- UN Security Council meets on Sierra Leone - hears
concern over ugly developments in Sierra Leone that
could scupper the hopes of the UN, Sierra Leoneans and
friends of Sierra Leone as an example of a success story
of a country making a full and admirable recovery after
years of a brutal and devastating war. Despite progress
made in getting the country on her feet again -
questions raised over the recent importation of millions
of dollars worth of war weapons for the armed wing of
the APC parading as a "police force", the OSD. Calls on
the main opposition SLPP to rethink action over the
boycott of Parliament and other crucial meetings.
Shears-Moses report must be made public.
United Nations Security Council meeting in a crucial
session on Sierra Leone has heard the final report of
Michael von der Schulenburg who, until he was forced out
of the country by the Ernest Bai Koroma regime, was the
Special Representative of the UN Secretary General in
the country and head of all UN operations in Sierra
Leone. He praised and indeed paid tribute to the people
of Sierra Leone for their many admirable qualities and
"for their resilience and their extraordinary ability to
forgive and reconcile. Today, victims and perpetrators
live side by side in communities all over the country".
Settling on the challenges facing Sierra Leoneans as
they get ready for the November 17 General Elections Mr Michael von der
Schulenburg expressed grave concern over the importation of weapons worth
millions of dollars to equip a section of the police,
the OSD noting
"...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.
mirrors Ernest Bai Koroma also came in for scathing
comments/criticism on a number of issues relating to
good governance, political tolerance, the rule of law
and the need to make public the report of the
Shears-Moses report into political violence. It was
revealed that although the President had even made
promises to the diplomatic corps in the country, he had
still not kept such.
"The Shears-Moses report that had investigated the events that
led to the most serious outbreak of political violence since the end of the
civil war in March 2009 must be issued without any further delay. It is now
two years since the report had been submitted to the President and despite
repeated pledges to publish it - most recently in a meeting the President
had with the entire diplomatic corps in October 2011 - this has not yet been
newly-created and so-called independent Sierra Leone
Broadcasting Corporation, the new body that was meant to
be a truly national broadcaster free from government
control was the subject of more reminders of the Ernest
Bai Koroma regime's penchant for grabbing and wanting
everything to be either Ernest Koroma or APC coloured.
Any other alternative is seen as unpalatable in a set-up
still living in the excesses of one-party rule dubiously
imposed on a cowered and intimidated public by Siaka
"...unfortunately, the SLBC has not fulfilled expectations and bad management practices have begun
to impact negatively on the
quality and impartiality of its programmes. Recent personnel decisions
further raise questions about its political neutrality so shortly before the
elections. I hope that the Government will stick to its courageous decision and
help bring about the necessary adjustments in the board and management of
the SLBC that would make this a truly national and independent voice
of Sierra Leone."
concerns over the Act setting up the SLBC which gave the
President the final say in the appointment of top
members of that body's management and Board as well as
drawing the attention of the United Nations to the
advertisements for the posts of the Director-General as
well as the Deputy Director-General. Both posts were
filled by unqualified personnel with the Deputy being a
retired School Inspector who has never done any bit of
broadcasting, journalism or media related work. The SLBC
"management" has sacked all the experienced broadcasters
thought to be reading from other books other than the
APC red book. They have been replaced by people, and
many are not journalists/broadcasters, brought in by APC
operatives and party members.
remarkable and quite worthy to note that the concerns
raised at the United Nations Security Council comes a
day before the anniversary of rebel incursion in 1991
when rebels of Foday Sankoh aided by elements from
Liberia and Burkina Faso fired the first shots as they
crossed from Liberia into Bomaru in eastern Sierra Leone
on March 23.