Written by Sekou Dauda Bangura : New Jersey, USA :
Sunday, 29 March 2009
SLPP headquarters in Freetown was severely damaged while some supporters of the grand old party including the recently elected chairman of the Western Area Lansana Fadika were seriously manhandled for having the temerity and brazen audacity to hurl stones at a peaceful APC procession led by the Mayor of Freetown Herbert George Williams. Though unfortunate and regrettable, what happened two weeks ago should serve as a sobering political lesson to all SLPP unruly and ill-guided political enthusiasts – Enough of the madness!
Since the 2007 political comeback of the All People’s Congress, SLPP supporters have embarked on a war of provocation against APC supporters with the sole aim of creating political tension to justify another forcible takeover by uniformed buzzards under the payroll of the SLPP. Supporters of the party that was seriously clobbered in the last General Election have been taunting APC supporters. The popularly elected Mayor of Freetown has been called names that are most unflattering. He has even been accused of pocketing a huge amount of money from the Clock Tower project.
On several occasions, misguided elements of the SLPP have thrown invectives at the mayor, who, on each occasion has restrained his supporters and followers from reacting. But when SLPP supporters went to the extent of standing in the way of the Mayor of Freetown and throwing stones at him, APC loyalists and sympathizers decided to put an end to the reckless bravery. They sent a clear message to all the ubiquitous SLPP supporters; to all the political stumbling blocks; to the saboteurs, to the enemies of progress, and to all the subversive elements that are out to derail the meaningful steps the APC Government has been making.
The message was indeed loud and clear: “the gentle strides of the tiger should not in any way be perceived as a sign of timidity.” The President of Sierra Leone under the 1991 constitution has immense powers to protect the lives and property of all Sierra Leoneans, regardless of their political stripes. He has the police force to maintain law and order internally, and the military to protect the state against any external threat. He is the commander in chief, the fountain of honor and the dispenser of the prerogative of mercy.
The president is undoubtedly not a toothless political bulldog; he has the devouring claws of a lion!His Excellency Dr. Ernest Bai Koroma under the constitution of Sierra Leone can order the arrest and detention of anyone that is out to create a situation of lawlessness and disorder; he can declare a state of emergency if the peace and security of the state is threatened. By the power and authority given to him by the constitution of the Republic Sierra Leone, he can order the arrest and detention of anyone that is out to create unnecessary political tension, anarchy, chaos and panic in the country.
This explains why Vice President Sam Sumana while acting as president, ordered the temporary closure of the radio stations of both the ruling APC and the opposition SLPP for exacerbating political tension that has the potential of plunging the country into another round of turmoil. This brings me to a very serious issue that has been misconstrued and distorted – The Rule of Law. Popularized by that famous political scholar A.V. Dicey, the Rule of Law simply means “The law is supreme.” It means that ordinary law must prevail over discretionary or arbitrary authority; that no one should be made to suffer in body or property except for a definite breach of the law as established by the ordinary courts of the land. It means no man is above the law no matter one’s status; everyone is equal in the eyes of the law. In a nutshell, the Rule of Law is the mark of a free society.
The Rule of Law means that as citizens of Sierra Leone, we have the right to life, the right to own property, and the right to privacy. As peaceful and law abiding citizens, we have the freedom to move in and out of the country, and the freedom to associate with a political movement or party. Freedom of speech and freedom of association are enshrined in the constitution of Sierra Leone, but there is a limit to all this. Freedom of speech does not mean one should go about telling lies with the intention of inflicting malicious damage. This is why we have laws pertaining to libel and slander to guard against the misuse of the freedom to write and to speak. Individuals have the freedom to move in and out of the country. But if the intention is to spread diseases, commit crimes, planning and endeavoring to overthrow the government, then that freedom will be curtailed.
An individual can be subjected to some kind of solitary confinement for fear of spreading diseases. Freedom to life does not mean one is free to take away his life. If caught, the individual can be arrested for attempting to commit suicide. One can also be arrested and sent to prison or even executed for committing murder or treason. Those SLPP scribes who have embarked on a campaign to smear the image of the APC Government by painting the events of Friday March 13 2009 in bright colors should understand that the people of Sierra Leone – not to talk of the international community – are politically mature to discern illusion from reality; truth from lies, and facts from fiction. Yes, people have a right to their opinion, but they do not have a right to be wrong in their opinion.
The opposition propaganda news outlets are not serving the nation by their incendiary writings; their campaign of lies and character assassination is not in the public interest. The comment on an article written by Mohamed Aziz Nabe was not only misleading but totally blown out of proportion. To set the record straight, Aziz Nabe is not national chairman of the All People’s Congress in North America. He was President of the New Jersey Chapter. As a concerned Sierra Leonean, he was emotionally reacting to the disturbing developments in his homeland. A deeply religious man with an impeccable character, Aziz Nabe does not even have the gut to hurt a fly. What we see (the opposition propaganda newsorgans skewed the article) is a wretched farrago; a case of fourth-rate gutter journalism. These are the papers whose editors would not publish anything critical about the SLPP, even when the truth is glaring at them. But they take delight in publishing anything that has the potential of putting the APC Government in an embarrassing situation
.Let us backtrack on events leading to the 2007 presidential and parliamentary elections. The two notorious papers of the SLPP embarked on a very negative campaign against APC presidential candidate Ernest Koroma, and his running mate Sam Sumana. The All People’s Congress was vilified, the leaders disparaged and the supporters dismissed as “a bunch of illiterates.” Yet in the end, the All People’s Congress emerged as the victor, while the SLPP the vanquished.
The party that boasts of having more educated people could not win a single seat in Freetown, the center of power. It is not hard to find why the poor performance in 2007 despite the staggering amount of money pumped into the election campaign by Berewah and his cohorts. The party’s record during the over ten years in office was very dismal. The country retrogressed instead of progress under the leadership of Kabba and Berewah. Filth and squalor abound in the city while SLPP party operatives were building gated mansions and castles. Swollen with self-conceit, apologists and defenders of the party lack the common sense to find out what they did that was wrong and what they should do to win the hearts and minds of the people.
Devoid of common sense, SLPP diehards made the biggest political blunder recently by choosing as their flag-bearer John Benjamin, the man who presided over the economic ruin of the country and who acquired notoriety in the last election for leading the “Gang of Four” (Patrick Foya, John Karimu, Nyallay and John Benjamin) that was behind all the diabolical atrocities perpetrated against APC and PMDC supporters in Pujehun, Kailahun and Kenema. They even prevented APC presidential candidate Ernest Koroma from campaigning in areas they considered as their party strongholds in the East.
The people of Sierra Leone have undoubtedly not forgotten. They have not forgotten that under SLPP rule Freetown became the Black-Out City of Africa. They have not forgotten that under SLPP rule Sierra Leone had the worst human rights record because of the execution of the largest number of Sierra Leoneans. They have not forgotten that the SLPP fueled the Rebel War that took the lives of thousands of Sierra Leoneans, maimed and injured countless Sierra Leoneans while almost a million were displaced and rendered homeless.
The people have not forgotten the callous indifference to human suffering on the part of the SLPP by paying mercenaries to forcibly restore Kabba. It was the SLPP that introduced the public burning of people opposed to their party. They call it neck-lacing – a tire was put around the neck of the victim, petrol poured over and set alight. That was how the SLPP wasted the lives of Mohamed Sakoma, Alhaji Musa Kabbia, the young and erudite Islamic scholar Sheik Mustaba, and many other prominent northerners for publicly opposing the use of force to restore the SLPP Government.
Those gory killings represent the worst naked violation of human rights in the political history of Sierra Leone. And the same SLPP rabble- rousers and nation-wreckers behind those massacres now want to lecture us about human rights!