Sirajin M Rollings-Kamara: Sierra Leone Telegraph: 11 October 2019:
Honourable Justice Desmond Babatunde Edwards,
I am reflecting and referencing court judgements meted against ten of us Members of Parliament belonging to the All People’s Congress Party (the largest opposition) by the High Court of Sierra Leone on May 31 2019.
On the 10th of June 2019, all ten of us appealed to the Court of Appeal as per law: By the 1991 Constitution Section 78 (4), ‘the Court of Appeal shall determine the appeal and give judgement thereon within 4 months after the appeal was filed’.
The four months period to empanel and hear our appeals expired on the 10th of October 2019.
When it comes to Judicial matters in our country, you are the Chief Superintendent. If our appeals failed to be determined and heard as by law provided, we can only blame it on you, as the Chief Justice.
This is an open letter to you for two reasons:
1. After series of requests and reminders for the delay, and now, refusal to empanel judges to hear our appeals, can you explain to the world why you failed to?
2. To let DFID know that they are wasting British tax payers money on an institution that has the temerity of perverting justice.
About a month ago, you observed a week of activities, that was climaxed by a Thanksgiving Service at the St George’s Cathedral. The preacher – the Bishop of the New Life Church, Bishop J. Archibald Cole, spoke on the theme “Hate the Evil, and Love the Good, and establish Judgement in the Gate.” Amos 5:15.
Though I would have loved Bishop Cole to preach from Luke 18 (the parable of the persistent widow and a judge who didn’t know or fear God), however, what he preached on was more apt than my expectation. I like the key phrase in the verse: ESTABLISH JUDGEMENT.
Bishop Cole outlined the factors serving as hindrances to the flow of justice in most countries of which Sierra Leone is inclusive. He said tribalism, political interference, bribery and corruption are the key factors affecting the effective flow of justice in Sierra Leone.
As a member of Bishop Cole’s Church, listening to his sermons every week, I expect the truth of these messages to pierce your conscience and dish out judgments judiciously. But as Bishop Cole rightly mentioned, you may have used politics to distort the truth.
You know very well that the judgements meted out by Justice Kamanda and Justice Stevens were wrong and will forever be wrong. But to add salt to injury, you refused to empanel judges for our appeals.
You cannot be attending that church and be seen to act differently. The classic soul musician Barry White would say: “Practice what you preach”.
I heard you have approved an injunction against Mr. Leslie Oseh Whenzle, who won the just concluded Waterloo Rural Chairmanship election but ours, which is 4 months old, are yet to be empanelled.
There is always posterity to recall our wrong doings. The Truth and Reconciliation Commission report has it that the Judiciary is responsible for most of the causes of the war. And almost 20 years on, the same Judiciary is only seen nursing and fanning those vices.
Ours is a case of political interference and intimidation. You denied us our constitutional right to be heard because any judge worth his licence will overturn Kamanda and Steven’s judgments which will forever be in the annals of our country.
Consequently, we are left with 2 options:
1. Seek justice out of here. If that does not yield the desired dividend, we;
2. Call on the Almighty Judge (God) to judge on our behalf. In Isaiah 33:22 the Bible presents God bearing the 3 arms of government – a King, a Lawgiver and a Judge.
Now to the Department For International Development (DFID). In your very watch, you see institutions that you support to get better, go the opposite direction (getting worse) . This is a deliberate ploy to waste British tax payer’s money. You cannot keep supporting our judiciary through grant and all you get is a judiciary that has been permeated by tribalism, bribery, corruption and where justice is treated with disdain.
People’s confidence in our judiciary is all time low. And for democracy to thrive, there must be a total display of an impartial and independent judiciary. This is not the case in Sierra Leone and you are only a conduit to the effect.
As firm as ever and committed to see that justice prevail, I remain yours,
Hon Sirajin M Rollings-Kamara (D Rabbi) and the People’s Honorable – (One of the expelled MPs against the wish of the people)
October 11, 2019