The United Democratic Movement (UDM) has launched another attack on the Sierra Leone People's Party (SLPP) presidential hopeful, (Rtd.) Brig. Julius Maada Bio, this time calling on the main opposition strongman to "validate or debunk" gay and lesbian comments attributed to him by some local and international media.
The media reports, first published by some news portals in the diaspora and culled by some local tabloids, quoted Mr. Bio as allegedly saying that he would promote gay and lesbian practices in Sierra Leone if he were elected president in the November 17 polls.
There has been no official response to the allegations by the SLPP since they were reported and reproduced by some local newspapers almost two weeks ago.
In a UDM statement released Friday, the party's leader and flag-bearer, Mohamed Bangura, described the statements attributed to the SLPP flag-bearer - if they were proven to be true - as "puerile" and a desperate attempt by Bio "to hoodwink the international community that he is a respecter of human rights".
He urged the SLPP and its flag-bearer "to set the records right" by either confirming or denying the allegations. See press release below:
MEDIA ALLEGATIONS AGAINST THE SIERRA LEONE PEOPLE'S PARTY (SLPP) AND THEIR FLAGBEARER, JULIUS MAADA BIO, TO PROMOTE GAY, LESBIAN AND HOMOSEXUAL PRACTICES IN THE COUNTRY
The attention of the United Democratic Movement (UDM) party has been drawn to both local and international media reports, especially those emanating from the UK and the United States, that he [Maada Bio] would promote gay, lesbian and homosexual practices in Sierra Leone if he were to covet the presidency of our country.
Whilst the UDM as a party believes in tolerance, especially that having to do with the choice people make about their sexuality and their choice of partners;
And that whilst as a party we would continue to uphold the values of the country's constitution that border on human rights;
In the light of the above therefore, we in the UDM hereby call on the leadership of the SLPP in general and their flag bearer, Mr. Julius Maada Bio in particular, to either validate or debunk the statements attributed to him that he is determined to promote gay, lesbian and homosexual practices in Sierra Leone.
We would however not be relieved of our democratic responsibility to the people of this country in calling on politicians to set the records right and that media statements attributed to Mr. Julius Maada Bio, if proven to be true, were not just a puerile and desperate attempt on his part into hoodwinking the international community that he is a respecter of human rights, but also a deliberate effort to cover-up for his indictment in his role for the killing of 29 innocent and unsuspecting civilians during the notorious reign of the National Provisional Ruling Council (NPRC).
The intention of this press release, we must emphasise, is not to promote phobia against homosexuals, lesbians and gays, rather, an attempt on the part of the UDM to correctly quote the SLPP flag bearer correctly once the political debate becomes necessary as we approach the November 17 polls.
(Leader and Presidential Candidate)