''All that is necessary for the triumph of evil is that good men do nothing'' - Edmund Burke


S I E R R A  H E R A L D

Vol XI No 7

The tendency sometimes to protect perpetrators for the sake of peace...doesn't help society. Impunity should not be allowed to stand. - Kofi Annan on Waki report

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Monday March 23, 2015 - The lessons of our troubles deliberately ignored as the APC again embarks on a course that led to the first armed rebellion to free the people from the shackles of APC repression and slavery. The inner unrepentant and undemocratic core of the party still at work plotting another "APC rule forever" fiefdom.

Twenty four years ago on March 23rd 1991 the first modern armed incursion into Sierra Leone territory began with the first shots heard in Bomaru, eastern Sierra Leone. It was the start of the first armed rebellion against a despotic, repressive and human rights-abusing system that killed off any and all forms of opposition and dissent.

It was the first armed opposition from outside against a system that had subverted the will of the people and created hell on earth for all who were believed to be in opposition to the stranglehold of the peoples' desire for freedom and expression.

Thus was the RUF rebel war initiated that was finally brought to an end in 2002 with then President Ahmad Tejan Kabbah officially declaring that the war was over.

Over a hundred and fifty thousand Sierra Leoneans - men, women and children -the young, the aged, the infirm, the ill and healthy were engulfed in the bloody maws of a ravenous war machine that had no principles of warfare. It's dedication was to the god of destruction, slavery, rape, arson, mutilation and murder in the most horrendous manner.

It was a war that displaced millions within the country, traumatised even more people and left many a family still grieving loved ones many of whose fate and graves remain unknown, unmarked. Survivors, though doing their best to carry on with life cannot wipe from memory the mindless cruelty that was visited upon them by beasts of terror in the form of human beings who laid waste vast swathes of territory and made life a hell on earth for the many innocent, mainly civilians caught up in a war that made the pillaging and murderous hordes of Ghenghis Khan saints on a comparative scale.

Thirteen years after the war was declared over, a handful of unrepentant, wicked and power-hungry beasts, the anti-people scum of the APC party are at it again as they try to subvert the democratic principles enshrined in the 1991 Constitution to suit their notion of democracy as found in the pages of the 1978 APC One Party constitution of Sierra Leone. This document provided the excuse for the breakdown of decency in life and living desired by the people. It was during this period that all perceived opponents of the single ruling party at the time, the APC were ruthlessly pursued underground and for those unfortunate to be within the borders of Sierra Leone were judicially incarcerated and hanged by a justice system that was dedicated to the orders, whims and caprices of Siaka Stevens and his band of nation wreckers.

It was not uncommon those days to hear of "alleged coup plots" uncovered by so-called security forces that had become Sierra Leone's version of Haiti's Tonton Macoutes of the Duvalier era.

It was the APC that created a system where the concept of "careless talk" was pursued with unalloyed vigour and gave security forces unbridled power to suppress and repress free speech.

Bars, social activities and public gatherings were areas infiltrated by his informants who had to earn their keep by informing on people with quite a large volume of reports manufactured against people considered pro-democrats and who yearned for free speech and expression.

Names like Baba Yara and others were well known and at the Paramount Hotel an institution opened in 1961 to commemorate the country's independence drivers of taxis in ranks around the hotel regularly informed on visitors to the country - directly to Siaka Stevens himself. There was one notorious informant called "See Me No More" who fed fat on such illegal activities and were rewarded by their masters at State House. These informants were duly rewarded for their services in upholding the repressive state that had been created.

The Ministry of Information was forced to create a special vote from the Consolidated Fund to cater for a group of APC informants and they were collectively known as Information Agents and names were supplied by the APC Secretariat as a way of keeping the machinery oiled. These were the people who would be willing to swear on oath anything they were instructed to say roping in innocent Sierra Leoneans in treason and other trials that had become a feature of the Stevens era. The outcome of trials were well known even before courts concluded sittings with judges making it a duty to report to Siaka Stevens every evening on the state of trials. This compromised a warped judicial system that roped in all those considered a threat to the APC.

The scenario played out like this. All key figures were hauled before compromised courts on treason and other serious charges. Those arrested but against whom they could not establish any charge were held at the Pademba Road prison without any charge preferred against them.

In court, nearly all those charged would be found guilty and sentenced to death by hanging. Then comes the next phase.

An announcement would be made on the SLBS saying that the Prerogative of Mercy had recommended those to be spared while confirming those that had to face the gallows. It was this selective culling that saw the likes of Paramount Chief Bai Makari N'Silk and one Mr George Thompson of the East III constituency, among others, hanged. His crime was that he dared to challenge the APC candidate for that area one F B Turay.

The Paramount Chief was taken to the gallows because, according to one Siaka Stevens confidante, he has not shown "respect" to Stevens and for that - he had to die.

It is on record that it was the APC that undertook the first post-colonial execution in 1971 when Brigadier John Bangura was hanged. Others who faced the gallows included Major F M Jawara and one RSM Kolugbonda. This was the beginning of violence against all those believed to have been critical of the APC.

One commentator says that this judicial murder of Brigadier John Bangura opened the floodgates for more executions during the Stevens era. On July 19th 1975, a one-time fiery activist of the party one Mohamed Sorie Forna was among another group of Sierra Leoneans who faced the gallows at Pademba Road in Freetown. This was the group in which was Paramount Chief Bai Makarie N'Silk.

Not to be outdone, a usually mild-mannered and somewhat laid-back successor to Siaka Stevens, Joseph Saidu Momoh was subjected to immense pressure from the Stevens era macoutes within the APC and on March 23rd 1987 one top police officer Gabriel Mohammed Tennyson Kaikai and others were arraigned before the High Court on charges of treason as they were alleged to have plotted to overthrow the Momoh regime.

However their prize victim was Momoh's own Vice President - one Francis Mischek Minah who had gained prominence within the ranks of the APC - something not welcomed by party diehards who had always viewed him as an outsider enjoying the benefits on offer by the APC.

In 1989 Francis Mischek Minah and eleven others were hanged even though he protested his innocence to the end.

Attacks by organised gangs against political opponents were common with the government providing the necessary logistics and protection for members who were plied with drugs and alcohol and given free rein.

Indeed it is no secret that when it came to nominations day for candidates, Sierra Leone became a war zone. Truckload after truckload of APC thugs were transported from one part of the country to another - anywhere needed by the APC to suppress anyone who dared nominate a candidate. The Mile 47 area later tagged Masiaka was the zone that was a no-go area for non-APC supporters as vehicular traffic was halted. This germ of violence and lawlessness surfaced again in 2007 when even though the results showed that the APC had won, supporters still went on the rampage to attack losing SLPP and other political opponents.

In 2009, the headquarters of the main opposition SLPP was attacked, vehicles set on fire and those supporters trapped in the building were subjected to massive violence with a number of the women trapped in the building reportedly raped and subjected to violence that targeted their womanhood.

When the dust settled and the SLPP complained loudly, the police charged the victims, 22 of them to court!!!

The case was later withdrawn as many including members of the international community were keen to see how what was to be a kangaroo court trial would proceed. Under pressure the rat commissioned an investigation headed by Justice Shears-Moses. The government later issued what it called a White Paper that failed to publish the findings of the commission. It was highly unusual as White Papers are always published together with the original report/s.

Did we read somewhere that the APC stated that it was not a party of violence?

Ask the opposition SLPP party on the 2009 attack on their party headquarters and for those who were around - ask the people of Ginger Hall in Freetown the hell they were subjected to when one Alfred Akibo-Betts and his gang of APC thugs attacked and burnt down the residence of one Mammy Nancy, the SLPP top supporter in the Western Area.

APC - a party that abhors violence? - Well ask the youths of Wellington, the women of Bumbuna and SLPP supporters in Bo when they were attacked by the security forces and elements of the APC in a bid to stop the SLPP flagbearer from his "Thank You" tour that had been cleared by the police.

The APC not a party of violence? - ask members of the same party who fell foul of the powers within the party so that you may know the circumstances that led to a top Bank of Sierra Leone official, one BK - brother of the present Justice Minister Frank Kargbo meeting his maker as he sped in a Niva van to a gbose gbose confrontation between party members.


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The right choice is Kevin McPhilips Travel

©Sierra Herald 2002