Efforts to reconcile the newly elected Sierra Leone president, Julius Maada Bio and losing candidate Samura Kamara intensified over the weekend, amidst reports of clashes between the two main political parties.
On Saturday, members of the Kamara’s All People’s Congress Party (APC) including the presidential candidate, his running mate and the secretary general of the party paid a courtesy visit to president Bio at his Juba Residence in Freetown.
At the end of the meeting which addressed political violence and intimidation, the office of the president released a statement saying Bio had initiated a cross party committee to address political violence.
President Julius Maada Bio has instructed the cross party committee to work in concert with the Sierra Leone police to investigate all complaints of violence and intimidation.
According to the statement, the committee will comprise the leadership of both APC and Bio’s Sierra Leone People’s Party (SLPP).
‘‘President Julius Maada Bio has instructed the cross party committee to work in concert with the Sierra Leone police to investigate all complaints of violence and intimidation, and to ensure that the law is applied with full force against anyone found culpable,’‘ read part of the statement.
On Sunday, Bio and Kamara, together with their wives, attended the same church service, as part of efforts to strengthen the reconciliation between the two parties following the March 31 presidential runoff election.
Following the announcement of results announcing Bio as winner of the election, violence erupted among supporters of the SLPP and APC.
The areas that were affected included Kenema,Makeni and Freetown where people sustained serious injuries.
There were also reports of confrontation of security forces in which many civilians and police officers were seriously injured .
The National Grand Coalition (NGC),which came third party in the March 7th election (first round) called on the leadership of both parties to take immediate steps to call their supporters to order.
Before the Saturday meeting, the secretary general of APC, Osman Yansanneh complained that their supporters had come under attack and that efforts to get the SLPP chairman to rein in his supporters had been fruitless until the Saturday meeting was granted.
Eric Kawa, Africanews Correspondent