Over Hate Speech… APC Throws Bombshell

Over the uncontrolled spillage of hate speech lately in the country by allegedly supporters of the ruling Sierra Leone People’s Party (SLPP) and the main opposition All People’s Congress (APC) that has sent shock waves down the spines of a fearful population that lived through the horrors of eleven years of political war in the country, the APC Publicity Secretary has thrown a bombshell by stating that the origin of hate speech and violence in the country after the 2018 elections comes from State House and State Lodge.

Sidi Yayah Tunis supported his assertion of hate speech emanating from the ruling party by stating that before the launching of the GTT Report, certain leading SLPP members in government had called a certain tribe and region ‘ayampis,’ (meaning thieves) even before any evidence of being such were brought up against them.

He added that, in Kono, the President openly threatened APC with violence, with his wife, the First, Lady Fatima Bio supporting him that APC should be subjected to mob justice. The President later, he said, went further to call APC members terrorists.

Other SLPP executive members, the APC Publicity Secretary said, have also thrown hate messages at the APC and even threatened them with violence. He named the SLPP National Chairman, National Organizing Secretary, National Youth Leader, and National Publicity Secretary.

The APC National Publicity Secretary was replying to questions put to him about the threat to the peace and security of the State and its people by the rampant broadcast of hate speech and messages on social media by some Sierra Leoneans within and outside the country, with APC and SLPP accused of being behind the hate speeches and messages.

Tunis maintained that APC has since 2018 published many statements drawing attention of the nation and the international community to the spate of threats and violence against their party, with the SLPP leadership not saying or doing anything by way of condemnation. “No condemnation came from SLPP,” the APC publicity secretary said.

He was further asked if the cycle of threats and violence against each other since the 2018 elections was not started by the former APC presidential flagbearer, Dr Samura Kamara threatening to make the country ungovernable and former APC Head of State not calling to congratulate the current President on his election.

Tunis categorically denied those allegations and called for any evidence of the former APC flagbearer having threatened violence against the government to be brought forward.

He also denied that the former APC Head of State did not congratulate the current President on his election; citing that Ernest invited Bio and not only congratulated him but also offered to be available to him for assistance. He said that at that meeting, the current President even promised to build on the legacy of his predecessor.

Asked if Gibril Bangura and Adebayor, who like the SLPP’s Austin Johnny are renowned for spreading hate messages, are not APC members, Tunis said they are not. He asked his interviewer to show any audio message published by any APC executive preaching hate. APC, he said, is not run on social media. 

Reminded that without peace, there can be no development, the APC National Publicity Secretary was asked what can be done by the political parties to ensure that the country is peaceful and secure by talking to their people.

“Let us not cover the problem,” Tunis said, adding, “let us address it.” He called for independent investigation of the incidents of violence that took place recently in Lunsar, Tombo, the central prison and Makeni in order to bring those responsible for them to book. “We know we are clean,” he said.

The government, he said, failing to confront the likes of SLPP’s Austin Johnny who, he said, very recently in an audio message, threatened violence and death against APC members, he said, only emboldens such people.

APC, the National Publicity Secretary said, stands ready to always condemn hate speeches and violence and called on the government to arrest APC or SLPP members that are engaged in such.