This time, the truth matters
Having listened to the interview of the Welsh International, Craig Douglas Bellamy stressing the importance of his wages to develop the academy of Sierra Leone makes me shed tears. Craig Bellamy is not a native of Sierra Leone nor are his parents. His ambition to develop an academy that would turn downtrodden youths into world stars is commendable. The irony about this gesture is compelling. Whilst Bellamy is developing this war ravaged country from its brink of disaster, there are hundreds of “rebels” sabotaging and plundering the efforts of good people in the country. President Koroma may have forgotten about fighting rebels at the war front in the literal sense, but there are many “rebels” in the country whose intentions are to see thousands suffer and die. (Photo: Ibrahim Sourie Mansaray, author)
The traditional definition of a rebel is destruction, calamity and chaos. Today in Sierra Leone, the country can boast of economic, political and elite rebels. It is unbelievable that certain citizens of the country may try to smuggle drugs meant for children and lactating mothers to neighboring countries. This is where the judiciary has been non-committal in fighting such a menace in the society. In most cases where the Office of National Security, the Police and other enforcement agencies have brought culprits before the law, such culprits have walked off with laughable fines and jail terms. It is therefore not surprising that most criminals in the country see the court system as a lenient bedfellow. I heard the president’s remarks of the honeymoon over for anyone found guilty. This is another area President Koroma should score huge success in taming those whose intentions is to plunder and allow thousands to suffer. Such acts should be considered as treasonable offences and culprits should serve the rest of their lives in prison.
Mr. President, there are economic rebels of all tribes at Lungi International airport, National Revenue Authority, Water Quay and even the press. The justice department must vigorously prosecute those found guilty and sentenced to lengthy jail terms so as to serve as deterrent to others. This picture does not reflect the renaissance era the country is clamoring for.
Quite recently, a visitor wrote a personal letter to the president appealing for the introduction of stringent measures to curb the pilfering cases at the international airport. This visitor was on his first trip to the country after two decades and his bag was pilfered at the airport. As an entry point to our beloved country, it sends a bad image. Not too long ago, a diplomat’s briefcase was tampered into and valuables carted away. This honeymoon should not have even started, especially with tough times looming in the world.
The cases of cars broken into and other valuables stolen at the Water Quay are alarming. For those in the diaspora, it is really frustrating to witness one’s property stolen after struggling to acquire those properties.
The press in a democratic and civilize society is to inform, educate and teach morals in the society. Rather disappointingly, some of the “rebels” have penetrated some press houses thereby painting colorful picture of criminals caught doing sinister offences against humanity. Most criminals and “ rebels” get a fair share of “positive” press coverage by certain newspapers even before the cases are up in court thereby creating an impression of witch hunt against certain people in the country.
Politicians are politicians. Some are fair in serving the people whilst others are doing the dirty work of conniving with rebels to wreck the nation.
As the investigation into the drugs meant for the underprivileged continues, the judiciary should set the brightest example by punishing those found guilty so the people of Sierra Leone will start enjoying better lives.
The people deserve better lives and the President should see this case as a litmus test for the judiciary. The Revolutionary United Front war ended in 2000 with fighters disarmed, but it seems another RUF fighters are re-emerging in different nomenclature and outfit.
May God bless Sierra Leone.
Ibrahim Sourie Mansaray, California
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