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Archive for September, 2004

Hilton Fyle derides Kabbah’s abuse of power and justifies his opposition of the President’s 1998 invasion of Sierra Leone

Tuesday, September 28th, 2004

Tuesday September 28, 2004 :

Famed Sierra Leonean broadcaster, Hilton Fyle, on Saturday held his audience spellbound as he powerfully highlighted his harrowing experiences with the ruling SLPP government in 1997-98.

Fyle, who for over 20 years fascinated BBC listeners all over the world with his brilliant presentation of the popular NETWORK AFRICA program, was the guest speaker at a fund-raising and Awards dinner held by the New Jersey North American Branch of the opposition APC in Franklin Township, Somerset, New Jersey on Saturday night.

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KABBAH : He almost killed  former BBC Presenter Hilton Fyle

In an eloquent speech that held listeners captive and evoked all kinds of emotions, the former presenter of the hit SLBS/TV “GO-GO SHOW” in the mid-1970s,meticulously and carefully outlined how the dreams of multi-party democracy by the people of Sierra Leone were cruelly dashed by President Ahmad Tejan Kabbah and his SLPP government.

Fyle said after his retirement from the BBC, which he served for over 20 years, he decided to return home after the SLPP, which came to power in 1996, promised the world that it was going to restore multi-party democracy in Sierra Leone. He realized that there was no better time for a true patriot to return home and help build his country.  He said that he trusted the government and believed their  promises because the government was composed of qualified individuals , who like President Kabbah, had distinguished themselves in public service ( In Kabbah’s case the UN ). He said he told himself that the much-awaited change had at last arrived in Sierra Leone and he must return home to help to develop the country.Considering that Mass Communication was one area that needed impetus in Sierra Leone, Hilton stated that he decided to return home to use the knowledge and experience he had gained for the benefit of the country.

The celebrated broadcaster said further  that when he arrived in Sierra Leone he set up a radio station and a newspaper through  which he expressed his candid opinions about matters of national concern, encouraged by his belief that the President and his government officials were well-educated people who understood the meaning of democracy and meant what they said ..

Mr. Fyle said  that everything he broadcast  on his radio or wrote  in his newspaper were designed to promote the spirit odf democracy which he believed had been revived in the country.He however lamented that it did not take long before he realised that every promise the government had made about reviving and promoting  democracy in Sierra Leone were false and that the SLPP had no intention  whatsoever to make democracy work in the country.

Fyle explained that instead of promoting the democracy they had promised President Kabbah and his government were rather more inclined to perpetuating that retrogressive African mentality about leadership—That the Chief was always right and only he had the answers to the country’s problems and any expression of free speech from another quarter was a threat to his power. Fyle outlined the gross abuses of power Sierra Leoneans have endured  and the violation of the principles of muti-party democracy he witnessed,  along with the perpetuation of tribalism , during his ill-fated stay in Sierra Leone..

Fyle said Kabbah came to dislike him for the truths he broadcast or wrote and the President could have killed him but for the grace and mercy of God. He said that his presence before the audience  in New Jersey on Saturday night  was a testimony of the goodness and saving power of God. He spent months on death row , with his cell just a few yards from the execution chamber and gallows.

Fyle said Kabbah hated him because he spoke the truth about the President’s plan to use foreign troops and mercenaries to invade the country and restore his government which had been overthrown in 1997 by soldiers ..

He justified his decision to oppose the invasion because violence was unnecessary as  the soldiers had signed an accord with the government and faithfully promised to hand power back to President Kabbah in six months. He intimated that the soldiers would have handed power back to Kabbah’s government because the international community and the people of Sierra Leone had put them under tremenduous pressure to abdicate power.

Fyle said his concern was that if Kabbah invaded the country with his foreign troops and mercenaries, thousands of innocent people would be killed and heavy damage inflicted on the country. He felt that the government should have waited patiently for the six  months to expire, but he regretted the fact that Kabbah was so greedy for power that he could not wait and anybody who opposed his plan to use violence to return to power became his enemy.

Fyle spoke about the eventual invasion of the country by Kabbah’s foreign troops and mercenaries who used bombs and fighter jets to attack the army and in the process killed thousands of innocent people and destroyed the capital, just as had been feared. by peace advocates.

Fyle narrated that he was arrested, badly beaten up and cast into Prison from where the government later charged him with Treason , along with many other people, all of whom were found guilty and sentenced to death by hanging.

Fyle spoke about the perils they faced in jail while awaiting execution .He stated that President Kabbah would have had all of them executed , but God answered their fervent prayers when rebels captured the capital, burst the Prison doors open and freed all of them.They fled into the bush with the rebels where he indicated that they underwent indescribable suffering and starvation, but managed to survive anyway, through the grace of God.

Eventually, he went on, the International Community forced the government to make peace with the rebels and all of them were granted amnesty and he found his way later to the U.S.

Fyle told his captive audience that he had forgiven President Kabbah and his government and he had been admonishing others who suffered the same way to forgive and forget. He avverred that there would be no peace and progress in the nation if Sierra Leoneans did not practice the virtue of forgiveness and reconciliation.

He however called on all patriotic Sierra Leoneans not to leave the destiny of their country in the hands of the corrupt and uncommitted politicians.Rather, they should make their voices heard for the good of the nation.

During the program, awards were presented to organizations and people who  had contributed positively to the upliftment of the society. Among those who received awards were Morgage Banker, Mr. Foday Mansaray who had helped many Sierra Leoneans in Franklin own homes; Mrs. Batily Alghali, an educationist who helped many parents place their children in the Somerset Head Start Program where she was the Co-ordinator; former ADC to Heads of Stata, Dr.Siaka Stevens and Gen. Joseph Momoh  , Mr.John Bangura, and the Franklin Police Department for their hard work in Community Policing.

APC New Jersey Branch Chairman, Mr. Alex Mansaray presented the awards on behalf of the party.

A speech was read to the audience by APC North American Chairman, Raymond Kabia, from the new Mayor of Freetown, Mr.Winstanley Johnson, the Guest of Honor, who was regrettably absent due to alleged  problems being created for the new Freetown City Council by the SLPP government, which was not willing to co-operate with the council and had placed roadblocks infront of the FTC, according to the contents of the speech.

Sierra leone students have problems in Egypt

Sunday, September 19th, 2004
 
By Alpha Joh Barrie in Egypt
Monday September 19, 2005
HI,
           A CONCERN CITIZEN OF THE REPUBLIC OF SIERRA LEONE PRESENTLY IN THE ARAB REPUBLIC OF EGYPT AS A STUDENT. WILL LIKE TO PUT TO YOUR NOTICE SOME INPORTANT AREA THAT THE SIERRA LEONEAN ARE FACING IN EGYPT. THESE ARE AS FOLLOWS.
1. MAJORITY OF THE SIERRA LEONEAN THAT ARE LIVING IN THE ARAB REPUBLIC OF EGYPT ARE STUDENTS UNDER THE MISSION CALL AL-AZHAR UNIVERSITY. BEFORE LIVING SIERRA LEONE WE  CAME UNDER A SCHOLARSHIP, THE PEOPLE OF THE MISSION TOLD US THAT WE HAVE THE RIGHT TO ENTER TO ANY FILED OF SRYDIES, AND WE WILL RECIVED A MONTHLY PAY OF 200$ AND AT THE ENDING OF ANY ACCADEMIC YEAR WE WILL VISIT OUR FAMILY BACK HOME, AFTRE WE SUBMITE OUR VALIED CERTIFICATE IN ENGLISH. BUT WHEN WE CAME THEY TOTALLY DISSAPOINT US. THE MONTHLY PAY WE RECIVED ANY MONTH IS 12$ OUT OF THIS MONEY WE PAY OUR TRANSPORTATION TO SCHOOL AND ALSO BUY SCHOOL MATERIALS. WE ARE DEPRIVED OF ALL WHAT WE ARE TOLD IN SIERRA LEONE, UNDER THE EGYPTIAN EMBASSY IN FREETOWN.
       ON BEHALF OF ALL THE SIERRA LEONEAN IN EGYPT WE WILL LIKE COCORIOKO TO MAKE A SERIOUS REPORT AGAINST THAT FOR ANY MORE INFORMATION I WILL BE READY TO PRODUCE IT. AND WE HAVE A CLEAR EVIDENCE TO PROFF US RIGHT. FOR SECURITY REASON I WILL NOT SHOW MY NAME UNTILL THE FIRST PUBLICATION IS MADE.
THANKS FRO THE EFFORT. A CONCERN SIERRA LEONEAN

CHESAPEAKE BAY BRIDGE : THE BEAUTY OF GOD’S -GIVEN KNOWLEDGE TO MAN

Friday, September 17th, 2004

By KABS KANU :

The Editor of this newspaper has taken his whole family to Virginia Beach for a well-earned one week Summer vacation. And once again, the glory and beauty of God-given knowledge to man has become the most fascinating spectacle Driving across the 17-mile bridge  and underwater tunnels over the ocean into Virginia Beach has left this journalist marvelling that certain members of God’s creation have really put into action the knowledge imbued in them by the Almighty. What kind of magical skill would make puny man build a bridge across 17 miles of  ocean with underwater tunnels to boot ?

While we in Africa are utilizing our knowledge in self-destruction, pulling each other down and engaging in witchcraft and all the negative preoccupations imaginable, others are demonstrating that they can use the knowledge given them by God to defy the forces of nature, as as they too exhibit these same negative tendencies. I have never heard about the Virginia Bridge ; I have travelled  before over bridges built over the sea but not a 17- mile long one hanging precariously over the deep, blue ocean.  Nor did the hotel that provided the directions from New Jersey indicate that one would be a witness to one of the wonders of man. Virginia Bridge  and tunnels under the sea thus crept unsuspectingly on me today.And it was an unforgettable spectacle.I was fascinated beyond comparison.

Firstly, here was  a man who was not exactly an admirer of heights( His eyes seem to spin ), not to mention driving over the wide, open sea and gazing into the horizon to see nothing but endless mass of ocean for 17 miles. .I did  feel giddy behind the wheels as I drove my whole family over man’s masterpiece–a long,  torturous , winding bridge over the ocean. However , as the head and the role model of my family, I dared not betray any emotions of fear as we drove onto the bridge this afternoon .But in reality, deep within me, I was shivering. The height, the wide , open sea stretching endlessly before us, the fact that the railings of the bridge were not even high or reinforced enough to stop a van from overturning into that fearsome expanse of turbulent waters. It reminded me of a story a journalist once told about Nelson Mandela. GO TO AROUND AND ABOUT WITH KABS KANU

Man’s masterpiece :A 17-mile bridge UNDER  the oceanAccording to the narrator, a journalist travelling with the then President of South Africa, they were thousands upon thousands of feet up in the sky in a jumbo jet when the aircraft began developing engine trouble. The journalist said that the pilot announced that there was engine trouble and the plane was flying back to Cape Town .The journalist, sitting by the President, was frightened out of his wits.All his mind was on the way the plane would soon crash with them.He said he looked into the President’s face now and again  to see if he shared his fears, but Nelson Mandela appeared unconcerned about the dilemma that had hit everybody in the plane. While others were shivering in their shoes, Mandela appeared calm, composed and on occasion even had that  trade mark wonderful smile on his face as he read a newspaper, intently turning the pages and seeming enraptured by what he was reading.The journalist wondered why the President was so unconcerned about what was happening in the plane.He mulled over Mandela’s apparent calm and unmoved attitude and concluded that probably there was no danger after all. He developed courage and stopped fearing, and as God would have it, the plane landed safely in Cape Town. The journalist said he was surprised later when as he shook hands with people at the airport, Mandela kept saying that he was “scared up there in that plane “.The journalist was left wondering why Mandela did not betray his emotions up there in the sky. He could not contend with such palpable display of bravado and pretence. .But probably, he surmised, that was what it meant to be a leader. You carry all the dreams and fears of your people.

I experienced a similar situation  today. Later on in our hotel, while we ate  dinner and discussed some of the highlights of the day’s 6 -hour trip from New Jersey, one of my kids started explaining how frightened he was today when we were driving over that fearsome bridge .And he added : “Daddy was not even afraid. ”

Like Mandela’s journalist, my son was in for a surprise when I replied :” Who said I was not scared ? I was probably more frightened than you.”And I added : “But as your father and leader , if I had shown that I was frightened, what would have happened ?”And I told them about the Mandela story and we all laughed over it.

On a very serious note, such experiences , as the one  we had today , will always beg the question about why “The  Potoe” is able to utilize God’s knowledge to achieve such marvellous feats whereas we in Africa continue to be backward and uninventive , even with all our education ? Why cannot the black African man achieve the feats that these “puublaisia”  exhibit with efficient defiance of all forces of nature ? Can we in Sierra Leone really build a bridge across the Ocean from Government Wharf to Lungi Airport ? Somebody once answered a similar question:  “Who told you we can’t do it in Sierra Leone ?We have done it already.There is a bridge across that ocean to Lungi, but you need to have four eyes to see it. It is on it that the witches drive to go and perform witchcraft every night in Lungi and return safely to Freetown. .Enty you know ? Our own knowledge is better utilized to perform witchcraft and fight each other. ”

I do not endorse the views of these Sierra Leoneans. From my study of the Bible and about the dark forces of Hell, I do believe that witchcraft exists not only in Africa , but in  advanced countries . I do not subscribe to the views that the black African utilizes the knowledge God has given him in witchcraft. Some people have blamed the white man for our predicament, contending that “The Potoe” came to Africa and underdeveloped it to keep us backward. He took away all our minerals and natural resources and left us the worse for it. Africans  accuse him that he has in place a cruel world economic order that rips the black African of everything he needs to challenge the white man in technological advances. This could be true. Only  God knows whether these excuses for our backwardness and uninventiveness in Africa are tenable.

However, seeing and driving through the Virginia Bridge today left me again wondering why some of God”s creation are able to put the knowledge he had built in them to make life easier and more comfortable for mankind , while on the other end of the spectrum we have others who can hardly grow even their own staple food, despite all the ferile lands and glorious weather they are blessed with , depending instead on importing it from countries that have poor soils and harsh weather almost throughout the year. I think what we lack in Africa is the motivation to excel the white man.

Granted that he has put himself in a far advantageous position over us and he controls the world economy and military might to his advantage.But the white man can only stop us in Africa from advancing to the measure that we allow him. Many of the technological advances of the world were accomplished by black men.Lets forget for a moment the pyramids of Egypt.

TO BE CONTINUED

 

 

 

NADP Expresses Concern Over NEC Chairman’s Resignation!

Tuesday, September 14th, 2004

ASKIA KOROMA

ASKIA

For Immediate Release

 September 13, 2004

 The National Alliance Democratic Party (NADP) of Sierra Leone is aware of the recent resignation of the Chairman of the National Electoral Commission, Mr. Eugene Davies.  One of the reasons for Mr. Davies’ resignation as reported in the papers and other news sources is, “massive political interference” into the running of the Electoral Commission.  At issue is the Koya Ward 3 Local Government Elections.  Several news sources quoting Mr. Davies have said that Mr. Abdul Sultan Kamara, the SLPP candidate, did not win the election.

 The National Alliance Democratic Party views this latest development in our fragile democracy as a serious problem that could undermine the gains that the people of Sierra Leone have achieved to sustain peace and democracy and ensure future free and fair elections in the country.  The National Alliance Democratic Party condemns actions from current and future governments that could destroy the achievements gained by the people of Sierra Leone for lasting peace and unity.  NADP wishes to go on record in declaring that the NADP will encourage and support only honest spirit of political pluralism and democratic participation in the affairs of Sierra Leone.

 The National Alliance Democratic Party is therefore calling on the ruling government, in pursuance of the laws governing elections in Sierra Leone, to allow a free and fair investigation of the Koya Ward 3 local election issues.   We strongly support and urge the government to take measures that will eliminate any form of future interference into the workings of the National Electoral Commission by a reigning government.

  Upon the completion of a thorough and appropriate investigation into the Koya Ward 3 election issue and other matters of government interference into the workings of the National Electoral Commission, we urge, without governmental interference, appropriate legal measures to punish those who may have broken the electoral laws of Sierra Leone and to eliminate any iota of doubt in the neutrality of the National Electoral Commission and the ruling government.  

Abu-Hassan Koroma, Founder, President & CEO

21st Century African Youth Movement
P.O.Box 8582 Madison, Wisconsin 53708-8582
www.africanartville.org
www.authorsden.com/askia

Contact: Mohamed Yahya. Sillah, Chairman, (NADP)

Telephone:  404-680-8425

E-mail: mysil49@yahoo.com

 

Abu-Hassan (Askia) Koroma, National Secretary-General (NADP)

Telephone: 608-274-8542

E-mail: askia@rocketmail.com

 

Charles Taylor is still a danger to West Africa

Sunday, September 12th, 2004

CHARLESTAYLOR10

SPECIAL COURT FOR SIERRA LEONE
OFFICE OF THE PROSECUTOR

PRESS RELEASE 
20 September 2004

Prosecutor David M. Crane Calls Taylor a Continuing Threat to Regional Peace

Prosecutor David M. Crane has welcomed comments by UNMIL SRSG Jacques Paul Klein to the Security Council last week, in which he reported that “Charles Taylor’s shadow still looms over Liberia.”

“We have specific information that Charles Taylor continues to interfere in Liberian affairs and we share Mr Klein’s concerns.” said Mr. Crane.  

“There can be no true peace in the region until Charles Taylor is brought to the Special Court for Sierra Leone for a fair and open trial,” Mr Crane added.

Mr. Crane expressed optimism that Nigeria would eventually transfer Taylor for trial at the Special Court for Sierra Leone.

“Nigeria has shown consistent interest in supporting the Liberian peace process, beginning with the Nigerian government’s leadership in removing Charles Taylor from Liberia in August 2003.  As evidence mounts that Taylor is an obstacle to lasting peace in Liberia, I am optimistic that Nigeria will continue to support the Liberian peace process by transferring Charles Taylor to the Special Court for Sierra Leone.”  

The Prosecutor said Nigeria has a strong record of support for the Special Court.  Nigeria sits on the Special Court’s Management Committee at UN headquarters in New York; Nigeria is the largest African donor to the Special Court; and from its beginning, the Court has been guarded by the Nigerian contingent of the United Nations Mission in Sierra Leone (UNAMSIL).

Charles Taylor faces a 17-count indictment for war crimes and crimes against humanity committed during the conflict in Sierra Leone.  The charges include terrorising the civilian population, unlawful killings, sexual violence, physical violence, forced conscription of child soldiers, abductions, forced labour, looting and burning, and attacks on UN peacekeeping personnel.

Fatal Police brutality against a young Cameroonian

Sunday, September 12th, 2004

Njang, Sebastien Esapa 

1836 Metzerott Road #1220
Hyattsville, MD 20783

Tel. (240) 643-5819, (301) 431-0430

To: Concerned Members of the Cameroonian Community and all the disciples of
justice and non-violence.

Subject: Fatal Police Brutality Against A Young Cameoonian 

Dear brothers, sisters and friends:

Peter Ayompe Njang, our beloved brother, came to the United States of America on
May 14, 2004 after winning the
diversity visa lottery. He was living with me. We enjoyed a very great time. He
was a very kind, sober, soft-spoken
gentleman. He would put the family together every night for a word of prayer.

On August 12, 2004 at about 8:50 am, he left home (1836 Metzerott Road) to join
our elder sister at white Oak for a job
hunt. Coming from Cameroon, he was still trying to know his way around. So he
got at our sister`s place home late. She
had waited and left. Peter knocked at the door for a while and while no one
answered the door, he decided to knocked at
the window as we usually do.

A police in patrol stopped and asked Peter to leave the area. Peter explained to
the police that his sister lives there
and he was just trying to see why she was not answering the door. She then shot
him. The Montgomery County Police
investigator told the family that Peter was armed with a box cutter. Peter who
was just 87 days old in the U.S. does not
carry a weapon around with him. As a matter of fact` it is not our custom as
Cameroonians to move around with weapons or
armed. The investigator told the family that the police officer did her best to
stop Peter from attacking her. Peter was
shot on the lower breast. He was airlifted to Children`s Hospital in DC and was
pronounced dead hours later.

Our brother was a very intelligent guy. He had ten General Certificate of
Education GCE ordinary level papers, five
advanced level GCE papers. A day after he arrived in the United States, he was
asking how long it takes to become a
medical doctor. He had always loved medicine and thought America was the best
place to pursue his dreams.

Peter was born in Nguti, South West Province of Cameroon on December 12, 1978.
our dad is of late. He was a Presbyterian
Church Pastor and our mom is a seamstress.

Dear brothers, sisters, and friends: we are approaching you as members of our
community and a big family we can count
on, to make sure our brother, this bright Cameroonian youth with so much energy,
values, prospects and hope, does not
just die in vain. We are requesting that you help us use your our community
force, unity and numbers to make sure
justice is done for our brother. This crime could be committed against anyone.
It could be you, it could be me but
together we can stop it from ever happening again to any one of us. We need your
help.

Sincerely, and in pains and tears,

 

Sebastien Esapa Njang
Family representative in the US

BET REPORT ON THE OTHER AFRICAN IMMIGRANT KILLED BY AMERICAN POLICE AFTER THE DIALLO SLAYING AND ACQUITTAL OF THE OFFICERS WHO TOOK HIS LIFE

Bryan Conroy, a White police officer, shot Ousmane Zongo, a recent immigrant from the West African nation of Burkina Faso, on May 22, 2003 while guarding confiscated bootleg merchandise in a Manhattan storage facility following a police raid.  Zongo, who repaired African craftworks and drums for a living, had shown up at the facility to work on some African art he kept there.

He reportedly encountered Conroy after leaving his third-floor locker in the storage facility.  He was shot after a brief chase and struggle. He was shot four times, once in the back.

His case, which reminded Black New York immigrants of the infamous Amadou Diallo shooting, has caused a similar uproar.  Diallo, a Guinean immigrant, was shot at 41 times – 19 of which hit him – by New York police as he stood, unarmed, in the vestibule of his apartment.  The force did not discipline the officers for their actions.

“Justice is what we seek, and at this point justice is not on the table,” the Rev. Al Sharpton told reporters this week after Zongo’s wife, Salimata Sanfo, met with city officials and police investigators.  The meeting came after attorneys for Zongo’s family filed a notice of claim to bring a $100 million civil suit against the city.

Through a translator, Salimata told reporters on Monday that, “even though there is a very good police commissioner [in New York] and good mayor,” it may be difficult to for her to get justice because her husband “is a Black man and he’s African-born and cases like this happen here and they never get justice.”

After the Zongo shooting, Diallo’s mother, Kadiatou, sharply criticized the police for slaying yet another hard-working unarmed immigrant.  Sharpton and other civil rights leaders are calling for an independent investigation.

An internal investigation into the shooting by the New York City Police Department is still underway.  A decision on whether to file any charges against Conroy, a three-year veteran of the force, is not expected until this fall.

Conroy has been placed on modified assignment pending the completion of the investigation.

According to local reports, Conroy, who has given no public account of the event, has told associates he had to shoot Zongo because he kept coming toward him.  Friends of Zongo, whose wife and two children still live in Africa, question that version of events, saying he was careful to avoid police because he did not want to jeopardize his legal status.

EXCERPTS FROM A REPORT ON ZONGO’S KILLING BY “DEMOCRACY NOW” NEWSPAPER 

Outrage is mounting in New York following the death of Zongo, who was killed in a scenario strikingly similar to that of Amadou Diallo. Diallo was shot to death on February 4, 1999 in a hail of 41 bullets. Both men came to New York from West Africa in search of a better life. Both were shot dead by police. Both were unarmed. Both had no criminal record.

Ousmane Zongo was 43-years-old. He fixed African artifacts for a living, in the Chelsea section of Manhattan. The New York Times reports that by dozens of accounts, Zongo was a quiet, gentle man who worked tirelessly to send money to his family in Burkina Faso.

Zongo worked in the same building where another company illegally distributed bootleg compact discs. Police raided the building last week.

Zongo was working nearby and he encountered 25-year-old officer Brian Conroy.

Police said Zongo approached Conroy who was wearing plain clothes. For some reason a chase ensued that ended when Zongo ran into a dead end. Conroy then shot him five times. Zongo suffered wounds to the abdomen, chest and upper back and was grazed on the right arm.

Conroy told officers at the scene Zongo reached for his gun but there were no witnesses to confirm this.

The New York Times reported that Zongo’s friends and fellow vendors said it seemed impossible that he could have run afoul of the law. Kodjo Volta, a friend of Ousmane’s said, “He wouldn’t challenge anyone,” and added that he did not even have the nerve to hound customers who owed him money.

One year after son’s killing, Diallo’s mother struggles with loss

Sunday, September 12th, 2004

 

One year after her son’s killing, Kadiatou Diallo says she struggles every day with her loss.(Court TV)

 

DIALLO SHOOTING TRIAL 
>>>> Discuss the case on our message board

>>>> Special Report: Behind the Badge with a Hand on the Trigger 

>>>> Profiles of Key Figures 

>>>> Profiles of Jurors

>>>> Background Report

>>>> Full Coverage of Case/Archived Articles 

>>>> Case Timeline 

ALBANY, N.Y. (Court TV) Kadiatou Diallo has struggled to compose herself in the first two days of testimony in the trial of the four officers accused of murdering her son. But as witness after witness described the empty shells around her son Amadou’s bullet-riddled body, she could not hold back her tears at times.

“As I was in my room last night, I wondered, ‘Is that my son who they were talking about?'” Mrs. Diallo told Court TV’s Pros & Cons. “Every day, every second, I have been going through this pain. I will never forget it.”

Mrs. Diallo reflected on the loss of her son as she, her family and various supporters prepared for the first anniversary of Amadou’s killing. On February 4, 1999, Amadou Diallo was gunned down in a hail of 41 bullets in the vestibule of his own home. Officers Sean Carroll, Richard Murphy, Edward McMellon and Kenneth Boss ? all members of New York’s Street Crime Unit ? were working undercover and driving in an unmarked car in search of a serial Bronx rapist when they encountered Diallo.

Lawyers for the officers claim that Diallo was acting suspiciously and ducked his head back into the vestibule when he saw them. The officers claim they identified themselves and that Diallo did not heed their command to halt. When he reached for something, the defense says, officers could not clearly tell whether he was going for a weapon, and they felt threatened. Diallo was then fired upon; 19 of the 41 bullets hit the West African immigrant. He was unarmed, having only a beeper, a wallet and his keys when he was killed.

Kadiatou Diallo told Pros & Cons that it was extremely difficult for her and her family to hear the officers’ attorneys suggest her son was responsible for his own death. One year after Amadou’s death, she said she feels a need to let others know that her son was a good man, a beloved son, who did nothing to cause the officers to fire at him.

“It’s been hard, especially as they try to blame Amadou,” Mrs. Diallo said. “They say my son drove them to shoot him. … But my son did nothing … No human being should be shot 41 times in the vestibule where he lived without anything to justify it. No family should go through what we’ve gone through.”

Mrs. Diallo remembered last speaking to Amadou three days before his shooting. She said he talked about going back to school while still holding down his job as a street vendor. Amadou, she said, also asked her about helping him get in touch with a woman back in Guinea whom he hoped to court and eventually marry.

It is important, Mrs. Diallo stressed, that people know that Amadou was a very loving son who wanted to make his living and succeed in America. He liked reading, music and sports and was very religious, following the teachings of Islam. Mrs. Diallo indicated that her heart has been “torn up” by the initial attempts by police to link her son to the serial rapist the defendants were looking for on the night of the killing. [Another man, Isaac Jones was apprehended and confessed to the multiple Bronx rapes last April].

“It’s been hard, but I have to stand and tell people that Amadou was a very good man who didn’t deserve to be shot 41 times.” Mrs. Diallo said. “He was beloved, had a family and had a good background.”

Testimony in the trial will resume on Monday morning. Several vigils and memorial services for Diallo are scheduled to take place in New York City on Friday and throughout the weekend. One of the vigils will take place in front of Diallo’s former home and the scene of his death, 1157 Wheeler Avenue in the Bronx.

The lighting of the vestibule in front of Diallo’s apartment building has been the focus in the two days of testimony in the murder trial. Five prosecution witnesses have testified that the vestibule seemed well-lit on the night in question. Perhaps the most pivotal witness for the prosecution was a former neighbor who lived diagonally across the street from Diallo, Debbie Rivera.

Rivera lived at 1162 Wheeler on the night of the shooting. She testified Thursday that she saw four white men [presumably the defendants] approaching the sidewalk towards 1157 Wheeler Ave. Despite having double windows, which were closed, Rivera said she heard a motor running and she normally went to the window when she heard noise outside. The men appeared, the witness said, to have come out of a parked Burgundy car. Rivera said she could only see the backs of their heads. At least one was wearing a hat and all of them were wearing casual clothes, she testified.

Rivera claimed that the vestibule was lit, and she could see the entrance to the building clearly.

Then, Rivera said, she went away from the window. Soon afterwards she said she heard a lot of noise ? gunshots. Tapping the witness stand, Rivera simulated the pattern of the shots she heard.

“Pow, pow, pow, pow,” Rivera said. ” …. (Pause) Pow, pow, pow, pow. There were several shots, then a pause, then another string of shots.”

Rivera claimed that she did not hear any commands such as halt before the gunfire erupted. After gathering her relatives into the living room, she went back to the window and saw one man, who was wearing his shield, throw his hat down and mutter an expletive as he leaned up against a car in front of her building. [Various reports say that this man was Officer McMellon.]

During cross-examination, the officers’ defense lawyers tried to poke holes in Rivera’s testimony. James Culleton, Murphy’s lawyer, suggested that Rivera may have heard noises from her television (which she admitted was on at the time), not necessarily from outside. Culleton also focused on whether Rivera had heard the news accounts of the shooting before investigators first interviewed her the following day.

The defense also confronted Rivera over inconsistencies between her initial statements to police and her testimony. The officers’ lawyers asked her about her initial claim that she heard, but did not observe, anything and that she was awakened by the sound of gunfire. Rivera conceded that she did not trust detectives in the beginning and thought the questioning detective could have been one of the men she observed from the window. She also denied telling the detective that she was awakened by the sound of bullets.

Prosecutors are expected to present more “earwitnesses” like Rivera as well as a medical examiner who performed an autopsy on Diallo next week. Kadiatou Diallo did not want to comment on the prosecution’s progress at the trial or on the testimony. Although her son was killed by officers sworn to protect others, she still believes that justice will be served and Amadou’s death will be vindicated.

“I just believe in the justice system,” Mrs. Diallo said. “If people shoot at another human being 41 times, the justice system should decide their punishment.”

 Bryan Robinson

 

KABBAH’S GOVERNMENT FAILED TO ACT IN THE BEST INTEREST OF THE NATION

Tuesday, September 7th, 2004
 
Tuesday September 7, 2004
Whichever way we choose to look at it, the resignation of the Electoral Commissioner, Eugene Davies , on allegations that the government fiddled with elections results, is a big slur on the character of the SLPP regime. How can a government that is worth its salt change an elections result ?
We are so accustomed to standing the truth on the head and bashing the hero or heroine and glorifying the villain that many people chose to denigrate the character of the Elections Boss than accept the fact that a deed had been done against the best interests of the nation. The government had no right to overturn a result, let alone interfere in the activities of the Elections Commissions. The Elections Commissioner had a right to resign. 
AHMADTEJANKABBAH3
PRESIDENT KABBAH : NOW, HE CHANGES ELECTIONS RESULTS 
If the government is not stretching credulity when it calls itself a democratic entity , there is actually no sane reason for it to interfere with elections results.
What the recent events have done is that they have authenticated the bad reputation the SLPP government has for tampering with elections results. In 1967, the Prime Minister, Sir Albert Margai called on the Force Commander of the Army, Brigadier David Lansana , to declare martial law and intervene in the affairs of state after it was apparent that the opposition APC was on the verge of defeating the SLPP in the epic General Elections that later led to Sierra Leone’s first military coup.

 

The bare bones of Mr. Davies’ allegations were  given meat by the revelation that the SLPP had altered the results of the Koya Ward 3 Elections where an APC candidate won and imposed its own candidate Mr. Abdul Sultan Kamara on the people.

The government should have acted in the best interests of the nation by not  only  allowing the Koya result to stand but by giving the Elections Commissioner a free hand to do his job .The Elections Boss is not the errand boy of any government , but a public servant paid with the taxes of the common man to ensure that the will of the people prevailed at the ballot box.

The government’s action is a disgrace to the tenets of free and fair elections and the principles of democracy. The shameful act is also a slap in the faces of those patriots who sacrificed their lives in 1997 to successfully stand up to the Johnny Koroma-led military junta which overthrew the SLPP government, with elections malpractices being one of the reasons given by the soldiers for toppling the government.

The SLPP government has driven itself into a corner where it no longer has the moral authority to talk about the  elections abuses allegedly perpetuated by the APC during their 27 year hold on power in Sierra Leone.

It is even more disgraceful that President Kabbah, a man on whom much national sacrifice has been lavished and from whom so much is expected, has allowed all the anti-people and undemocratic perfidy to occur under his nose. Will Kabbah have the moral wherewithal to look UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan, former OAU Secretary-General Salim Ahmed Salim , British Premier Tony
Blair and other 1997  world leaders in the face ? It was these international personalities who stuck to their guns that the so-called democratic government led by Kabbah should be returned to power by the military junta.How cruelly has Kabbah failed them ! ! !

The government’s excuses in the face of this colossal scandal show a regime that has no sense of shame. These lame excuses prevail  because the government does not care for the feelings of the people.It is taking the electorate for granted. And that is the tragedy of Sierra Leone. Since Independence,  government  has ever taken the people seriously.
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SIERRA LEONEANS AT HOME AND ABROAD CALL FOR INTERNATIONAL INVESTIGATION OF ELECTORAL COMMISSIONER’S CLAIMS THAT SLPP TAMPERED WITH ELECTIONS

Saturday, September 4th, 2004

Saturday September 4, 2004

The ruling Sierra Leone People’s Party ( SLPP ) is in the eye of a developing storm as eyebrows are being raised at home and abroad over the explosive revelations of the resigning Electoral Commissioner, Mr.Eugene Davies, that the party tampered with the results of the recent Local Council Elections.

Sierra Leone’s Elections Chief resigned from his job this week in protest against what he termed as the government interference with the operations of the Elections Commission and that his conditions of service were abysmal for a government official.

PRESIDENTTEJANKABBAH

PRESIDENT KABBAH : HIS GOVERNMENT HAS A LOT TO EXPLAIN 

Mr.Davies’ claims have provoked a firestorm of suggestions from Sierra Leoneans at home and abroad that the matter be investigated by the international Community, especially Britain, the U.S. and the European Union ( EU) who contributed the bulk of the funds for the conduct of the elections.Sierra Leoneans said the claims would not have been serious if they had not come from so important and vital an official as the very man who conducted the elections.

“It is a disgrace ,” claimed Tejan Conteh of Maryland, USA in a letter to this newspaper. “The SLPP had all along been portraying itself as an angel and dirtying the news of the APC .Now that the Elections Commissioner has confessed that the government interfered with the results of the last elections, the matter should not be treated lightly especially by the stakeholders who want the fragile peace in Sierra Leone to hold “, Conteh went on.
Other Sierra Leoneans accused the SLPP of cheating in every elections it had conducted or had been conducted on its behalf, since it returned from the doldrums in 1995. They stated that now the accusations of veteran politician, Dr.John Karefa-Smart that the SLPP cheated in 1996 and by present Opposition Leader Ernest Koroma that the SLPP stole the 2001 Elections have been confirmed.

But supporters of the SLPP have denounced the Electoral Commissioner’s claims, describing them as self-serving and motivated by dirty politics. They accused Mr.Davies of unnecessarily trying to undermine the integrity of the democratic process that was set in motion in 1995 .They wondered why the Commissioner waited until he realised that his conditions of service were poor before coming out with the allegation that the government tampered with the last elections.
COCORIOKO has its ears to the ground and will continue to follow this developing story capable of exacerbating donor fatigue in Sierra Leone.