September 28, 2022

By Ragan M. Conteh

Recent history indicates a clear difference between leaderships of Ernest Bai Koroma and Chernor Maju Bah as leaders of the opposition leaders.

In the face of sporadic arrest and detention of opposition members of Parliament including Hon. Abdul Kargbo representing Constituency 177 and Hon. Lahai Marah representing Constituency 042.

The ruling Sierra Leone Peoples Party (SLPP) has forcefully removed 10 Members of Parliament and replace them with SLPP runners-up.

The Sierra Leone Police under the watchful eye of the SLPP government placed the main opposition party headquarters under siege with the use of teargas canisters and other assault rifles.

Brutality and lawlessness was the rule other than the exception as women and children were not spared.

Residents staying very close to the APC headquarters also got a fair share of police brutality on the fateful day.

The APC spokesman, Cornelius Deveaux and others were arrested, and treated harshly.

Today, Mr Deveaux is out of the country to escape constant harassment and possibly detention without just cause.

Deveaux is not alone, a lot of opposition members have gone to other countries to seek haven to free themselves from the chains of imprisonment unleashed by the SLPP government.

The siege of the APC headquarters was preceded by the beating up and expulsion of parliament of ten members of the opposition.

The intimidation of opposition members and supporters in the eastern region and in the capital Freetown is also alarming.

Most opposition members have reportedly lost their lives as a result of what many called sporadic intimidation.

Unlawful dismissals of public and civil servants recruited during the then APC government were commonplace.

No end-of term benefits or pension given to them and little wonder that poverty is now at an alarming rate.

A great number of opposition members have developed psychological problems and other related health complications as a result of the manner in which they are treated.

Thousands of families have borne the brunt of their sacked family members or the sudden and untimely deaths of their friends, brothers, sisters and parents.

Former Minister of Social Welfare during the APC regime, Dr. Sylvia Blyden is currently suffering at the Female Correctional Center for seditious Libel, the Former Minister of Defence, Paolo Conteh is answering a case of Treason and he is still confined by the laws of Sierra Leone, APC stalwart, Amadu Daramy and Albert Williams Former Mayor of Freetown are also answering to murder charges.

Dozens of supporters are also experiencing many charges and are in custody of either CID cells or Prisons all in the name of politics.

But what many heaped accolades on the current Leader of Opposition APC in Parliament, Hon. Chernoh Maju Bah is that, he has been able over the past two years plus months in the SLPP Paopa government to galvanize his colleagues MPs and they have never experience any defection.

Unlike the SLPP as opposition in 2007, many of them defect to the ruling party immediately they lost power and in 2012 of the Koroma regime many Opposition MPs emerged with the ruling and secure their membership for the APC then but to date opposition APC MPs in the current dispensation are still patient and formidable.

Speaking to the Opposition Leader, Hon. Maju Bah in the House of Parliament recently, he said, they as opposition MPs have faced serious challenge ever since Parliament was established in the country.

He said they have been subjected to intimidation by the Paopa SLPP regime by forcefully removing them from the Well of parliament.

“They have used thugs on us as Parliamentarians, we are subjected to unlawful harassment, cancelation of elections won by opposition, the killing of a 14-year old in Tonko Limba bye-elections is among the few highlights I can make,” Hon. Bah said.

The opposition Member of Parliament representing Constituency 077, Abdul Kargbo under Standing Orders (SO) 23 in the House of Parliament complained in one of the sittings for harassment meted to him at Constituency 110 bye-elections.

Upon all these sad happenings in the country especially against the opposition party, the MPs to date are not reported defection to the ruling government of any opposition Member of Parliament and such accolade is been bestowed in leadership of opposition.

The opposition Leader in Parliament in spite of the myriad of challenges, they have been described by many citizens as trailblazers for unity in diversity in their political party and the nation as a whole.