By Anthony Koroma :
Personally I am not happy with both past and present acts of lawlessness that was/are going on in the country. I am not happy because such unpatriotic behaviour is a recipe for another unrest situation in the country at the expense of the poor suffering masses that have nowhere to go when the unrest becomes eminent or serious. I also believe that any peace and development loving Sierra Leonean will not be happy with such unruly behaviour of some devil-incarnation Sierra Leoneans.
For example, today if you don’t hear about political violence in the country, you will hear about secondary school students’ or university students’ violence or youth rampage violence in the country. Or you either hear about ex-combatants or ex-soldiers violence or armed robbers house breaking. Sometimes I asked myself why such ugly and barbaric behaviours are always happening in the country. Is it because of the democratic attitude of President Ernest Koroma that enemies of peace and progress in the country are taking advantage of?
I am asking such questions because it has become now days too common to hear people taking the law into their hands while leaving the court of law empty. Many Sierra Leoneans failed to realize that freedom goes with responsibility. There comes the misuse of words like “Human Rights and Freedom of expression”. Many Sierra Leoneans are misinterpreting such phrases, especially by those who saw peace, progress and development as enemies in the country. Such elements put more of their attention on tribe, partisan and region than the country’s peace and development.
Therefore, for any little thing that happens they will jump in the street in the name of protest or demonstration with the aim of disrupting the peaceful atmosphere and development that are currently going on in the country. They fail to realize that where ones freedom or right stops, is where another man or woman’s freedom or right starts. Therefore, no individual or group should infringe another person or group’s freedom or right in the name of demonstration or protest.
To be honest the indiscipline and lawlessness behaviours that are currently going on in the country in the name of protest or demonstration or armed robbery never happen in the days of NPRC and SLPP governments because of the uncompromising brutality attitudes of those governments. In fact to burn alive or kill their fellow Sierra Leone for their power was just too common for them. If it is a story that I am telling, the family of the 29 precious lives being destroyed by NPRC will tell you if you ask them and of course for sending others to Pademba Road prison was just like a twinkle of an eye.
For instance, whether the individual is a journalist, student or not, the NPRC and SLPP governments do not have respect for their fellow Sierra Leoneans’ lives because of political power. If you ask the family of late Harry Yensenah, For Di People’s newspaper journalist they will tell you their story. In fact to prove me right or wrong, currently even when Maada Bio and his SLPP are finding it very difficult if not impossible to go to State House, they have started saying that they will kill journalists who are against them and their party when they win the November elections. If you ask Kabs-Kanu of Cocorioko, Tam Baryoh of the Monologue radio and Dr. Syliva Blyden of Awareness Times newspapers, they will tell you more about that..
Any dishonest and unpatriotic Sierra Leonean will be tempted to dispute these hard facts mentioned about NPRC and SLPP. Now that God send a SAINT like President Koroma that does not want to kill an ant or prison a rat before, I will say a human being. Some Sierra Leoneans are taking it as weakness on his own part. Therefore, they are quick to become agents of destruction in the country. Why? Who is behind this unpatriotic and un-nationalistic satanic behaviour in the country? If no one can tell who they are, sure enough, time will tell.
The recent involvement of one of the National Electoral Commission (NEC) workers and one of the Government Ministers attacks and the rebellious behaviour among the university students of Sierra Leone, especially Fourah Bay College (FBC), against their college authorities, the Ex-soldiers so-called demonstration issue and the Milgton Margai Teachers College current rebel students behaviour that threaten to burn their own college. Those are all pointers of indiscipline and lawlessness in the country.
If only if it is true that the FBC students deliberately refused to obey the university authority to vacate from the hostels which they have been told to leave for renovation, I am wondering what type of leaders such students will become in the country. For the fact that they suppose to be a role model in terms of good behaviour as they are the future leaders for today and tomorrow in the country. Suppose some of them are in power tomorrow will they want others to obey their authority without demonstrating rebel behaviour to them? If other people disobey their lawful authority by demonstrating rebel attitudes how are they going to feel? Time will tell.
Honestly speaking, however, I am in sympathy with Ex-combatants, soldiers in Sierra Leone for their long outstanding payment for the services they rendered to the country. These Ex-soldiers have family to feed and paying house rent. Now they are not working therefore, their hope and trust is in this money that the government has to pay them that never came. One of the big questions is how these ex-combatants are going to live? Mr. Government, delay is dangerous.
However, I was made to understand that the said overdue end of service payment for the said ex-soldiers started since the time of SLPP misruled government. If that is true why did they not demonstrate or protest against the SLPP government during their time and physically attack the then SLPP Minister of Defense and tearing his shirt? Is it because just what I said above that the SLPP was not taking it lightly with any Sierra Leonean that was trying to mess up their government? Time will tell.
However in as much I am in sympathy with the Ex-soldiers and I also support the current golden forgiveness step taken by the able Defense Minister, Palo Conteh, I will like the Ex-soldiers, FBC students, Milton Margai Teachers college students and all Sierra Leoneans to know that Sierra Leone is no longer being a battling field. It is no longer a lawless country where individuals or groups can take the law in his or her own hands. Therefore the Ex-combatants have the right to sue government for not paying them for their services. As a result, I want every Sierra Leonean to know that Sierra Leone is a country of law, “not of man”. In view of that every Sierra Leonean must obey the laws of the land regardless of rank, uniform, or status.
Therefore, I totally condemn the act of lawlessness, indiscipline and unpatriotic behaviour of the so-called Ex-soldiers by taking the law into their hands by physically attacking the Defense Minister, Palo Conteh and tearing his jacket shirt. I considered the lawlessness attack and indiscipline behaviour done on the Minister of Defense in the country is an attack on the nation’s security. Therefore, all peace, and development loving Sierra Leoneans should totally condemn such acts of lawlessness and indiscipline in the country without political undertone. Despite the Minister having forgiven them based up on their empathic plight and also for their wonderful service they rendered to the nation, I thank Minister Palo for his Godly heart for making the Ex-soldiers rejoin their families peacefully.
Yesterday was Minister Palo Conteh, tomorrow it will be you if we encourage such unruly behavior of some Sierra Leoneans to continue. In the same vein, I also totally condemned the alleged attack on journalists by government soldiers. I also considered such attack as an attack on all journalists in and out of the country and that should also be condemned by all peace and progress loving Sierra Leoneans.
Yesterday was Awoko newspaper journalists attack; tomorrow can be you if we continue to encourage such rebel attitudes in the country. We should continue to tell them that Sierra Leone is a country of law “not of man” (state of survival of the fittest). No individual or group should take the law of the land in their hands; especially when we are approaching the country’s November general elections.
In view of this, I am appealing to the Judiciary to be more firm in cases of lawlessness and indiscipline in the country. My BIG question is, if one of the most civilized countries in the world like Britain, the mother of democracy, especially in terms of Human Rights principle would sentence and prison about 100 young people,including students for riot conduct who are we in Sierra Leone NOT to put a big full stop to the country’s barbarians and vandals? Mr. Attorney General and your Judiciary over to you Sir, peace loving Sierra Leoneans want you to be firm on these issues, elections are coming closer.
I will still continue to launch my appeal to all peaceful and development-oriented Sierra Leoneans to continue opposing fellow Sierra Leoneans who are enemies of the state, enemies of progress, and enemies of the hard-earned peace in the country. In view of that, I encourage all patriotic journalists, the Independent Media Commission (IMC), National Electoral Commission (NEC), Political Parties Registration Commission (PPRC), the Bar Association, Teachers Union, religious groups, civil societies, human rights organizations, Labor Congress, women’s groups, youth organizations, musicians and other artists, traders associations, market women’s associations, student unions, disabled organizations, cassette sellers associations, booksellers associations, photographers associations, newspaper vendors, etc. to rise up and oppose the promoters of tribalism, violence, regionalism, hatred and dishonesty, especially the turn-coat politicians and the devil- incarnate political chameleons in the country before it is too late.
PLEASE, PLEASE, MY BROTHERS AND SISTERS, THIS IS THE TIME TO PROTECT OUR COUNTRY; THERE IS NO OTHER TIME MORE SUITABLE THAN NOW. WE SHOULD NOT WAIT UNTIL SOMETHING HAPPENS BEFORE WE BEGIN TO SHOUT. NOW IS THE RIGHT TIME TO SHOUT ALOUD TO SAVE OUR MOTHERLAND FROM ANOTHER CATASTROPHIC WAR. BULLETS FROM AK-47 RIFLES AND OTHER DANGEROUS WEAPONS DON’T DIFFERENTIATE BETWEEN A JOURNALIST, AN SLPP OR APC SUPPORTER; EVERYBODY IS A TARGET IRRESPECTIVE OF WHAT TRIBE YOU BELONG TO, WHAT REGION YOU COME FROM, OR WHAT POLITICAL PARTY YOU SUPPORT. WE SHOULD THEREFORE WEAR THE COAT OF WISDOM BEFORE DESTRUCTION COMES.
WHEN GOD SAYS YES, WHO WILL SAY NO?
By Tony Bee, Sydney, Australia