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During the ‘Good Morning Salone’ radio program of Radio Democracy, the Publicity Secretary of the All People’s Congress, Sidie Yaya Tunis, highlighted the various Human Rights abuses of the government of President Bio. The program was exclusively held to discuss the Human Rights and Governance of Bio’s five years in office.

During the program, Tunis maintained that all investigations proposed by the government on various killings and human rights abuses by the security forces, are yet to be made public. He disclosed that the independent investigation done into the Pademba Road massacre, orchestrated by the security forces that resulted in the deaths of a good number of inmates and one prison officer, has not been made public, and that the only report on the said killings was only produced by the Correctional Service, which to him, is not enough, as it could be subjected to manipulation. He stressed that the inmates killed were unarmed and shot at point blank range by the security forces.

Tunis also disclosed that several other killings, including those at Makeni, over the electricity generator removal from Makeni, the killings in Tombo, Thonkor, and the August 10 demonstration, where some 35 civilians were shot dead by the security forces and 6 armed police officers killed by protesters. He maintained that all these are abuses that investigation reports to have not been made known to the public. He furthered that whilst there has been access to Justice, same has not resulted in citizens getting Justice. He noted that the beating and dragging out of opposition MPs from Parliament on its first sitting by the police is another blatant abuse of the rights of the MPs, and the subsequent removal of 10 MPs, replaced by runners-up in the various constituencies, who are SLPP, is another violation of the constitution and a violation of their rights.  

Co.Panelist, Communications Minister, Mohamed Rahman Swaray, seemed to dodge the questions put to him, and simply highlighted that the MCC Report and other international reports gave the government high rankings in their perception survey. Rado Swaray struggled to respond to the questions and often deviated from the topic, bring in the opening of the Lungi Airport terminal by President Bio.

In his rating of the Bio government by another panelist, Abdul Fatorma, a Civil Society activist, he said that if he was marking the performance of the Bio regime, the government will not pass rating on democracy. He also raised the abuses relating to the killings of civilians in Tombo, Makeni August 10 riot and the killing of unarmed inmates at Pademba Prison. He furthered that the failure of adequate electricity provision to some parts of the country are all Human Rights issues. On the issue of assembly and protests, which, he said are rights enshrined in the country’s constitution, the government has failed to open the space. He noted with regret that in the coming elections, only the SLPP and the APC have been able to hold their conventions and elect their national officers, other parties have not been able to do so. He stressed that the stopping of the convention of the Unity party by the police does to augur well for the democratic space, especially as the party, under the leadership of a vibrant female, Dr. Femi Claudius-Cole, was gathered at a building to hold their convention and a clearance had been earlier given to them to do so by the very police. The convention, he opined, should have been allowed to hold and the members elect their executive, and thereafter, the PPRC could register their concern. He called on the government to encourage opposing views to be heard, as it will release the stress of the people and prevent such issues boiling inside their hearts.

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