''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 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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...every citizen shall have equality of rights, obligations, and opportunities before the law, and the State shall ensure that every citizen has an equal right and access to all opportunities and benefits based on merit; harness all the natural resources of the nation to promote national prosperity and an efficient, dynamic and self-reliant economy; - the Sierra Leone Constitution.


The alleged Jamaican drugs baron Christopher "Dudus" Coke, yes this is no pun, Mr Coke is now in the hands of US law-enforcement authorities who had long wanted him in their attempt to cauterize an odious vein which they believed supplied illegal drugs to people within the borders of the United States.Dudus Coke - a hero to the deprived

It took a long time for the authorities in Jamaica to even think about arresting him, not to talk about handing over one of their own citizens to the United States justice system - when they had their own home-grown laws in the country. (Remember the escape of GK after the cocaine plane incident and the mysterious one of one Johnny Paul Koroma?)

And when things got to a head with a no-nonsense President Barack Obama insisting that the US government wanted the man in their courts, a rather reluctant Labour government headed by Prime Minister Bruce Golding had no option but to try to effect the arrest of Christopher "Dudus" Coke at his base in the Tivoli Gardens area of the capital Jamaica. It was easier said than done as arresting police officers discovered to their horror and surprise. Unable to cope with what looked like a determined attempt to resist Jamaica's civil force, the army was called in and reports say by the time the operation ended official figures say more than 70 had died mainly civilians and a sprinkling of government forces personnel. Some put the figure at those killed at more than a hundred, most of them supporters of "Dudus" Coke who believed that a good man like him should not be made to face the law - such was their love and trust for him.

Coming under increasing pressure for an investigation into why so many died with accusations that a rather unprepared security apparatus used inappropriate heavy fire and terror tactics, the Prime Minister has now ordered an investigation with a promise that investigators be they Jamaican or from other parts of the world will be available to ensure that the truth comes out.

The authorities have also promised a thorough investigation of the area occupied by the drug baron after reports that he could have dispensed justice as he thought fit and where the bodies of some victims could have been buried.Reports say Christopher Coke used a wig to slip through security cordons

But why should a section of the population of Tivoli and indeed the rest of the poor in Jamaica as well as in the United states be so un/willing to face the consequences of trying to stop the arrest of Christopher "Dudus Coke"? Why was he regarded as the poor man's President when there was a government in place which was supposed to be dedicated to improving the welfare of its own people?

The answer could be found in a re-examination of the situation in Sierra Leone and how a once peaceful and proud country descended into the anarchy and chaos that left hundreds of thousands dead, millions traumatised and countless more still trying to understand it all.

Wherever a situation arises where a government fails in its primary duties to its citizens with the poor feeling alienated as they are deprived of the basics necessary for a decent life, there's a tendency for the poor to gravitate towards any source that will provide some source of sustenance, never mind how their benefactors got their wealth.

Hence Christopher "Dudus" Coke was seen by the poor as the head of the shadow parallel government which met their immediate demands for food, shelter and education for their children. He thus became their godfather who provided for them in times of crisis and need and thus creating a situation where they would be willing to confront the forces of the oppressor - the government of Jamaica.

In Sierra Leone the politics of deprivation, denying people their basics contrary to what is enshrined in the constitution creates a similar situation where benefactors now become "god-like" figures using ill-gotten funds to help those who appeared to have been neglected by the government.

It was this politics of deprivation that saw the breakdown of family and moral values as once-respected households, deprived of their economic power as working men and women were forced to practically beg for their supper. Once-sound family homes were shattered as those with the funds created rifts within and between families with the resulting social consequences.

It was not uncommon in the latter days of Siaka Stevens and more pronounced during the Momoh era, to find party stalwarts, ministers, their deputies, heads of para-statals competing on just how many homes they had destroyed as frustrated partners were snatched away from once-secure family homes.

Like the vultures and the true scavengers they were these party functionaries saw no wrong in their acts and continued with ever-increasing dare and frequency with children of those affected homes all thrown in on the alter of deprivation and sexual gratification.

And they are at it again, secure in the hope that plans underway for a second five-year term would not be disrupted!!!!!

A look at the Constitution clearly shows a deliberate violation of its provisions with key sections thrown to the wind as the Ernest Bai Koroma government thinks fit and in the process setting the scene once again to put the country on a road nobody, except the uncaring and unpatriotic would want the mother country to tread once more.

The Christopher "Dudus" Coke of Sierra Leone are, among the many - President Ernest Bai Koroma - Sierra Leone's "Dudus"

The President himself

Favoured ministers

Favoured heads of institutions

Favoured family members and relations

Favoured contractors

Favoured appointees

In simple terms what Siaka Stevens started and has been the template of corrupt governments in Sierra Leone including what is now in place and headed by Ernest Bai Koroma is


1. Garner all the resources that belong to the people - the natural resources from such areas like diamond and gold mining.


2. Make presentations to governments and institutions abroad that the country needs items a to z which may include but not limited to training opportunities, loans, grants etc.


3. Ensure that the people never hear about what has been garnered on their behalf.


4. Withhold the basics from the people reciting a continuing mantra of economic downturn and asking them to prepare for belt-tightening.


5. Use the garnered resources of the people as a political weapon dishing out to those who praise ceaselessly and see no wrong in the party.


6. Use the political grapevines to send a message to opposing groups including party cadres who see evil in this kind of plan as well as in the opposition that the best option is to allow "this good government" to remain power or face the consequences.


7. Get overseas "partners" who can set up and operate bank accounts for the favoured to spirit away stolen funds.

And so create a system where day in and day out, the offices of ministers and others in authority and with fingers in the national pie become a "clinic" for the deprived who are made to believe that they are being done a favour by these elements.

What these vultures reap as reward to these grateful citizens is best left to the imagination!!!!




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©Sierra Herald 2002