All that is necessary for the triumph of evil is that good men do nothing’ - Edmund Burke


S I E R R A  H E R A L D

Vol 8 No 4

The tendency sometimes to protect perpetrators for the sake of peace...doesn't help society. Impunity should not be allowed to stand. - Kofi Annan on Waki report

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Date: May 13, 2010
MAC-P comes under scrutiny as… Thuggery and Intimidation resurfaces in Zimmi
By Easmon Moiguah

The operation of Military Aid to Civil Power has come under intense criticisms as the use of thugs amidst political intimidation resurfaced in the recently held Parliamentary Bye Election in constituency 91 comprising Makpelle and Soro Gbema Chiefdoms which was won by the SLPP.Who sent these thugs to an area they not normally resident?
The criticisms come against the background of claims and counter claims as to who was responsible for the weekend (Saturday May 8, 2010) confrontation and use of thugs with the view of securing more votes.
Speaking to Awoko's Southern province correspondent concerned residents were quick to accuse both the Military and Police deployed in Zimmi axis for failure to intercept the movement of the gun toting men especially the group that used the van with registration number AEM 564 and openly assaulted some members of the public including the regional Chairman of PMDC Abdulai Mustapha - a situation which provoked wide spread anger particularly from the youth population except with the late intervention of the Police regional Commander David Sesay upon promising to bring to book those in control of the vehicle in question.
The ruling APC hierarchy said the SLPP was responsible for having used ex-Kamajors to put up violence as they were seen in possession of various missiles and singing war songs going up and down Zimmi Township, an accusation that was vehemently dismissed by the SLPP who in turn pointed accusing fingers at the Mines Minister, Alhaji Alpha Kanu for having taken armed thugs to disrupt the polls which was reported peaceful not until the thugs staged an hour long siege of Zimmi before they headed for Kenema Soro where similar disturbances were put up.
The Minister Alpha Kanu in turn debunked the accusation Particularly, AIG David Sesay later intervened by pleading with the irate youths to dismantle the road block put in place to help track down the thugs who were let loose moving freely without  any hindrance from any of the members of the Mac-P. It must be stated that the Saturday polls which was described as a three horse race was contested by System Massaquoi representing the ruling APC with the PMDC represented by Alie Bao while the SLPP was represented by Solomon Feikai who secured huge chunk of the votes cast.

A Sierra Leone rights group NEW monitoring the situation on the ground noted, among other things - this:

"Around 2 pm, a vehicle bearing the registration number AEM 564 owned by Mohamed Dumbuya of HS 36 Hill Station entered town at high speed throwing abusive languages at the population. Many of the 12 - 15 young men had their faces covered and their arrival and abuse created tension in the township. This led to the youth in the township mobilizing to counter their threat. The group left Zimmi heading south where they were intercepted by a police patrol between Ghon village and the border town of Gendema.

Their leader, named Santos indicated to the Police Local Unit Commanders of Gendema, Pujehun police stations and the OSD Coordinator South, Mohamed Turay aka “Yete Yete” that he and his men were in the convoy escorting the Minister of Mineral Resources and Political Affairs. At a polling center in Ghon village the deputy Minister of Labour, Employment and Social Security was observed arriving with a government vehicle loaded with young men and argued with the NEC Polling Station Manager, disrupting the polling for over an hour.

NEW condemns the use of thugs to intimidate people during elections. People have the right to vote for their leaders without fear or favour. This is a throwback to days gone by, days best forgotten and is inimical to the successes in our fledgling democracy. Young people are a national asset and should be encouraged and empowered such as PPRC did with the All Political Parties Youth Association (APPYA) who should be congratulated for conducting a massive sensitization in Pujehun district against the manipulation and misuse of young people. The Government is well advised to come out very strongly condemning thuggery in these kinds of processes."


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