I was in the Middle East sometime last week on a short business trip and as usual I kept in touch with Sierra Leone News through the Internet. I was using a small Internet café which was planted in the middle of a busy shopping centre that had vendors hawking a plethora of spices that provided a pleasant aroma in the air; aroma which has the ability to relax one and assure a calming mood.
So, there was I in a calm and cool mood, surfing cyberspace to glean news about Sierra Leone when I got a bolt of shock from two lines in the November 20th 2006 Concord Times story about Brima Acha Kamara entitled ‘Public Outcry - Police Boss Must Go!’ which was distributed around the world by AllAfrica.Com from Sierra Leone to my Internet Cafe in the Middle East. I could not believe what I saw.
Was I reading right? I read it once. I rubbed my eyes and read it again. The sentences were still there burning their imprint into my brain. They were not going anywhere. They still appeared on the computer’s screen and they stated: "Acha is a Limba by tribe. Besides he is one of those die-hard All Peoples Congress (APC) who would go at any length to undermine the popularity of the current government".
No amount of Middle Eastern calming spices could take me back to a calm mood. My first thought was to wonder how on earth anyone could publish such anti-Limba tribalistic comments on the World Wide Web. I tried to make excuses for Concord Times (whose editor Sahr Musa Yamba is one of my favourite people) in my mind by trying to understand that they might be trying to reflect to a global audience that nothing but sheer tribalism was a basis for making important decisions in Sierra Leone now. But is that really true? Is Sierra Leone still divided so strongly along tribal lines or was it just certain criminals trying to get rid of one of the best Inspector Generals that Sierra Leone has ever been fortunate to have?
Acha Kamara is a Limba by tribe. So what? Have we not grown past those days of tribal based sentiments? Are those peddling that line not ashamed of themselves? Have they seen the unprecedented mammoth crowd that the mende-born Solomon Berewa pulled when he visited the heart of Limba land (Makeni, Bombali) a fortnight ago? Do they realize that the number of votes cast for the SLPP in Limba and Temne land during the 2004 Local Government Elections was a vote that runs counter to your perceived tribalism in Sierra Leone?
Do some of these people also realize that comments like the one made over the national radio airwaves and subsequently published by Concord Times and sent worldwide will only serve to stoke suspicion in the minds of a larger global audience that there is a masterplan against Limbas? If not, why will you be so jittery over one single Limba man? Do you have something planned against Limbas that makes you so jittery?
Please! Stop fomenting tribal divisions to further your criminal agendas. As far as I am concerned, your orchestrated attacks on Acha Kamara are not because he is a Limba but because he does not entertain your criminality which you used to perpetuate with impunity. It is well known that as Police Boss who has been enforcing the law, poor Acha Kamara has been inconveniencing certain lawless people who thought that the unfortunate escape of Private Abdul Sesay was their catalyst to pay back the disciplinarian known as Brima Acha Kamara who has been proving to be too much of a ‘bone-na-throat’ to them.
They went through all sorts of channels to undermine the IG. They have shamelessly used young misguided souls to give some credibility to their orchestrated campaign but they have failed. President Kabbah, who knows firsthand just how vicious people can be in pulling down success stories has told them that since he is not a nutcase, he will stand firmly by Brima Acha Kamara.
May God Almighty continue to provide Pa Kabbah the guidance to handle situations like this saga. The Pa Kabbah of November 2006 is not the Pa Kabbah of March 2003 (the month Sanpha Koroma was sacked) or the Pa Kabbah of those yester-years when all sorts of "witches" and "wizards" in the society used the security situation of those years to settle longstanding grudges against individuals and families. Most of which grudges were based on nothing other than sheer envy, jealousy or as our President Kabbah will say, SHEER WITCH-CRAFT.
Pa Kabbah is so right. Only a mental nutcase will act upon the manipulated calls for Acha Kamara to be sacked. And may I hasten to add that only inexperienced, guileless youth who can be easily manipulated by criminal brains will subscribe to the calls for Brima Acha Kamara to be sacked.
Further on in the same Nov 20 Concord Times Report was the following:
‘….President of National Union of Sierra Leone Students (NUSS), Alex Bonapha told Concord Times that "Police Boss Acha Kamara must go! We demand an immediate resignation of Brima Acha Kamara or [for] Government [to] sack[ed] him instantly. This is the second high-profile blunder he has made which suggests he is not up to the task because our country’s security is at stake. Because of such spectacular blunders, we have lost confidence in him."
I have never met Alex Bonapha but he commands a lot of respect from me. This is because as a former University Students’ Union President myself, I know what it means for your colleagues to come together and elect you to be their leader. This is why I respect Bonapha a whole lot without ever even meeting him.
It is with this respect for the young man that I am asking that he clarifies what is this first high-profile blunder Brima Acha Kamara allegedly made because I am sure that Bonapha is not amongst those who are malevolently peddling that Johnny Paul Koroma escaped as a result of a blunder on the part of Acha Kamara. No, I am sure Bonapha will not be amongst those selling that false and misleading propaganda to the public. Bonapha who was elected to hold a position as important as President of NUSS will definitely have far more integrity than that. So, until Bonapha chooses to make himself clearer, one can only second-guess what is the first ‘high profile blunder’ that Acha made.
However, I am sure that the patriotic NUSS President, Alex Bonapha will appreciate, understand and publicly acknowledge how much hard work Acha Kamara and his team have poured into ensuring that Sierra Leone’s capital is now one of the safest cities in Africa and Sierra Leone coming out of a post-war situation is considered a success story as far as national policing goes.
We will never have a 100% crime free Freetown just as we will never have a 100% crime free London or a 100% crime free New York and when we compare Sierra Leone today to neighbouring Liberia where poor Ellen’s Government got so overwhelmed with the level of local lawlessness (Issa Kabba Boys et al) that her Minister of Justice called for vigilante groups to help combat the soaring crime rate, I am sure Bonapha will agree with me that Acha Kamara has many "high profile" success stories in addition to this as-yet-untold first "high profile" blunder Bonapha is alleging.
Bonapha should be careful that he does not get himself lumped by historians into the category of those inexperienced, guileless youth who can be easily manipulated by tribalists and criminals in the society into issuing out statements.
And for Brima Acha Kamara, now that Private Sesay has been caught, all that should now be done by our I.G. is for him to kneel down in prayer and thank the Almighty for allowing the escape of Private Abdul Sesay in the first place. I am sure our able Inspector General of Police has learnt a lot of lessons from the escape saga. An old woman in our neighbourhood used to say that when we sometimes meet up with unfair adversities in life, we wonder at just why people are so unfair to us or just why the Almighty allowed such a situation to unfold against us. It is only after all the chips would have all fallen into place would we realize that it was the Almighty’s own way of showing us certain things that we never would have known otherwise.
Acha Kamara now knows certain things that he might otherwise have never known if Private Sesay had not escaped. Acha Kamara now knows more strongly than ever before that he has bosses in the persons of President Kabbah and Vice President Berewa who have confidence in him and who will stand by him when people are being unfair to him. Acha also knows that he has been making powerful enemies in the process of going about his tough duties as Police Boss. So, let Acha go down on his two knees and give praise and thanks to the Almighty for allowing him to know these things which might have forever remained unknown to him if Private Sesay had not escaped from police custody.
Long may Acha Kamara live!