By Foday Moriba Conteh
This medium was reliably informed that the Police interrogated the Mayor of Freetown, Yvonne Aki-Sawyerr, for eight hours over a Facebook post protesting the arrest of one of her councilors.
Mayor Yvonne Aki-Sawyerr, it was stated, complained in a live video filmed in front of police about the arrest of Councilor Sheku Turay, who was detained for allegedly inciting deadly violence earlier this year.
Turay and Aki-Sawyerr were about to board a flight to New York to attend the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation’s Goalkeepers event last month when he was apprehended.
Police then invited Aki-Sawyerr to answer questions on “an alleged case of obstruction of police duties and disorderly behavior,” a police notice shows.
Aki-Sawyerr arrived at the police Criminal Investigation Department this past Monday at 10 a.m. and was questioned until about 6 p.m., she said in a text response to questions. She returned to the police office Tuesday morning for further interrogation, she said.
There have been simmering tensions between the ruling Sierra Leone People’s Party and Aki-Sawyerr’s opposition All People’s Congress party as the nation heads toward an election in 2023.
President Julius Maada Bio blamed the opposition — including the Mayor– for deadly protests in August against the rising cost of living. Inflation accelerated to 29.5% in July, and the Government’s high debt burden limited its ability to help subsidize costs for the nation’s 8 million people. Aki-Sawyerr has denied any involvement in the protests that led to the deaths of at least 20 people.
The Mayor was among 15 winners of Bloomberg Philanthropies’ Global Mayors Challenge this year for her proposal to tackle deforestation by using digital technologies to support tree maintenance in Freetown. Winners get a $1 million grant to implement the projects over three years.
Bloomberg Philanthropies founder Michael Bloomberg is the majority owner of Bloomberg LP, the parent of Bloomberg News.
Aki-Sawyerr said she’s keen to run for mayor again.
©️The Calabash Newspaper