Sierra Leone: Has It All Started Again? . . . Negligence!
The frailty that is running in the marrows of educated and noble Sierra Leoneans is about to damage that country once again. The resistance to say the truth because of political, regional and tribal affiliation is about to turn Sierra Leone apart. The over ambition of Sierra Leonean youth for politicians to conjure a spectacular or rich socio-economic status for them is fast drowning Sierra Leone’s “Darkest” past. The lies and counter lies of senior or so-called respected politicians of the country are pushing Sierra Leone to the ditch. (Photo: Umaru Sitta Turay, author)
This is not about party politics I am reflecting; it is about my dear country Sierra Leone. The “negligence” of the representatives of the major world political players in Sierra Leone is drowning my lovely country.
As I am writing, I am immersed in panic. I am in fear and my heart is close to fire and I feel the heat of war once again even when I am very far away from Sierra Leone. Before now, some of us raised concern about the trend politics has taken in that country. I said the APC will drag the country to its ugly past but some foreign workers that were supposed to confirm what I said deceived their bosses by lying to them. These foreign workers of the United Nations are the same persons that confided in me that they have been working with President Koroma to take power from the SLPP.
I am not sure if my critics, or should I call them my challengers, understood fully what I was trying to put out at that time I wrote “War signs in Sierra Leone“. The APCNA Assistant Public Relation Officer, Mr Brima Turay, challenged me in that my candid revelation of how the activities of the APC will return the country to war. With a mighty pen but in a typical partisan style, Mr Turay denied the facts. This time, I am pretty sure Mr. Turay will start reflecting once again on those underlying essential facts and say “yes Sitta Turay has been saying the truth“. I am confident he will accept because I believe he will be nationalistic this time than partisan
Sierra Leone is on the clock spindle to go back to war. No patriotic person will shy away from this fact. The ongoing activity of the two main political parties in Kono is a clear signal that war is eminent in the country. The ugly side of the whole thing is that Sierra Leoneans are not ready to discuss this openly. The latest attack on the Sierra Leone People’s Party (SLPP) in Kono has given a different view and concept of democracy in that country. The worst thing is, the youth that have suffered the brunt of the eleven years brutal war are more than ready to hold guns and fight again. The young people have not learnt from the past war at all. If nothing is swiftly done, this time it will be more than the Foday Sankoh/Charles Taylor war. Without hiding the facts, it is going to be on tribal and regional line. At least during the Foday Sankoh/Charles Taylor war, those two things were meticulously bundled in a dark pieces of cloth and were not allowed to show up even if it were there. That helped Sierra Leone so much. Now, it is clear that the signals that have been given, it’s going to be an all out APC-SLPP war. That will be a repeat of 1977 when APC and SLPP killed each other all over the country. That “mini-war” was purely based on regional and tribal line that was the reason even when it was short, it was nasty.
Several times when the SLPP offices were attacked, some of us warned that drastic action should be put in place to stop its repetition. That advice fell on deaf ears and dumb persons. At that time, the APC were thinking that they are showing their violent prowess that the SLPP cannot withstand. They, APC, were thinking that is the only route to scare the SLPP away from elections. The only way they can prevent SLPP from coming back to power. For the APC it was designed to do havoc on SLPP. That has happened for so long and those that spent their resources and human lives to secure peace in Sierra Leone are laying back without saying anything. I am pointing at the International Community most especially the United Nations. It is overdue for the International Community to send strong warnings to political leaders in Sierra Leone. It is due for the United Nations to come out with strong warnings and place it in the public for Sierra Leoneans to see. If anything happens to that country right now, the first place to turn to for help, is the United Nations. It is better to stay hungry in freedom than having trucks load of relief supply as refugees and displaced persons. It is not at all wise to sit back and say, “Sierra Leone is a sovereign state and for that reason interference into its political activities should be of limitation“. Is it not subject to perception for the United Nations to show some responsibility than chasing trivial things in the country as the SRSG is doing right now? I think it is better to prevent war than to manage it. There are more things to be done other than closing computers because “WikiLeaks” is happening in the office. Machetes have already shown their ugly activities once again in Kono. The war started in similar fashion in 1991.
Let us please remind ourselves that the second phase of the Foday Sankoh/ Charles Taylor war on Sierra Leone was centered on Kono and that was because of diamonds. It is this same region the fighting has started. We should bear in mind that Ivory Coast (the former host of Foday Sankoh and Charles Taylor) has enough weapons to destabilize Sierra Leone. I am sure not a quarter of the arms and ammunitions in the Ivory Coast war have been disposed of. As I am writing, they (arms and ammunition) are still lying there in the forests of the Ivory Coast. We should take in cognizance the willingness of some disgruntled top Guinean soldiers to use Sierra Leone to cause suffering on the Guinean people. This sounds scary but about keeping it and comes to pass? It is better to say it now than to say “I knew it will happen that way”. NO! It is about to happen, I believe it is now we should bring it to the attention of stake holders so that it be nipped in the bud. Will it not be shameful for anyone to die in that country because of our negligence? We have the responsibility to expose things that will lead us to disaster and that is what I am doing and have been doing.
Someone in the international arena that is a very important figure; should openly tell President Ernest Bai Koroma and his APC thugs that, if the country returns to war because of their violent pattern of “politics“, they shall be held responsible. It must be said to President Koroma’s APC that the country comes first. Someone must start telling the APC that enough is enough. APC, President Koroma and his team must be notified of the repercussion of being violent. To face the fact, yes SLPP has been pushed to the wall but I totally condemn their violent response. APC has been known to be rude and violent and therefore SLPP should leave APC in their rude and violent pattern and continue to pursue the nonviolent method they are known for. I really know the pain that is running through SLPP because of the several attacks on them but that does not warrant any kind of (equal) violent response. We have had enough of war as Sierra Leoneans and for that reason we must avoid any kind of violence. I know the SRSG has been given deaf ears to the several complaints from the SLPP but we should not allow that to turn to war. APC’s violence can be contained if there is willingness on the part of major players. To me; the first thing the International Community should do is to take full surveillance of the Police and the judiciary as it was during the early rule of the SLPP. When the Police know that the International Community is sitting on their tail; they will deliver. Thank God there has not been any new person in the hierarchy of the Police. I mean, those that are there now have been there in nearly the same position. As for the judiciary, the usual financial support from the International Community should continue and court monitors be placed in every court around the country. That will be pretty expensive but isn’t that far better than war?
The recent so called escape of prisoners from Pademba Road is fake. I want to inform my dear readers that it was a planned manoeuvring for several things to happen at a go;
1 – To get rid of the Prison Boss, Mr. Showers. He is perceived to be SLPP sympathizer.
2 – To allow drug convicts to escape so as to start raising fund for APC as election is closing at them
3 – To start recruitment of hard core criminals that will be given the assignment to make violence throughout the country when once elections draw near. This particular one has already been put in place and Musa Tarawallly is in charge. One reliable source told me that Musa Tarawally is encamping ex-combatants somewhere in the Moyamba district and the escaped prisoners have joined them there. According to the source, the Office of National Security has been informed of this move through Christopher Johnson. The source also told me that several emails has been sent to Christopher Johnson alerting him of the situation. My source said Ahmed Sesay, the convicted drug baron has been let loose in the country allowing him to behave like Colombian drug baron, Pablo Escobar. I am informed that Ahmed Sesay even when convicted is still going on with his drug deal and has not spent a day in prison since he was sentenced.
4 . To create fictitious fighting and later accuse SLPP leaders as intending to start war or a coup d’état.
Basically these are the motives of President Ernest Koroma and the APC government.
I heard the Police are calling on political party leaders to cajole them into refraining from violence in Kono. It is a fine strategy if at all these political parties have trust in the Police. The police have not proven neutral as far as I know since the rule of the APC. I am an eyewitness to activities of the Police during attacks on the SLPP. I am also a victim as a journalist filming the activities of Police bias during attacks on the SLPP. From those reasons, I am seeing it a fruitless attempt to cajoling the political parties to refrain from violence by the Sierra Leone Police. The SLPP will never trust the Police as they are right now. That is the reason I am suggesting the International Community to swiftly intervene. According to the PPRC report, the Sierra Leone Police did very little or no effort to stopping the APC vandals from attacking the nonviolent and very subtle SLPP officials. That alone will tell how the SLPP will resist the present nature of the Police in handling this most volatile situation. There is a growing sickness in the Sierra Leone Police that can only be cured if there is a monitor of activity on them. That sickness is; to “dance to the music of the ruling party” especially in this time of the APC. Needless to remind ourselves of the way the Police celebrated when the APC came to power. A very senior Police officer told me then that they are happy the SLPP are out because the SLPP press on them too much about human and people’s rights. He said the APC will not mind if the Police break people’s rights. He further told me that the APC will surely use the Police for its activities and that will make them masters not servants. This means the Police will never act neutral if there is not the presence of some International body.
My dream solution to the rising tension in Sierra Leone is for the leadership of APC to take the bold step in denouncing their violent nature of ruling people. President Koroma must come publicly and apologize to his people for using killers and rapists around him as special body guards. President Koroma must dismantle; what I call, “the Leather Boot cabal of mayhem“. The government of President Ernest Bai Koroma must allow the Police to arrest and prosecute all those that are responsible for Political violence. That process must take a drastic pattern and those found guilty be punished as provided by law. That should include all those that are presently serving as personal bodyguards to both President Koroma and vice President Sam Sumana. President Koroma should be confronted with the fact that he being the keeper of perpetrators around him is an approval of violence, rape, armed robbery and the end result is war. The regular Police system is suffice to handle the security of the President in that country. It is needless to recruit former rebels that have and are causing mayhem on the people of the country. President Koroma should be told that it is very possible to bring him before any international tribunal if war broke out in that country.
I want to appeal that Sierra Leone be rescued and very swiftly. Sierra Leone is returning to war!
Umaru Sitta Turay, USA
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