From Awareness Times Newspaper in Freetown

Afsatu Kabba
Haja Afsatu Kabba is Innocent until Proven Guilty
By Sylvia Olayinka Blyden
May 27, 2010, 17:14

Some people want to give the impression that Haja Afsatu Kabba’s supporters (and this writer is unashamedly one of them) are thugs and violent people who pose life threats to lawful citizens of this Republic. However, is there any empirical evidence to support this allegation? No, there is none! None!

My team has already effectively debunked the published LIE that former ACC Boss Tejan-Cole’s residence was attacked or threatened by Afsatu’s supporters. It was one of the most wicked published lies that I have come across – and I have come across quite a lot of published lies! The fact is that even the main Prosecutor of Haja Afsatu Kabba, Mr. Calvin T. Mantsebo Esq. has strongly stated, on record, to journalists that he has never felt intimidated or threatened at any point by Haja Afsatu Kabba or her supporters.

Well, that is the Chief Prosecutor speaking to us all! What further evidence do we need to show that Haja Afsatu Kabba is a peaceful citizen with law-abiding supporters like myself?

Afsatu Kabba’s detractors allege that her supporters threatened a senior journalist with death but even the said journalist cannot tell or identify who are the people who threatened him let alone link them to the person of Haja Afsatu Kabba. And it is a fact that as soon as she heard the report, she quickly distanced herself from such acts that very same day even whilst she had all reasons to be unhappy with that particular journalist!

Afsatu Kabba’s supporters went to the Anti Corruption Commission (ACC) when they learnt that she was invited there for questioning on April 16th 2010. She was invited via a written letter of invitation from the now-resigned ACC Commissioner Tejan-Cole. However, her supporters assembled there peacefully and made no protests let alone violently attacked or threatened anyone’s life. The ACC called the Police who found nothing untoward there! No-one was threatened and no-one was attacked!

Those who hate this pace-setting Sierra Leonean woman Afsatu Olayinka Kabba out of envy or for no just cause, complain that her supporters attend the Law Courts in large numbers but are these attendances a crime? Many people, like myself, love Haja Afsatu Kabba and not just in Freetown but all over this country. We have done surveys which show that from the sea shores of southern Bonthe Island to the leafy green hills of northern Koinadugu, Haja Afsatu Kabba enjoys tremendous support. From the far eastern Kailahun farms to the western Freetown peninsular, Haja Afsatu Kabba is adored by many. FACT! I know what I am talking about.

It is also true that her supporters in their large numbers have never engaged in riotous violent destructions even when they were illegally blocked from entering the Law Courts let alone have they ever engaged in life-threatening acts and the last time I checked, freedom of association and freedom of movement are still sacrosanct constitutional rights in this Republic. Not so?

So, please let us uphold all the constitutional rights of Haja Afsatu Kabba and this includes the right to have her hard-won Reputation kept intact unless she is found guilty by a Court of Law.

With all due respect to my brother John Momoh of New Vision Newspaper, it appears he is quite comfortable when a certain Newspaper serially publishes front page articles lambasting Haja Afsatu Kabba as a "corrupt" woman and going to the extent of calling her a "shameless" woman right on their front pages even with no facts to substantiate those slurs! But according to Brother John Momoh’s thinking, when Awareness Times gives factual coverage of how Haja Afsatu Kabba’s Muslim compatriots awarded her for being a Muslim Woman of Excellence who strived to develop the dissemination of Muslim ideals through the Voice of Islam Radio, it is unacceptable because he wants Haja Afsatu Kabba to be insulted with no respite! What an agenda!

As I have said many times over and over again, Haja Afsatu Kabba is innocent until proven guilty regardless of how her detractors want her to be guilty until proven innocent! I repeat for the hard of ‘hearing’: HAJA AFSATU KABBA IS INNOCENT UNTIL PROVEN GUILTY! One more time:- HAJA AFSATU KABBA IS INNOCENT UNTIL PROVEN GUILTY!

Haja Afsatu Kabba, rest assured that until some of us see EVIDENCE to support the claims that you are a corrupt woman, we are standing SOLIDLY with you. Rest assured sister that some of us are UNSHAKABLY solidly in solidarity with you until we see evidence to dissuade us from supporting you. This country has a paucity of Female Role Models and some of us are not going to seat by as a Female Role Model is ravished in the media unless she is proven guilty by a Court of Law examining the evidence against her. Our girl children need positive role models. We cannot pull everyone down in this place in our media houses!

Before I end this piece, let me wish Abdul Tejan-Cole former Boss of the ACC and Madam Glenna Thompson, former Head of Investigations, Prosecutions & Intelligence at the ACC, all the best in their respective future endeavours in private life. Glenna Thompson resigned from the ACC two days ago after giving a confident interview to Satellite Newspaper last week that no resignation was forthcoming from her prosecutors. I have no more comments to make on their resignations as it is their right to resign but I do have something to say about their conduct at the Anti Corruption Commission.

Their conduct, especially during the investigation of Haja Afsatu Kabba when, amongst other such abuses, they unduly molested her husband and kids and their subsequent actions like the worrying attempt to forcefully and most illegally serve her an indictment on a legal non-day (Sunday 18th April 2010) was appalling. They [the ACC] even swore to an Affidavit that they attempted to serve on a non-day! I will not say anything about the ACC’s application to ‘leave charges on file’ when the accused was ready for her trial to proceed! I will not say anything about the ACC’s application for Trial-by-Judge-Alone nor will I comment on the ACC’s ex-parte application for virtually all their witnesses to testify hidden away from the public and for witness testimonies to be expunged from searchable public records!

Now, I have read all the sponsored articles especially the one referencing me as cuddling up to protect corrupt people in Sierra Leone. I will respect the right of the authors to express their opinions about me - rightly or wrongly - but they should not distort facts about me. So my readers will forgive me as I use this article to generously say a few factual points about myself and express my own opinions.

Firstly, going by how Abdul Tejan-Cole and Glenna Thompson both grossly abused their authorities at the Anti Corruption Commission with arrogance and laisse-faire regard for the rights of their compatriots, I truly, truly hope that we never as a Nation put any of these two persons in positions of public trust now or in the future. What makes both of their actions to be so abhorrent to me is the fact that they both were protégés of Gloria Newman-Smart at her Cardinal Law Firm in London.

Who is Gloria Newman-Smart? Gloria Newman-Smart was one of the first victim of undue harassment by the ACC. It is widely believed that one of the reasons why I was given a National Honour for my work in Journalism by former President Tejan Kabbah is because of how I courageously used my journalism skills to fight for Gloria Newman-Smart and even after she was killed by ACC’s antics, I worked to expose the persons who abused their authorities that led to her death. This, to those who ask, is one of the selfless ways in which I have proudly served my Nation and continue to do so. This, to those who need to know, is one of the reasons why I became the youngest Sierra Leonean to ever be awarded the National Honour of Officer of the Order of the Rokel on April 27th 2007! Of course, my other positive contributions to this Nation such as my setting up of 24 Hours non-profit Internet Cafes for students to study in the night, also resulted in that my Citation for National Honour to read about my contributions to Internet Information Technology in this country!

Those who admire me, do so for a reason. I am an admirable lady in this country – from east to west; from north to south and beyond our shores, people tell me all the time, every single day, about just what a great person they perceive me to be. No debate on that! So, when a few persons with axe to grind because my work stepped on their interests write to attack me, it fazes me not. I have too much confidence and pride in myself to be bothered or distracted! I have a focus & a vision so take note!

But I digress… What I now want to say is that seeing how Gloria Newman-Smart’s rights were abused by Andrew Felton and Val Collier of the then ACC of five years ago, one would have thought Abdul Tejan-Cole and Glenna Thompson, her protégés would be poster-kids for respecting the rights of corruption suspects! But just look at what they did! Just look at the legacy of abuse they are leaving behind them at the ACC!

Abdul Tejan-Cole and Glenna Thompson have exhibited an extremely frightening penchant for abusing their powers and we should learn from the experience of what they did at the ACC when considering them for any office in the future! I however wish them both well in their respective private pursuits but if they come near any public office in Sierra Leone ever again, some of us will raise a lot of dust against them! I promise!

May God Bless Sierra Leone!

© Copyright 2005, Freetown, Sierra Leone.