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Archive for September, 2007

V.P Warns Government Officials, Heads of Prastatals and Commissions.

Sunday, September 30th, 2007
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 V.P Warned Government Officials,Heads of Prastatals&Commissions.

The Office of the Vice President has in a widely circulated Press release informed all Government officials, including those of parastatals and commissions who wish to travel out of the country to secure clearance from the inspector General of Police before leaving the shores of Sierra Leone .

This development came just few days after the setting up of a transitional team that is currently interfacing with Government ministries and departments.
The release was widely received with mixed feelings from the general public.A senior Government Minister in the former Sierra Leone’s Peoples Party told LeoneClub that he is not aware of this development and further went on to say’’I don’t think I need a police clearance before traveling out of this country. he said.
Meanwhile, report reaching Leoneclub says that the office of the vice president has just issue another release stating reasons why these officials need Security clearance before traveling.According to the release the vice president wants to see a smooth transition and this will be better done when these officials are in town.
By: Murtala Mohamed Kamara

Ernest Koroma has won the elections

Monday, September 17th, 2007

CBC NEWS

Opposition candidate Ernest Koroma has won Sierra Leone’s presidential run-off, election officials declared Monday,in what was seen as a crucial test for the war-torncountry’s fledgling democratic system.

Koroma received 55 per cent of the 1.7 million votes counted, compared with 45 per cent for the ruling party candidate, Solomon Ekuma Berewa, the currentvice-president and former attorney general, election commission chief Christiana Thorpe said.

Berewa’s party, the SLPP, filed a court injunction over the weekend to prevent any more results from the presidential run-off being released.

Thorpe said there were some cases of ballot-stuffing, which forced the invalidation of some polling stations, but the fraud was not enough to affect the outcome of the contest.

International observers have praised the election commission and said the polling was generally transparent, but also noted some cases of fraud.

Berewacan file a challenge with the Supreme Court within seven days of the official result being announced.

Decade-long civil war ended in 2002

The presidential vote was Sierra Leone’s first since United Nations peacekeepers withdrew from the west African country two years ago.

Sierra Leone—one of the poorest countries in the world — was ravagedby a decade-long civil war thatended in 2002. Tens of thousands of civilians died in the conflict, which wasfollowed by a series of rigged elections and rampant corruption.

President Ahmed Tejan Kabbah was barred by law from running for a third five-year term.

Koroma, 54, led the first round of voting Aug. 11, winning 44 per cent of the vote, compared with 38 per cent for Berewa, 69. However, that margin was not large enough to win outright.

About 2.6 million of Sierra Leone’s five million people registered to vote. A simple majority was needed for victory.

High Court Throws Out SLPP’s Motion for Injunction

Monday, September 17th, 2007

Written by Joseph A.K Sesay

Monday, 17 September 2007 16:01

Justice Mary Sey, presiding judge of Freetown’s High Court No. 2 on Monday 17th September 2007 ruled that the Court cannot hear the injunction motion filed by counsel representing the Sierra Leone Peoples Party (SLPP) because according to the judge, there was no affidavit of service. The Judge stated that the complainant have failed to follow the rules and procedures that should be used in filing a motion in the High Court of Sierra Leone pursuant to Order 18 Rule 6 of the High Court Order 2007.

The SLPP is reported to have filed the notice of motion to the High court for an injunction on Saturday 15ththth September 2007, NEC explained that both set of results were valid and that they were from the same ‘Tally Centre’. According to NEC, “the version read by the [Chairman] was a working document presented to her and other members of the Commission in preparation for the Press Briefing at 6.00pm.  These results reflected 75.4% stations reported. This percentage was also quoted in the statement.” NEC continued to tally more results that led to the increase in figure. The release further stated that NEC would investigate and verify result that is between 95% and over 100% voters’ turnout. With most of the remaining votes coming from the Southern and Eastern Regions, the SLPP sought an injunction from the High court to temporarily restrain NEC from announcing the remaining result and precluding them from verifying or recounting the remaining votes until the alleged malpractices are corrected.   September 2007 at the British Council during the usual press briefing on election results were different from those posted on the NEC official website. In a press release issued on the 14 September 2007 following alleged discrepancies by the National Electoral Commission and its Chairperson (NEC). The SLPP alleged that the Presidential run-off results which were announced on Thursday 13

Justice Sey informed the complainant that she had not received any affidavit of service to show that the other parties involved had been notified and as a result the Court cannot continue with the proceedings. One of the counsel representing the complainant, Dr. Bu buakei Jabbie, argued that they were operating on a limited time frame in seeking an injunction to restrain the NEC from publishing further Presidential run-off results and that the ‘high duty commitment’ of the Chairperson of the NEC has made it impossible to serve her the document relating to their motion. Others were David B. Quee esq., Sulaiman Banja Tejan-Sei esq., and Easmon N.B Ngakui esq. The Court stood down the matter for recommencement at 12:00 noon and ordered that the complainant should produce affidavit of service to all parties concern including Mr. Solomon Berewa and Mr. Ernest Koroma. She also ordered that all the parties should be present at the next adjourned time.

In addition, the Court further granted the request which was earlier made by lawyer Amadu Koroma for a joinder as co-defence counsel. Mr. Koroma requested for leave to be heard in the matter and be joined as co-defence counsel together with his team comprising of M.N Kamara, L. Dumbuya, S.K Koroma, A. Fofana, A. Bakulay and Ms Kallay, all representing the All Peoples Congress ( APC) party. He said they were seeking the joinder because the APC party would be directly affected by any order(s) the Court might grant. Mr. Reginald King represented the NEC and its Chairperson.

Upon reconvening at 12:00 noon, Justice Sey informed the Court that no affidavit of service had reached her office. Counsel for the complainant responded that they cannot perform the orders of the Court because they cannot reach the individuals because of the present political situation and the subsequent announcement of the winner of the 2007 Presidential run-off elections. Counsel for the APC party reacted by saying no reasonable reason have been given by the counsel for the complainant for failing to perform the orders of the Court. He also suggested that this should be tantamount to contempt of court and submitted that the matter be dismissed. He advised the complainant that the Electoral Act 2002 makes provision for any party who is aggrieved with the outcome of any electoral result to seek redress in the Supreme Court of judicature.

The matter was accordingly dismissed for lack of court procedures. The presiding judge informed the Court that she does not have the jurisdiction to stop the NEC from announcing the Presidential run-off result as the motion made by the SLPP was not properly filed and such motion cannot be moved. Furthermore, she stated that it was the constitutional responsibility of the NEC to count and announce the result of the Presidential run-off election. She ended by informing counsel that notice would be sent to them.

With the dismissal of the SLPP’s petition which sort the High Court to restrain the NEC from counting and announcing the remaining ballot votes and corresponding results because according to them there were alleged discrepancies, the only alternative left for them is to seek redress either at the Supreme Court or the Electoral Court which was set up to address electoral issues. The stare in judicio are the Sierra Leone Peoples Party as the plaintiff and the NEC and Christian Thorpe as the defendant.

BREAKING NEWS : Christiana Thorpe under pressure to avoid investigating thousands of suspicious votes

Saturday, September 15th, 2007

By KABS KANU :

COCORIOKO investigators have learnt that National Elections Commission Chairperson , Dr. Christiana Thorpe, is under more tremendous pressure than she revealed during the NEC Press Conference on Wednesday. This newspaper has learnt that the lives of Dr.Thorpe and other electoral commissioners are seriously being threatened  by the Sierra Leone People’s Party ( SLPP) .The reason :  Dr.Thorpe is being arm-twisted to certify thousands of bogus and inflated votes but she has refused to accept and has in fact decided to investigate the over-voting.

Now , readers can see the basis for the unrealistic optimism supporters of the Sierra Leone People’s Party (SLPP ) have been expressing that their Presidential candidate, Solomon Berewa, won the elections by 14, 000 votes or 56% .. Going by the numbers of registered voters, and the amount of voters who really took part in the polls, the figures Dr. Thorpe is being harassed and threatened to certify are far in excess of these numbers , so excessive that they will make nonsense of the meticulous and credible statistics NEC has been collating.

The unbending NEC Chairman decided to stop calling the votes for two days to investigate the votes. Now, the SLPP wants her not to investigate and to announce the results. This is responsible for the court injunction the SLPP filed over the weekend.

The eyes of the nation and the world are on the NEC as the APC and other organizations have also been collating the results and based on their figures which are in harmony with the NEC’s , it is not mathematically possible for the SLPP to win the elections after Wednesday’s collated figures which left the SLPP trailing by 291, 000 votes. The plans to hijack the runoffs are falling into place , but most Sierra Leoneans believe that Dr. Thorpe will reject the bogus votes.

It is reported that foreign diplomats and members of the international community are displeased with the SLPP for the subterranean moves they are making to torpedo the will of the people in Sierra Leone.

Opposition Poised to Win Power in Sierra Leone

Saturday, September 15th, 2007

New York Times

By LYDIA POLGREEN

Published: September 15, 2007

DAKAR, Senegal, Sept. 14 — With more than three-quarters of the vote in Sierra Leone’s presidential race counted, the opposition candidate appeared to have an insurmountable lead on Friday against the vice president, whose party has run the country through more than a decade of brutal civil war and fragile peace.

Ernest Bai Koroma, of the opposition All People’s Congress, had about 60 percent of the 1.4 million votes counted, ahead of Solomon Berewa, the hand-picked successor to Ahmad Tejan Kabbah, who is stepping down after 12 turbulent years in and out of office.

If Mr. Koroma is confirmed the winner, the succession will be the first time power has peacefully shifted from one party to another in a country whose history has been marked by strife. The election, which went to a second round after the first round failed to produce a clear winner, was one of the most competitive in the region in recent memory.

Mr. Koroma criticized the government of Mr. Kabbah and his deputy, Mr. Berewa, saying it had failed to tackle corruption and deliver a peace dividend to Sierra Leone. A tiny country on the west coast of Africa, it has considerable wealth in diamonds and timber, but has suffered through decades of misrule and violence.

The civil war, which was spawned by a conflict in neighboring Liberia and fueled by Sierra Leone’s lucrative alluvial diamond mines, ended in 2002, but many Sierra Leoneans still have not seen a significant improvement in their living standards. Their nation remains one of the poorest on earth, and efforts to reduce child deaths, malnutrition and maternal mortality have produced limited results.

The country has struggled to recover from the war, one of Africa’s bloodiest, in which boy soldiers addled by drugs hacked limbs off civilians on the orders of their commanders.

But if Mr. Koroma’s likely victory signals change, his party comes with its own political baggage: It ruled Sierra Leone during the long and deeply corrupt era that preceded, and perhaps produced, the civil war that killed tens of thousands of people and sent millions fleeing their homes.

The election tested the police and military, which were reconstituted after the war while United Nations peacekeepers patrolled the country. The peacekeepers left two years ago, and the nation’s security forces had to contend with sporadic election violence on their own. Despite some violence before the second round of elections, the voting, held last Saturday, was peaceful.

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SLPP must concede and not be a sore loser

Saturday, September 15th, 2007

By Dr. Abdul Rahman Kamara.

In defeat, the SLPP has been as unscrupulous in exploiting the innocence, ignorance, and credulity of Sierra Leoneans as in its 10 year stewardship of the country.

Most Sierra Leoneans and the world over believed that a run-ff was not necessary given the dismal performance of the SLPP in the August 11th 2007 election and advised Berewa to take the high road and concede not only to save Berewa and the SLPP the current embarrassment of defeat but to preserve the fragile peace. While it was obvious to the whole world of an APC victory in a run-off, Berewa and the SLPP’s only hope was to circumvent the will of the people without regard to the consequences of such actions.

The SLPP leadership must understand that there is dignity and gallantry even in defeat especially in the hands of a magnanimous coalition of the APC and the PMDC poised to start task of healing the nation.

I invite the SLPP statisticians who have promised to perform statistical legerdemain for the party, and the SLPP to refute my analysis for an APC victory even with the SLPP given the benefit of the votes purported by the SLPP in the SLPP stronghold of Kailahun, Kenema and Pujehun.

SLPP apologists’ claim that “76.1% of the polling stations reported do not mean 76.1% of the votes” is correct for the wrong reasons. They are suggesting that more votes remain to be counted than 23.9% of the total votes cast in this run-off which will be a fallacy of a logical conclusion from their statement. Such deceptive reasoning is a hallmark of these apologists.

Based on NEC results released on Thursday September 13th 2007, Ernest Koroma with 859,144 votes is leading Berewa with 567,449 votes by 291,695 votes.

Kailahun Votes:


Number of Registered voters = 185,583
Voter turnout in run-off = 185,583 assume 100% voter turnout and zero invalid votes


As per SLPP apologists:


SLPP Votes =171,583


APC Votes =14,000


This gives Solo B a positive variance of 157,583 votes over Koroma in Kailahun.


Kenema Votes:


Number of Registered voters:= 271,254
Voter turnout in run-off =217,003


With 52.5% polling stations reported, Koroma (26,631 votes) and Berewa (83,187 votes) for a total of 109,818 votes for both candidates.

Koroma + Berewa votes total = 109,818
Invalid votes so far = 2,178


Total votes countenanced in NEC Report of sept. 13th = 111,996


Votes remaining to be counted = 217,003 – 111,996 = 105,007.


Currently Berewa has 75.5% of votes and Koroma 24.5% of votes. If remaining votes of 105,007 are divided based on these percentages, Koroma will get 25,464 more votes and Berewa will get 79,542 more votes.

Positive variance for Berewa = 79,542 – 25,464 = 54,078 votes from kenema.


Pujenhun votes:


Number of Registered voters:= 98,453
Voter turnout in run-off = 78,762


With 33% of polling stations reported, Koroma has 5,926 votes and Berewa has 20,184 votes for a total of 26,110 votes. Add the 592 invalid votes and you have 26,702 votes countenanced in the NEC report.

Remaining votes to be counted: = 78,762 – 26,702 = 52,060 Currently, Berewa is getting 75.6% of the remaining 52,060 votes (or 39,352 votes) and Koroma will get 24.4% or 12,708 votes.

This gives a positive variance of 26,644 votes in favor of Berewa over Koroma in Pujenhum not yet reflected in the NEC report.

Total votes for Berewa over Koroma from the SLPP stronghold Districts of Kailahun, Kenema and Pujehun: 157,583 + 54,078 + 26,644 = 238,305.


Koroma’s current lead = 291,695


Berewa’s lead in Kailahun,
Kenema and Pujehum: = 238,305


Positive variance for Koroma over Berewa = 291,695 – 238,305 = 53,390 votes.


The rest of remaining counting will be in Ernest Koroma’s stronghold. The APC could only do better in the remaining Districts.

Berewa and the rest of the SLPP leadership, the day of reckoning is here. Sierra Leoneans will be unforgiving to you and the SLPP for your continued misrepresentations of the facts.

“Hope for a better day is the only comfort one could give to a weeping child” in this case to a sore loser.

State House, here he comes

Friday, September 14th, 2007

Unless all the APC votes dry up completely and Solomon Berewa makes a clean sweep of all the remaining votes left in the SLPP  stronghold, Sierra Leoneans can legitimately say today that there has been a change of batons at State House–And a  young man who answers to the name of Ernest Bai Koroma, will soon have a new nomenclature–MR. PRESIDENT.

Only the deepest dreamer among the SLPP  support cast can now nurse any hope that their Presidential candidate , Solomon Berewa can still make a comeback, erase Mr. Koroma’s commanding lead and win. Today’s results from the National Election Commission ( NEC)  left SLPP  realists conceding that  the game was up :  :

Foto: Ernest Bai KamaraErnest1 READ FULL REPORT BELOW

Rabid Sierra Leone People’s Party ( SLPP)  supporters online, who once argued tenaciously and unyieldingly that it was still not over yet , started conceding today after the National Elections Commission ( NEC) announced 76.1 % of the total votes that showed the opposition All People’s Congress widening its lead in the Presidential Run-offs.

Today’s figures show that the  APC Presidential candidate, Ernest Koroma , has polled 859, 144 votes against 567, 449 by the SLPP Presidential candidate, Solomon Berewa.  Statistically, it is now  60.22% – 39.78 %  in favour of APC’s Ernest Koroma. And with only less than 25% of the votes left to tally, many Sierra Leoneans online have started asking the former Vice-President , Solomon Berewa to concede defeat. “It is all over “, everybody is saying. The hopes and dreams of SLPP  supporters that they might clinch a last-minute victory from this runoffs have vanished and supporters have started turning their wrath on officials who have been feeding them false figures and false hopes from the beginning. With 42 % of the Kailahun votes called so far, even the possibility of that region becoming a miracle-worker for the SLPP  is fading fast, with lots of votes still waiting to be counted from the APC  strongholds of Bombali, Kambia and Alllied PMDC  stronghold Moyamba .

SLPP FACES BIG SPLIT  OVER BEREWA’S CONCESSION

An SLPP Insider told COCORIOKO  today that a big split hit the ruling SLPP  after the release of today’s results by the National Elections Commission ( NEC) ,which leaves the party without any more realistic and genuine hope of retaining power. Our source said in an emergency SLPP  meeting, a split arose between those who want Presidential candidate, Mr. Solomon Berewa , to concede and those who want him to fight on. .

Our informant said that the Deputy Minister of Defence, Joe Blell is leading the faction that is requesting that the SLPP  accept reality and concede defeat in the national interest. The other faction, led by the Presidential candidate himself vowed to fight on to the last vote.  READ MORE

SLPP UNREALISTIC HOPES BASED ON HIJACKING THE RUNOFFS                            COCORIOKO SCOOP by our Freetown reporters

It is appearing clear that President Alhaji Ahmed Tejan Kabbah,  after series of allegation levied by members of the Sierra Leone Peoples Party (SLPP) that he deliberately failed to campaign for the party’s presidential candidate Solomon Berewa  to succeeded him, appeared to have finally tried  to  dictate to  the Chairperson of National Electoral Commission (NEC) Dr. Christiana Thorpe to manipulate the presidential runoff in favour of the SLPP candidate Berewa.
 
An investigation conducted by COCORIOKO revealed that President Kabbah ordered some senior police officers including the Inspector General of Police Brima Acha Kamara, Assistant Inspector General of Police In-Charge of Professional Standard Tamba Gbeki and former National Provisional Ruling Council (NPRC) junta leader Brigadier Julius Maada Bio to execute a covert deal in Kailahun, Bombali, Kenema, Pujehun and Moyamba districts with ballot boxes.
 
A police personnel attached to the Operational Support Division constable Ansu who travelled with IG/SLP Acha, Bio, AIG/SLP Gbeki and other Thursday told COCORIOKO that with  effect from Friday the results with take a different trend in favour of the SLPP as he puts it  ” Bio is afraid  of APC because if its presidential candidate,  Hon. Ernest Bai Koroma,  wins  the election,  the former NPRC junta leader will not have a peaceful stay in Sierra Leone”.

                        EVEN THE PROFESSIONAL LIERS DO RUN OUT OF LIES.
By Foday Mansaray 
It was only today after the usual Press briefings by Dr Christiana Thorpe (NEC) and the announcement of the new figures signaling  a widening lead by  the All Peoples Congress (APC) Presidential candidate  and Leader , Hon. Ernest Bai Koroma, that the Sierra Leone People Party (SLPP) READ ..

I can’t wait to read the Kabbah/ Berewa concession speech

Friday, September 14th, 2007


From: BRA ENVIABLE
To: All
Date Posted: 10:42:44 09/14/07 ()
Email Address:
Entered From: cache-mtc-ah10.proxy.aol.com at 64.12.117.202

Message:
Did I hear that Kabbah and Berewa are barely on speaking terms? Tejan Kabbah and his selected lackey for the SLPP party, Solomon Berewa, are free to argue and childishly behave like sparring partners. That’s their funeral. Sierra Leone’s business is to make sure the two obsolete men do nothing jumpy to endanger the country’s newfound peace. Sierra Leone is supposed to be more important than the provincial interests of two culpable men that should have never put their gaze on the highest office of the land. Kabbah did, and as if that was not enough, he turned his innate dishonesty against the political party that brought him to power. The man stilted the political growth of the SLPP by purging every politician with the slightest popular appeal.

Well before the elections, the SLPP was an empty political shell, waiting to be crushed by a feather-weight trudge. Kabbah cared less. Eliminating those who represented leadership potentials was more crucial to the old crook than the political fortunes of the party that gave him the presidency. Kabbah are Berewa are misfits, and their petty tiffs only serve to mirror the poor presidential fibers they are! As long as they do nothing to endanger little Sierra Leone’s national security, these two men can quarrel, even fight, like sulking kids blaming each other to escape parental blame. As Sierra Leone awaits a change of presidential actors, one can only wonder whether Berewa and Kabbah are gracious enough to cobble together a well-written concession {speech} to the winner of the electoral prize. If anything, previous statements released from State House have been so laden with political flaws that one is only left to question the suitability of the ruling pretenders that got the best of an ailing country. When the names of towns in a neighbouring country are wrongly spelled in official communiques issued from State House, that is supposed to be an annoying, diplomatic faux pas. Not so with the Kabbah/Berewa State House. I hope to see a concession speech calling for peace, national unity and democratic continuance. Anything less than that should be judged seditious by the people of Sierra Leone!


Subject: This Is For Rev. KABS KANU !!!
From: Nah Sabi Talk
To: All
Date Posted: 10:00:39 09/14/07 ()
Email Address:
Entered From: static-76-160-64-185.dsl.cavtel.net at 76.160.64.185

Message:
Due to your nature in trying to accommodate everyone and anyone, many today are failing to see your brilliance in journalism and your true contribution in keeping us more than just in a mere AWARENESS Times but with the facts and credibility…
If you can repost my posting which you reposted on your front page about the 28 people that died in that collapsed building in Freetown during the raining season, people will now see that you do and have always published a balanced report… The Awareness Times failed to mention that Ernest Koroma was there visiting the scene, and It was me that pointed out that if it were not for you, we would not have known that Ernest Koroma was there too… Cuz! All we kept hearing is Berewah doing his political cat walk on the scene, never was the footprint of Ernest Koroma… And I brought it straight up for all to see the type of journalism Awareness Times was dishing the people.
Nothing Personal But National Interest!!!

Harassment and Intimidation : Commissioner Thorpe Exposes World Bank Employee

Friday, September 14th, 2007


Posted by Mohamed Konneh on Sep 14, 2007, 02:13


The results released by the National Electoral Commission yesterday clearly put Hon. Ernest Bai Koroma of the All Peoples Congress Party in a comfortable lead with 859,144 and the ruling Sierra Leone Peoples Party candidate Vice President Solomon Berewa struggling behind with 567,449.

A total of 76.1% of the results so far have been reported from 4,687 polling stations. Valid votes stand at 1,427,280 while the invalid votes 36,694 making a total of 1,463,974 counted so far. The national average turnout of voters represents 72.7 percents. Speaking at the usual press briefing at the British Council in Freetown yesterday, the National Returning Officer and Chairperson of the NEC, Dr. Christiana Thorpe maintained that the commission has endeavored to include as much information in the result database as possible, making sure that progress is made on the results from all districts in the country.

The verification process she explained continues in order to ensure that the official results are indeed those recorded in the polling stations and accurately reflect the will of the voters. The NEC has even noted results with turn-out of 100% and over. At a meeting held on the 11th September 2007, the commissioner unanimously took the following decisions in the handling of cases with unusual high turn-out. In cases where voter turn-out is between 95% in a polling station, the NEC will conduct an investigation if the station has been the object of complaints, or is named in the incident report from the district office,

In cases where the voter turn-out is at 100%, an investigation will be conducted in all cases, and in cases of voter turn-out exceeding 100%, the station results will be automatically invalidated.

The Dr. Thorpe said that she would like to report an increase in the number of threatening and intimidating calls and messages to NEC officials over the past few days. “I would like to especially request Mr. Maada Ngombu of the World Bank project NDB building to stop abusing and intimidating staff members of the commission and desist from instructing me on my duties’ she warned, adding that his duties at the Transitional Support Secretariat ended with the recruitment of the commission’s core staff.

The NEC boss said adding that, misusing the telephone numbers of members of commission acquired during the period was not to be used to threaten and intimidate staff at this time, to say the least; she described his behaviour as “unprofessional”. Dr. Thorpe further explained that some members of the print and electronic media seem to be engaged in a scheme to deliberately misinform the public, despite the commission’s attempt to keep the nation informed through regular updates. The final certified declaration of results rests with the NEC she observed.

No press briefing she said would be conducted today until Monday 17th September 2007, when the remaining cumulative results will be presented to the public.

 

 

——————————————————————————–

As we await official declaration of SLPP and Solomon Berewa’s defeat…

Friday, September 14th, 2007

By M. Allieu Iscandari  :

With Solomon Berewa now incapacitated after getting another devastating stroke making him comatose and only waiting for the last nail in his coffin as votes are being tallied, let us turn our attention to the security under-performance by the outgoing Commander-In-Chief (CIC) and Minister of Defense (MoD) on a background as follows: “Peace partially returned to SL in November 1996 after the signing of the Abidjan Peace Accord, which was short-lived as both parties involved openly undermined it.

Chairman Johnny Paul Koroma (JPK) of AFRC had this to say to the nation on June 1, 1997- Fellow countrymen, you will surely agree with me that the unseated President and some of his round pegs in square holes collaborators dragged their feet in implementing the priority clauses stipulated in the Abuja Peace Accord related to developments of mutual forces to carry out encampment and disarming of combatants. The Commission of the Consolidation of Peace (CCP) was never given the attention needed to carry out its functions.

The RUF may have been tardy, even dishonest, in implementing their own side of the bargain, but that cannot in anyway justify the Government of Pa Kabbah through Fayia Musa, Philip Palmer, Dr. Mohamed Barrie and others in surreptitiously planning the arrest and overthrow of its leader, Foday Sankoh.

Both actions were wrongful. From that moment on the atmosphere got riven with distrust in which combatants on both sides inflicted unspeakable barbaric, heinous crimes and truly ghastly atrocities on innocent civilians. The negative spoils of the rebel war, due largely to the leadership blunders of the Commander-In-Chief, are incalculable to date. In his May 28, 1997 condemnation speech of the Kamajor civil militia and the SLPP Government of Pa Kabbah, JPK had this to say to the nation among others…In 1996, the same group that had been disbanded re-emerged as the Kamajors from being Kamaboys, and like in the days of the Hindu-Hindu, the Kamajors instantly targeted the Army as their perceived enemy. However, the military overlooked the activities of the Kamajors and fought alongside with them as local forces, but when the SLPP came to power, the SLPP government emphasized that the Kamajors should be given anti-military training which caused serious confrontation between the soldiers and the Kamajors. While the Army was only made up of 14,000 men, the number of Kamajors has swelled up to 37,000 men, vastly outnumbering the constitutional Army.

The SLPP, which got the full support of the Army after the election suddenly became very partisan in handling the security of the State. Welfare of the Kamajors was treated more seriously than the welfare of the Army. It was not surprising that a one time Chief Kamajor was appointed Deputy Minister of Defense who spent all his energy organizing the Kamajors. Even though the military had fought the war for five years, the SLPP spent all its time providing logistics for the Kamajors, and totally forgetting the welfare of the Army. The Kamajors in the eyes of the SLPP suddenly became a superior force, even though the Armed Forces is constitutionally responsible for the security of the State. The Kamajors started to engage the Army in battles causing the deaths of many soldiers.

Even though the SLPP claimed to have spent between 2 billion and 3.5 billion Leones on the Armed Forces every month, this was not reflected in the status of the ordinary soldier. The Kamajors, on the other hand, were well catered for as Deputy Defense Minister Chief Hinga Norman alone collected 35 million Leones on behalf of Kamajors every month. This does not cover the amount Hinga Norman collected from government to cover logistics for the Kamajors. Salaries for soldiers were delayed for long periods whereas monies to Kamajors were paid instantly on demand. Ration for the fighting men was reduced thereby putting a lot of pressure on the commanders who felt hard pressed to handle the same number of men.

The above-mentioned were legitimate grievances expressed by the military at the time needing attention but were instead irresponsibly snubbed by their Commander-In-Chief who was enjoying porridge in a porringer at his lodge with no seriousness even when told of a coup plot underway. Upon reinstating his Government, he wasted no time through court martial in executing the military high command, disbanding the entire Army and appointing Nigerian Gen. Maxwell Khobe as Chief of Defense Staff (CDS) thereby letting him (Khobe) access sensitive info of our National Security. Do you know that it is forbidden in the Nigerian Army for a senior officer to marry a woman from a foreign country lest he divulges/discusses security matters of interest with her? [This must be knowledge most likely gained from the incident between Samson and Delilah of the Bible.] That notwithstanding, Sierra Leoneans never protested against Pa Kabbah’s security appointments of Gen. Khobe and British Keith Biddle as Inspector General of Police. Unbelievable! [He has brought in again another Brit, Mr. Grant Wilson, as the new Director-General of Mines to gain knowledge of our strategic mineral resources. One thing I have come to know for sure is that Pa Kabbah is good at creating well paid jobs for internationals leaving out the locals, including new graduates to eke out a living on paltry sums.]

Much as I strongly detested the Jan 6 invasion of the capital and the mayhem caused especially by our military, however, I admired their bravery in taking head on well-trained ECOMOG troops who had at their disposal heavy artillery, including Alpha Jets. The ECOMOG Force-Commander, Gen. Shelpedi, was stunned at the tactical maneuvering and gallantry of our battle tested Army. Indeed our wo/men in uniform are the true Lions of the Mountain of SL and are the most seasoned soldiers on the continent. Had it not been for their gallantry in taking hostage 310 ECOMOG soldiers on June 2, 1997 at Mammy Yoko hotel, Freetown would have been reduced to rubbles from the fire power of the Foreign intervention force. Our military deserves a standing ovation from all well-meaning Sierra Leoneans. If the Americans can be so proud of their Marines why not Sierra Leoneans. And I see no reason why anyone should behave like the out going CIC who disowned his military for outsiders. Can anyone tell me why s/he thinks that Pa Kabbah must not be put on trial for stirring dissension and deliberately playing cat and mouse game with our servicewo/men in uniform. [I am confident that he will be indicted by the Special Court sooner rather than later.]

As a matter of fact just days after Jan 6 invasion the CIC left his Army in the battle front in Freetown and traveled to Conakry to attend President Lansana Conte’s inauguration. It was a surprise that the CIC can leave his house and military coming under fire to enjoy all types of dishes in Guinea. Incredible! Not even Uriah could do such a thing and in fact had this to say to King David whose pleasurable lifestyle in a time of war reflects that of Pa Kabbah: Uriah said to David, “The ark and Israel and Judah are staying in tents, and my master Joab and my lord’s men are camped in the open fields. How could I go to my house to eat and drink and lie with my wife? As surely as you live, I will not do such a thing! [2Samuel 11:11 NIV].” What was even more disheartening about his trip to Conakry was that all his colleague Presidents from other African countries including small Gambia arrived gorgeously for the occasion in their Jets, but Pa Kabbah on a smoky UN helicopter which provoked laughter from those at the Gbesia International Airport. And to this day SL does not have a Presidential Jet of her own. With all the mineral wealth why should our President be dwarfed or get missing in action in a gathering with his/her counterparts? We need to something about this and restore pride to the office of the President.

On March 8, 2000 a peaceful demonstration to Foday Sankoh’s house was organized by the civil society in Freetown (to the knowledge of the CIC) which turned violent killing 22 people in cold blood. No commission of inquiry has been set up to date to investigate why Pa Kabbah as Commander-In-Chief and Minister of Defense failed to provide the people at the rally on that day proper security coverage ahead in case of any eventuality from the rebel leader and group. Listen to this, the Americans are still asking and grueling their leaders why 9/11. Is the life of the ordinary Sierra Leonean not equally important?

Our country is like a prostitute that has been raped by her very lovers and left to die, but she will live. You only need to go up Hill Station and its environs and see that our outgoing elected officials have asked what SL can do for them instead of the wise saying of John F. Kennedy “ask not what your country can do for you but what you can do for your country.”

Let us flip the page to another subject. I have heard people say that APC-rule led to the rebel war, which is true. However, what is also true though is that the war started from SLPP’s traditional strongholds including Kailahun which is still a ‘No-go area’ for APC. With any two sound premises one can arrive at a logical conclusion, and it is for you to make. The devil is in the details. During the time of the APC, the RUF was not able to cross the Eastern Province where they had started their insurrection in 1991. The first time hostilities spread outside the province was during the time of NPRC, which had tried to justify its overthrow of the APC on the grounds of the latter’s ineffectiveness in defending the people against rebel aggression. So it made extravagant pledges of ending the war swiftly, but in the end it failed. The RUF not only forced a war economy on SL; they left an endless trail of unrecognizable shadows of once settled and thriving communities. The motives of RUF looked murky except for the pretext of ridding the country of corruption, misrule and one party system. Its insurrection had begun at the very time the much maligned APC Government of Late President Momoh was laying the foundation for democratic elections under a new multi-party constitution adopted in 1991. All that anyone opposed to the rule of Momoh needed to do was to wait and take part in the then impending elections and vote him out of office. But instead the rebels and their backers took up arms and chose violence. How could they reconcile that with their professed belief in democracy defies comprehension.

Prior to 1992, it is reasonable to credit APC with substantial infrastructural development as well as with an extraordinary good record of bonding its rich and tantalizing ethnic diversity. In other words there was no tribalism during APC rule as seen today with SLPP. Of course there is no doubt of the fact that APC made mistakes along the way and some were serious. An example was opening up diamond mining to all and sundry, a policy that scuppered any ambitions it may have had to turn things around. The result of this openness was diamond smuggling, which became a whole industry in itself, defying regulatory control and plummeting the public purse as never before even to date. It was later to fuel the war today known as blood diamonds. But let us face it: Unlike SLPP today APC made these mistakes under a one party system or at a time when there were no checks and balances. So which is more guilty of misrule, APC or SLPP?

In my own opinion the Late Momoh was by far a better President than Pa Kabbah for the following 3 reasons:

Unlike Pa Kabbah, Momoh was courageous to admit failing the nation
Momoh reasoned with us the students in 1991 and 5 months after our demonstration he lifted the ban on democracy
When overthrown in 1992 Momoh fled to Conakry and unlike Pa Kabbah, he never fought his way back to power with blood and on dead bodies. According to him the God who gave has taken away, which was reflected in his song ‘Momoh si don saful nar God don gee you pawa wata wae na fo you e nor go run pas you’
If Pa Kabbah were a true uniter he would have awarded in his two terms in office the Order of the Rokel to some of his political rivals, including Dr. John Karefa-Smart for being a seasoned political veteran and Senior Citizen of SL. But instead he chose to give cronies, including Dr. Julius Spencer for helping reinstate his Government from exile. Such awards are merited based on (longterm) national duty not on close ties. Blessings, MS