Vice President Solomon Berewa may likely boycott the Sierra Leone Association of Journalists (SLAJ) presidential debate slated for Tuesday if the APC and PMDC refuse to eschew violence.
This was contained in a press release issued by the SLPP secretariat yesterday bearing the signature of its publicity scribe Victor Reider.
The reason for the boycott, according to the scribe, “is based on the demand that both opposition leaders of the APC Ernest Bai Koroma and PMDC’s Charles Margai denounce violence.
According to the release, the Sierra Leone People’s Party categorically condemned the unwarranted spates of violence that had characterized the past fortnight after the declaration of the official start of campaigning.
It noted further that, “as the ruling party and the government that have brought an end to the 11 years war, the SLPP abhors violence in all its manifestations before, during and after the August 11 polls.”
It also noted that, “the SLPP leadership is convinced that only by consolidating the hard won peace can the nation embark on any development”.
However, it stated that, “it is disheartening to observe that some leaders of the opposition have taken upon themselves to attempt to render the state ungovernable by their very utterances.”
The SLPP national publicity secretary cited an interview granted by the APC presidential flagbearer, Ernest Koroma, to the Peep magazine in which he reportedly said the “SLPP has no reason to win this election. SLPP has rigged the elections.
There is no way we will ever accept an SLPP victory. We will protest; and we intend to protest violently. Nothing will stop us from protesting violently except an announcement that the APC has won the elections.”
The release stressed that Charles Margai “…has equally intimated in an interview on UN Radio recently that he is capable of marshaling and leading 20,000 troops to Kailahun following the fracas which took place in that part of the country.”
Considering these above utterances from opposition leaders, the release emphasized, “the SLPP has concluded that unless Messrs Koroma and Margai denounce violence in all it forms and manifestations, Mr Solomon Berewa, the leader and presidential candidate of the SLPP will not sit in any presidential debate with them.”