Sierra Leone police accused of political meddling ahead of elections as opposition leader Dr Bright is detained

Sierra Leone Telegraph: 23 March 2022:

NGC Chaiman and National Leader, Dr Dennis Bright was invited to the CID headquarters in Freetown this morning, where he was detained by Police.

Speaking yesterday at an APC rally for the 073 Koya By-election, which he attended as part of the Consortium of Progressive Political Parties (COPPP), Dr Bright said that he had been asked by the police to report to CID this morning.

Alan Luke, former Chairman of NGC UK/Ireland branch told the Sierra Leone Telegraph, that: “This episode highlights the desperation of the ruling SLPP Paopa Government of Julius Maada Bio. President Bio’s attempt to lure Dr Kandeh Yumkella back to the SLPP was met with a snub, when Dr Yumkella replied saying: “Ar ohl word”.

“Over the weekend, CoPPP visited Dr Yumkella at his residence in Kychum. NGC continues to work with 13 other parties in CoPPP and as a sign of its commitment, withdrew its candidate Mr Ezra Bangura from contesting the Koya bye-election this weekend.  (Photo: Dr Dennis Bright at CID this morning).

“At the By-election rally, Dr Bright urged the APC to win the elections by a significant margin. It would appear that these actions and the strength and momentum of CoPPP is causing the SLPP a great deal of worry and concern.”

There are reports also that the main opposition APC Secretary General, Dr Osman Yansaneh was invited to the CID this afternoon for questioning, amid suspicion that the police are beginning to tighten their noose around the necks of the opposition ahead of Saturday’s Koya bye-election.

Earlier today, the NGC secretariat issued a press statement denouncing social media posts which sought to associate Dr Bright with a call to resort to violence.

“The attention of the leadership of the National Grand Coalition (NGC) has been drawn to a number of videos and photos that are making the rounds on social media associating Dr Dennis Bright with violence.

“Specifically, a video showing Dr. Bright talking to some young people, strangers that he met along the Freetown-Waterloo road, at Songo junction when together with other COPPP members they were going to honor an invitation by APC to attend their bye election rally yesterday.

“It is shocking that some mischievous people are trying to spin a two minutes peaceful encounter by the roadside into a story about violence.

“The NGC wishes it to be known that we strongly oppose all forms of violence and insist that the only way Sierra Leone will develop is if there is peace and stability in the country. We have never been known to be a violent party and we are never going to be one.

“We therefore urge all those who are using the social media to deliberately malign hard working and forward looking citizens to stop the distraction and let us focus on solving the problems we are facing in this country within the framework of good governance, respect for the rule of law and human rights.”

This is the second time in just the last few months that the NGC chairman – Dr Dennis Bright is being detained at the CID for questioning.

Watch Dr Bright speaking in Koya ahead of Saturday’s bye-election:

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