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COMMENTS & OPINIONS  

An Outlandish and Preposterous United Nations Report on Sierra Leone
By Alphonsus Komeh, (Research Student in the USA)
Jun 14, 2009, 17:55
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My attention was called to it last Friday by a friend living in New York who has recently visited different locations of the near-forgotten impoverished Sierra Leone. She did not give me any tip but her voice spoke volumesfull of awe, surprise, trepidation and consternation. She just queried: Is the recent UN Report attempting to create a Sierra Leone that does not exist?

 

I immediately rushed to grab a copy from the internet for my consumption. And upon reading the stuff, I concluded that it is an ill-conceived and audacious nay risky report sending a frighteningly wrong signal about developments in Sierra Leone.

 

The brazen effrontery by the ERSG in his concluding statements alone I am generally encouraged by developments in Sierra Leone is in itself a ruthless attempt by the same to conceal the current grovelling poverty facing the unsuspecting and hapless public; the brazen mismanagement of public funds; political intolerance as exhibited by the ruling clique, police complicity in daylight violence against opposition members and journalists; and state decay exemplified by the construction of a parallel system through which rogue state functionaries are having a field day. Let me elaborate on the above by raising the following issues with the ERSG.

1.  You find nothing wrong with police recruitment & arming of ex-combatants who are currently not only serving as Presidential bodyguards, but are also seemingly let loose to be openly associated with armed criminal actions from robbery to arson to rape with impunity. The March invasion (which you always call a clash between rival parties) on the SLPP HQ in Freetown where Leather Boot, a member of the presidential bodyguards, led a squad of revelers to loot, destroy and finally rape women is a case in point.

2.  You find nothing wrong in the brazen regional and ethnic divide created by the APC ruling class as a source for another virulent (ethnic?) conflict. Political exclusion and marginalization often breed discontent and nurture malcontents who are always prepared to unleash their venom at their tormentors.

3.  Yes, you find nothing incorrect in the illegal closing down of the opposition radio station by the Vice President, equipment looted and or damaged by a criminal gang containing some of the Presidents own State House staff.

4.  You absolutely find nothing wrong in the Income Electrix deal unearthed by the Anti-Corruption Commission; and the tax waiver of about one million dollars granted by the President to Sylvanus Koroma, his younger brother. Yet you commended the ACC for doing a good job when it only prosecutes people at the edge of society (the massified). The reported flouting of procurement rules and procedures to favour the Presidents elder sister; the appearance that Ministers have the authority to overturn procurement committees decisions in order to do proper procurement, and the Presidents threat to summarily sack civil servants without reference to civil service codes are all, in the wisdom of the ERSG, good developments.

5.  And what about the conspiratorial manipulation of the rape cases against APC vigilantes in Freetown and Kono by the Inspector General of police?

6.  To the ERSG, there is nothing faulty about daylight police complicity and collaboration with APC supporters & outright brutality against members of the opposition during the invasion of the oppositions Head-Quarters in Freetown in March. Mr. ERSG, turning a blind eye to police connivance with the sitting government is unhelpful to peace consolidation and democratic deepening.

7.  The politicisation of the security sector (military and police) and other vital state institutions is so scary that such a report wouldnt have been completed without mentioning them as issues that need urgent attention. A typical example was demonstrated at the APC convention in April 2009 when the military and police not only played the ruling APC party song on their brass bands but loudly sang it in the presence of Diplomats. To gloss over such a potentially volatile issue is disturbingly frightening and alarming. Yes, these are not supposed to be in the report as far as the ERSG is concerned.

 

I do have the unyielding conviction that the ERSG wrote and presented his report on Sierra Leone with an agenda to do damage control for a government that has come under severe criticisms from Independent International institutions such as the scathing Chatham House Report which stated that the APC does not have an idea/clue about governance; Transparency International report where Sierra Leone is leading in corruption, Mo-Ibrahim Report on Democracy where our democratic strides made some five years ago are plummeting, and the HDI that placed Sierra Leone at the bottom of the ladder.

Mr. ERSG, your report is too good to trust!


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