16 December 2005
Was it an ill Advised Statement’ by the Western Ambassadors or double standards?
Dear Sir/ Madam,
The recent press release made by the missions of the US, UK, France and the EC has a tendency to do more harm to emerging democracies and must be viewed with utmost concern not only by Sierra Leoneans but the entire West African Sub-region. It is possible that the intention was well meaning, but coming at the time it did, it will serve the dual purpose of trying to defuse a potentially explosive situation, whilst at the same time providing ready ammunition for lawless members of the populace who are bent on wreaking havoc on their own people. And the fact that supporters of Charles Margai have come out wholeheartedly in support of the statement bears testimony to what I am saying here. The statement is bound to be misinterpreted and Sierra Leoneans will be the losers again.
As representatives of the Democratic world, it will be hypocritical of them to preach out democracy on the one hand, and then cry foul when the rule of law is being applied. If the Bo incident is true, then the police are right to investigate and send a case to the DPP. It is now left for the DPP to take a course of action and decide whether there is a realistic chance of securing a conviction based on the facts so presented. If they decide to try the matter, then it becomes Sub-Judice and the statement does not serve the administration of justice well in this matter at all.
Let us imagine a situation where the motorcade of the British Deputy Prime Minister, or that of Dick Cheney gets ambushed by supporters of David Cameron, or John Edwards when they are about to attend a function, be it private or official. Imagine the fallout from that episode in the first place as the intelligence services will be lambasted for not predicting that in the first place. In this instance the Vice President was detained for over an hour, and according to press reports, they were actively encouraged to do so by their leaders. Apart from riotous conduct and unlawful detention, I am sure in this present day and age when there is a clear War on Terror; these people would have been tried using Anti-Terrorism Powers. This is how democracy works, and we all know that Democracy is founded on the Rule of Law.
What some of us are seeing now is the usual ?We know it all situation and what we say is right always. They have to listen to us as we have all the answers’. This is wrong and true diplomacy should have been where the Heads of Missions express their concerns privately to the Government, rather than copying the press at this time. It can only be interpreted by the sitting government as an Anti government message and can only heighten the tempo in these very tense times. Are they trying to tell us that democracy is when you disobey the law with impunity, assemble illegally, attack the motorcade of your leaders and cause panic and confusion? In England or America, that cannot be allowed, so why should it be in Sierra Leone? Remember, what is good for the goose, is also good for the gander. There should be no double standards as the norm has always been now for democracy to be seen as the situation where a popular demagogue secures large following, protests, sometimes without good reason and gets attention. When the crowd causes trouble with his express encouragement, he should not be held to account. That is not democracy but the seeds of chaos.
We are surprised that no statement has as yet come from the offices of these missions where a President is trying to change the constitution in Nigeria to allow him a third term in office. This is a true attempt to abuse the democratic principles but no words have yet come forth. Rather we have a case in Sierra Leone where the same Police that you helped us train, are trying to do their jobs, but are now being constrained by the Representatives of those who are supposed to be helping us develop.
In conclusion, I am asking that the Home governments come up with clarifications on this matter and advise their Ambassadors not to unduly interfere in the rule of law but to await the outcome. The statement was pre-mature and seems very partisan in the least. If the government then tries to influence the outcome, that is where a case exist for the kind of statement so attributed. Please continue to help Sierra Leone and not allow things to slide into anarchy once again.
Mohamed Alie Bah
On behalf of the “Concern and Patriotic Sierra Leoneans in the UK“
Tony Blair, British Prime Minister
George W. Bush US President
Angela Merkel, German Chancellor
Jacque Chirac, French President
Ahmed Tejan Kabbah, Sierra Leone President
Solomon Berewa, Sierra Leone Vice President
Josë Mauel Barosso, President of the European Commission.
Momodu Koroma, Sierra Leone Foreign Minister & International Cooperation.
Javier Solana Madariga, EU Foreign & Security Policy & Sec Gen Council of European Union.
US, French, German Ambassadors, UK High Commissioner and EU Representative in S/Leone.
National and International Media Houses