''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 9 No 5

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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Thursday March 29, 2012 - Cat out of the bag. Internal Affairs minister reveals that the weapons imported into the country are for use against the opposition SLPP. Ernest Bai Koroma government in real fix as he and his wolf pack try to justify the importation of military hardware for the sole use of the armed wing of the APC party, the OSD police force. BBC reports lay bare the lies, more lies and damned lies that form the bedrock of the smoke and mirrors Presidency. Another plan to use violence, extreme violence and intimidation to secure a second term exposed. Desperation, desperation and more acts of desperation.Police Chief Francis Munu has now received his weapons for intimidating the opposition.Ernest Bai Koroma's terror campaign organiser - he has been mentioned in cases involving extreme violence against political enemies. Protected by President Koroma.

During the course of the week, in the aftermath of the exposure of the Ernest Bai Koroma government's importation of weapons of war for the OSD, the armed wing of the APC using the cover of the police, key APC operatives including the Police chief Francis Munu have tried without any iota of success to justify the purchase of these weapons by a country still trying to recover from the ravages of a brutal ten-year war.

It must be borne in mind, we believe, that had those documents not been made public, these sets of deadly weapons would have been given to trusted APC operatives with a view to putting in place a diabolical plan that would have subjected perceived opponents to the smoke and mirrors desperate grab for a second five-year term in office. A period that would have been used to render law enforcement and the judicial process largely ineffective as rapists, murderers and perpetrators of intimidation and violence are given a free hand.

And this week following even more pressure on the government by citizens to explain why the military hardware was brought into the country for the sole use of the police, the Minister of Internal Affairs, one Musa Tarawallie has let the cat out of the bag. That the weapons were really meant for use against the SLPP, the main opposition party.

In a BBC report from Freetown broadcast on the BBC Focus on Africa programme on Wednesday March 28, 2012 - the head of the police, Francis Munu stated, among many of his excuses for the importation of these weapons that

“These are meant to provide static security guards at very vulnerable points – you know – such as residences of foreign diplomats. You know with the global threat of terrorism, occasionally, we are asked to step up security at various embassies depending on how threatened they feel. “

His own boss the Internal Affairs Minister whose duties include supervision of the police did not mince his words when he was interviewed on a local radio station in Freetown. That was when he actually made what is been interpreted as a startling confession - to witSLPP victim after police and APC party attacks on their headquarters. These victims were later taken for detention at Pademba Road. 22 were charged to court.

"Those who illegally overthrew the All Peoples Congress government in 1992 have succeeded in taking over the opposition Sierra Leone Peoples Party. This time under the cloak of democracy - and in life, you have to be looking at precedents - events that occurred and prepare yourself so that you are not overtaken. The government at the time was very weak so they were overthrown by junior officers. The equipment we have brought into the country for the police is to resist any eventuality. Let us go back to the 1992 coup."

Asked what he made of these remarks by a senior minister in the Ernest Bai Koroma administration, the Presidential candidate Rtd Brigadier Julius Maada Bio, in that report stated

"...I find it to be completely preposterous because I believe that as Minister of Internal Affairs he should be taking care of internal security for this country. But to claim that we, the leadership of the SLPP, are coming from the NPRC and therefore he should be prepared to take care of us, I think I find that completely abhorrent and I think it runs against the grain of democratic tenets and also the sort of security situation we are trying to create in this country."

Now you have it and that is why we are calling on the international community and more especially the United Nations Security Council that now that this has been brought to their attention that everything be done to ensure that the coming elections are free, fair and without any form of violence or intimidation. Water for use in homes remain a problem yet the government spends millions of dollars on weapons

Kindly recall a section of the speech given by former UN Special Representative Michael Schulenburg at the UN Security Council meeting on a special session on Sierra Leone where he noted something from the Truth and Recoconcilition Commission, the TRC of Sierra Leone. He noted this after he revealed the importation of war weapons for the armed wing of the APC, the OSD of the police force.

Against this background, reports that the Government has imported assault weapons worth millions of dollars in January of this year to equip a recently enlarged para-military wing of its police, the Operational Services Division (OSD), are of great concern. Sierra Leone is under no arms embargo. However, given Sierra Leone's progress in establishing peace and security throughout the country and its relatively low crime rate, it is not clear why the police would need such weapons – especially as this shipment, according to a leaked Bill of Lading, appears to include heavy machine guns and even grenade launchers. I would urge the Government to fully clarify these reports and, if true, explain the intended use of these weapons.

An enlarged, heavily-armed and allegedly also ethnically imbalanced OSD risks undermining the good work that has been done by the Sierra Leonean Police in creating a modern and operationally independent police force serving the people of Sierra Leone – a people-oriented police was one of the important pillars of the successful Security Sector Reforms after the civil war. Because of the country’s painful experience, the Truth and Reconciliation Commission had suggested that Sierra Leone abandons all forms of para-military police force. Such lessons from the past should be taken seriously.

And the TRC report has recommended under "Principles of National Security" that

The Commission is of the view that new principles governing national security ought to be adopted in Sierra Leone. Those in power must never again use national security as an excuse to deploy security forces for political ends.

These principles are as follows:

• National security must reflect the commitment of Sierra Leoneans, as individuals and as a nation, to live in peace and harmony and to be free from fear.

• The Sierra Leone Army must be the only lawful military force in Sierra Leone. There should be no other military or paramilitary force, under the guise of any institution, including the police.

• No member of any security service should be permitted to obey a manifestly illegal order. Obedience to a manifestly unlawful order should never be a defence to a crime.

• Neither the security services as a whole, nor any of their members, may, in the performance of their duties, act against a political party’s legitimate interest or promote the interest of any political party.

• No Sierra Leonean should participate in armed conflict internationally, except as provided for in terms of the Constitution or national legislation.

• The use of armed force in Sierra Leone must be deployed in strict accordance with the Constitution.A street scene. People want to be allowed to live in peace - elections or not. So why import weapons of war?

The Commission recommends that the National Security principles be enshrined in the Constitution. This is an imperative recommendation.

We who have witnessed the political scenery of Sierra Leone since independence in 1961 know only too well what the present crop of APC operatives are capable of perpetrating. We have already seen the dress rehearsals with them attacking the opposition supporters, arrests made with the opposition members locked up and brought to courts that are fast becoming AFRC Peoples Courts while their attackers of the ruling party are set free, encouraged to indulge in further acts of violence against perceived opponents of the smoke and mirrors President's desperate bid for a second term.

We again urge the UN Security Council to approve the deployment of blue helmets in Sierra Leone as well as the imposition of a ban on the importation of further weapons into Sierra Leone - a country that is not at war, but is trying to consolidate the peace when President Ahmed Tejan Kabbah in 2002 declared that the war was over.

We do not have to wait for the deliberate murder, rape and violent attacks to intimidate peaceful citizens in the exercise of their rights.

We do not want to see T-shirts and colours of the opposition left at sites of murders by a devious APC.

We do not want to see the bodies of victims killed by their own government clad in APC T-shirts and colours with claims, strident ones at that - that they were killed by the opposition SLPP.

Remember the plot hatched at the office of the Head of Police during the Momoh era as a means of postponing the election date and plans to print T-shirts bearing the colours and logos of all the political parties using the war as a pretext?

We do and still remember/recall as should Information Minister I B Kargbo.

Now is the time to save Sierra Leone.

(Pictures from the Unity Now website)



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