|Demonstrators in DC|
|Message to the President|
Sierra Leone has a very tormented political history. The country experienced a devastating civil war throughout the 90s. The war was started on the pretext of ridding the country of the nepotism and corruption that characterized the one-party government at the time, and many Sierra Leoneans today are worried that the growing dictatorial tendencies of the President, and his continuous effort to undermine the separation of powers and the checks and balances built into the country's constitution, is setting the foundation for another bloodbath. The country is growing more unstable as he grows more tyrannical and becomes bolder in disregarding the country's constitutional limits, encouraged by close advisers who are the few benefiting under his rule. Remarkably, it was the same party now in power that set the stage for the long civil war in Sierra Leone that lasted from 1991 to 2002.
The growing use of armed police paramilitary personnel to control even small demonstrations, the compromise of the neutrality of the country's parliamentary speaker by a parliamentary coup, the use of bogus lawsuits in compromised courts to strip opposition politicians of clear electoral victories in favor of ruling party members, the financing of journalists in and out of the country to spread propaganda and lies against political opponents and cover up incidents of corruption, the use of public resources for partisan affairs and political patronage, are just some of the few examples of the slide back into the sad politics of the decades of the 70s and 80s that the is experiencing under the current regime.
The removal of the Vice President Sam Sumana, even though he is not a very popular politician, seems to have been a step too far, as many Sierra Leoneans weary of a repeat of history have decided that enough is enough and are now calling for the President to respect the rule of law and curb his executive excesses. The proliferation of social media has also helped make political propaganda less effective as everybody has now become a reporter in the country and government lies are now countered in real time.
So on Saturday, thousands of Sierra Leoneans from all walks of life; young and old, men and women, belonging to both the opposition and the President's own party, decided to put aside their differences and converge on Lafayette Park for a White House protest in the U.S. Capital aimed at exposing the negative developments in their country.
|Massive People Power|
|We Don't Care About Constitution|
|Ernest Bai Koroma|
On the eve of the demonstrations Kabs Kanu and some of his supporters put out a recording in Mende and Krio alleging that the organizers including Mustapha Wai, Jesmed Suma and some others had received $200,000 to arrange the demonstrations, however most who heard the recording dismissed it as just another example of how low the government of Sierra Leone can go to damage the credibility of its opponents.
|London, UK Demonstrations|
The US demonstrations come on the heel of massive demonstratrions of similar nature held in London a few weeks ago.