Tuesday, July 31, 2007

Sierra Leone’s former leader denies plans to seize state authority

Freetown (Sierra Leone) Sierra Leone’s former military leader, Rtd. Brigadier Julius Maada Bio on Monday denied allegations that he would seize power again should the main opposition All People’s Congress (APC) party win the upcoming presidential election billed for 11 August.

Mr. Bio who was speaking on the United Nations radio in Freetown said: “The allegations are false and I know my political enemies are out to tarnish my hard-won reputation and to arouse hatred against me.”

The retired Brigadier has been widely quoted in the local press as repeatedly saying he would topple any APC government that wins an election and assumes state authority.

But the ex-military leader insists he has been widely quoted out of context.

“At no time did I make these statements. What I said was that the conditions which forced us [the junta] to overthrow the then APC government in April 1992 were appalling and things were so bad for our people.

Now, I said if these conditions prevail once again, I would not hesitate to take power again,” Bio added.

Julius Bio, who was deputy Head of State during the regime of the military-run National Provisional Ruling Council (NPRC), eventually overthrew the very military junta under the leadership of Captain Valentine Strasser.

Bio’s military regime subsequently organised a democratic election in 1996 and handed over power to a civilian president Ahmad Tejan Kabbah and his Sierra Leone People’s Party (SLPP).

Bio is now a staunch member of the ruling SLPP.

Afrique en ligne