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Using TRC Report to Respond to George Khoryama : A Dangerous Tribalist is LYING again; But thank God for those Sacred TRUTHS in Truth & Reconciliation Commission Report
By Dr. Sylvia Olayinka Blyden
Jul 9, 2012, 12:10
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I took my time to carefully read and re-read the latest tantrum thrown at me by the SLPP tribalist, the old man George Khoryama. As I always do with his contemptible type, I deploy my much superior pedigree to theirs to navigate through their insults and get to whatever issue I need to hit at, for the good of the Nation. If there is nothing there worth responding to, I simply ignore these fellows. Afterall, this is the kind of insults-based journalism the IMC seems to be quite comfortable with even as elections loom. I am able to ignore them because I possess better genes. In a myriad of ways, I am the epitome of what the great Edward Wilmot Blyden stood for; strength of convictions in the face of tremendous opposition no matter the controversy. I am Sylvia Olayinka Blyden, a proud, upstanding and outstanding Creole lady who is never afraid to speak truth to power, look the bully in the eye or peel the civility masks off the tribalists hiding behind it.


Now, I will take a look at what I think is the only issue worth examining in Khoryamas piece of Friday July 6th 2012. SLPPs tribalist George Khoryama wrote as follows of the current Ernest Koroma led regime in Sierra Leone:


Why such political violence, police brutality and killings, political persecutions, hardship and divisions in the country today? For eleven years on end the Sierra Leone Peoples Party (SLPP) governed this country without a gunshot, without political violence, without a drop of blood and without the people going to bed hungry, half-sleep and half-awake out of fear.  Why should we be taken back to the days of the APC years under President Siaka Stevens and President Joseph Saidu Momoh when those things were commonplace?


Honestly, George Khoryama must assume other Sierra Leoneans are as STUPID as him. Let me assure him that he is mistaken.


Firstly, only a stupid fool like Khoryama will not know that during the eleven years of the SLPP rule, we had more political violence, police brutality and killings, political persecutions, hardship and divisions in the country than this country had ever experienced in its modern days since even prior to independence!


Secondly, it is the height of wickedness and a gross insult to the victims of yester-years for a stupid person like Khoryama to claim that For eleven years on end the Sierra Leone Peoples Party (SLPP) governed this country without a gunshot, without political violence, without a drop of blood and without the people going to bed hungry, half-sleep and half-awake out of fear.


The Truth & Reconciliation Commission (TRC) Report is our most authoritative recount of what went wrong in Sierra Leone and how to make amends for those wrongs so they will not re-occur. The authoritative TRC Report finds SLPP Government abused the State of Emergency clause in the Sierra Leone Constitution to carry out egregious abuse of its citizens human rights including killing, cooking and eating its own citizens; prolonged, unlawful detentions of persons even beyond lifting of State of Emergency (Leatherboot is one such person); execution of political prisoners including at least 23 male soldiers and a female officer, in contravention of international statutes the State had been ratified.


The TRC found out that SLPP either directly committed these egregious human rights abuses or simply turned a blind eye to them when they were done by SLPP protgs like the ethnic Kamajors. Many of those used and abused poor Kamajor youths of the South and the East were brainwashed into seeing fellow citizens originating out of the South-East as enemies to be slaughtered, cooked and eaten up for dinner!


The TRC Report is loaded with serious indictments of the SLPP Government. For example, Paragraph 27 of Volume 2 states:


The State of Public Emergency declared by the reinstated SLPP government encompassed four years and numerous illegal acts carried out on the premise of pursuing justice.


Factually, Sierra Leoneans including my humble self, had decided to forgive, forget and move on trusting in God Almighty to soothe the pains. However, to watch some of these unrepentant brutes, cowardly killers, shameless liars, primitive power seekers and their media charlatans come back to the stage to try to reverse this country makes us cringe as our minds reflect on those years of silent pains.


Indeed, 2002 to 2007 saw a whole new dawn in Sierra Leone for which some of us will continue to sing praises of Alhaji Dr. Ahmad Tejan Kabbah for his herculean efforts to re-unite this country. Despite his failures between 1996- 2002, I submit that History will be very kind to Tejan Kabbah because of the sterling leadership he displayed from 2002 until 2007.

 

However, charlatans trying to revise History should know we will NEVER sit by quietly and allow them to succeed. We will educate the world so as not to allow evil tribalists like George Khoryama to plunge this country back to those 1996-2002 SLPP days and those 1991-1996 NPRC/RUF days which they want us to go back to.


The following are paragraphs 265 and 266 of Volume 2 of the Truth & Reconciliation Commission Report.

265. The Commission finds the SLPP Government responsible for carrying out the arbitrary arrest and detention of a large number of citizens in violation of their constitutional rights from 1998 onwards. Many of these arrests and detentions, as well as the prosecutions and trials of this period were politically motivated, representing a denial of basic rights. The Commission finds that the Court Martial of 37 soldiers during 1998, resulting in the execution of 24 of them, was conducted in contravention of international human rights standards.

266. The Commission finds the ongoing incarceration of sixteen persons in protective custody detention since June 2000 to be unlawful and a flagrant denial of those persons basic human rights.


Readers should at this point, allow me to digress a little. The infamous LEATHERBOOT (Idrissa Kamara) is one of the 16 persons mentioned above in Paragraph 266 of the TRC Report. According to the Shears-Moses Report instituted to look into the political violence which erupted on us in March 2009, on Friday March 13th 2009, SLPP thugs attacked a defenceless female APC Councillor in the presence of AIG Chris Charley, threw her to the ground, kicked her in the stomach and cut off her necklace. That was the catalyst which sparked off the unimaginable reaction of the APC supporters like Leatherboot. However, knowing the abuse which Leatherboot suffered at the hands of the SLPP, is there any wonder at his reaction to the shameful SLPP attack on a defenceless APC woman as the police looked on haplessly? Could Leatherboots mind not have gone back to those days of yester-years triggering off unpleasant memories for him? Food for thought.

 

Meanwhile, here are a few more extracts under subheadings:


Arbitrary Detentions and Prosecutions

284. The Commission finds that the rounding up and detention of over 3,000 (three thousand) citizens in the wake of the ECOMOG intervention of February 1998 constituted a mass violation of human rights.

285. The Government of Sierra Leone deployed a catch-all strategy to round up all persons associated with the AFRC regime, however loosely, and to imprison them arbitrarily without charge. Many civilians were detained for no other reason than the fact that they retained their jobs as civil servants under the AFRC regime.

286. Mrs. Sylvia Blyden, a civil servant who had served the nation for some thirty years, was detained in February 1998 for nine months without charge. She was held on the strength of untested allegations against her. The Commission finds that the Governments policy of detention inflicted terrible suffering on the citizens of Sierra Leone and their families and contravened their human rights.

 

Safe Custody Detention

431. No law authorises the continued detention of persons in safe custody or protective custody detention. The Public Emergency Regulations of 1998, under which the President was authorised to order the detention of persons in protective custody, were lifted in 2002. The continued detention of several persons in safe custody detention is unlawful and in contravention of the Sierra Leone Constitution. Their detention is in clear violation of the rule of law.

432. The Commission finds that the continued practice of safe custody detention brings the Government of Sierra Leone into disrepute. There is no place for safe custody detention in a just and democratic society. The Commission regrets that civil society and the many representatives of the international community in Sierra Leone have failed to protest the use of safe custody detention and have failed to utilise the writ of habeas corpus in respect of those persons held under this category.

 

Political Persecution of those in Public Office

508. The Commission found that certain regimes, during the conflict period, victimised a large number of individuals who held public office on suspicion that they were collaborators or on the basis that they were associated or related to perceived collaborators or the enemy. In many instances such persons suffered summary dismissal and, in other cases, such individuals were detained for long periods.

509. The Commission found that the NPRC regime unlawfully dismissed Major Lucy Kanu from the Army in 1993 simply because her husband [Col. Yayah Kanu] was one of the alleged coup plotters of December 1992. The Commission recommends that the good name of Major Lucy Kanu be restored; that she be recalled to the Army and formally retired with effect from 1 August 2003 and paid her lost benefits.

510. The authorities detained Mrs. Sylvia Blyden, a civil servant who had served the nation for some thirty years, in February 1998 for nine months without charge. She was held on the strength of untested allegations against her. The Commission recommends that the wrongs suffered by such individuals be redressed. In particular the Commission recommends that their good names be formally restored. The Human Rights Commission (HRC) should be tasked with investigating all cases of political persecution of public office-holders with a view to restoring peoples good names where necessary, by way of a public finding. All those in the public sector who suffered political persecution during the conflict period should be able to approach the HRC for such relief.

 

Enmity between the Arms of the State Security Apparatus under the SLPP

336. The CDF of the Southern and Eastern Provinces pitted themselves against the SLA under the newly-instated SLPP Government. Particularly in Kenema District, Kamajors engaged in systematic and targeted attacks on soldiers in an attempt to take over the Armys role as the protector of civilian lives and property. Kamajors carried out multiple acts of torture and killings against soldiers. In many cases, corpses of soldiers were dismembered and parts of them eaten. Kamajors also committed similar violations and abuses against civilians whom they perceived to be affiliated to the Army.

337. High-ranking members of the Government failed to quell clashes between the SLA and the CDF, both of which were arms of the state security apparatus, and were responsible for inciting enmity between the two factions.

338. The Government followed an inadvisable policy of incarcerating several hundred soldiers without trial for their perceived involvement in the clashes with the Kamajors. The Kamajors, meanwhile, were not held to account. This inconsistency of treatment between the two parties was an example of the defective management of the state security apparatus.

339. The clashes between soldiers and Kamajors in the Kenema District represented the first significant and overt manifestations of an ethnic dimension to the Sierra Leone conflict. The Kamajors, who were exclusively Mende indigenes of the District, singled out soldiers and civilians of Northern descent for particularly malicious treatment. High profile members of non-Mende tribes, including Chiefs, were killed in this period of violence.


Regionalism and Ethnic Prejudice in the CDF

357. The Districts of the South and South-East were unambiguously classifiable as heartlands of the Kamajor movement. The Kamajors targeted inhabitants of these areas along ethnic lines. Persons of Northern origin were singled out disproportionately for violations and abuses after 1998.

358. The Kamajors were intensely protective of their territories and their movement against perceived infiltration by Northerners. They held the prejudice that Northerners might be inclined to display allegiance to the leadership of the AFRC junta, largely because Johnny Paul Koroma was a Limba. The CDF High Command mirrored the suspicions of its Kamajor fighters on the ground. There was deep distrust based on regionalism and ethnicity at the heart of the CDF.

359. Chief Hinga Norman repeatedly rejected the petitions of the CDFs Northern Commander M.S. Dumbuya for logistics supplies. Hinga Norman maintained a blanket refusal to release arms and ammunitions to the North. Consequently, the CDF units in the North were unable to reinforce strategic towns like Makeni, Lunsar and Masiaka. These towns consequently fell to AFRC-led troops without stout resistance from the CDF. The atrocities committed during this onslaught are a stain on the conscience of the CDF.

360. The Commission finds that the invasion of Freetown could have been forestalled, if the Government had mobilised and equipped a strong Northern CDF. However, there was a resolute refusal to do this for fear that once it was equipped, a large section of the Northern CDF would desert and join the enemy. Unfounded suspicions based on regionalism and ethnic prejudice were thus put ahead of the security of the city of Freetown.

---------------------------------------

It is in the light of all the above sacred TRUTHS that George Khoryama, shamelessly asserts thus:


Why such political violence, police brutality and killings, political persecutions, hardship and divisions in the country today? For eleven years on end the Sierra Leone Peoples Party (SLPP) governed this country without a gunshot, without political violence, without a drop of blood and without the people going to bed hungry, half-sleep and half-awake out of fear.  Why should we be taken back to the days of the APC years under President Siaka Stevens and President Joseph Saidu Momoh when those things were commonplace?


For the majority of peace loving Sierra Leoneans, whilst we will prefer the current status quo of peaceful democratic co-existence, if we have to choose between APC years under Stevens and Momoh and the 1991-2002 NPRC/SLPP/RUF years under Strasser, Maada Bio, SLPP and RUF, let it be Stevens and Momoh!

 

Factually, Siaka Stevens Mafanta Prisons at the height of its infamy, never simultaneously held over 3,000 political prisoners in gross violations of every single human right known to mankind. Under the SLPP between 1996 and 2002, hundreds lost their lives in illegal detentions!!! Hundreds were brutally executed, cooked and eaten up for dinner!!!. School children got shot and killed by trigger-happy police officers including the Annie Walsh school daughter of a judicial Magistrate!!! Hundreds got neck-laced with tyres with petrol used to set them alight!! Dozens of brilliant journalists were killed or detained in subhuman conditions!!! It was the worst period of governance in this Nations History; worse than Strassers NPRC and worse than Maada Bios NPRC which latter commenced the process of cut-hand and cut-foot to stop the February 1996 elections. Therefore, George Khoryama can go to blazes with his shameful attempt to revise History. I will not descend to Khoryamas level wherein he exhibits use of language indicating his mother, sisters, wife(s) and daughters were/are most likely societal prostitutes.


However, I will go as far as telling him that his STUPID claims are insulting to the God-fearing inhabitants of Sierra Leone but let him rest assured that some of us are around to ensure him and his dangerous, tribalistic elements dont succeed to destroy Sierra Leone again. The Blyden blood running in my veins will NOT allow them to intimidate me with insults. Count on this. If anyone has any doubts, run some research into just who Edward Wilmot Blyden (I) was. Then will they get a better idea of what and who these God damned, lying, shameless, stupid tribalists are up against.         More anon!


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

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