By Alpha Bedoh Kamara
The actions by the Government of Sierra Leone regarding the arrest and detention of the Leader of the Alliance Democratic Party (ADP), Mohamed Kamarainba Mansaray, are intended by the government to silence its critics.
Mohamed Kamarainba Mansaray is presently incarcerated at a prison in the Eastern Provincial headquarters city of Kenema awaiting trial as the ‘string-pullers’ in the ruling All Peoples Congress party (APC) are so desperate to silence him for good.
Mansaray was recently arrested and detained for alleged unlawful possession of Small Arms without a license, claims which the prosecution, headed by State Counsel, Umu Sumaray, offered no evidence on the matter.
The presiding magistrate, George Bobor Samai, had to dismiss the first charges against the ADP leader.
On Wednesday 21 June 2017, Mansaray again was dragged in the same court before Magistrate George Bobor Samai, in Segbwema, on new charges after the State filed fresh charges against Mansaray, and Mohamed Bangura, a member of the ADP party.
The circumstances surrounding Mansaray’s incarceration and actions by the All Peoples Congress party (APC) over the years against Sierra Leoneans regarded as critics by the rank and file of the party are justifications of the government’s undemocratic approach and intolerance towards political opponents.
Expulsion of party members
The unconstitutional expulsion of some senior members of the All Peoples Party, including Dr. Nabie and M L Bangura, is one pointer of the nefarious activities of a cabal of individuals who believe the future of the country, under the APC, can only be carried out with their approval.
And unfortunately for the country, and fortunately for this cabal of people, they triumphed by violating the Constitution of Sierra Leone by doing the contrary, despite the ‘Supreme Court declaration in 2004 that the 2002 Constitution was illegal and all decisions taken under it were null and ordered that the party must go back to the December 3, 1995 Constitution; its structures, offices and that officers must be reinstated.”
The national delegates declared ‘illegal’ by the Court, courtesy of the ‘Ruling’ went on to choose the flagbearer and national executive of the party; to what the then APC Secretary General and Parliamentary Leader, and former Presidential Candidate, Edward M. Turay, called a “Coronation “.
The trend continues with the total annihilation of those formidable members of the APC party with differing views who had no choice but to stay silent. And while Sierra Leoneans are at loss for words to what nature of politicking is building up, the party’s national hierarchy is targeting opponents deemed problematic to the success of the party’s 2018 presidential elections.
Mohamed Kamarainba Mansaray has continuously talked about issues of economic concern and persistently challenging the authorities to be accountable and transparent, most often, facing a stiff challenge from supporters of the APC.
He might be wrong at times, but considering the secretive nature of governance and use of public funds, amidst corruption, growing poverty, poor education and healthcare, Mohamed Kamarainba Mansaray speaks the views of the millions of Sierra Leoneans.
And now that the ‘string-pullers’ in the party think they’ve had enough of him and looking at a way to silence him like they’ve done to others in the APC, caged him with a charge of ‘illegal possession of Small Arms’.
Much could not be said in a country where poverty has made people vulnerable so much that they will worship whoever comes their way as long as he/she has money. And the politicians know the cards and are playing them right.
They knew the allegation will ring a bell in Sierra Leone. They knew that mentioning of ‘illegal possession of Small Arms’ will spark fear in the minds of the people, considering the country’s history, the thousands of innocent people maimed, raped and killed. But what they failed to realise is that gone are the days when people will just buy the propaganda.
Filing court charges against a political opponent and concocting a legal loophole of “unlawful possession of Small Arms without a license” in a Sierra Leone that is so gullible with increasing rate of illiteracy and poverty seems to be the perfect approach by the government to finally bury a critic.
It’s also worthy to note that porous borders and weak security systems in the country make the country and people vulnerable to any form of attack and every Sierra Leonean in Sierra Leone, and people like Mohamed Kamarainba Mansaray who continue to engage the authorities, need security for protection
There are cases of people targeted and killed by unidentified gunmen and questions are yet to be answered. In 2016, Sierra Leone’s former defence chief of staff lieutenant general Samuel Omar Williams was shot dead by unknown gunmen at his home in Freetown in the early hours.
in 2007, during a joint campaign by the present president and leader of the All People’s Congress (APC) Ernest Bai Koroma and the leader of the People’s Movement for Democratic Change (PMDC) Charles Francis Margai, their entourage was attacked and live bullets were fired on the convoy.
In 2011, the Sierra Leone Peoples Party (SLPP) flagbearer, Rtd. General Brig. Julius Maada Bio was injured as violence broke out in the southern town of Bo.
These leaders were having armed guards who were ex-combatants and had it not been for their intervention, more damage would have been done. Perhaps history would have changed. Unfortunately, while Mansaray was touring in this politically volatile environment and receiving favourable acceptance by the people, where men with armed guards could hardly contend, the authorities feel threatened and jumped in with concocted charges.
The government should realise that the world is changing and no longer should few people in society think they have a right to take decisions and rule as they please over the majority in society. It is an irony for a court that sees no justification to detain a Sierra Leonean for a case the prosecution was unable to prove ‘beyond all reasonable doubt’ to again be made (force) to hear the same case, and by all means necessary, find the defendant GUILTY!