THE REINCARNATION OF A JUNTA-JUNGLE CLIQUE?August 27, 2011
It is baffling that at a time Sierra Leoneans are seriously embracing democracy, the rule of law and peace, SLPP cohorts are struggling relentlessly to bring back to the political fore a clique of junta and jungle colleagues. We all witnessed the economic plunder, agony, gross human rights abuses and life of helplessness heaped on Sierra Leoneans by the in-experienced, lawless and unpatriotic members of the NPRC. Take some of this cogent evidence to substantiate the popular indictment of the NPRC junta of which Maada Bio was a key and conspicuous figure. Let us examine the issue of gross human rights violations for a start and see what is in there. Although the coup itself was described as being bloodless, its initiation and execution saw the suspension of our constitution and all other legitimate democratic practices including the democratic transition process that was unfolding at the time. This in itself was a violation of the rights of Sierra Leoneans as they were deprived the protection of their fundamental rights provided by the Constitution. Rule of Law was automatically replaced with rule of decree characterized by forceful actions and irrational/ discretionary rule. In their quest to prolong junta rule even against the wishes of Sierra Leoneans, the NPRC through Maada Bio fruitlessly pushed a campaign for peace before elections. This ill-motivated political intention was thwarted by a resolved civil populace that stoutly voted against the prolongation of Khaki rule of suffering at Bintumani II.
Few months after the coup , ( December 28th and 29th ,1992 specifically), saw the arrest and subsequent execution of twenty six people without any proper judicial trial . Puzzling to even learn that some of the alleged coup plotters including Lt .Col.Yayah Kanu were actually in detention at the Pademba Road prison at the time of the alleged coup plot. The alleged coup plotters were tortured before they were summarily executed .Some of these traumatic inhuman actions would undoubtedly remind one of the sad days of jungle justice that need to be completely consigned to the dustbin of history. As a nation currently committed to recognizing, respecting and protecting the rights of its citizens including that of the right to life, firm democratic and civilized stance needs to be taken to resist the reintroduction of jungle justice in our beloved country.
Economic looting was another hallmark of NPRC rule that witnessed high culpability level of Maada Bio both individually and as member of an unholy alliance. The insatiable lust for economic wealth compelled desperate members of the NPRC including Maada Bio to connive with rebels to prolong and escalate the Sierra Leone war. The rationale was short and simple: to sustain the economic gains derived from diamond mining and looting of consumer goods and agricultural produce. They did not only sell arms to the rebels and defected en masse but also attacked defenceless civilians rather than rebels. This NPRC notoriety introduced infamous descriptions like sobel into the war lexicon of Sierra Leone (simply meaning a soldier as well as a rebel) . There is available evidence to prove that Maada Bio connived with V.E.M Strasser to defraud Sierra Leoneans of the sum of 982,000 USD accrued from the sale of Sierra Leonean passports to Hong Kong . This allegation was corroborated by a report written by Peter Anderson, an American former Peace Corp. This report was posted in Anderson’s web on the 13th September 1996 with some of the following words: Justice Minister Solomon Berewa said Friday that the government has enough evidence to convict former military rulers Captain Valentine Strasser and Julius Maada Bio for defrauding the state of 982,000 USD on the sale Sierra Leoneans passports to Hong Kong .Berewa said that a Chinese business man who had coordinated the sales in Hong Kong has agreed to testify. We have enough evidence now to convict Captain Strasser and Brigadier Bio on this matter. Strasser and Bio deposited the money they received illegally in banks in Switzerland and Ghana. The government now has copies of the accounts. Beyond this transaction, Bio instead of investing his loot in the country decided to move over to Ghana at some point to engage in business. Is this a show of patriotism?
In conclusion, I would want to argue that one of the reasons why the SLPP decided to elect an individual with a violent background is their intention to use violence as one of the means to access power come 2012. This plan should not be allowed to bear fruit as Sierra Leoneans have seen in real terms, the cost of violence including, human , material and physical implications .