''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 XII No 2

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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Wednesday March 23, 2016 - 25 five years ago today on March 23, 1991, the first shots were fired in Bomaru, eastern Sierra Leone as the first armed rebellion in independent Sierra Leone was initiated. 25 years on the same conditions which germinated the war are being nourished by the present set-up with reckless abandon.It was the Supreme Court that took upon itself to turn the Constitution upside down to please the rat. A threat to democracy.President Ahmad Tejan Kabbah declared the war over in 2002.

The war was officially declared over in 2002 by the then Head of State, President Ahmad Tejan Kabbah after many twists and turns, some definitely unpalatable to the wishes of surviving victims and the memory of the many killed, traumatised and having to live a life without limbs while wallowing in poverty and despair.

It was a war that brought out the beasts in two-footed creatures parading as human beings. Beasts of terror who sought to create a fiefdom of terror and deprivation in a once peaceful and beautiful land called Sierra Leone.

At the end of the day, the government, on the advice of civil society, the international community and all those interested in the welfare of the country thought it would be in the best interest of the country, then, now and forever to take a forensic look at what led to the armed rebellion initiated by those March 23, 1991 shots in Bomaru.

Thus was the Truth and Reconciliation Commission, the TRC, established and this body patiently heard evidence from victims, perpetrators, those who lived through it all as well as key entities and functionaries during the period that was reviewed. It later came out with a report that should guide all Sierra Leoneans and friends of Sierra Leone on what lessons are there to be gleaned that would never see us go down the road of national perfidy and destruction.

Here's a part of what the TRC report says that should be of interest to all peace and progress-loving true Sierra Leoneans - strictly not for recycled thieves and raiders of the public purse.

"After years of brutal conflict in Sierra Leone, there existed a need to confront the past. The nation wanted to know what precipitated the wave of vengeance and mayhem that swept across the country.

How was it that the people of Sierra Leone came to turn on each other with such ferocity?

Why did so many abandon traditions of community and peaceful co-existence?

Why were long held and cherished customs and taboos so wantonly discarded?

It is only through generating such understanding that the horrors of the past can effectively be prevented from occurring again. Knowledge and understanding are the most powerful deterrents against conflict and war."

We are reminded in that report on the causes of the conflict which are many are varied, but among the chief causes are, according to the TRC report -

"While there were many factors, both internal and external, that explain the cause of the civil war, the Commission came to the conclusion that it was years of bad governance, endemic corruption and the denial of basic human rights that created the deplorable conditions that made conflict inevitable.

Successive regimes became increasingly impervious to the wishes and needs of the majority. Instead of implementing positive and progressive policies, each regime perpetuated the ills and self-serving machinations left behind by its predecessor.

By the start of the conflict, the nation had been stripped of its dignity. Institutional collapse reduced the vast majority of people into a state of deprivation.

Government accountability was non-existent.

Political expression and dissent had been crushed.

Democracy and the rule of law were dead.

By 1991, Sierra Leone was a deeply divided society and full of the potential for violence. It required only the slightest spark for this violence to be ignited."

The TRC made a number of recommendations which if taken in good faith and implemented would see a peaceful and progressive Sierra Leone where all would live in dignity within the borders of Sierra Leone. Bishop Joseph Humper, Chairman of the Sierra Leone Truth and Reconciliation Commission

Had these recommendations being carried out in the spirit and letter of what was in the TRC report, the Ebola Virus Disease would not have taken such a heavy toll on the lives and way of life of many Sierra Leonean communities.

Initial reports published by some journalists in Sierra Leone in which they warned that the government needed to be on a state of alert after the disease started ravaging neighbouring Guinea would have greatly limited the rampage of the virus.

Those brave and patriotic journalists were roundly attacked by the attack hyenas of a regime whose only allegiance to the welfare and prosperity of the people lay in describing them as unpatriotic and tagged as SLPP members.

Here's a part of the recommendations of the TRC report which could have spared the country of all the quagmire that those in government and with connections to the rat at State House may well heed.

"The Commission makes recommendations to strengthen the judiciary and the rule of law, as well as Parliament and the electoral system. The Commission proposes the introduction of a new transparent regime in which citizens will have reasonable access to government information, where senior public officials disclose their financial interests and where government informs people down to the community level of what amounts are being spent on services and amenities."

The above bit is anchored by this excerpt which show quite clearly that 25 years on since those first shots in Bomaru, lessons have not been learnt fuelling speculations that those now in governance know the dangers ahead but are hoping that by the time it erupts they would have fled the crime scene to well-feathered nests that would take them to their version of what is clearly a paradise of delusion.

For all who wish Sierra Leone well, there's the need to heed the warnings of institutional collapse that led to the collapse of democracy and the rule of law and as anyone who knows the ups and downs of this beautiful country lest we go down the path that led to a conflict that should have been prevented had due diligence being paid to the rule of law and democracy.

The greatest threat to the rule of law and our fledgling democracy is not only the rat himself, but the institutions that have failed to perform their duties as enshrined in their setup and the constitution.

The greatest threat to Sierra Leone's peace, democracy and the rule of law is the Judiciary.

The Judiciary, a body that should be one of the three arms of governance and one which should be independent of all political considerations, independent of the Executive headed by the rat and independent of Parliament has become so compromised that what obtains now in Sierra Leone is a one-party state of affairs and state in all but name.

Here's a body that is supposed to give Sierra Leoneans a hope for the rule of law allowing itself to become clay in the hands of the Executive culminating in the final betrayal of interpreting the Constitution to suit the Executive as it follows the whims and caprices of an intolerant, rogue and thieving despot passing himself off as an elected President. This judge, Showers took it upon herself to declare an election winner even thought she's not the Electoral Commissioner.

Sierra Leoneans now find themselves saddled with a Supreme Court, the final arbiter of justice shamelessly ruling that one half of an elected duo can sack the other even though both were on the same party ticket in blatant contravention of the Constitution.

It is the Judiciary, using the courts that is plunging this country into a distinct lack of respect for the rule of law; it is the Judiciary using the courts in diverse ways that is showing all and sundry that lessons still have to be learnt from the causes of March 23, 1991 some three hundred months ago.

The atmosphere of a lack of accountability created by a compromised Judiciary has seen rampant stealing from the coffers of state making the work of the Auditor-General seem like a wasted effort at bringing sanity to use of government's finances.

The Anti Corruption Commission could have all the rules and regulations aimed at bringing state looters to justice but no matter what that body does, in the end it is the Judiciary that decides on who goes free and who gets punished for not having the right connections.

Many watchers of the system of justice in Sierra Leone are still waiting for the appeal reportedly launched by the former head of the Anti Corruption Commission, one Joseph Fitzgerald Kamara (JFK) after 57 charges were dropped against one Allieu Sesay, the head of the National Revenue Authority and one of the rat's sacred cows.

There's the case of one Afsatu who got the country into a dubious and odious electricity deal, was hauled before the courts while at the Fisheries ministry and is now the rat's envoy to Africa's power house, Nigeria.Bernadette Lahai - she has made herself a tool of the ruling party.

JFK is now the rat's (not the country's) Justice minister and given how willing he is to have his hands tied by State House, his elevation to this important post could mean one and only one thing -  the further erosion of the rights of the Sierra Leonean as witnessed before the March 23, 1991 armed rebellion.

Kindly recall that in the APC manifesto before the 2007 General Elections there was a promise that the Office of the Attorney General would be separated from that of the Cabinet minister of justice. More than eight years and after two elections, the situation remains the same.

When it comes to the tenets of democracy, the Judiciary is the most culpable as an agent of corruption.

The people of Constituency 005 and 015 can still not understand why a judge, an apology for all that is decent, one Showers cannot only rule against the opposition but took upon herself the role of the National Electoral Commissioner, one Christiana Thorpe, to declare the APC candidates as duly elected.

The two ballot thieves now sit in Parliament where they are supposed to represent the majority of constituents but are in reality there representing the ruling party that came a poor second to all contesting candidates.

There are other cases in which the Judiciary has become a weapon in the arsenal of the despot at State House.

Cases hatched against opposition supporters are mysteriously dropped should the accused declare membership of the ruling APC party. The Falley case is just one example.

One that takes the icing on the corruption cake to a higher level is that involving the Minority Leader of the House, one Bernadette Lahai.

This is an MP of the opposition SLPP who had been removed from that post by her Parliamentary colleagues. Yet she is still there because she now serves the cause of the ruling party, agreeing to any and all undemocratic moves by the ruling party.

It was the ruling party, we suspect that advised her to take the SLPP MPs to court where the Judiciary, true to its corrupt form slapped an injunction against any move that would see her legally removed from her position as Minority Leader.

Kindly recall what we wrote back then in 2014 while reminding all and sundry about January 6, 1999 -

"Treason, in our view, is not only the taking up of arms to replace a government that is voted into office in a free, fair and violence-free election, but treason charges can be laid against a President who having taken the oath of office to defend the constitution, deliberately and in a calculating manner goes against the key elements of that document that defines the position he holds.

His accomplices should include, among others the Chief Justice Umu Hawa Tejan-Jalloh, the Head of the Electoral Commission Christiana Thorpe and the Head of the Anti Corruption Commission Joseph Fitzgerald Kamara. These are the victims of state-sponsored brutality as APC thugs attacked the offices of the main opposition SLPP in 2009.

These named officials know and are aware of their duty to the people of Sierra Leone as defined in the Constitution and other documents relating to the discharge of their duties, but have failed to do so. Instead they have become a part of a concerted plot against the people of Sierra Leone who are now forced to suffer further agony.

Thanks to a system orchestrated with the help of others still to be identified, where the rule of law has become almost non-existent unless you are a party activist or have direct connections to State House from where the smoke and mirrors President presides over the fate of the millions of poor and disadvantaged and unconnected Sierra Leoneans in their own God-given country."

Let us leave you with this observation from the final report of the TRC -

"The judiciary has not been independent for the past two decades. The executive arm of government was directly involved in the judicial processes, which invariably inhibited access to justice.

Backlog of cases became the order of the day as the courts became overcrowded with cases.

"Justice delayed is justice denied...People were held custody for long periods without trial. Most Magistrates and judges were accused of being notorious for bribe taking and were known to have adjudicated matters in favour of their clients.

The instruments and structures used by the judiciary were and are still obsolete. Most of the laws are not in consonant with international standards and therefore only protected the political aspiration of the ruling party."



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