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Sierra Leone Opposition APC Secretary General – Dumbuya Invited By Police For Questioning

Sierra Leone Opposition APC Secretary General – Dumbuya Invited By Police For Questioning
Sierra Leone’s main opposition APC party Secretary General – Mr Lansana Dumbuya, yesterday reported on Twitter that he has been invited by the Police for questioning at the country’s notorious Criminal Investigations Department (CID) in Freetown, following a statement he published yesterday on behalf of the APC, announcing the party members’ solidarity with their former chairman and leader, Dr Ernest Bai Koroma.

Concerned citizens have said that what is very troubling about Sierra Leone today, is the fact that most opposition politicians that are invited to the CID for questioning are usually detained without charge for several weeks if not months, as a form of extra-judicial punishment by the state.

Former President Koroma is currently in detention under house arrest, awaiting treason trial for alleged involvement in what the government says was a plot to overthrow the Bio-led government on 26 November 2023, despite lawyers representing the former president protesting his innocence.
Writing on Twitter, APC party Secretary General – Mr Lansana Dumbuya, said: “Interesting development, I have just been invited to the CID to issue out a press statement in support of former President Ernest Bai Koroma.”
Not only has the democratic space become smaller, and the political climate is worsening by the day in Sierra Leone, but civil liberty and the right to free speech are dangerously being endangered by the government and the country’s security forces.
This is the statement by the opposition APC, published yesterday by the party’s secretary general that has offended Sierra Leone Police:

The APC Is Confident Of Former President Koroma’s Innocence and Stands With Him
The APC is utterly disappointed with, and livid about the distasteful persecution of our former Chairman and Leader, His Excellency Ernest Bai Koroma. The former president diligently and inspiringly served our nation as a two-term democratically elected President.
At the end of his presidency, he gracefully relinquished power in a demonstrable respect for Sierra Leone’s constitutional term limit and conducted a peaceful, free and fair election which ushered in the then opposition candidate as president.
Since he left power in 2018, he has dedicated his time and energy to promoting peace, democratic good governance and smooth transitions across Africa. It is therefore exceedingly hurtful and unacceptable for a noble statesman of such high repute and distinguished democratic credentials, to be tarnished with political vendetta and accusations of involvement in a coup d’état.
Those trumped-up treason and other charges represent a dangerous precedent and a credible threat to the peace and stability of Sierra Leone.

The APC has shown incredible restraint concerning what is a sustained political witch–hunt, intimidation, harassment and persecution, as promised by the president during his campaign. While we continue to condemn the events of 26th November 2023 and all forms of unconstitutional change of government, we also strongly abhor the deliberate democratic backsliding and imposition of the increasing tendencies of a one-party political hegemony in Sierra Leone.

Several of our supporters and members at constituency, district, regional and national levels have been arrested and detained for weeks and months without charge. This has been the pattern since 2018.
We have reached a point where the APC would have to face its circumstances with all its strength and wherewithal. We stand firm with our former chairman and leader and our National Organising Secretary, Comrade Bai Mahmoud Bangura.
With the country on the precipice, we strongly urge the SLPP to retract from this dangerous, unproductive path and take concrete strides to promote peace, rather than hate and political divide. All we have is our beloved country, and it is our responsibility to work together to unify it.
In the meantime, let no one be afraid, the APC is confident about former President Koroma’s innocence. The APC will meet to consider our next actional steps, and we shall communicate them to the public.
SIGNED: Lansana Dumbuya, National Secretary General – APC.

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News & Announcements

Sierra Leone Passes New Laws To Boost Landowners’ Rights

Sierra Leone’s parliament on Monday passed two laws that lawyers say will help boost the rights of rural landowners and women against land grabs by big mining and agribusiness firms.

The West African country has a history of sometimes deadly conflict between local communities and foreign companies that have cleared huge tracts of land for palm oil and sugarcane plantations in recent years.

Locals have complained of environmental damage, losing their livelihoods, and not being fairly compensated for their land. Under the current system, landowners get an annual rent of $2.5 per acre, which was determined by the state.

The Customary Land Rights Act and the Land Commission Act, both enacted on Monday, empower local landowners to negotiate the value of their land with investors and prevent it from being leased out without their express consent.
Campaigners and locals praised the move, while one palm oil company executive said it would spell the end of the investment.

“To our knowledge, there is not a legal regime anywhere, in either hemisphere that grants such robust rights to communities facing harm,” said Eleanor Thompson of Namati, an international legal advocacy group.

A director of SOCFIN, the biggest agribusiness company in Sierra Leone, called it a “dream of NGOs”.
“Certainly it will block any investment… It makes things very expensive and we are all prone to enormous blackmail by various communities,” Gerben Haringsma added.

The Luxembourg-based company has invested more than $150 million in palm oil farming in Sierra Leone. It has also frequently clashed with local landowners.
Lands Minister Turad Senessie said the new laws would encourage investment by ensuring peace and order.

“This is a win-win situation for both business and Sierra Leoneans including rural landowners,” he told Reuters. One of the laws will also end a colonial-era provision that bars descendants of freed slaves from owning land outside the capital, Freetown.

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