One of the duties of the government is to protect the lives and properties of the people it governs. No government is worth its salt if it cannot effectively and adequately defend and protect its people. The SLPP government finds itself in a big predicament because the Sierra Leonean people are still living in fear four years after the end of the civil war.
Though the war has ended, the potential for violence still remains embedded within the fabric of society and the schoolchildren demonstrated this two weeks ago when they went on the rampage in the capital after the Western Area Secondary School Soccer Cup Final between the St.Edwards Secondary School and the Methodist Boys High School. Suddenly, Sierra Leoneans consider violence as the only means of self-expression, self-perpetuation and addressing their grievances. The behavior of kids reflect the ethos of society.
And we do not need to delve into the Psychology books to demonstrate this point.Even four years after the end of the war, some aggrieved adults are still talking about a second round of the war. And COCORIOKO is being fed credible stories that some ill-disposed persons are trying to create more chaos in the country. They plan to use some political developments of the past to wreak havoc in the society.
The government must not allow itself to be lulled into a false sense of security.All our security antennae in Sierra Leone must be up and security forces must fire on all cylinders to ensure that all our towns and districts and all our borders are protected.
The gradual trimming down of UNAMSIL, the UN Peace-Keeping mission in Sierra Leone, is premature. There had always been fears that troublemakers will try to capitalize on the security vaccuum being created by the downsizing of the UN Forces. The typical Sierra Leonean is an opportunist and it should not be surprising if he takes advantage of the situation to plunge the nation back to chaos.
Complete normalcy has not been restored yet in Sierra Leone. The guns have been taken away from combatants but the old passions and grudges that caused the war have not been curbed. Deep animosity still exists between rival political contenders , their supporters and their tribesmen. Also social and economic deprivation still exists in the country, creating an alibi that potential troublemakers could exploit for their devillish ends.
Recent assurances given by government that the security of the nation is watertight are not enough. Sierra Leoneans have heard it before. They heard it before the Johhny Paul Koroma coup in 1997. They heard it before the AFRC/RUF rebels entered the capital and briefly displaced the government in February 1999. They do not want to go through the same dilemma again.
The government must beef up security everywhere, especially as we enter the yuletide season when the festivities could cause a dropping of guard. Regular patrols of our borders, and the streets and corners of our towns and cities must be conducted with scrupulous regularity . And any security threat suspected must be dealt with speedily .Sierra Leoneans want to go to bed now and enjoy a sound sleep , not keep one eye open in fear and anticipation of a resumption of hostilities.