Sierra Leone Telegraph: 20 January 2016
The grim message coming out of Freetown, Sierra Leone tonight is a simple, though chilling statement by supporters of opposition politician Alie Kabba: “Where there is no justice, there can be no hope”.
Alie Kabba has once again been denied bail and sent to the country’s notorious maximum security prison, after court received ‘orders from above’. He will next appear at the High Court, where he can present his evidence and plead his innocence.
Supporters of Kabba say that he is a political prisoner of conscience, whose freedom has been denied once more by a politically controlled court in Freetown, on a flimsy and orchestrated technicality regarding the terms of his bail.
Only in Sierra Leone are you likely to find the rather bizarre contradiction of having a member of parliament – IB Kargbo, who has committed serial crimes, by first failing to declare to the country’s electoral commission that he was still working as a public servant whilst contesting a by-election; and worse, using ministerial letter headed paper to write a letter soliciting an unlawful agreement with the Lebanese government, to import waste into Sierra Leone for cash.
Despite these serious crimes, IB Kargbo walks a free man, a parliamentarian and a presidential adviser. No one in the judiciary and the government is batting an eyelid, whilst Alie kabba is sent to maximum security prison today, for alleged bigamy involving a government minister – a charge the government is struggling to prove.
Why? IB Kargbo is a senior member of the ruling APC and a close confidante of the president; Alie Kabba is a candidate for the presidency in 2018, and he is seen as the most powerful critic of the government’s failed policies.
Pademba Road Prison is reserved for political opponents and thousands of youths labelled as outcasts in society. What hope justice in Sierra Leone?
“In Sierra Leone there is no justice, only impunity. And tonight Alie Kabba is once again on the receiving end of the government’s hatred for those that criticise its failed policies, as well as oppose the legitimacy of those abusing public office. I hope they are not trying to kill Alie Kabba in prison,” a civil servant in Freetown told the Sierra Leone Telegraph this evening.
So what happened in court today?
This is a report received by the Sierra Leone Telegraph from Freetown:
The court appearance was swift. The magistrate wanted two sureties, both over 50 years old and in possession of a house worth more than 100 million Leones. Three people readily came forward to oblige.
The action quickly shifted to the Registrar General’s office. After hours of orchestrated delay, towards the end of “processing” of the documents to effect bail, the Registrar General got a call to see the newly appointed Chief Justice Cham upstairs.
After attending to the call in Cham’s office, the Registrar General came back down to his office, armed with a new condition: He won’t accept any house documents that are inherited, bought, or handed over to someone, even where such documents are authenticated to be in their names by a “power of attorney”, as the documents on offer.
He now wants house documents “originally and directly in the name of the volunteering sureties “.
At such a late hour, 5pm, the rush that was artificially generated meant that Alie Kabba’s supporters were not able to meet the newly imposed bail conditions.
So Alie Kabba was taken down to Pademba Road Prison, amidst a lot of sadness and disbelief at the colour of manipulative “Justice” being so crudely meted out to someone, who has always been at the very forefront of the fight for justice and fair play in Sierra Leone.
Sierra Leoneans, are we again about to see the dawn of another very dark era that will touch so many more innocent people, far beyond Alie Kabba?
Are we so irretrievably damned as a nation that we always meekly allow our best to be crushed by our worst, while nurturing the seeds of further injustice?
Are we going to be guilty accomplices by being silent at this blatant show of injustice and misuse of our democracy by a select few?
Are we so powerless as a people, that we must succumb to anything and everything, however heinous?
TODAY, it is Alie Kabba. Tomorrow, watch your back. For the slippery slope of a corrupted system has no end. (End of report).
Tonight Mr. Ansumana Vandi, organiser of the Free Alie Kabba (Photo) online petition, told the Sierra Leone Telegraph that “a gross travesty of justice is occurring in Sierra Leone”.
“Today Dr. Alie Kabba, a political prisoner held by President Ernest Bai Koroma and the APC government, was returned to the notorious Pademba Road Prison in Freetown, after President Koroma and his newly-appointed Chief Justice instructed the court to revoke bail that was previously posted .
“It is now evident that President Koroma and his government have no interest in the transparent dispensation of justice in Sierra Leone. The onslaught on individual rights, political dissent and free speech by President Koroma and his government, should be a wake-up call for all civilized people in the country.
“We are calling on the international community and people of goodwill everywhere, to call on President Koroma and his government to release Dr. Kabba, especially now that there is irrefutable evidence that this is a primitive political witch hunt.
“The people of Sierra Leone are still reeling from the ravages of a vicious civil war that destroyed much of the country’s infrastructure and impoverished them even further.
“The people are tired of politically-manufactured crisis that scares investors and have the propensity to bring another round of suffering to the people of Sierra Leone,” Ansumana Vandi told the Sierra Leone Telegraph.
You can sign the Free Alie Kabba Petition here:
I remember reading an article IN ONE OF LOCAL NEWSPAPERS IN SIERRA LEONE with the headline: ‘State Of Permanent Disrepair’, during the NPRC government, from concerned citizens outside the country of Sierra Leone, in which they were condemning the Strasser lead government for its mediocrity and lack of good governance and leadership.
And the author made reference to the time Strasser was born and the reign of the Stevens’ lead government.
Andy here we are again, with the same APC government that was overthrown in 1992 and is back in through a tampered election results that saw hundreds of thousands of citizens disenfranchised of their rights in the run- off at the 2007 elections.
I believe the problem in Sierra Leone is internal, where few people with the positions entrusted to them just want to exert little efforts and be rewarded with great gains and fortunes, even to the detriment of the masses as is always typical of APC GOVERNMENTS.
I believe there is a cast-like culture in Sierra Leone, where there are the untouchables and touchables. I was having a discussion with a Hindu housemate during one of my various stay here, and asked him why the Chinese are far ahead of the Indian in progress and development.
He told me that the Indians like to do or exert little efforts for great/ very great returns, whilst the Chinese exerts a lot of energies and resources for little profit. And what we can learn from this is the difference between an APC lead government and an SLPP lead government.
The previous SLPP lead government cleaned up the mess and put the economy in sound shape for progress, as narrated by the late Ahmed Tejan Kabbah in his handing over speech.
And now after over 8 year of bad leadership and governance by the APC lead government, they are silencing the opposition SLPP, whose efforts and struggles they are enjoying.
If the SLPP had mobilised all its supporters to State House and the NEC and FB aspirants were leading the procession with arms linked – EBK would have got the message. SLPP wake up. Kabba is a political prisoner.
Any hope that the former ACC Boss would do a decent job as Attorney General is now toast.
The Alie Kabba case is shrouded in many questions.If we are able to answer them – or some of them – we may come close to unraveling the whole enigma.
Here are some of the questions I have come up with :
1. Who or what is referred to as the “power above”? Is it President Koroma?
2. What individual or collective role are the two women caught up in the saga, playing behind the scenes to teach Mr Kabba a lesson? After all one of them – Konomany is a minister of government, and can most certainly press some buttons in the mist of her furore, caused by Alie Kabba’s double role.
3. Did Alie Kabba Snatched Minister Konomany from a powerful figure in the country?
4. What does the law actually say about bigamy?
5. Where is Bernadette Lahai and the rest of the of the SLPP hierarchy, who should come to the aid of Mr Kabba, despite what they may think of him? Are they helping to silence him or do they believe that no miscarriage of justice has occurred?
6. I understand that Mr Kabba holds both Sierra Leonean and American citizenship. Has the American Embassy in Freetown been informed about the case by Mr Kabba’s supporters? From personal experience, involving a nephew, the Americans never leave any of their own behind, whatever the circumstances. If the law dictates that they cannot do anything about it, they will at least ensure that Mr Kabba is held in humane conditions.
For all we know, Alie Kabba is being hit below the belt by people we least expect. Let us keep a level head. He who makes a fist has lost the argument.