What a New Year’s gift of bloodbath for Sierra Leoneans?
21 Jan 2012 by Abdulai Bayraytay in Sierra Leone, 2472 Views West Africa 2472 Views
A political theory is playing out in Sierra Leone over the entrenched bloodbath following the vicious stabbings of political opponents of the ruling All People’s Congress Party (APC) allegedly masterminded by Sierra Leone People’s Party (SLPP) chairman in the Fourah Bay Community, Aziz Carew. Cross sections of civil society organizations have come under a barrage of criticisms over their particularly conspicuous silence on the stabbings unleashed on APC supporters, including the charlady of the party, Mariama Suma aka N’ma Bangura, firebrand politician, Lansana Fadika, who only a fortnight ago crossed-over from the SLPP to the APC, among scores of others. The criticisms have garnered widespread support from Sierra Leoneans particularly in the Diaspora not only because the bloodbath visited on APC stalwarts had succeeded in rekindling the squalid memories of the country’s brutal civil war from 1991 until 2002, but the rather squalid message this would send that political differences in Sierra Leone could only be resolved through mayhem.
Whilst the government’s position since President Koroma came to power in 2007 seems to be that of continuing to conciliate the multitude of human rights organizations and the international community that its human rights record has so far been impeccable with journalists given the unprecedented freedom to practice their profession without any let or hindrance or perceived repercussions, no opposition politician arrested, not even John Benjamin and his cronies who have been infamously accused of fomenting political chaos across the country, including the notorious masterminded incident in Bo.
As the SLPP calculated violence has largely been seen as a cheap political ploy aimed at diverting growing concerns held by the international community over the role of Maada Bio in the brutal extrajudicial killings of former Inspector General of Police, James Bambay Kamara, Salami Coker and scores of others, what would not however easily fade away from the minds of the international community, especially the country’s donor friends, are niggling questions former President Ahmed Tejan Kabbah and his former Vice-President cum Attorney General and Minister of Justice, Solomon Berewa jointly raised on the role Maada Bio played in the dubious transactions the NPRC regime undertook in the name of national defence, including the hundreds of billions of leones and over a billion dollars paid out from government funds on such contracts for ghost transactions like the M.V. “Sharon” naval patrol boat, the granting of a general power of attorney to Maada Bio’s brother, the late Steven Bio, to conclude all and any defence and military contracts running into tens of millions of dollars, Maada Bio having caused the Government to pay the whooping sum of Le.235,000,000 into his private firm, P. Banga Investment Limited, in respect of contracts that firm had purportedly entered into with the government for the supply of spare parts for the replacement of helicopter engines which did not belong to the Government of Sierra Leone on February 1st, 1996?
Unless and until Maada Bio exonerates himself from the scandalous sale of our country’s passport, which, according to former President Tejan Kabbah, caused the government of Sierra Leone, from tax payers’ money, to also pay into his Channel Islands’ account the colossal sum of US$400,000, the SLPP chosen path of violence in efforts to regain power would only be seen as an opposition running out of ideas in providing an alternative agenda to the much acclaimed agenda of change espoused by President Ernest B. Koroma whose enviable popularity cannot just be saddled with mud overnight. If intelligence reports that the recent violence perpetrated by the SLLP was to test how prepared the APC would be in responding to incidents of violence and the worrisome concerns that the SLPP was poised to recruit local Kamajor militia to unleash violence during the presidential and parliamentary elections slated for November 17 this year are anything to go by, then it means the SLPP seems to undervalue the obvious power of civil society who would not be browbeaten to any forms of intimidation from any hustler-politicians aimed at reversing the peace gains the country had made and continues to make in her post-war reconstruction efforts so far.
Again, this is where one would heartily congratulate President Koroma in calling on the International Criminal Court to keenly follow trends of violence in the country so that perpetrators would be brought to justice in the case of any eventualities. But so far, it has not been a happy New Year for the vast majority of Sierra Leoneans as consequence of the politics of knife-wielding, stabbings and the importation of the notorious “West Side Boys” by the increasingly desperate, cynical and mercurial opposition SLPP was definitely not what Sierra Leoneans deserve as a New Year’s gift.
By Abdulai Bayraytay in Toronto, Canada
© 2012, Abdulai Bayraytay. All rights reserved.