1. Today, I want to call on all Sierra Leoneans to celebrate the ties that bind us as a nation and not the angers that blind us. We convened a national convention that agreed to institute a permanent commission for peace and national cohesion that would identify and address all triggers of conflict in our nation. Over and over again, I have asked every Sierra Leonean to contribute to building inclusive and resilient national institutions, to consolidate our democracy, and to build a peaceful Sierra Leone.
2. The Sierra Leone Association of Journalists has acknowledged that they practise journalism freely and we are working with them to repeal obnoxious laws and further enhance professional development in journalism. Civil society organisations speak up freely and hold Government accountable and we are grateful that they are playing their part as citizens. Organised labour organisations, professional organisations, religious bodies, Paramount Chiefs, community stakeholders, the private sector all continue to contribute positively to our peaceful co-existence as a nation. The international community in Sierra Leone continues to engage with Government and Sierra Leoneans in general in fostering peace and supporting development.
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3. In this Holy Month of Ramadan, Sierra Leoneans, irrespective of ethnicity and political party, buy and sell in the same markets, live peacefully in the same communities, and break fast and worship Allah Subuhanah wa T’Allah together and in peace.
4. Presently, Sierra Leone is contending with COVID-19 that has already killed over two hundred thousand people worldwide including Sierra Leoneans at home and abroad. We will remember them and their families. We will also continue praying for our compatriots and their families who are currently battling with this highly infectious and deadly disease. I thank and urge all my fellow Sierra Leoneans to continue complying with all hygiene and public health directives as we work hand-in-hand to rid this country of the Corona Virus.
5. I also call for solidarity and cooperation from all well- meaning Sierra Leoneans across this great nation to join us in informing and mobilising our communities to prevent, curtail, and protect against COVID-19.
6. It is at times like this, in our country’s greatest hour of need, that we should all voluntarily stand up for our shared values, our common destiny, and the only place we call home. When Ebola ravaged our nation, I did not wait for an invitation or a telephone call to lead my party’s
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social mobilisation and fight against Ebola. I travelled to every part of this country that was accessible to me and delivered a message that was in consonance with the government’s strategy and objectives in fighting Ebola. That is what serving the national interest is -not waiting to be begged pleasantly to serve your country and putting your country’s interests always above all else.
7. As President, I have reached out to all Sierra Leoneans to work together to make this country a peaceful place for all of us. I dispatched the Honourable Vice President to former President Ernest Bai Koroma to initiate dialogue on fostering peace and resolving the acrimony of division. I followed that with a personal invitation of the entire leadership of the All People’s Congress party to State House, (including former President Dr. Ernest Bai Koroma), to discuss the way forward for a peaceful and united Sierra Leone.
8. In the post-meeting memorandum of understanding, we resolved on working urgently on building a united and cohesive Sierra Leone free of patronage, threats, hate, virulent partisanship, and corruption.
9. But within those two years, there has been an unrelenting barrage of attacks against the state, state officials, public and private persons and properties. This hearkens back to
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a public threat issued by the losing Presidential candidate that the All Peoples Congress party would make the country ungovernable.
10. One would therefore expect that the leadership of the All People’s Congress, like the leaderships of the other political parties in Sierra Leone, would have publicly and staunchly condemned as well as dissociated the party from any persons or groups of persons who incite hate, associate with and support violence, or participate in violence against the state. They have not. Instead, the leadership has made public statements that have heightened tensions.
11. Evidence emerging from investigations have named known local leaders and members of the APC as being responsible for inciting, planning, financing, mobilising, and in some cases actively participating in violent terrorist attacks against the people of this country.
12. The silence of the national APC leadership on the active participation of their members and executive members in these acts of terrorist violence, senseless loss of lives, injuries and wanton destruction of public and personal property is truly disconcerting.
13. And let us be very clear, fellow citizens. The actions of these persons are not peaceful political expressions as
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one expects in a democracy. Their actions are carefully planned, coordinated, well-orchestrated and executed acts of violent terrorism targeting the state, state officials, public buildings, and private persons and property. Like terrorists elsewhere, they even record their acts with telephone cameras, run self-valorising commentaries on their acts of extreme violence and killings, and share those synchronously in WhatsApp forums.
14. For each of the attacks at Lunsar, Foredugu, Tombo, and the prison breakout at Pademba Road Correctional Centres, known agents and associates of the All People’s Congress party have publicly predicted the precise date, target, and nature of the attacks. There is an obvious pattern. These attacks are therefore premeditated, orchestrated, and executed with a clear objective – to make the state ungovernable.
15. Persons who have been arrested are not being held because of their political beliefs or their professional work as journalists. Beating a journalist to death, persistently inciting people to violence against the state, the unauthorised carrying of loaded firearms, burning down the homes and vehicles of Chiefs, burning down hospitals and community health centres, burning down police stations, destroying telecommunications
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installations, burning down large parts of prisons, violently killing persons with machetes and iron bars, are all criminal offences. What each and all of them have done are not peaceful political expressions. They are either being held on criminal charges or being investigated for criminal violence and terrorism-related offences.
16. Incitement to extreme criminal violence, arson, murder and attempted murder, other felonious acts targeting the state, state officials, public officials, private citizens, and public and private persons are not peaceful political actions meant to foster peace in Sierra Leone.
17. The right to free speech is guaranteed in our democracy and in our constitution. But no democracy guarantees a right to speech that incites criminal violence, foments hate and divisiveness, causes public disorder, and threatens the security and stability of the state.
18. I am certain that our international partners agree with us that prosperity and development are possible only when there is peace and stability. Countries that have prospered have always ensured first that peace and security are maintained. Our international partners, as moral guarantors of our peace, should therefore single out and wholeheartedly condemn persons and organisations
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associated with these acts of extreme violence against the
19. In peaceful democracies, citizens strive for the
common good, peacefully cohabit with other citizens, and advocate for and protect their rights through peaceful norms and practices.
20. Our enforcement agencies and the justice sector will ensure that every citizen’s right to due process is respected and justice is dispensed speedily and without hindrance, fear, or favour.
21. The rule of law is supreme. No citizen, absolutely no citizen, is above the law.
22. My Government has been closely following events of the last few weeks. The security sector has closely analysed the prime movers, financiers, causes, nature, and patterns of violent acts. Our responses are therefore well-informed.
23. As Commander-in-Chief, I have ordered the intelligence and security forces to use all available resources, and take all measures necessary within the laws of this country to deal promptly, decisively, and robustly with all acts of violence against the state.
24. Anybody who incites, plans, supports, undertakes, or is involved in any manner of violence in this country will
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be dealt with harshly. We will use all instruments of state power and resources permissible under the laws of this country to deal firmly and decisively with these violent terrorist attacks against the state of Sierra Leone.
25. I have also ordered urgent reforms within the security sector. The objective is to make their leadership more decisive, more effective in crime prevention and deterrence, and to maintain peace and stability in the face of extreme acts of terrorist violence against the state.
26. I have called for more citizen engagement so that communities are more intimately involved in preventing crime and the causes of crime. I want to personally encourage civil society organisations to expand their scope of work to capture these dynamics in their daily work with communities.
27. I have also ordered urgent reforms within the correctional system to provide for safe and secure custody in line with international best practices while developing a reintegration component focused on skills training and entrepreneurship.
28. I am aware that the courts are closed because of COVID-19. But given the prevailing circumstances, I will appeal to the Chief Justice to consider appropriate
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measures to adjudicate the cases that emerge from this
29. Equally, given the destruction to the Pademba road
Correctional Centre and the burning down of police stations in parts of the Country in addition to over- crowding in the Correctional Centres and police cells, there is a need to think about decentralizing court hearings.
30. In conclusion, let me re-state that any act of violence will be dealt with within the broad spectrum of the law. Citizens have an obligation to obey law and order. Those who think that by fomenting trouble and inciting violence in this country, they can derail and distract the government from fighting corruption, attracting investors, and meeting its promise to deliver development of this nation, know now that you will lose this fight.
31. My Government will hit hard and it will continue to hit even harder until this fight is won because this is a fight for the unity, stability, development, and the future of the only place we call home. It is a fight that we must fight and it is a fight that we must win.
I thank you and God Bless Sierra Leone
· Few Takeaways from President Bio Address:
1. It is irresponsible for President Bio to accuse the opposition of financing and perpetrating violence in the country without any evidence to substantiate his claims.(make the evidence public).
2. You can’t call for national unity when your administration keep arresting key opposition members including former Ministers without any alleged crime. Sierra Leoneans have been indiscriminately ostracized and fired in govt MDA’s because of their last names or regions they came from. (It’s called hypocrisy)
3. It is a disservice to the people of Sierra Leone to have waited for over a week or two since the Prison Break to address the nation and send his condolences to the bereaved family. He had the opportunity to do so during the nationwide address immediately after the incident. He ignored it. (No formal investigation has been instituted, stand to be corrected)
4. The speech is full of bogus claims and unnecessary threats to the citizens that elected him in office. It is a bogus display of an incompetent president who has failed to bring all Sierra Leoneans together since he was elected.
5. Finally, i agree that Sierra Leone is the only country we have. We need to maintain the peace and it is the responsibility of every Sierra Leonean, including the President to do so. The president actions MUST speak louder that his regular bogus nationwide address. We need LEADERSHIP!
(C) Ibrahim Sesay is my name!
t20Spomnsr mmioonsferedse · Maada Bio your speech is full of hatred, this has indicated that their are darker days ahead of our nation. And so how can we attract investors?
1 htSpmcfonsralored · That human sewage called President of Sierra Leone continue to divide the nation. Lying piece of filth.
Bliss Sanpuka Thomas President bio seriously need prayers and medical attention form his speech to night u will no that he need the intervention of God on his life can u imagine he is casting the blame on A.P.C for all the fight that took place in the country and then calling the same a.p.c for peace what a shame dam it Mr President u better ask the Lord for wisdom and understand ing to rule Sierra Leone
1atslSp onsoreadhrf ·
PRESIDENT BIO ONCE MORE FAILED TO SHOW COMPASSION TO THOSE WHO LOST THEIR LIVES DURING THE GOVERNMENT ORCHESTRATED PRISON RIOT.
WHAT A SHAME Posseh Kamara Never mentioned a word. He basically came to declare an all out war against the opposition
Today the world will see Maada Bio as a very weak leader, branding an opposition party as a terrorist group, shows ur unserious.
I do not have any political power but listening to the cry of my president and the accusation of a broken state, I’m worried whether I can sleep anymore in Sierra Leone. The state of Sierra Leone is broken based on the speech of the Commander in Chief. What can we do as citizens to fix it and to fix it urgently? May God protect the leaders and weed out the bad lots even in this COVID 19 state of ill-health.
The sun may be hot but that does not mean that the fowl will lay a boiled egg. The president’s missed opportunity to unite the country through a vague rhetorical speech he think will bring the nation together. There’s nothing like tough talk in a democratic dispensation. A democratically elected leader should talk like one and not like ancient days dictators. Edwina Jones He has just created more tension and a bigger rift. THIS IS BEYOND APC, the citizens of Sierra Leone have a right to speak and point out the injustices that are going on. This was his opportunity to bandaid the situation! Maada Bio did not speak like a leader because he is not a leader, he is nothing but a disgruntled soldier
I’ve not listened to, or watched, the President’s speech.
But earlier today, I messaged a few friends about a trend I’d noticed
on SLPP social media chatter this morning; the use of the words
terrorism, and domestic terrorism.
Their plan is to declare the main opposition , the APC, as a terrorist organisation.
Which will eventually mean that membership of the APC will be illegal, and members will be branded terrorists.
This will not help Sierra Leone.
And it definitely will not help the SLPP
Randy Prince Charles I was expecting a speech of political unity and social cohesion and not the one of fermenting hate and political division. God save our land
The last time we have a President in Sierra Leone it was two years ago. That speech was a trash, rubbish and nasty. #deadbeatI will never forget that Aunty Terry and I will never forgive APC as a result. The speech was barbaric and disappointing.
· PRESIDENT BIO HAS JUST NOW SANCTIONED A LICENSE TO KILL! MEMBERS OF THE OPPOSITION, WATCH YOURSELVES- BE CAREFUL!
· The Bio presidency is a total failure so far. The man is so out of touch. It’s always appalling listening to him speak.
How can you have a Government without an opposition? The President is a joker. Timap dae Blame APC tay di People dem change pa you. U go Cham di day n swallow di Hour. Kaprie Kanu Mr. President, COVID-19 has killed over 2 million and not 200 thousands. There are also evidences that Civil society organizations and their leaders are in fear in carryout their advocacy. Whenever they speaks on the ills and impunities carried out by members of your cabinet, the next action will be armed men knocking at your door for an arrest. This must stop! Your speech today is not welcoming at all. James Macford Macauley Bizarre Presidential address amid instability in the country. Sierra Leone need a unifier in chief not a divider in chief. How can you unify the country or bring Sierra Leoneans together with this address? Blaming the main opposition party for the failure of leadership in the country and threatening that ur govt will hit harder is not a solution to the problem but making the situation to get worst .Any leader that threatens it citizenry or blaming others for his failure instead of bringing them together that leader is weak and unfit to serve period
Le God help we pipul dem. Nothing about a plan to deal with COVID-19, only mentioned in passing
. Still in the business of blaming the other…how long have you ruled again Maada Bio??? Isn’t it time you showed us you deserve the seat???
By your words Maada, our constitutional recognition of free speech does not recognize “speech that incites criminal violence, forments hate and divisiveness, causes public disorder and threatens the security and stability” of our country…ISN’T AN INDICTMENT OF FATIMA BIO LONG OVERDUE BY THESE VERY STANDARDS???
Shouldn’t the very law enforcers that you, Maada, have called on to
“single out and whole heartedly condemn” inciters of violence, make
Fatima Bio the prime example? By your very words no one is above the
law, why then is Fatima slithering all over our country after boldly
calling for violence??? Or is there a double standard: one law for Maada
Bio boot lockers and another for everyone else???
COVID-19 is making its rounds in the country, your speech should at least have shown some leadership plans. People are starving, made worse by COVID-19, your silence on this matter is DEAFENING !!!.
In summary, your speech Maada, was nothing more than a shameless panhandling for international funds and drastically disappointing.
Mamu Salone TearGas is with Mamu Al Conteh.
Instead of trying to unite the nation, Maada Bio threatened resenting voices. We are ready. If this man really want’s war, we will endorse it.
26 mins · Maybe its just me, I was expecting more from prezo. I’m bit disappointed with some of the contents. Let have normalcy and get to the ppl business. Debate policies.
tS3epollndgr somirnsred · State terrorism is when a government seeks to stifle free speech and political competition in the name of fighting violence!
tSrhp2 ohhnsrsoermoed · To”hit hard and harder”amid unresolved political tensions is a choice for confrontation,which could inflame the fragile situation in Sierra Leone Theophilus Shaw I thought I was the only who is thinking in that direction. I thought the president would have pacified the situation instead of intensifying it with those words.
But all the same, we pray for peaceful coexistence in our country.
Culled from Cocorioko.