From Awareness Times Newspaper in Freetown

COMMENTS & OPINIONS
A Frustrated Former APC Member Speaks Up Against Violence and Lawlessness in Sierra Leone.
By
May 21, 2009, 17:04

SOUTHERN CALIFORNIA: DONALD GEORGESTONE-We in the diaspora and the law abiding citizens back home, are fed up with the spate of lawlessness and the number of violent crimes that are taking place in the country day after day. These acts of violence and lawlessness will never be tolerated in Ghana, Liberia, or the Gambia. I was appalled when I read about a Muslim man by the name of Sheik Lamin, who mobilized some Muslim youths, and directed them to burn down a church in Mambolo, Kambia District. I am not sure, if Sheik Lamin is a Muslim or not, because the Muslim religion is a peaceful religion. For years, Sierra Leone has been the envy of the Middle East, and some countries in Asia, where Muslims and Christians live as enemies. Sierra Leone has been the envy because we practice religious tolerance. Christians and MuslIms have respect for each other; Christians and Muslims live peaceably side by side; and there are lots of inter- religious marriages between Christians and Muslims. So we are blessed, and we should try to keep it that way.

The Author: Former APC Member now in Southern California,

I have always spoken against, and I will continue to speak against any Imam or Pastor, who preaches hatred to his or her congregation. For us to continue to enjoy religious tolerance in Sierra Leone, I urged all the Imams in the Kambia District, and and in other parts of the country, to condemn the behavior of Sheik Lamin and the Muslim youths, who burnt down the church. Let them know that their behavior does not represent Islam, because Islam stands for peace and brotherhood. I also urge members of the congregation to question the integrity of any Pastor or Imam, who preaches hatred or refers to other religion as inferior.

 

This type of behavior by Sheik Lamin can lead to instability in the region, then to a religious war through retaliation. It has to stop. I read an article in one of the news papers titled, "APC Councilor turns Leicester into a Jungle - Hired Thugs to reign terror on the village" The name of the Councilor is Margaret Kargbo. She is representing the people of Leicester and yet she hired thugs to reign terror on the village. She is a disgrace, and I think she should be kicked out of the party.

When I was an active member of the APC party, during the days of S. I. Koroma and Nancy Steele in central one, violence in the party was minimal, and all efforts were being made to put an end to it, because violence has never been the answer to our problems, and it will never be. An incident like this, would have been taken up by the central committee, and ten chances to one, the party symbol would have been withdrawn from Margaret Kargbo and given to somebody else in the next Local elections. In fact, Siaka Stevens would have been the first person to propose that the symbol be taken away from her.

It appears as if Margaret Kargbo has no regard for the constitution, which is the highest law of the land, or she felt she is above the Law and untouchable. Well Margaret, you need to be informed that the Sierra Leone constitution calls for the recognition and protection of the fundamental Human rights and freedom of the individuals. Every Sierra Leonean regardless of race, tribe, place of origin, political opinion, color, creed or sex has the right of life, liberty, security of person, the enjoyment of property, and the respect for private and family life are fundamental rights.

What you have done, is that you have violated the fundamental human rights and freedom of these people by hiring thugs to reign terror on these people. Their homes were pelted with rocks and bottles, that some people got injured and others had to run for cover. The thugs then had the nerve to tell the people, that they will be back to set their houses on fire. This is unbelievable. What is wrong with Sierra Leone? It seems as if we have lost our sense of pride and human dignity. May be, we should negotiate with Britain and go back under colonial rule. As for council woman Margaret Kargbo, she is a nuisance in the Leicester community. She should be prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law.

About two weeks ago, the President in his speech, said that he was going to start getting hard on those people who are engage in violent crimes and lawlessness regardless of political affiliation. Well, Mr. President, Margaret Kargbo should be a good individual to start with. Sierra Leoneans in general, need to be treated with iron hands.

To the people of Gloucester, Leicester, Regent, Charlotte and Bathurst, I advise you to form one organization, so you can speak with one voice . When you are united, you have more chances of being victorious, in what ever you are trying to achieve, but when you are divided, you have more chances of being defeated.

You might have your differences, but it is time to put those differences aside, and look for that common ground for the sake of your children, grand children and those yet unborn.

For the past couple of years , the APC seems to have been plagued with extreme lawlessness, violence, and thuggery. This is 2009, and the party needs to be reformed. For the simple fact, that Ernest Koroma is a popular President, there should be no room for any of the three negatives on the partyís platform. If APC continues to encourage any of the three negatives (lawlessness, violence, and thuggery) then SLPP or PMDC would make that an issue in the next general elections, and I can assure you that it will definitely stick with voters, because people are fed up with all the negatives.

Since Ernest Koroma came to power, there has not been much improvement in the lives of most people, yet he is a popular President. The question is, "How come?" The answer is that, people are aware that Koroma took over an economy that was in shambles, such as, very high unemployment, no electricity, unworkable infrastructure, extreme poverty, inferior schools, poor medical facilities, no drinking water, poor sanitation, an unworkable civil service etc . And the people realize that it will take time to turn things around, because there is no magic wand when it comes to government bureaucracy. By the same token, Koromaís popularity should not be taken for granted. The secretary general of the APC has some work to do. First of all, the party has to be moved to the center, so Koroma can govern from the center. The party should continue to be all inclusive. The party should be made a " party of non ó violence ". It should be a party of accountability and transparency. The party should function within the framework of the constitution, and put into motion a mechanism, where equality, justice and fairness are available to all. Lastly, I wish to emphasize that I am not affiliated with any political party, I am only looking out for the disadvantaged, the underprivileged, the destitute and those who could not speak out for themselves.



© Copyright 2005, Freetown, Sierra Leone.