Written by Our Political Correspondent Jonathan Fynecontry
Sunday, 29 March 2009
The Sierra Leone People’s Party ( SLPP) has no moral authority to question the All People’s Congress (APC) government’s handling of the recent alleged rape incidents in Sierra Leone. If it is true that these women were raped, it is regrettable and I wish to condemn the perpetuators and call for action against them. However, worst incidents of rape happened under the watch of the SLPP government and the sad thing is that all the women raped during the SLPP era never received justice.
The SLPP government failed to acknowledge the sufferings of the women raped and the government was very heartless towards the victims , as reported by international organizations. I am not saying that because the SLPP’s record of protecting wome’s rights was abysmal, therefore the APC should do the same or that rape is justified under the present government.That is not what I am saying.
What I want to highlight here is the SLPP’s hypocrisy, double standards and impunity. As I am going to demonstrate, the SLPP era saw the most brutal and ruthless sexual abuse of women and throughout its reign ; and yet the SLPP GOVERNMENT DID NOTHING TO ACKNOWLEDGE THAT THESE RAPES OCCURED, THAT THE VICTIMS WERE SUFFERING AND THAT THEY NEEDED JUSTICE. TO THIS DAY, NONE OF THE RAVISHED WOMEN HAVE RECEIVED JUSTICE. NOT A SINGLE ONE. THE VIOLATED WOMEN ARE WALKING AROUND WITH THE PAIN, SHAME AND STIGMA.
This flagrant violation and neglect of the rights of women by the SLPP government begs the question : Why is the SLPP now trying to politicize the alleged rapes at their headquarters and trying to stigmatize the APC as if they did any better during their reign ? Is this not the height of hypocrisy for a party under whose watch thousands of women were brutally raped to now turn around and try to make political capital out of six alleged raped viictims in the APC era ? Is it not the height of the worst type of double standards for a party that failed to acknowlege thousands of rapes or provide succor and justice for the thousands of victims to now try to make a big noise out of six women allegedly raped recently ?
This is what is most annoying about the SLPP.They hide their own shame and disgrace under the bushel and try to make political capital out of other people’s. WHAT A SHAME FOR THE SO-CALLED GRAND OLD PARTY OF SIERRA LEONE ? Should not the SLPP first try to remove the log in their eyes before talking about the mote in other people’s eyes ?
The APC Government should not sit back and let the SLPP get away with their hypocrisy and double standards. While providing assurance that everything was being done to address the problems of the alleged six rape victims, the government must present facts to the American Ambassador and the International Community to show that the SLPP’s record of protecting women against rape and providing them justice was the most shameful in Africa.
During the reign of the SLPP, women were subjected to Rape, sexual torture, Sexual slavery and Forced pregnancy.While it must be acknowledged that some of these acts were perpetuated during a war situation, the government’s own forces and sponsored militia, the Kamajors, were among the perpetuators. What did the SLPP government do to bring its forces and Kamajors to justice ? Are the rapists not walking free in our society ? Granted that an amnesty was offered, should not the SLPP government have punished their Kamajors just to send a clear message that the government did not condone the rapes ? Yet, it was clear that the SLPP government supported the atrocities committed by its Kamajors that included rape, sexual torture and forced pregnancies of girls as young as 14 or 15 . With such a disgraceful record , what gave the SLPP the moral gumption to make all the noise we heard recently over the six women allegedly raped ? I am not saying that they should not advocate for the women, but the political capital they tried to make out of the issue was hypocrisy that stank to the heavens.
The SLPP must publicly acknowledge that thousands of women, including babies , were raped during their reign and that the government negligently failed to do anything about it.