- Selective justice takes a hold again in Sierra Leone.
Have we forgotten the lessons of our recent history so
soon? It was this kind of meddling in the affairs of the
judiciary and the other arm of governance, Parliament, during
APC one-party rule that created the atmosphere of resentment
against all those in authority and led to our troubles.
The outbreak of the first major armed rebellion against
the state. Is there no lesson for us?
We have been following
with keen interest what looks like another class act by
the magician himself, the smoke and mirrors President
who would want to be seen and respected as the Fountain
of Honour of our very own country, Sierra Leone.
don't like what we have seen so far in action taken by
the government as regards the
Kelvin Lewis report
on the September 9, 2011 violence in Bo.
It is to be
recalled that it was the President himself who, in what
some sections of the truly independent and unfettered
press reported that he, the President was in a
no-nonsense mood when he ordered that investigation.
Bo incident in which the Presidential hopeful of the
main opposition party, the SLPP, Rtd Brigadier Julius
Maada Bio was attacked and wounded should be a great
cause of concern as it was this action that precipitated
the resulting chaos that saw another innocent Sierra
Leonean losing his life, at least ten suffering from
gunshot wounds and offices of the ruling party torched.
As the report pointed out, the attack on the opposition
flag bearer was pre-planned leaving no doubt in the
minds of watchers of the increasing violence under the
watch of our magician at State House that it must have
received some kind of approval from APC party rulers and
operations commanders. That the ruling party, would
attempt in 21st century Sierra Leone and under the
watchful eyes of the guarantors of our peace, use
violence as a tool for intimidating the opposition
reflects the APC's one-party psyche of intolerance for
democratic values and good governance.
We note this bit from
Press Release from State House
itself after the President received reports on violence
in the country, among them the Bo violence that claimed
the life of a bike rider, a Sierra Leonean, who pleaded
for his life but was murdered by a policeman paid and
uniformed by innocent people like the murdered bike
rider. This was a part of the written statement from
In the case
of the incident in Bo, the independent investigation
panel chaired by Mr Kelvin Lewis of the Sierra Leone
Association of Journalists presented its report to
his Excellency the President on 30th September 2011.
Government accepts the findings and recommendations
of the panel and assures the general public that
they will be fully implemented. Over 40 persons will
soon be charged to court to the intent that the full
force of the law will be brought to bear
Kindly note again the operative line
in this statement -
"Government accepts the findings
and recommendations of the panel and assures the general
public that they will be fully implemented."
is why we are worried, increasingly worried that reports
so far would seem to indicate that the
police officers implicated in the
shooting of civilians as well as the deliberate murder
of a bike rider have still not been
charged for their actions as stated in the report and
the subsequent government statement that the government
has not only accepted the findings but that they would
be fully implemented.
Any other excuse for not charging
the police and others named in that report to court
brings shame to the holder of the highest office in the
land and also buttresses the voice of critics that the
security forces as well as the judiciary are being
compromised by a government that still has to wake up to
the reality that Sierra Leone is no longer a one-party
We are very concerned because this is not the
first time that we have witnessed the perpetrators of
violence getting a pat on the back and allowed to go
free when the law tries to act.
Kindly recall the attack
on Sierra Leonean citizen Tom Nyuma and how the case
against his assailants was thrown out of court as soon
as State House was occupied by the magician.
Next it was
the headquarters of the main opposition SLPP that was
attacked in broad daylight and in the full view of the
public. Pictures, some moving images, showed just how
the security forces were being encouraged to wreak havoc
on the opposition.
In the end, the government
charged 22 SLPP supporters to court.
the victims were charged while the alleged assailants
including Idrissa Kamara, also known as Leatherboot, was set in the
company of the President. That's justice Ernest Bai
Koroma style and we once more bring to the attention of
the government and the international community the
selective justice that has now become a hallmark of this
thing in Freetown which passes for a democratic
government. Those police officers implicated in that
report must be brought to justice. Period.
We urge the guarantors of our peace,
peace-loving Sierra Leoneans and all those who love the
only country that we know as ours to once more impress
upon the government that intolerance of criticism and
legitimate political and civil opposition to what it is
doing in the name of the people is a part of the process
of democracy and good governance that is expected of a
country that has gone through so much violence and
The government stands condemned if it
still believes, in 21st century Sierra Leone that the
hell created for peace-loving and ordinary Sierra
Leoneans who want to go about their daily chores in
peace as was witnessed under the regimes of Siaka
Stevens and Joseph Saidu Momoh, could still be applied
to achieve political ambitions.
One online news outlet, the Sierra
Express Media (hope they too, are not branded SLPP - by
the Ernest Bai Koroma "re-branders" internet flying
toilets, vermin to the core) has this line in a recent
article, in its satirical column,
Mr Idiot, on the
SLPP sitting MP one Yokie who was among those implicated
in the Bo violence and charged to court. Reports say he
was refused bail despite several applications by the
lawyers representing him.
"Who says the Idiot was against
magistrate Wellington granting of bail to the accused?
Surprising to the Idiot was the fact that some court
visitors earlier told him there shall be no bail for the
accused and it did happen."
"....and it did happen".
This is terrifying....and we who have
lived through it all know so well that it is
true....that was how the outcome of court cases was
determined during the Stevens and Momoh interpretations
of the constitution and the application of justice.
It was the same during the trial of a
former police officer named Gabriel Tennyson Kaikai and
other alleged coup plotters, among them a member of the
ruling APC and the second in command, the Vice
President, one Francis Mishek Minah.
The jurors in that case were alleged
to have been handpicked and approved by APC party
operatives that wanted to make sure the outcome was
favourable. It was even doing the rounds at the time
those who were to face the gallows and we can recall
that at one APC-sponsored gathering when a member of our
team suggested to a party insider that those on trial
might be found innocent after all, came the sure-fire
reply "You day tok you yone" - in effect saying that we
who know - know and that an outsider like you will never
understand. This was a tacit indication that those
accused that are to face the gallows are already
selected and that no matter the presentation of defence
lawyers, the government and hence the ruling party, the
APC, will have its way.
What left us feeling something was
amiss and afoot was when it was suggested to the
official that the former Vice President could well be
found innocent given what has been heard in court so
far, that's from the layman's perspective, the party
"Befoe Minah free...leh Kaikai in neck
save" - Gabriel Tennyson Kaikai was the first accused in
that trial and it was common knowledge at the time that
numbers were given on the list of the accused depending
on what the state prosecution team believed was the
strength and participation of the individual.
Thus as GMT, Gabriel that is, was
number 1 it was assumed that he would be a sure target
and so when this party official stated this in the
hearing of others, we knew just what was going to happen
next - we could at that moment guess the outcome and
hence predict Minah's fate.
One of the members of the jury was a
journalist who was believed to be close to the party -
not that he supported what was going on. He agreed to
serve and comply with orders from the APC because, as he
confessed to colleagues, he needed the money and the
privileges of staying at a hotel with all expenses paid
for by the government.
When the APC finally snuffed out the
lives of GMT Kaikai and a couple of his brothers/cousins
as well as the then Vice President FM Minah, watchers of
the political scene were not surprised. They all knew
the outcome and it is not for us to go back in time to
state who was in charge of the police investigations.
That, as we had promised would forever be put to rest.
Not on our pages.
Another case of selective justice and
how the justice system was compromised was in the case
of another treason trial - oh yes there were quite a few
during those dark days, was how the man who had wanted
to contest the Freetown East Three constituency against
the incumbent one F B Turay of the APC. Poor Mr Thompson
was implicated in a coup, found guilty and despatched to
There was the case of one Paramount
Chief N'Silk. He was also roped in and was not spared.
Insiders within the APC alleged that he "did not respect
di Pa", refused to show respect to Siaka Stevens and was
also meant to send a message to these traditional rulers
that they were not immune to the hanging ropes of the
And this is why we who were around at
the time and witnessed it all would want to send a
message, a strong message that if the magician at State
House is not stopped in his tracks NOW, he would not
mind taking us back to that road we had pledged never to
His mindset could well be that by the
time the rot sets in, he would have had his second term
We would urge him to take a look at
and understand Robert Burns' poem "To a Mouse", later to
become a classic by John Steinbeck, "Of Mice and Men"
A reminder that the most carefully
planned and expected outcome might just go wrong.