Ebola may be gone but political repression is entrenched in Sierra Leone

Sierra Leone Telegraph: 24 December 2015

Ebola - Weep Not MotherOver a month ago, the World Health Organisation declared Sierra Leone free of the Ebola virus that had taken the lives of over 4,000 people and robbed millions of their dignity.

Corruption and poor governance are the root causes of the spread of Ebola, like so many other diseases in Sierra Leone.

But no one dares speak out, for fear of being arrested on the orders of the so called ‘powers from above’.

Until the people of Sierra Leone are free from ignorance, political repression, dictatorship, impunity and lawlessness by those governing the country, Sierra Leone can never be free from deadly diseases such as Ebola, typhoid, malaria, and poverty.

People are dying in Sierra Leone of poverty, disease, squalid conditions, the lack of clean drinking water and mental stress, not simply because the government cannot afford to spend money on tackling the ills of society, but because corruption is rampant in Sierra Leone, and few in the country have the guts to stand up against those in power.

Those that stand up against corruption, civil liberty, human rights and the rule of law are increasingly being arrested on the orders of powers from above. This has to stop.

Alie Kabba2Opposition leader Alie Kabba (Photo) is today locked up behind bars for criticising the Koroma government’s poor record in office, after the death of 4,000 people in Sierra Leone from the Ebola virus.

His campaign team has today issued this statement, explaining the circumstances of his arrest:

At 05:00 pm on Tuesday, 22nd December, 2015, Alie Kabba received a note from the police, inviting him to the CID headquarters in Freetown. Alie was this morning of Wednesday, 23rd December, 2015, preparing to attend to the call when he saw police personnel at his door. He drove behind them to the CID.                                                   

At the CID, Alie was confronted with an allegation of “bigamy” which was robustly rebuffed by a strong, convincing and documented defence. On the strength of his defence, CID AIG Amara Lenghore allowed him to go because “there was no case to answer”.                                                           

During the process of releasing him, a telephone call came in from the Deputy Inspector General of Police, Richard Moigbueh, stopping the process because of “orders from above.” Alie’s release was therefore scuttled.                                                 

At this stage, a commotion erupted between the police and some of Alie Kabba’s supporters in which some of the supporters were assaulted by the police. One of them – Joseph Bengeh, was detained, along with Alie Kabba.                                                           

We want to take this opportunity to thank all our supporters and many well-wishers all over the world, particularly those in Freetown who continue to suffer the brunt of the regime’s brutality and contempt for democratic civility and the rule of law.

We also want to emphasize here that it is the honorable duty of every SLPP member and all fair-minded Sierra Leoneans, to put aside petty differences and work within the framework of the constitution to dismantle this lawless regime. 

It is however very heartening to know that even in this ruthless atmosphere of political abuse, a growing number of Sierra Leoneans are ready to stand up and speak out against the creeping tyranny of unchecked power. Alie Kabba just happens to be one of these many patriots.

Opposition SLPP chairman Somano Kapen and others, including John Benjamin, Ambassador Bond Wurie, Ambassador Darbo, Abass Bundu, Kanja Sesay, J J Blood, Alpha Timbo, youths and representatives of the campaign teams of all the SLPP flagbearers were among the members and supporters of the SLPP who were at the CID trying to negotiate Alie’s release.

As Alie Kabba unjustly spent a night in the Pademba prison, just as he did 30 years ago when he was locked up by Siaka Stevens in 1985, for leading student demonstrations against APC dictatorship, we want to report that Alie remains serene and strong and unbroken.

He is thankful to all those standing up to make Sierra Leone strong and democratic, and a haven of political decency and progress.
The Sierra Leone Telegraph will bring you more on this serious developing story later.

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