As ordinary APC diaspora supporters enjoy Free Speech... APC PUTS SLPP IN A 'VEXINAMA' DISPLAY
A popular local street slang is ‘Vexinama’ and it was coined from lyrics of a music wherein the singer is saying someone or some entity is just going about in vexatious pursuits that are not clear. The term ‘Vexinama’ is now being used by many bemused observers who have told this writer that the ruling Sierra Leone Peoples Party (SLPP) led Government of His Excellency the President Julius Maada Bio seems to be ‘Vexinama’ (i.e: vexed and confused) for reasons that are not clear. The Government is supposed to be running under a ‘new direction’ known as PAOPA which in local dialect means something that is enforced whether you like it or not. However, not liking to be linked to such a negative image of forcing people against their will, the President re-named ‘PAOPA’ to now mean Prompt Action On Poverty Allevation.
However, President Bio’s Government has lately through the actions and utterances of the Police and official government spokesmen, seem to be following a pattern of enforcement on citizens especially the Media and the Democratic Opposition. The PAOPA regime seems to be very angry and frustrated in a manner that has seen the regime go on a spree of intimidation against the media and members of the democratic opposition. The pattern of the vexation has left many dumbfounded as Sierra Leone is supposed to be a democratic State.
Indeed, under the former President and his All Peoples Congress (APC) government, Sierra Leone enjoyed so much tolerance and democratic freedoms that it was praised several times by American President Barack Obama as a bastion of democracy in Africa.
However, what is clear is that the land called Sierra Leone is no more as it used to be with respect to democratic freedoms. To make matters even worse, the irate Government is spending an inordinate amount of time making open threats against ordinary supporters of main opposition All Peoples Congress (APC) living out in the Diaspora.
Whilst citizens living inside the country have been cowed into submission, there has been a high level of criticisms by Diaspora-based citizens against the SLPP PAOPA over many issues of national interest. These issues include growing number of Murders, disregard for the Rule of Law and Democratic best practices, Politically motivated violence, Violation of the Constitution and discarding due process.
The concerns are being re-echoed by senior observers around the world. Diaspora Sierra Leoneans on electronic media have added their voice in condemnation of the deteriorating state of freedoms by the government, politically motivated intimidation and harassment of democratic tenets by the SLPP PAOPA.
Few days ago, the Sierra Leone Police Spokesman actually took to the airwaves to express serious dissatisfaction of the SLPP-led regime against ordinary supporters of the main opposition APC living in the Diaspora. The Police and the SLPP are very upset with four particular Sierra Leoneans namely; Mr. Gibril Bangura in Ohio, United States of America, Mr. Emanuel Alieu Badamasie Kamara in Spain, Mr. Adebayo Will in the European Union and Mr. Septimus Kanu in Zurich, Switzerland. These men are not executive members of the APC but are mere sympathisers who say they are disgusted with what is unfolding in their country.
However, following the broadcast by the Sierra Leone Police and other social media posts and audios released by Government officials, these four gentlemen have been named as “Enemies of the State of Sierra Leone” by many supporters of the PAOPA SLPP Regime.
However, the gentlemen have reacted by saying they are exercising their democratic freedom of speech and if the Sierra Leone SLPP PAOPA Government is uncomfortable with what they are saying, the Government should do a rebuttal to the broadcasts of these citizens in the Diaspora rather than the Government Police going on the airwaves to threaten them.
One of them who describes himself as a Sierra Leone social media commentator is Emanuel Badamasie Kamara who currently stays in Greece. He wrote that not only has the Police openly threatened him with Interpol deportation to return back to face seditious libel charges but that supporters of the SLPP PAOPA have even threatened that they will locate him and kill him out there in Europe.
He said to make matters worse, death threats, motherly invectives and verbal attacks have been reported to have been sent at his relatives living inside the country.
Many other critics of the new regime are also reporting serious intimidation of their family members inside the country. Mr. Adebayo Will recently had to do a special audio to inform SLPP PAOPA supporters that his family no longer stays inside Sierra Leone.
As for Gibril Bangura, he says he is now accustomed to many kinds of insults, death threats and other threats of the use of tools like Interpol to deport him from America.
On the side of Septimus Kanu who resides in the Swiss city of Zurich, he is a known critic of the current government since opposition. He was the last amongst the four to have left Sierra Leone. Kanu has been a fearless critic to the extent that his family was also targeted immediately after the SLPP took governance.
Several of Kanu's family members have suffered intimidation to the extent that his aunt, who is living in Bo City, one of the strongholds of the ruling party, sadly became a victim.
Meanwhile, whilst many Sierra Leoneans back home have been intimidated by the arrests and questioning of members of the independent media and main opposition party, the likes of Gibril, Adebayo, Emanuel and Septimus are not afraid and through social media, they have been keeping democratic flames of freedom alive even before then.
However, a recent outburst of Gibril Bangura, whilst of no consequence in-country, was widely condemned as it seemed to have been calling on citizens to go and burn down one of the places where journalists and members of the democratic opposition are detained.
At least one journalist is presently in captivity inside the country at the hands of the vexed PAOPA regime. He was arrested for publishing a story that a relative of the President was giving a Diplomatic Passport and also alleging that 300 of such Diplomatic Passports have been issued out. Whilst the Government made no formal denial of the story or of the accompanying photo of the diplomatic passport alleged to have been issued to the President’s relative, the Police pounced in vexation at Emanuel Christian Thorli, Managing Editor of NightWatch and locked him up in a cell where he still remains.
Apart from journalists, another set of people suffering from the vexations and frustrations of the current regime are members of the main democratic opposition APC. Police say APC statements criticising unconstitutional steps of the SLPP PAOPA Government is suspected to be an act of incitement and seditious libel. The insistence by democratic APC opposition that SLPP is tribalistic and planning on targeting citizens from North-Westerners is also being “investigated”.
In a bizarre step that shows how badly vexed the current establishment is, the Sierra Leone Police has reportedly asked the former President of Sierra Leone to report to the Criminal Investigations Department (CID) for questioning over the democratic statement issued by his APC party of which he is Chairman and Leader.