An Open Letter
To: Your Excellencies, the British High Commissioner, the American Ambassador,
The French Ambassador and the EU Ambassador in Freetown.
From: Kai Pokawa
Croydon United Kingdom.
There are serious Dangers and Implications in Giving Mixed Messages.
I have had the opportunity to read the joint memo signed by your Excellencies in connection with the ongoing political situation in My Country.
While I share and sympathize with your general political concerns, yet I remain very uneasy with your sentiment, especially with the way it was conveyed. I believe your intervention is untimely and may convey the wrong message to certain parts of our population.
I am particularly surprised that you choose to comment on a matter that is currently subject to Judicial Proceedings.
I believe your actions though unintended could contribute to developing a well spun synthesis which will only invite collusion on multiple delicate points of general political and social concern in the Country. There could be bigger implications. In the current delicate political climate, it is easy for any situation to be misinterpreted by a faux na�f fortuitously time combination of hatred and chaos.
Every Sierra Leonean is grateful for the assistance you gave to us during our dark days of the civil war. We will forever remain grateful especially to the British government for the assistance then and the continuing assistance now.
You must however remember that we an emerging democracy. Our system of government, constitution and law is mirrored on the British system. The British system underlines the RULE OF LAW as its fundamental basic principle. No one is above the law and everyone no matter what their status is equal under the law. With the help of your governments and Particularly Britain we are aspiring to those high standards of democratic Principle.
You are aware that there is a vibrant freedom of press, currently in Sierra Leone, and the Judiciary is independent there are no cases of human right abuses. Can I politely remind you, gentlemen that only two weeks ago, a well known journalist who had been sentenced for seditious libel of the President was set free by the Appeal Courts? What does that say about the independence of the Judiciary inSierra Leone? What message does that send to you about our freedom of speech, and how many developing countries can boast such separation of powers with emphasis on the independent of the Judiciary? These are the sort of developments and achievement that you should be lauding us for and letting the world know the progress we have made so soon after a very savage civil war.
However, to continue such progress we require all citizens to obey the laws of the land. Your jointly signed letter seems to insinuate that the arrest of Mr. Charles Francis Margai was anything other than a due judicial process involving law enforcement agency, the Police. People with lesser minds may well conclude, and rightly, so that you suspect, that the Executive in Sierra Leone has something to do with this arrest. That will be an alibi for the truth and a dangerous misconception.
It will be a slur on the hard working police officers struggling to carry out their daily duties under pressure. The chief of Police has over a period given eloquent interviews explaining the facts as they are, and not from a speculative point of view. I think I am comfortable with his explanations.
You should also join me in celebrating the independence shown by our Judges, their dedications. Remember that the honesty and impartiality of our High Court Judges should never be questioned.
I cannot comment directly on Mr. Margai’s case because it is Sub Jud ice. I cannot either comment on the Bo incident because I was not there and therefore passing Judgment on Mr. Margai will be unfair, and that is not my style.(I think though, the Bail sum was a little too high)Again this is only my opinion. Only the Presiding Magistrates and the prosecuting authorities were privy to the facts and I am sure they set the bail sum accordingly to reflect the facts as they saw fit.
To my mind, Mr. Margai should have gone to the Police station when he was politely invited to do so. I think it was irresponsible on his part, especially as a very senior practitioner of the laws and one aspiring to become President of our Country to so blatantly try to bring the law into disrepute. Charles Margai, is a brilliant Barrister, he will probably easily win the charges against him in any event (from what I have seen)
So why then did Mr. Margai refuse to go to the police station? I know you cannot answer this question, but these are the questions you should asking yourselves if you want to make an honest assessment of the situation in Sierra Leone.
It was Mr. Margai’s refusal to answer a polite request from the police that left the police with no option but to secure his arrest in public. Charles knew that his arrest in public will bring out his supporters on the streets of Freetown, and that is expertly what happened. To my mind, I find it difficult that anybody else could be blamed for the dangerous development that occurred. That been the FACT of the matter, I believe therefore that in your endeavor to see peace and democracy in Sierra Leone and the rule of law maintained, just like in your own countries, you should have addressed the matter in that vein. Tell it as it is. You will never expect a politician to behave in such a way in London or Washington, so why tolerate it in Freetown.
Famous people, the world over are arrested everyday, recently Scott Libby in Washington, and there was vice President Juma in South African, who has even more political support, that even the president, but neither of them mobilized the mob to cause havoc on poor innocent citizens. They are letting the law take its course. Charles should do the same. The Law and not the Mob should rule if we are to have and maintain a proper democratic process in Sierra Leone.
To my Sierra Leone brother and sisters reading this letter, I want you to remember that we are all Sierra Leonean first and last and remember the aphorism of Alan Wolfe ?behind every citizen lies a graveyard.’ Ask yourself, are you a true citizen?
The future of Sierra Leone is in our hands… I am and remain sanguine; I think we should all be.
Cc (1) Rt Hon Momodu Koroma Freetown
(2) Rt Hon Jack Straw London
(3) Rt Hon Hilary Benn London.