JUST A FEW PIECES OF ADVICE FOR THE TRIPARTITE COMMITTEE.

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By: Ambrose Karmoh Sandy (NJ)

It shouldn’t have come as a surprise to any patriotic Sierra Leonean that deliberations on Resolution No.4 by the ongoing International Tripartite Elections Investigative Committee (ITEIC) are deliberately being stalled by the SLPP. Not at all!!

It has to be so because it is in their recommended Action Plans that answers to critical questions upon which the ultimate decision of  Dr. Julius Maada Bio will rest. That is to say for Bio to either voluntarily conceded to an early elections re-run date so as to allow him to enjoy the rest of his life (and his state looted wealth) in peace, or spend it in jail after he would have faced  justice before the International Criminal Court (ICC).

Ignore the infantile utterances of the Information and Civic Education Minister C Bah – still wallowing in his political diapers – that the June 24th 2023 are over and done with, and that that election’s re-run is not on the agenda of the ITEIC. As far as we in the APC are concerned the June 24th 2023 elections are not yet over and I am challenging him to patiently wait and see.

Now the fact that such concerns about SLPP’s insipid vacillations were highlighted by someone as meek and humble, but equally as stoical, shrewd and suave as our APC leader in that Committee Dr. Kelfalla Marrah clearly underscores the seriousness of their import.

Let me list here exactly what Resolution No. 4 demands:

1. Release of arrested and detained individuals

2. Discontinuation of politically motivated cases

3. Support for internally and externally displaced persons

4. Payment of backlogs of emoluments you elected officials (APC Members of Parliament and Local Council Members)

5. Establishment of a Committee of Moral Guarantors

From all five (5) above it is the first two that take my fancy. Not that the others are not as equally important, it is just that the first two underpin why the SLPP are stalling or trivializing the task on account of the far reaching consequences their resolutions will have on them.

Let me take you through both 1 & 2 above as under:

1. RELEASE OF ARRESTED AND DETAINED INDIVIDUALS

For starters the SLPP have neither records, nor can they account for hundreds of people they have arrested and detained from the North-West since April 2018, and a considerable number of whom they have long executed.  Since April 2018 they have been harassing, intimidating, arresting, detaining and even killing North-Westerners at will and with impunity, never expecting that a day of reckoning was this nigh.

That was their reason for belatedly including into their self-inflicted or stage-managed Nov. 26th Coup plot, the Prisons/Jail breaks agenda . The main objective for that was in the expectation that the jail breaks would create the kind of alibi they had hoped would absolve them from the obligation of accounting for the scores of APC detainees they have killed whilst in their custody, by simply explaining that they too were amongst the hundreds that had disappeared.  That was why the Chief Minister Dr. Kadiatu Moinina Sengeh had the audacity of eliciting APC support for their recapture before sittings of the Tripartite Committee would start.

What however the Chief Minister Kadiatu Sengeh was apparently oblivious of was the fact that their SLPP government is by law obligated for providing Maximum Security for every detainee in their custody – hence the correct designation of our Prisons as places of  “Maximum Security”. How persons under government custody can just disappear is a matter for the ICC, so it’s not worth belabouring the point here.

The Chief Minister’s request for APC assistance to recapture escaped prisoners could only have been in jest, because no matter for how  long it takes, the APC are going to continue to demand production of the last arrested APC detainee for several reasons as under:

–  There have been too many arrest and detentions of citizens from the North-West since April 2018 to date. They all need to be accounted for, insofar as notices of their deaths or disappearance have not been provided to their surviving relations before 26th Nov 2023

– Even in cases where extrajudicial killings occurred during riots in the North-West, the SLPP proceeded to bury the corpses of their victims also extra-judicially (that is to say without Corona or Autopsy Reports). In doing so they even compelled the victims’ family members to accompany them to the burial sites, but neither permitted them to view the mortal remains of their dear-departed, nor even hand over corpses of the victims to the said surviving family members for respectable burials.

That was really odd (and cruel in fact) especially as none of those corpses had been previously tried and convicted for any criminal offenses.

So to this day justifiable doubts still exists in the minds of most families about whether what was encased in those coffins (after for example,  the Pademba Road, Makeni and August 10th riots) were actually the mortal remains of their loved ones the government alleged had been slain.

And to repeat, such  doubts remain justifiable especially on account of depositions by a former Vice President of this country (Victor Bokari Foh) before the Truth and Reconciliations Commission that cannibalism is a popular cultural practice among their peoples in the South-East – more especially so against their perceived victims.

Such ritualistic practices they believe will subdue the Souls of their enemies/victims even unto the great beyond.

If autopsies were performed and Corona Reports issued, the ITEIC should be interested to investigate who signed them? They must insist on the verifications of all such autopsy and Corona Reports. And for satisfactory clarification of such suspicions, the ITEIC should even insist on the exhumation of all corpses extra-judicially buried after the Pademba Road,  Makeni and August 10th riots, not only for proper  identification and confirmation by their surviving relations, but also to confirm that none of their vital organs were removed before burial.

And I am corksure our International Moral Guarantors would also be interested in and insist on these forensic examinations and examinations, because if up to last Sunday the world was celebrating the 79th Anniversary of Holocaust Day, as a mark of profound respect for thousands of souls that disappeared or perished in various Concentration Camps under Adolf Hitler’s Nazi Germany, and also if the nation of Argentina are still commemorating special days annually for their “Disappeared Ones” (or Nuestros Disaperacidos), then they should certainly take a keen interests in the SLPP also accounting for each and every citizens arrested and that were killed or that disappeared under their custody between April 2018 and 26th November 2023.

This exhumation and examination processes will be further necessary because for quite sometime now suspicions of a thriving industry for the removal and sale of vital human parts within the Connaught Hospital Mortuary abound. And this suspicion would appear to be gaining traction given the almost sudden transformation of several hospital and mortuary staff from penury to opulence as we see through their public displays unexplained wealth in the last five years.

– From observations  and whether by human design or divine interventions, the number of mass burials undertaken by the Connaught Hospital Coroner for those purportedly referred to for paupers and destitutes would seem to always be on an unexplained rise after every riots and mass extra-judicial killings in the North-West. Very interestingly those mass burials have always seemed to have been carried out immediately following riots in the North-West.

So for crying out loud one very good reason the ITEIC should insist on the proper accountability of our disappeared ones is that in none of all the riots that have taken place since Dr. Julius Maada Bio assumed office in 2018, has proper official probes has been set up to commiserate with victims and or to bring the perpetrators to book.

The ITEIC may also wish to ascertain from the SLPP, their basis for the disparity in the matrices used to compensate between deceased forces personnel and civilians.   For example the family members of each deceased Uniformed Officer was paid Le100Mio as against a paltry Le20Mio apiece for each civilian corpse,  even when they all were alleged to have met their deaths in the same tragic circumstances. So why the disparity?

2. DISCONTINUATION OF POLITICALLY MOTIVATED CASED

It is on this aspect that the insincerity of the SLPP has been most pronounced. The very fact that the Appeal Courts could have proceeded with rulings against former APC Chairman and Leader President Koroma and the APC Flagbearer Dr. Samura Kamara, in a Judiciary full well knowing that those matters were clearly politically motivated are clear evidences of SLPP decitfullness and lack of commitment to the Buntimani accords. 

Do I hear someone whispering about separation of powers? Please give me  a break!!

If there were no politically instituted Commissions of Inquiries (COIs) would there have ever been such matters before the Appeals Courts? Certainly no!!

So if the SLPP were truly committed to building bridges of peace, reconciliation and national cohesion as opposed to their being overtly pernicious, malicious and mischievous as is now evident, why did common sense not prevail on the Attorney General to have guided and sought permission from, the Executive for him to enter the simple requisite “Nolle Prosequies”, instead of allowing the Appeals Courts to have gone so far as has exposed the entire Judicature to further suspicions, odium and contempt?

And those rulings by the Appeals Courts were nearly as spontaneous as they were simultaneous (as if orchestrated from State House) and coming at the heels of the former President Ernest Bai Koroma’s alleged involvement in a coup plot, and Dr. Samura Kamara’s protracted and inconclusive Sierra Rutile Ltd matter. This was so because the intention of the SLPP was not only to dehumanize the both of them, but also to send the APC Party into maximum disarray.

I shall close with a piece of advice to those of the ilk of the infantile Minister of Information and Civic Education by reminding them of the core objective of the ITEIC wich is:

“To evaluate the overall conduct of the June 24th elections,  including the adherence to our extant electoral laws and regulations,  the integrity of the electoral processes, and the fairness of the outcomes of the elections.  It is based on those assessment  that the International Tripartite Elections Investigative Committee (ITEIC) may recommend various actions including the re-run of the elections if significant irregularities or violations are identified”.

So let us all continue to patiently await the much anticipated recommendations of the ITEIC that are both  “actionable and implementable”. And as we do so, ruminate on a cogent message from Joseph Biden, the current and 46th President of the United States of America to all despots and their supporters with a proclivity for undermining and stealing democratic elections mandates in their respective countries that: “When terrorists do not pay the price for their terror, and when dictators don’t pay the price for their actions, then they are bound to continue to do worse”.

I wait patiently to see whether the world will allow someone as vicious and as unpopular as Dr. Julius Maada Bio to get away with our stolen governance mandate.

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