Sierra Leone Telegraph: 31 December 2015
The outspoken opposition politician Alie Kabba, who was arrested a week ago by the Sierra Leone police, is appearing in court this morning to answer charges of alleged bigamy brought by his divorced wife – local government minister Diana Konomanyi.
The couple got married in Freetown in 2013 and after two years, Diana filed for divorce which was granted by the courts.
But now she is suing the opposition presidential aspirant Kabba for bigamy.
Diana is claiming that Alie had willfully falsified their marriage certificate when they got married in 2013, whilst knowing that he was still married to his first wife.
Alie has on various occasions denied this allegation, and said his arrest was politically motivated and the result of his constant criticism of the government’s failed policies and corruption in high places.
Supporters of Alie Kabba say that he is a prisoner of conscience, held captive by the Koroma government, just as the former dictator Siaka Stevens did to Kabba in the 1980s – arrested for student protest.
Both Alie Kabba and Diana will have the opportunity this morning to put their evidence forward to a Judge at the High Court, who will decide where the truth about the allegation of bigamy lies.
But no matter the outcome of this case, it will be very difficult for the government and minister Konomanyi (Photo) in particular, to convince the majority of Sierra Leoneans who live in a culturally acceptable polygamous society, that this trial is not politically motivated.
A few years ago, popular journalist Sylvia Blyden of the Awareness Times published a story about president Koroma’s polygamous lifestyle, and she was arrested and charged to court under the Public Order Act.
But after weeks of drama in court, the then attorney general Serry Kamal decided to nolle prosequi – all charges were dropped and Blyden was acquitted.
As several of the male politicians in the country, especially in the Koroma government, watch this morning’s case against Alie Kabba unfolds in court, they may be wondering about the numerous children they have produced outside of their marriage, and their concubines.
In most cases, many of these children born outside of the marriage are not financially supported. Is there a law in Sierra Leone against this immoral practice? No. Polygamy is accepted in Sierra Leone.
Bigamy, according to the laws of Sierra Leone carries a sentence of ten years in jail. Friends and supporters of Alie Kabba believe he is innocent.
Is this case about justice, or is it about politics?
The court will soon decide in what should be a straight forward open and shut case, assuming that politics does not get in the way of good adjudication by the Judge.
The Sierra Leone Telegraph will bring you more on this developing story as it happens.