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Issues at Large 10-30-09

Issues at Large 10-30-09

The Special Court finale

Finally, the curtains are being drawn, the cast is ready to make their last bow and the audience is getting ready to make the last ovation. This is the final scenario depicting the end of the Special Court for Sierra Leone.

Established along the lines of the International Court of Justice in The Hague, the Special Court for Sierra Leone has generated its own series of controversy not to talk of questions over its usefulness.

With all what has been said and unsaid, the fact still remains that the Special Court has served its purpose. This purpose is not so much over the huge running cost involved, or the fact that out of the hundreds of people who committed atrocities, only a ‘handful’ have been arrested, indicted, tried, found guilty and subsequently sentenced.

The fact that a Special Court has been created to try all those who bear the greatest responsibility for such atrocities shows that Sierra Leoneans collectively have been absolved of such a despicable act in their own country. This shows that yes, it was done in Sierra Leone, but equally, we have the will and determination to punish our brothers and (sisters?) who committed these atrocities.

It is however interesting to note that there are no female perpetuators in the Special Court. Also, all those indicted never saw the freedom light as all of them have been found guilty. With the exception of Hinga Norman who died in detention, the story it seems has ended.

Meanwhile, Charles Taylor continues to maintain his innocence and hope continues to fluctuate as to whether he will be freed or he will end his life behind bars for ever.

A grim life for a man who once lived in the fast lane.

The cannibal kamajors

It took a war for the people of Sierra Leone to realize that indeed there are some compatriots in this nation who have the habit of eating their fellow citizens for dinner, as they continue to live in the days of dark ages.

The actions of the Kamajors, thanks to pictures and other documentary evidences, show that indeed Hinga Norman’s Kamajors engaged in the horrendous habit of eating people. Those who were chopped up were mostly soldiers and civilians who were cooked after being accused of being supporters of the junta, the then military government that had overthrown the government of the SLPP led government.

The kamajors claimed they were fighting to bring back democracy, and by implication the government of the SLPP. There was even the plan that the kamajors will replace the standing military as the alternative force for the government because of their ‘good’ work in dealing with the ‘rebels’.

This is the force whose leaders are today facing international charges of having committed crimes against humanity, among others.

These cannibals, proclaiming to be democrats are responsible for the death of thousands of innocent lives. But for the active work of the media, the world would never have been informed about the terrible acts happening under the guise of democracy.

One wonders if some people, including former British High Commission to Sierra Leone Peter Penfold, who were feted by the late Hinga Norman and other kamajors in Bo, Pujehun, Kailahun and Kenema were not treated to a cuisine of human flesh.

Meanwhile, the former kamajors and their fellows in atrocities, the Revolutionary United Front and the Juntas will all fare well in Rwanda. Watching films, including Hotel Rwanda, will be a healing process. Future dictators should take note.

No rest from politics

Long after the Presidential and Parliamentary elections have been declared over and the winner announced, the opposition Sierra Leone People’s Party continues to flex its muscles, waiting for the next bout even though it is all the way back three years away.

The concept of democracy is however being tried to its full effect and this means  a loud opposition and a busy parliament ready to take the government to task for the slight sign of calumny or other forms of bad governance. And this is what good governance is all about. It means keeping the government permanently on its toes, it means working as the gad fly in ensuring nothing goes amiss, and it means working tirelessly to bring out the failings of the government where this is occurring.

But in the work of being the main opposition party in the country, there are certain matters which are clearly getting out of control.

The difference between what is the role of the Member of Parliament is now being used as the work of most if not all members of the SLPP. There is also the sceptre of the return to violence in the next elections as shown in the preparations, war like, if you may, that seem to be quietly but powerfully being harnessed by both the ruling party and the opposition. This means there is a fear that some might be contemplating going back to the days of violence and politically inspired conflicts.

That is why notwithstanding the claims of politicians that the country is stable, the reality on the ground shows that Sierra Leone is indeed a failed state that is liable to crumble and fall in another spate of senseless political conflict resulting in another phase of war.

The father to son syndrome

The Government of President Ernest Bai Koroma has started a system that, if not nipped in the bud, will grow into an uncomfortable precedent which may well prove counter to the general good of the country’s development. This is the present talk among people in Sierra Leone. This system sees the sons and daughters of former APC stalwarts being considered for important jobs based not so much on merit as on their affiliations to the ruling political party, and Convention Wisdom sees it as a replay of the typical aspect of corruption that caused the fall of the APC in 1992.

The recent appointment of Sam Bangura Jr. a son of a former APC stalwart to head the National Social Security and Insurance Trust (NASSIT) is a case worth mentioning.

It is now the accepted reality, like accepting thunder storms in the rainy season that the APC is only considering those whose father’s worked for the APC.

In taking this rather parochial decision, there is a danger that misfits and others not appropriate for the jobs are being placed there, at the detriment of the country.

The question is, if we are going to give priority to the sons and daughters of former APC stalwarts, how can the country run efficiently?

And are we saying that Siaka Stevens was selected to head the APC because of his father, or that Alhaji M.S. Mustapha was selected to be a minister because of his father. The fact of the matter is that all these people proved their mettle. In America, people are not appointed to positions of trust because their fathers or their mothers were in control. No, it is a matter of winning the trust of the people, of proving ones mettle and showing that notwithstanding the name, what matters is what you can do, not what your father or your mother had done. Sierra Leone is not meant as a legacy from father to son. The right people should be given the job.

Forgetting Guinea, accepting Dadis

Captain Moussa Dadis Camara is slowly but surely being accepted among the international community as the inevitable leader even though the people in the country think otherwise.

The situation in the country has now become a stalemate and matters are not helped by the fact that the government of Sierra Leone and Liberia continue to keep tight lips in either criticizing the Dadis Camara junta, or making any suggestion in terms of bringing a democratic disposition in the country.

The people have taken the matters in their own hands, as he who wears the shoes, know where it pinches.

A hunger strike will however not move a well fed military, which is now being fed by Chinese grants, albeit gratis.

The fact that the Chinese government can enter into an agreement worth billions of dollars with a government that assumed power by force and is maintaining itself in power through blood shed shows that a new type of governance is susceptibly entering into the African geo-politic, notwithstanding the calls for democratic governments.

It is a new reality worth taking note of, especially the Breton Woods people and other such Western interests and institutions. The new Chinese approach has no sense of ethics nor are they queasy when it comes to dealing either with military hardcore dictators or well dressed democrat statesmen.

Meanwhile, because of the entrance of the Chinese, the world seems to be accepting the theory that Guinea is better left alone.

A travel ban might not have the much expected impact because it seems Captain Dadis Camara and his military and civilian cohorts have no plans to move out of the protection of Guinea anyway.

VVIP Technology Saves Salone Money

Citizens who are au-fait with how the President and his Ministers use tax payers’ money fears have been laid to rest by the introduction of the VVIP communication system. According to Mohamed Bah, Acting Communication Director the Indian government has provided the pan-African VVIP network project, which can enable the President to speak to his colleague president’s face-to-face without using tax payers’ money. This will also help government officials to cut down on the use of taxing telecommunication technology in international liaison. 

SLP Curtail Armed Robbery

Following the armed robbery spree around the country, the Sierra Leone Police (SLP) has so far nabbed 50 armed robbers in Makeni and Freetown. According to Supt. Samura, 40 were arrested in Makeni while other ten were tracked down around Lumely in Freetown. Amongst those captured police report disclosed is popular Conwards Social Club President.

Police Boss Goes on Leave

The Sierra Leone Police Boss, Brima Acha Kamara is said to have traveled to the UK on Sunday to receive an International Award for his diligence in the police work in the sub continent. According to report from UK he was the first police boss in Africa to be awarded such an award. He would soon return to Freetown after receiving his proud accolade to revamp his vacant sit.

APC Supporters Frown At Emmerson’s ‘Yesterday Betteh Pass Tiday’

Politics in Sierra Leone today is like a merry-go-round. It goes around and comes around. Those who were shouting ‘Hosanna’ for Emmerson’s  “Borbor belleh” in 2007 elections when he sang his hit song against the then SLPP regime are the same people crucifying his today’s hit song ‘yesterday betteh pass tiday.  APC supporters should not cry down this song as music has become the eye-opener of Sierra Leoneans today. What goes around comes around.

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