Sierra Leone Telegraph: 10 September 2019:
Reaction to yesterday’s public humiliation of teachers in Sierra Leone suspected of examination malpractice, before they are charged to court, continues. Sierra Leone’s Human Rights Commission has published this statement:
The Human Rights Commission of Sierra Leone (HRCSL) has been following reports of widespread examination malpractices in the country. The HRCSL strongly condemns such acts by everyone involved.
HRCSL is of the opinion that such act undermines the credibility of the country’s educational system and government’s efforts in promoting socio-economic development through quality education.
HRCSL has been closely monitoring the incident that occurred on Saturday 7th September at the Fatibu School in Wellington in which six persons were arrested by the Anti-Corruption Commission on allegations of examination malpractices.
The Commission on Monday 9th September further monitored the public display of the suspects arrested during Saturday’s raid at the Cotton Tree in the center of Freetown.
The suspects were handcuffed and had placards with inscriptions around their necks admitting guilt in full view of the public even before being tried in a competent court of law thereby defeating the principle of the presumption of innocence.
While the Commission wholeheartedly applauds the efforts of the ACC in the fight against corruption, particularly the fight against examination malpractices in the country, the Commission equally condemns such public display which suggests guilt without due process.
The Commission considers such act as inhuman and degrading and runs contrary to Section 20(1) of the 1991 Constitution, Article 5 of the UDHR, Articles 7& 10 of the ICCPR and Article 5 of the ACHPR.
The Commission strongly believes that the action by the ACC in publicly displaying suspects exposes them to the risk of harm and it undermines their rights to life, security and fair trial. The Commission calls on the ACC to follow due process at all times.
The Human Rights Commission of Sierra Leone remains committed to building a culture of respect for human rights within the nation of Sierra Leone.
SIGNED: Patricia Narsu NDANEMA – Chairman.
COMMISSIONERS: Patricia N. Ndanema; Victor I. Lansana Esq; Hassan S. Yarjah; Simitie Lavaly Esq and Dr. Gassan Abess.
This is the statement published by the teachers’ Union in response to yesterday’s ACC action:
“The Sierra Leone Teachers’ Union wishes to note with grave concern the rampant attempts by some indiviuals in the Sierra Leone society to promote naked exams malpractices, cheating or aiding and abetting pupils in the ongoing exams conducted by WAEC. These individuals deserve to be brought before the law and seriously dealt with.
“However the SLTU wishes to condemn in the strongest possible terms the treatment meted out to some teachers and heads of schools whose dignity and human righst have been violated on the directives of the Anti Corruption Commission and the Sierra Leone Police. There is certainly no law in the land that permits suspected persons to be publicly molested, paraded on put on public display at the Cotton Tree Law Court Building as it happened on the 9th September 2019.
“While we would continue to work with the ACC to fight against corruption, eradicartion of eaxm malpractices and sanitisation of the education system, we would strongly resisit any attempt by any individual or institution seeking to unlawfully molest teachers or bring down the dignity of the profession.
“Meanwhile we want to admonish all teachers to stay calm, be law abiding and allow the due process of the law to take precedence.”
We are not saying that the ACC should not do its job. All we are saying is, let it be done within the ambit of the law.What they did to those teachers,regardless of their (the teachers) crime, the ACC should not have gone that far – doing what they did. It is and will always be wrong. For them to shame those teachers like that, without trial or guilty verdict, was just beyond par!…that’s all some of us are saying.You can defend the ACC boss all you can, but his actions were not right.They were flat out wrong – period!
“Rules are guidelines – and they are meant to be broken“. Sometimes even teachers punish pupils in front of the whole assembly for lateness or sometimes major offenses just to send a clear message to other students that its unacceptable. Some even used canes or other objects for public flogging which is a human rights violation in many countries but in our culture even after undergoing those types of torture, we are even scared to tell our parents for fear of another reprisal.
Even in the USA the government usually shock the nation by showing suspected corrupt and dangerous people on television as they recently did with former campaign manager for president Donald Trump (Paul Manafort); and even some suspected Nigerians were shown on television by not calling them African Americans but intentionally calling them Nigerians just to name and shame the whole nation of Nigeria.
The ACC boss has tried all means to send a message that corruption is unacceptable in education if we want to change our country. So he decided to use the “shock therapy“ which has got the attention of all stakeholders. I hope that the human rights organizations will focus on the humiliation that our nation is going through when 95% of our students fail the public examination instead of focusing on the pride of few suspected criminals.
Even the scriptures says: “The Rod is made for the back of Fools” which I believe the human rights organization will disagree with.
Thanks Mr. Foday Turner for your observation. But, I regret to say, I don’t see the logic you are trying to base your argument on. Do you want to tell me that helping students cheat in exams is HUMAN RIGHTS VIOLATIONS or FUTURE RIGHTS VIOLATIONS? If yes, will you back your statements with substantial evidence before we take our discussions to the back of the SCHOOL’S GYM?
I like people like you because, you just keep this discussion alive which I am happy about. In fact, the ACC GENTLEMAN BOSS must resign to save him from any future prosecution. Believe me, this ACC GENTLEMAN BOSS will face the consequences of his actions. Maybe before or after 2023. This is a serious matter that must not be overlooked. Again, ZERO TOLERANCE for any BARBARIC GROSS HUMAN RIGHTS VIOLATIONS in Sierra Leone. Sierra Leone is no longer in the DARK AGES or PRE HISTORICAL TIMES.
What is also important though, never try to enter a HUNGRY LION’S DEN even by mistake. You just tell me what will happen. RESIGNATION is the best option for this ACC GENTLEMAN BOSS’ RECKLESS action. The is simply a BARBARIC GROSS HUMAN RIGHTS VIOLATIONS on fellow Sierra Leoneans which is unacceptable in my view. Mr. Foday Turner there confused about PUPIL’s HUMAN and FUTURE RIGHTS without substantial evidence. Thanks Mr. Foday Turner for your contribution. GOD BLESS YOU
Yes, now we cry foul. Let us not forget that these few individuals have tarnished the educational system of the whole of Sierra Leone. Let us also not forget the scrutiny that future generations will have to endure in their educational pursuits in other parts of the world.
I don’t give a DAMN which country this might have happened. What I am concerned about is this BARBARIC ACT of GROSS HUMAN RIGHTS VIOLATIONS by the ACC GENTLEMAN BOSS. He needs to know better and also needs to OBSERVE his LIMITS whilst EXECUTING his DUTIES. IGNORANCE of one’s DUTY must never be tolerated. There are rules every government official and department must follow.
The ACC GENTLEMAN BOSS must know better. Doing other people’s jobs to cause CHAOS is unacceptable. Such abuse of authority needs to be condemned. Simple as that. President Bio should just send the ACC GENTLEMAN BOSS on leave pending ABUSE OF OFFICE investigations.
My colleague has clearly stated the violation and the consequences of the ACC’s Boss action and that I sincerely take on board. I also come from a completely different opinion on this matter. The way our so called professionals in Sierra Leone are behaving you will wonder whether these so called professionals have ever been through any professional training or gain any further knowledge at all through interactions with other people.
These are bunch of criminals placed in these establishments to undermine all efforts to develop the country. Teachers who should be teaching these children beyond their specialist skills and subjects are they themselves the criminals. What integrity do they have to pass on to the children. None at all. Just look how backward the country is in terms of human development, infrastructural development. You can go on and on. There is no single development in the country over the past 37 years. If you are saying we should not name and shame these people then we are all guilty. I bet they’ll all go back in their communities and behave normal. Sierra Leoneans will in fact shake their heads and say well done.
Let us stop celebrating criminals and put them behind bars for the rest of their lives. No good schools, no hospitals, no roads, no electricity, no sanitation system, no public transport system. Please don’t let me go on. I can wake up this morning and go right in the middle of the city and put up any kind of structure in the full view of all authorities and get away with it. Check the ministry of lands and see how many buildings we have out there with planning permission. Please let us try and bring back normal behaviour in the country.
Sahr Matturi, you talk about the Human Right Violation of the Teachers because they were paraded publicly for an act that they were caught red handed in. It is your right to take any position. However, can you take a minute and also think about the human rights and future right of the very pupils that these Teachers have violated? Give a child a fish and he would need another when he is hungry, but teach the child to fish and he won’t be hungry for the entirety of his life.
These Teachers did not violate the human rights of the pupils they were entrusted to teach but they have also impinged on the educational system of our beloved country. OUR EDUCATION IS CONSIDERED BY THE INTERNATIONAL COMMUNITY AS A SH*T BECAUSE OF THE KIND OF PEOPLE PARADED BY THE ACC.
Those that are legal practitioners and experts are confusing some of us whom are not Lawyers regarding quotations and counter quotations of the constitution of Sierra Leone and the ANTI Corruption Acts. While some are condemning the methodology used in shaming the perpetrators of the Exam malpractice by ACC, others are on the opposite of the condemnation. My question to the Legal Practitioners and Experts is, who is right or wrong?
Conversely, may I say if this incident was done in another country like Rwanda, Tanzania etc, Sierra Leoneans would have been the first country to applaud that nation and its Leader for fighting corruption in this form. We will continue to listen to the LAW interpreters on this matter till it comes to an end.