Following recent spate of violence allegedly by APC supporters in the country in recent times, following the start of campaigning for the pending local council elections on Saturday, July 5th, Secretary General for the main opposition Sierra Leone People’s Party, Jacob Jusu Saffa has revealed to journalists that, supporters of the SLPP have on several occasions complained to the local police stations and the PPRC about how they are being harassed and intimidated and that failure by the authorities to take appropriate action has led to supporters expressing their “determination to return fire for fire”.
Addressing journalists yesterday at the SLPP’s headquarters in Freetown, JJ Saffa said, supporters of the party have restrained themselves and that their patience is being stretched beyond limits. He said, as a party in opposition, “the hierarchy will not be able to exercise absolute control over our members in restraining them from defending themselves by whatever means possible.
Saffa furthered that, it is unfortunate that as a party they have to resort to this as a solution to the unchecked harassment of members of the party and that “the party executive does not take responsibility for any outcome”.
The police, Saffa said, cannot provide protection for them and that no arrests are normally effected when violence occurs and that “even when arrests are made they are released” and that, they have no alternative but to apply the natural law of justice which is self defense.
“Where there is a police that cannot provide the protection, what do you do?” he asked rhetorically. He continued that, “people have the right to defend themselves and we have no regret for that. If the police cannot provide national security for them, we telling them not to protect themselves is like exposing them to dangers.
He said, sometimes, violence can only be stopped by counter violence. Asked by Awoko whether he was inciting his supporters, Saffa said, “he was not but that he was ‘making them resilient so that they can be determined”.
Fire for fire, JJ Saffa said, is now a slogan in the SLPP circle and that they have no regret for that. “They go and start singing fire fire fire fire – fire dae cam, we are singing water water water water water dae cam, …that seems the only language the APC understands, the police cannot provide the protection for our people..’ JJ Saffa said, fire for fire is part of human tendency.
Speaking on sources he said, they have got to know how the APC plans to rig the elections. Saffa said, the APC has mapped out Kono district, the home of the VP and the first lady for winning at all cost and that some of the rigging strategies include; destroying the SLPP radio station to prevent it from communicating with its membership, attacking and vandalizing the SLPP headquarters in Freetown and the regional offices “in order to de-moralise our supporters” and the bribing of NEC field staff and national officers to facilitate their rigging plans, among other strategies.
Saffa said, as a party they are appalled at the conduct of the ruling party during campaign period, “especially their crude strategy of intimidation and violence.” The APC, Saffa said, does not understand the “new politics” and democracy cannot operate in an un-democratic environment.
The recent incidents in the country, Saffa said, do not tell well for the democratic credentials of the country and the consolidation of peace in Sierra Leone and that as a party, they are “worried that these ugly incidents have the potential of reversing the gains made by the last SLPP government and undermining the efforts of the international community in stabilizing the country”.
Meanwhile, the Secretary General for the ruling All Peoples Congress party, Victor Bockarie Foe has countered that, they have never intimidated supporters of the SLPP and that the SLPP is complaining because they know they are not going to win the pending local council elections. “These people are complaining because they have failed we have never intimidated them, they are a failed party and they are in disarray’, Foe told Awoko over the phone.
On the issue of returning fire for fire as said by the SLPP, Victor Foe said, there is not going to be any fire and that, the SLPP should not return fire because there is no fire. There is no fire. We will never fire if they don’t. We have already won”, Foe ended
By John Baimba Sesay