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Where is Doctor Roland?

Where is Doctor Roland?

Whilst the matter of the HANCI/MAPS adoptions seems to be causing a lot of noise amongst the press at the moment, there is one voice that remains noticeably silent: that of HANCI’s ex-director, Doctor Roland Kargbo, who is also one of the current APC candidates for Sector 036 in the Bombali District.  (Photo: Dr. Roland Foday Kargbo Former HANCI Executive Director)

Kargbo is the man that has been at the centre of these issues since they first gained prominence; he was the man who directed all of HANCI’s activities when 29 children were adopted to the United States of America in 1997; in that time he’s been acquitted of child trafficking, was a major feature of the Justice Showers Commission of Inquiry into the matter and is now under investigation following the release of the Commission’s report.

And yet, whilst spokespeople for both the Government and HANCI have released official statements and there has been plenty of comment amongst the media, Dr Roland Kargbo has said nothing other than the official responses he has been obliged to deliver during the course of the investigations.

Whilst speaking at the Justice Showers Commission, Kargbo came across as a confident and dignified figure and never wavered from his commitment to the fact that HANCI were acting in the best interests of both the children and the families that were involved with the adoptions.

Yet, there seems to be accusations on SLBC TV Press Review  this week from no less prominent quarters than the Government’s press officer himself, Mr. Unisa Sesay, that Kargbo should ‘come clean’ about the adoption procedure.

It seems to this observer that Kargbo has already ‘come clean’ bearing in mind the fact that he has gone on record on more than one occasion during the Justice Showers Commission to clarify his involvement. Any statement therefore that Kargbo still needs to ‘come clean’ would seem to indicate that there are certain quarters within Government that would either want to discredit Kargbo’s reputation by claiming he is a liar, or simply have no grasp of the facts surrounding this historic case. Or of course that Kargbo genuinely has something to hide.

Those first two possibilities reek of incompetence at best and, at worst, decisions that are being made purely for political gain – and ones that not only affect individuals like Kargbo but, more importantly, also nearly 15,000 children that have had their current support from HANCI suspended by the Government.

And what of the last possibility?

Well the fact remains that, whilst comment and opinion have been forthcoming from every quarter in this matter, Kargbo has kept his public opinions altogether private. Whilst a storm has emerged from the HANCI/MAPS adoption saga, the man at the very centre of that storm remains resolutely quiet.

So where is Doctor Roland Kargbo?

Perhaps, being the devout Christian that he is, the good Doctor has decided to turn the other cheek and allow others to cast the first stones whilst he keeps a dignified silence. Or perhaps he is simply respecting his legal responsibilities in not speaking publically about the case that has been for 15 years and remains under investigation.

Or perhaps he is nervous about the implications of finally speaking out. But, even if that is the case, even if we believe for a moment that the correct procedures were not carried out when those 29 children left the country to live their lives in the United States of America, does that fact really justify suspending the activities of one of the largest Sierra Leonean NGOs? Is the current suffering of around 15,000 HANCI beneficiaries a fair and even consequence of these ongoing investigations?

Either way, since Kargbo remains an advisor to HANCI and works as an advocate of Child Rights to this day, to say nothing of his political aspirations, do the people of Sierra Leone not have the right to hear from the man at the very centre of a situation that is affecting the development of thousands of the country’s most vulnerable children? This observer believes that the time for Doctor Roland Kargbo to speak is now.

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