I want to react to utterances of the president of my association, the Sierra Leone Association of Journalists (SLAJ), Kelvin Lewis, that the question of an apology or retraction of the alleged seditious publication of Independent Observer is no longer tangible. Kelvin Lewis was quoted in Julius Spencer’s PREMIER NEWS paper as saying, “People have been asking us to apologize but how can we do that when in fact the incarcerated journalists have been in detention for 12 days now and the adjournment on Monday will make them 18 days. If you punish someone like that, do you expect an apology?” adding that journalists should continue a news blackout on government.
|EBK: has to be tough on this for sake of APC
My views are that if these journalists are convicted, they will spend up to three (3) years in jail so a few weeks already in jail is not “punishment”. The State believes the case is strong and the accused might run away without giving the State a chance to clear the President’s name of the serious allegations made.Hence the State wants the journalists to be kept on remand to prevent them from running away. It can be recalled that just this month, a media practitioner charged in a neighbouring country escaped that country alongside even the sureties!
Furthermore, the said newspaper editor was recently in front of the courts for similar offence of libel. During the case, he published vile allegations against the entire judiciary. He was arraigned to justify those allegations for which he had profusely apologised to the courts and promised to make a published apology in the presence of the said Kelvin Lewis. That was on Tuesday 30th July 2013. To date, no apology to the Judiciary has been published despite the fervent assurance of his then-lawyer, R.A.D. Jones as witnessed by Kelvin Lewis, that the apology would be done.
Now, this current matter is not just about the “rat” issue. Independent Observer has published a reference to the deceased parents of President Koroma as an “impoverished” couple from a “broken down family” who bore a “deprived” and “destitute child” now “behaving like a rat” and accompanying all the above, with a front page call for the President to thus be ‘treated like a rat’.
There have been many calls from various sectors for President Koroma to forgive and pardon the two journalists for the attacks on his ancestral pedigree. I do not think a simple apology and pardon will suffice and I am strongly urging the President, in the interest of his APC party’s unity and in his own interest, to harden his heart on this matter and see it through to completion especially as Kelvin Lewis has now made it clear there will be no apology.
I insist on this because there are other serious allegations raised in the article other than the pedigree of the President’s family. These allegations, if not disproven and if left unchallenged, have a tendency to rock the ruling APC a few years down the road because when they will rear their heads again at that time, it will be too crucial for the APC. The time to debunk them once and for all, is NOW!
The matter is now before the courts and I will not comment my views about the allegations but to help the country better understand what else are in front of the courts, aside from the “rat” and pedigree matter, I am reproducing some of what is now in front of the courts as 26 counts of criminal charges contrary to LAW. Only a public hearing will prove or disprove these claims the journalists published:
COUNT 12 actually summarises many of the points below as it deals with the insinuation that President Koroma is using “evil tactics” in orchestrating plans to “nail” Vice-President Sam-Sumana who “never loses any sleep” over this as “every plan and every move” of President Koroma is being conveyed back to the Vice-President.Â
As far as I am concerned, Count 12 and the other 25 Counts as listed below are serious and if left unchallenged and un-examined in a competent court during public hearings that all citizens can attend, then the good name of Ernest Bai Koroma (EBK) will count for nothing. Even if the errant journalists were to apologise, they can still turn back in a few years time (say, by late 2016) to insist that they only apologised under duress and their claims against the APC Leader were true. All APC members should rally around the President on this matter. It is very crucial! If any APC member thinks otherwise about the need to exhaustively prove the allegations are LIES, then that APC member might be on an Agenda. This is POLITICS!Never say never. Only God knows whom are behind the lies published. So let this matter go on. It is the only way out for the President and the APC. If the matter is openly examined in court and proven to be untrue, then no one can ever make such allegations again.
President Koroma is a good man with a kind heart but this time, he should harden his heart and ensure his good name is cleared. His good name can only be cleared if the High Court conducts a public hearing into the following allegations published by Independent Observer to prove or disprove them:
COUNTS 1, 5, 14, 18-26
“On the question of who is molesting who; the President molested himself. As the political father of the nation is regarded as an elephant but he behave like a rat and should be treated like one”.
COUNTS 10, 18-26
“It was Sam Sumana who used a big chunk of his personal wealth to sponsor President Koroma’s candidacy for both APC and country”.
COUNTS 10, 18-26
“President Koroma promised to pay Sam in kind if things go well for him. Now things are fine with him but he is sucked into conspiracy to throw Sam over the cliff for no justified reason”.
COUNTS 18, 18-26
“Chief Sumana being discreet and charismatic; he pretends not to know what the President was planning for him. In actual sense he was notified by the very people the President speaks to about setting Chief Sumana up, molest and humiliate him so the public would despise him when it comes to the administration of the country”.
COUNTS 3, 7, 18-26
“Even the Timber gate and the Aljazeera crisis according to information was a plot hatched by President Koroma to paint Chief Sumana. But the fact remains you cannot keep a good man down; especially someone who made you who you are”.
COUNTS 2, 6, 13, 15, 18-26
“People say politics is a dirty game; but who makes it dirty? Is it President Koroma’s evil machinations against the Vice President or the people he conspired with to undermine the good work of the Vice President?”
COUNTS 4, 8, 9, 16, 17, 18-26
“No man is above the rules of the game be it politics, football march or whatever game it is the rules are there to ensure sanity and prevent manipulation; but President Koroma abused our constitution and is become a dictator. What President Koroma did was bite the hand that feeds him and that does not go down well with intelligent Sierra Leoneans”.
COUNTS 9, 18-26
“He owes the MPs he conspired with to expedite his insidious plans caught to blackmail the Vice President an apology. He should also apologise to the Vice President for orchestrating a plot to unsettle the country”.
COUNTS 11, 13, 18-26
“President Koroma brought shame upon himself for attempting to deny the country of an Honourable personality that could provide the country the leadership required to move the nation forward”.
Only a High Court public hearing can disprove all the above . This is my view and I hope President Koroma will find time to read it.
Â© Copyright by Awareness Times
Newspaper in Freetown, Sierra Leone.