ML Bangura and Mykel Charlie Hinga from the APC and SLPP, respectively, have committed their willingness to work towards the development of the country and spoke of the need to prevent further reoccurrence of what happened on the 13th. Responding to questions from Awoko, Mr Hinga said he was ever prepared to have the APC Secretary General as a radio guest on Unity Radio.
Mr Bangura, responding as to when the APC will be holding their national delegates convention in Kailahun, said the APC is a national party, but for reasons like the number of delegates that normally partake in the convention, the party would have loved having the convention in Kailahun. However, the National Advisory Council of the APC was to meet yesterday to look at issues around the convention, he added.
Meanwhile, the Coalition of Civil Society and Human Right Activists have come up with a number of possible ways of addressing the seeming political disturbances in the country. Among the recommendation, the coalition has asked for are closed-door meeting between Tejan Kabbah, Berewa, Christiana Thorpe and the President on looking out for possible solutions to the current problem – a recommendation rejected by the government, through the Information Minister.
The coalition has also blasted the ruling party as being responsible for most of the political disturbances in the country. By John Baimba Sesay