After the radio station apologized to the information minister for failing to have the United States ambassador to Sierra Leone on air to respond to the points expressed during the scheduled broadcast on Wednesday, the interview with him was broadcast on Thursday, August 17, 2023.
The interview with Ambassador David Reimer, in which he addressed American worries regarding the contested June 24 elections, was taped on Tuesday and is scheduled to air on Radio Democracy 98.1 early on Wednesday.
Before the US ambassador speaks, a radio station in Sierra Leone goes out.
After the interview, the station stopped broadcasting.
However, the station briefly fell off the air before that.
On Wednesday morning, a station journalist who was present said to AFP that Information Minister Chernor Bah had arrived and requested the opportunity to respond to the interview live on television.
After a verbal argument, according to the journalist, the station’s power was subsequently turned off.
Bah, a visitor who spent the whole Thursday morning show in the studio, denied tampering with the broadcast and said he lacked the authority to switch off the station’s energy.
Soldiers from Sierra Leone are being examined for’subversive’ behavior.
The station manager, Michael Kakpindi Jamiru, who is also the brother of the president’s spokesperson, said at the start of the show on Thursday, “Yesterday indeed we had the minister… (here) to talk about the government’s position on the interview with the US ambassador, but one or two problems prevented him from coming on.
“We want to sincerely apologize to you on behalf of the station and assure you that we will make things right moving forward.”
He also expressed regret to the general public for the station coming off the air on Wednesday, stating it “was out of our control”.
A public apology
Reimer said in the interview that President Julius Maada Bio was re-elected in Sierra Leone in June, but that “questions about the integrity and the credibility of the results” had been raised by the US government.
The inconsistencies in the results that the ECSL announced worry the United States, he added.
International observers criticized a “lack of transparency” in the vote count and cited “statistical inconsistencies” in their observations.
Significant differences between voter outcomes for the presidential, parliamentary, and local council elections were also discovered by a nationwide observation group.
Reimer demanded that the election be the subject of a “outside, independent” probe.
US would evaluate its programs.
He said that the US would reassess its government-to-government initiatives in Sierra Leone, including a multibillion-dollar compact grant from the Millennium Challenge Corporation (MCC).
Early in August, Bio declared that a committee led by his vice president and made up of representatives of the civil society and development partners would be formed to analyze the vote.
Reimer, though, asserted in the interview that “it’s just not possible for someone who was a candidate in the election to then look at the process and be not biased.”
The information minister responded on Thursday, claiming that the MCC program was “based on a partnership and shared values… not based on the ambassador’s position; it is not colonization or weaponization of aid.”
The notion that Sierra Leoneans lack integrity and that members of political parties or tribes are incapable of behaving independently and objectively is one that, in his words, “I take a very dim view of.”