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NEWS : Politics  

“Kelvin Lewis Panel Lied on Me” - Zainab Mansaray
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Oct 19, 2011, 17:10
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Sierra Leoneans at home and in the Diaspora have contacted Awareness Times by phone, emails and visits to express their grave disappointment at Kelvin Lewis and the entire membership of the Presidential Panel of Investigators set up to look into the political violence which erupted in Bo city on September 9th 2011. Members of the ruling All Peoples Congress (APC) are especially livid to learn the Panel never spoke to Madam Zainab Mansaray, the Chairlady for the Southern Province branch of the APC and were vociferous in saying so (ie: they “Baranta”).

 

It will be recalled that Page 12 of the Kelvin Lewis Report described the APC Bo office caretakers as youths who were “very hyper; smoking cannabis sativa” and “dressed up with knives hanging from the sides of their trousers” and “a pistol”. In the same section of the report, it stated Zainab Mansaray was “among the youths and cooking for them”.

 

Kelvin Lewis handing over the “Hogwash” to President Koroma on September 30th 2011

 

Well, Zainab Mansaray has basically described the Kelvin Lewis report insofar as her person was concerned to be nothing more than “hogwash” and a deliberate and malicious attempt to destroy her reputation as a peaceful woman and a law-abiding citizen. She spoke in Creole.

 

“Den Kelvin Lewis people ya na wicked lie den done lie pan me so. Ar nor bin dey cook for nobody inside the compound. No borbor en no youthman ar nor bin dey cook for. Ar nor even go near fireside sef! How? Den nor get wef for cook for them wey na big big woman lek me dey go siddom for cook for dem?” Zainab Mansaray said which translated means: “Kelvin Lewis Panel has wickedly lied on me. I was not cooking for the youths or anyone! I did not even go near a fireside let alone cook. How can I become the cook for the caretaker boys when they live with their wives? What will a woman of my status go and do there as a cook?”

 

Zainab Mansaray says she felt betrayed and sick when told what Kelvin Lewis wrote about her.

 

According to Madam Mansaray, there are several rooms in the back compound of the party offices where APC youths are stationed with their families as caretakers which she explained was necessary as the town was a stronghold of their political rivals, the Sierra Leone Peoples Party (SLPP) and it made sense to ensure the APC’s premises had human presence at all times.

 

Continuing, she explained how as Regional Chairlady, one of her designated tasks was to ensure the social welfare of the caretakers of APC offices in the Southern Province were well taken care of including the ones in Moyamba, Pujehun, Bonthe and Bo Districts. On a regular basis, she received cash subvention from the APC Southern Regional Chairman for this purpose which she used to purchase bags of rice for welfare distribution to all offices.

 

On the fateful day, the party’s hierarchy had followed instructions from the APC Leader President Koroma for the offices to be closed to regular business and only the caretakers were on the premises in their back rooms. She used the chance of no office work on that day to go to town to purchase bags of rice from which she delivered one bag to the Bo caretakers.

 

She explained that in her wildest dreams she never expected violence to erupt or she would not have even left the safety of her home.

 

Recounting her ordeal, she said she met lots of SLPP members within the township in their “thousands and thousands” all in a joyous mood and she moved freely about; greeting the ones she knew until she arrived with the bag of rice on the APC premises. Shortly after her arrival with the rice, one of the caretakers’ wives suddenly rushed in and was saying the compound had been surrounded and was under attack.

 

Madam Mansaray said she was confused and had absolutely no idea of what was then going on at that time but seeing the pandemonium with people fleeing, she decided to secure herself by opening one of the office rooms and shut the door. Whilst inside, she recounted of how the invaders poured petrol inside the offices and threw a flame in causing a massive explosion forcing her to flee out of the door into the hands of the huge gang of SLPP supporters dressed in bright green and putting on T-shirts with Maada Bio’s face on them.

 

She recounted how they readily identified her as the APC Chairlady following which they stripped her stark naked, molested her in a variety of humiliating ways and then proceeded to kick and slap her with SLPP Youths who were wielding cutlasses, then using them to slash at her as she laid helpless on the ground begging them for her life.

 

She recalled how her blood was gushing out from her flesh and mixing with the earth until she lost consciousness. She vaguely came around at one point to see someone amongst the SLPP youths say she had once been kind to him and calling on others to help her. She recalled being covered with a wrapper and lifted away. She next woke up again in the hospital.


APC Bo District Chairman Alhaji Sheku Sillah and the Government Resident Minister Moijue Kaikai are amongst the people who have confirmed to Awareness Times that they are shocked and disgusted to read the manner in which the lady was portrayed by the Kelvin Lewis Report. They have both confirmed the truth of the matter that it was her duty to take rice to all party offices in the Southern Region. They have strongly denounced the portrayal of Madam Zainab as a cook for the caretakers. Naturally, they declined to comment on aspects of the matter which was now subjudice.

 

A recent report from the Office of the President informed that President Koroma decided to set up the Kelvin Lewis Independent Investigations Panel into the eruption of political violence in Sierra Leone because he wanted the outcome to be “very much credible”.

 

Acknowledging the primary responsibility of the Sierra Leone Police, which is to investigate such matters, President Koroma said it was “due to the peculiar nature of the matter, coupled with the prevailing circumstance surrounding the incidents that is why the civil society was called to the Panel”.

 

“The committee is not a commission of enquiry but the composition of investigators in the committee is credible”, the President had said.


Well, as unravelled by this newspaper yesterday, the President has been let down in his expectations as it has been proven beyond all reasonable doubts that the Kelvin Lewis Panel failed to do their job diligently when it came to the matter of the ruling party’s Women’s Leader for Southern Province, Madam Zainab Mansaray.


© Copyright by Awareness Times Newspaper in Freetown, Sierra Leone.

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