August 11, 2016 By Mohamed Massaquoi
Over 10 women’s and civil society organisations have called on President Ernest Bai Koroma to sack the Minister of State East, Karamoh Kabbah, for what they referred to as “a blatant disrespect for women in that part of the country.”
The organisations include Civil Society Network, Women in Need of Development, Kono Women Organisation Network, Campaign for Just Mining, all from the eastern town of Kono.
In a petition letter signed by the organisations, the women stated that in early June, 2016 some political stakeholders from the district agreed to embark on illegal town mining, with protection given by state security personnel, thus barricading the main street in Koidu City.
They added that because of the illegal mining, a good number of indigenes from Kono decried the act and called on the government to immediately investigate.
The group further noted that on 2nd July, they wrote a letter to President Koroma urging him to intervene and halt the illegal mining, as many residents feared it would be disastrous if the town mining continue.
“As events unfold, it has become clearer that the town mining along Congo Bridge violates the laws of Sierra Leone. We want it to be known that the public utterance of the Resident Minister East, abusing the women of Kono, was extremely rude and unfortunate and we are calling on the president to sack him immediately. We also want government to know that the entire area flooded despite claims by the minister that the environment was safe and habitable,” the position paper stated.
The women’s groups recommended that legal action be taken against Kono stakeholders they claimed were part of the entire process, and that the mining licence of Pluto Mining Company be withdrawn with immediate effect and legal action taken against the company.
Meanwhile, in an interview with this medium, Minister Kabbah stated he had been given constitutional responsibility to serve as Resident Minister for the eastern region and that he was focused on his job.
He added that he was not concerned about comments made by individuals regarding his intervention in the diamond rich Kono. “I am not disturbed with those comments because I am strictly focused on my work here in Kenema,” he concluded.