''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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Friday April 29, 2016 - Another year and another day to remind us of what happens when law and order becomes clay in the hands of rogue politicians. Twenty four years ago today, an uncaring and despotic APC regime was kicked out of power by its own khaki boys.New Head of State Captain Valentine Strasser rides in triumph after successful April 29, 1992 coup.

Twenty four years ago today on the Wednesday morning of April 29, 1992 a section of the war front moved to the gates of State House in Freetown as soldiers who had been battling rebels in the east of the country decided that enough was enough and demanded to meet their Commander-in-Chief, President Joseph Saidu Momoh.

Curious residents in the capital, finally having picked up enough courage after the sounds of heavy and unfamiliar gunfire made their way along State Avenue to watch the unfolding scene as a twin-barreled anti-aircraft gun mounted on a truck slowly turned around and made a spectacle of giving the curious residents of the sort of weapons in use at the more than a year old war against rebel forces led by one former army corporal, Foday Sankoh.

For the first time, residents in the capital realised that what they thought was a "phoney war" was something real and that reports of battles against the rebels carried in  international media outlets must have disturbing rings of truth in them especially when it came to reverses suffered by government forces.

By the time the day was over, a radio announcement by a breathless Captain Valentine Strasser on the only functional radio station in the capital, the Aberdeen-based private FM 94 made it known to the world that the twenty four year despotic reign of the APC was over.

Thus was formed the National Provisional Ruling Council, the NPRC which held the reigns of government until 1996 when largely free and fair elections ushered in a new civilian administration led by the SLPP's Ahmad Tejan Kabbah.

Back in power in 2007 after elections held that year, fifteen years after being booted out of power, the APC has learnt nothing from those lessons as it engages in what is now seen as a ravenous rape of the country's resources using every means at hand and throwing law and order regulations under the bus.

Key functionaries of the APC who had been singing praises of President Momoh to hide their personal thieving ventures are back in Freetown making observers wonder just what they had been up to in those fifteen years.

There are the interesting cases of one Logus Koroma who having fed fat on the droppings from the corrupt rat at State House initiated a campaign to have his master get cemented at State House by proposing that he tears the Constitution apart to make him rule for ever.

There's the case of one Tom Obaleh, who having manipulated President Momoh was given some post as the country's envoy in the United States. Stories insisting that he needs to explain the sale of a chancery still swirl even as he was put in charge of the new money-spinning National Telecommunications entity.

One Palo Conteh, a relation of President Momoh and a former top operative of the human rights-abusing Military Intelligence Branch, MIB, was back to garner sheaves where he never sowed. President Ahmad Tejan Kabbah declared the war over in 2002.

Yansaneh, now calling himself Ambassador and one of the architects in the tearing up of the Constitution seemed to have forgotten his protocol days at State House where he showed just how important he was as he displayed his prowess with the walkie-talkie for visitors to admire.

These were some of the key figures who were believed to have engineered a treason trial that saw a number of people executed including the country's Vice President, one Francis Misheck Minah.

Reports of the various Commissions of Inquiry set up by the NPRC showed just how rotten the system had been. There were revelations that shocked even die-hard APC party supporters who knew their principals were thieves and nation wreckers but not to the extent revealed by those reports.

During the Presidency of Ahmad Tejan Kabbah, a number of institutions aimed at cementing the rule of law and taking a good hard look at why the country went on a path of destruction were initiated with Sierra Leone's Truth and Reconciliation Commission, the TRC, providing a guide as to how not to govern Sierra Leone.

All is now forgotten as the feeding frenzy continues unabated. The cries of the poor and unconnected get drowned in the engine noise of new vehicles bought at the peoples' expense.

Indeed the feeding frenzy is so great that when the Ebola Virus Disease hit the country, it was used as another source of money-making enterprise never mind the thousands that died and the many that are traumatised.

Those who survived the disease are neglected as are those health and other associated workers who put their lives on the line in combating the disease. Most, if not all, the shady contracts were directly approved by the rat himself who in a number of cases is reported to have been instrumental in who gets what and for what fake setup as the thieving continued.

Now here's something the rat and his cronies need to read very carefully.

Former UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan has seen enough on the continent to warn, years ago that any government that came to power through a coup should not be recognised and indeed when the murderous APC-led AFRC of Johnny Paul Koroma kicked out the barely one year old democratically-elected government of President Ahmad Tejan Kabbah on May 25, 1997, the world duly obliged - refusing to recognise a regime that uses murder, rape, arson and abduction as a means of staying in power against the wishes of the people - a large majority of them.

Having watched how governments and party leaders tear apart Constitutions to stay in power, his keynote remarks at a recent symposium is worth noting. He says in a speech -

"As I constantly repeat, you cannot have peace and security without inclusive development, the rule of law and the respect for human rights. These are the three pillars of all successful societies.

It is largely because these three pillars are quite fragile in parts of Africa that we are still seeing instability and violence. The truth is that the economic growth in Africa over the last fifteen years, though impressive, has been neither sufficient nor inclusive.

In fact, Africa has become the world’s second most unequal continent, according to the African Development Bank. Too much of that growth has enriched a narrow elite and not enough was spent on infrastructure, health or education, which would have fostered development.

It is not just that Africa is unequal: it is also unfair. An African Union report has estimated that up to one quarter of the continent’s GDP is syphoned off every year through corruption.

The trafficking of drugs creates an especially difficult challenge. Drug money is insidious and invasive. It corrodes political institutions. We must focus on the money trail. We have been locking up the minor offenders while the big fish swim free.

The fight against violent rebel movements is necessary, and will require enhanced inter-African as well as international cooperation. But this is not enough because the challenge of security in Africa is often a political challenge revolving around the acquisition and use of power.

As a result, elections are a source of tension and repression rather than an opportunity for the free expression of political will.

Leaders who hang on to power indefinitely by gaming elections and suppressing criticism and opposition are sowing the seeds of violence and instability.

African leaders, like leaders everywhere, must remember that they are at the service of their citizens, and not the other way around. They have a mandate given to them, in trust, by their people, who can also take it away from them if they are found wanting and to have outstayed their welcome.Logus Koroma - calculating fresh deals for him and his master - the chief of the rats

Elections should be the vehicle for popular choice in which the winner does not take all and the losers do not lose all.

Those who win must recognize that they do not have a licence to rule without restraint or remain in office in perpetuity.

Let us not confuse legality with legitimacy. Elections that meet legal form but fail the test of integrity are only pyrrhic victories that usually store up trouble for the future.

And this is for the head of the police, one Francis Munu who believes that the security forces under his command must be used to entrench the undemocratic regime of the rat. An educated buffoon who believes that the OSD, the former ISU should remain an APC party paramilitary force.

"Finally, I want to mention the quality of national security forces.

Madiba once said that “freedom would be meaningless without security in the home and in the streets”. That security in the home and in the streets depends in good measure on our security forces. We must invest in them but also make them fully accountable as part of our democratic societies. They must be trained to protect the individual and his or her family and property, to earn their trust and work with the people.

Later in an interview on the sidelines of the symposium, Mr Annan made this point even more forcefully as reported in one Ghana-based news outlet.

"The renowned international diplomat said that while unconstitutional changes to government on the continent had reduced, exclusionary politics threatened to reverse the gains made, the Africa Press Organisation reported on Tuesday. 'I think Africa has done well, by and large the coups have more or less ended, generals are remaining in their barracks, but we are creating situations, which may bring them back,' the report quoted the Nobel Laureate, at the 5thTana High-Level Forum on Security in Africa, held in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia.

'If a leader doesn't want to leave office, if a leader stays on for too long, and elections are seen as being gamed to suit a leader and he stays term after term after term, the tendency may be the only way to get him out is through a coup or people taking to the streets.

'Neither approach can be seen as an alternative to democracy, to elections or to parliamentary rule. Constitutions and the rules of the game have to be respected.'

Kindly refresh your memory on the governance issue in Sierra Leone by taking a look at this article written in 2012, twenty years after the historic and successful coup against the despotic and uncaring APC regime.

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©Sierra Herald 2002