APC BETRAYS NPRC VICTIMS…Inquest “dead” on arrivalAugust 10, 2011
By Philip Neville
Like any other family member, Madam Salami Coker is not an exception whose hope to testify at the proposed Inquest that was to be organized by the current All Peoples Congress party in governance has suffered great defeat and disappointment. When news about the inquest became public knowledge, Madam Salami Coker packed her bag in London in readiness to come home to explain how her son was killed without going through the due process of the law. She was excited, but her excitement did not last for long as the APC government of Ernest Bai Koroma turned her hope and other members of those who suffered untimely deaths in the hands of NPRC junta into mere promises. Questions now asked by concern members of the public and family members who were living with high hopes as to why the much trumpeted inquest did not materialize remain unanswered. The official government Spokesman, who is the Minister of Information and Communication, Hon. Ibrahim Ben Kargbo has not gone back to the public to give reason as to why his government has refused to institute the inquest that they promised the public.
The former Attorney General and Minister of Justice, Hon. Serry Kamal was heard in certain quarter explaining that he did everything possible to commence the inquest as his office was in possession of overwhelming pieces of evidence to expose those who killed about twenty nine Sierra Leoneans without regards for the rule of law. “I appointed a Coroner, who is a Magistrate and a team of prosecutors, but the government did nothing to put what they trumpeted into reality” Serry Kamal was quoted to have said.
Some members of the Sierra Leone Judiciary have confirmed that a Coroner was appointed by the Office of the Attorney General and Minister of Justice. The individual was a sitting Magistrate in the Jurisdiction of Waterloo, who was transferred to Freetown in compliance with the Coroner,s Act, having waited for the inquest to start but in vain, he decided to pursue another option that he had initially put on hold.
It would be recalled that the pronouncement by government of an inquest generated heated arguments among party supporters, especially from the opposition and other members of the public. Some of them described it as a political witch-hunt by the ruling government to either extinguished opponents from the political race and subject them to public ridicule or present them as enemies of humanity. The ruling government on the other hand hearing comments from the opposition developed fear and cold feet, which later resulted into the abandonment of what families of the victims, were looking forward to see and contribute to all these years.
Whether the APC government of President Ernest Bai Koroma was under intense pressure from the International Community to abandon the idea of an inquest or was afraid of the force of the opposition is unknown. What is however clear and currently discussed in certain political and other quarters is the government inability to keep to its promise to those who are feeling pains of their departed family members. “The APC government demonstrated inability and courage to keep to its words and cannot undertake it now due to the political atmosphere that is not in their favour” A civil society member remarked.
Efforts to interview the Minister of Information and Communication as to why the APC government abandoned the issue of inquest was not possible as the minister was busy attending to important state and official matter.
Meanwhile a lawyer who was expected to be on the prosecution team said that the APC is inconsistent and lacks courage to keep to its words in relation to the inquest and warned that it should not think about it now as it would not augur well for the political development and peace of the country.