From Awareness Times Newspaper in Freetown

NOTICES & DOCUMENTS
OPEN LETTER TO SLAJ SECRETARY GENERAL FROM MADAM HARIATU TURAY, DEPUTY WOMENíS LEADER OF THE SLPP
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Mar 3, 2010, 17:14

OPEN LETTER TO SLAJ SECRETARY GENERAL FROM MADAM HARIATU TURAY, DEPUTY WOMENíS LEADER OF THE SLPP

March 2nd 2010

Dear Mr. Mustapha Sesay,

I write to state my position with reference to your Press Release of yesterday March 1st 2010 in which I am mentioned inter alia: ["...in the full glare of some top SLPP executive members who did nothing to rescue the situation". They included the partyís Deputy Womenís Leader, Harriatu Turay].

I must first make it very clear that I am in complete disagreement with the manner in which some journalists were treated by overzealous party supporters of our party and I made this position very clear during the incident. Journalists are a cherished part of any society and they must at all times be treated with the utmost possible respect.

This is why I am so dismayed to see how I am referenced in the SLAJ Press Release.

Not only did I vociferously intervene when I realised that journalists were being manhandled by overzealous supporters, but I physically, alongside the Western Area Chairman Lansana Fadika, worked to ensure that journalists were not hurt. In the process, my T-shirt even got torn as I tried to protect one journalist I am later to know is called Ishmael Bayoh. I have witnesses to this including Chairman Lansana Fadika and other local journalists. I have nothing against journalists. I cherish journalists.

You can also ask Bampia Bundu of Awareness Times whom will testify in my favour that he was the one who even informed me that the scuffle was not between SLPP and SLPP members but involved our cherished journalists. Initially, I had felt the scuffle was between various groupings within the SLPP as we had tense moments during the controversial constitutional debate. As soon as Bampia Bundu informed me that the scuffle involved journalists being manhandled by SLPP partisans, I got fully involved in denouncing such unworthy behaviour that could only bring our party into disrepute.

In light of the above, I am therefore kindly asking that you review the complaint forwarded to you and make the necessary amendments to restore my reputation back. I can not be a party to any form of thuggery. I have never been and I will never endorse thuggery and violence; neither by silent acquiescence nor by active participation in such violence.

This is why I have already made it very clear to our party members that we MUST denounce as a party and as individuals, all what happened to journalists on that day. Whilst I await the official response from the SLPP Executive body, I hereby once again apologise on my own personal behalf as a senior SLPP member for all the molestation that the journalists faced even as I continue to protest the way I have been portrayed in the SLAJ Press Release.

I have made this an Open Letter so as to help limit the damage that has already been caused to my name by your Press Release.

Whilst I await a review of these complaints by your able body, please be assured of my highest possible sentiments for you as a person and for SLAJ as a very important entity in this country.

Yours sincerely

Harriatu Turay

Deputy Womenís Leader, SLPP.



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