By Alieu Kondoh
The National Grand Coalition (NGC) Party has in a press statement expressed concern that the planned relocation of the 1.6 MW EGTC Generator from Makeni to Lungi resulted in so much mayhem and fatalities.
Having carefully considered various comments by the Minister of Energy, the Mayor of Makeni City, eyewitnesses report and held discussions with various affected and interested parties to the issue, the NGC holds the view that for the fact that a normal event like that could result in so much chaos is indicative of the deep political divisions that exist between the APC and the SLPP.
That there were communication problems between the government, Makeni City Council and other stakeholders, adding that the urge by the Ministry of Energy to transfer the generator at the 11th hour is indicative of poor planning on the part of the Ministry.
That the riotous conduct of youths resulting in damage of property was not justified and that the firing of live rounds by security forces resulting in the death of five unarmed youths and injuries to several more is totally unjustifiable and unnecessary.
They noted that the killing of unarmed people by security forces has made international headlines which is of concern and dents the country’s image.
They support the right of citizens to peaceful protest but acknowledge that the state has a responsibility to fight lawlessness and riotous conduct when protests degenerate to such a state.
They called on government to speed up planned measures for national reconciliation and heal the big divide between the APC and the SLPP, requesting that state and non-state actors should examine the underlying economic and social factors responsible for the involvement of youths in political violence.
That an independent and credible inquiry should be instituted to investigate the deaths and also look at the increasing use of firearms by security forces to break protests.