''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 10

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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Open Letter To Brother I.B. Kargbo

Culled from Global Times Newspaper

Dear Brother Kargbo,

It has been a long time since I met you face to face. I remember the last time we met was about eight months ago after one of those weekly press conferences at your Ministry. It followed that in your usual display of kind gesture you once again bailed me out of some pressing financial strait – jacket without even asking. And you had done so some other times before. Once again may I say many thanks.

I write to you as a friend and senior colleague in the journalism profession, with the view to discussing this controversial decision by the APC government to launch an Inquest into the execution of James Bambay Kamara and others some 18 years ago. Since I was first introduced to you by our colleague now Honourable Member of Parliament, Frank Kposowa in the early 1990s, we have all remained good friends and colleagues up to this day. I remember when in 1993 you took me and Kposowa to Makeni for a week-end. We had a wonderful time and your late mother was so nice to us.

I.B., I recognize in you a man of exceptional gift including that of the garb. You are also blessed and possessed of the ability to change when the politics of this country and your interest change; and to consciously or unconsciously adopt your emotions to the needs of the moment. The record is an open book: You were for instance, National Assistant Secretary – General in the Joseph Saidu Momoh’s APC government and graduated to the level of Member of Parliament. No sooner the National Provisional Revolutionary Council (NPRC) took power in 1992 than you began to hob-nob with the junta regime. You walked into most of the big-time NPRC offices without appointment let alone knocking at the door. Junta leader Valentine Strasser, Kerefa Kargbo, John Benjamin, Tom Nyuma and many more big men of the junta held you in confidence. For your newspaper – THE NEW CITIZEN – adverts came through the door by just a call from you.

And then came to power the SLPP. To confess to you I.B., I didn’t only admire your prowess to get around the powers-that-be, I also envied you. How you got so closed to President Ahmad Tejan Kabbah to the point that then Vice President Joe Demby had to, at one time, wait for you to see the President at State House beat my imagination.

But that was short – lived as your true knack to adapt and conquer circumstances was to come. The SLPP barely one year in power was assailed and overthrown in May 1997 by the Armed Forces Revolutionary Council (AFRC). There again were you I.B. Kargbo standing tall in the affairs of the AFRC as head of the National Commission for Human Rights after the substantive head had escaped for dear life. I only need to remind you of the excesses and outrages and horrors and insanity of the AFRC. They killed in cold – predetermined and savage imitation of cruelties committed under the bestial Presidencies of Idi Amin Dada of Uganda and Jean Bedell – Bokassa of Central Africa Republic respectively.

And in the heat of all those massacres you wrote an editorial in your newspaper explaining how effectively the AFRC had successfully conducted the affairs of the country for the first 100 days. Oh! My God. The AFRC junta of which you were an influential part was the most universally condemned excesses of the most desperate and unprincipled revolution. Right?

Thanks to God and to the international community - Great Britain, Nigeria, the United Nations among others – who came and baled our country from the ravages of your junta. And with the SLPP restored to power, I.B. you again astounded the nation with the kind of influence you exerted in the Kabbah government. You became one of President Kabbah’s unofficial blue-eye President’s men of influence to the chagrin of most of us who stayed in the country and fought for the restoration of the democratic government of the SLPP. We benefitted nothing to date.

President Kabbah took you to the United Nations Assembly; he took you and mother to Mecca; you travelled with him to many other places around the world. At the peak of Kabbah’s love and interest in you, he almost appointed you as Minister of Information. You walked into State Lodge without appointment.

Oh Brother I.B. what a lucky man you are. Here are you again today in the APC government commanding and influencing decisions that affect the State and people; the recent one being your declaration on behalf of government to launch an Inquest into the execution in 1992 under the NPRC. May it not be lost on you brother I.B. that the NPRC coup was universally popular; it had many prelates that blessed it as well as nobles that adorned it both at home and away. The NPRC was cheered to the echo for their feat in 1992, and the whole country rose to their feet in support up until now.

The decision by government to open up old wounds is bound to be magnified many times as to introduce unforeseen circumstances not good for national peace and decorum. The idea has already invoked strong emotional detestations nationwide and world wide. It represents a vindictive appreciation of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission exercise, as well as the Lome Peace Accord and the commendable Peace Building efforts that we enjoy today.

Sierra Leone as a result of the 11 years of rebel war remains a wounded and fragile country in a state of utter deterioration. Inquest of that nature will only add salt to injury which is not good for national peace and reconciliation.

I.B. please use your gift of the garb and your Maradona expertise to prevail on government not to carry out that Inquest. Let government otherwise think of development issues that will bale the people out of present day hardship in the country. Please I.B, let our government avoid those things that may offend the people’s suspicions and susceptibilities. It is a landslide that our government is trying to provoke that will once again crush this country. It must be stopped. I.B. remember that people don’t get drowned in hot water, but in the cold one. Be mindful.

In conclusion I quote: “Confidence and courage are fine things and contain in them elements of success, but they are bad when they lead to neglect of means which success can be obtained.”

Kindest personal regards.

Your brother, George S. Khoryama.

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©Sierra Herald 2002