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IMC Commissioner caught on camera in pro-government rally in New York

October 1, 2015 By Mohamed Massaquoi

Information reaching this medium from the United States of America revealed that one of the Independent Media Commission (IMC) commissioners was caught on camera among pro-government demonstrators in New York on Tuesday.

Alhaji Dauda Musa Bangura, who is also publisher of the Owl newspaper, was caught on camera as pro-government protesters came face to face with a counter-protest organised by Sierra Leoneans across the United States of America who are concerned about developments back home.

Sierra Leoneans have demonstrated several times in the United States against President Ernest Bai Koroma for what they refer to as his “bad administration and unconstitutional sacking of Vice President Samuel Sam-Sumana”.

Although the Supreme Court had since ruled in favour of the president, the group calling itself ‘Concerned Sierra Leoneans’ says they disagree with the decision.

However, the government has also sponsored counter-demonstration as efforts are intensified to bolster the image and reputation of the president and his administration. It was in that demonstration that the IMC commissioner was seen with a megaphone in hand, in blatant disregard for his position.

“We least expected to see a commissioner of the IMC dancing in support of the government. We expect IMC officers to be neutral because that institution is the only media regulatory body in Sierra Leone and we expect credible and neutral people to be in the Commission to work in the interest of the people of Sierra Leone,” Hassan Kamara, a Sierra Leonean in New York, said in an interview. “It is unfortunate that every aspect of the Sierra Leonean society has been politicised, this is absolutely saddening.”

Also, Usman Sandy, a Freetown resident, claimed that Commissioner Bangura had been seen on several occasions actively participating in ruling party activities.

“I am not surprised to have seen Bangura dancing for President Koroma. In fact he coordinated the press conference organised by the ruling All People’s Congress to remove VP Sam-Sumana,” said Sandy.

He added: “Bangura is even a member of the APC Youth Wing; all of these are not good for our democracy, that is more the reason we have been seeing IMC imposing huge amount as fines on journalists.”

Meanwhile, editor of Salone Times newspaper, Thomas Dixon, posted on social media that the appointment of Commissioner Bangura was a strategy by the government to have APC representatives in the IMC.

“This is how Koroma is killing governance institutions by appointing his party poodles to be part of them. Commissioner Dauda Bangura is an IMC commissioner and he is seen protesting in favour of Koroma instead of being independent,” said Dixon.

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