Ministry of Lands is disobeying the law – says Sierra Leone Bar Association

Sierra Leone Telegraph: 6 May 2019:

As anger grows in Freetown over the SLPP government’s continuing forceful repossession of lands and property owned by Krio families in the capital into State ownership, the country’s Bar Association representing Barristers, has today published a statement condemning the government’s action.

The ministry of lands is acting unlawfully, says the Bar Association. This will be of very little comfort to families that have been given up to 21st of May 2019 to produce documents which many do not have, showing that the land belongs to them.

A few weeks ago, the name of a modernsied road bridge in the far West of Freetown, was changed from Wallace Johnson Bridge – named after a famous Krio Pan African political actiivist, to Sengbe Pieh Bridge. Sengbe Pieh was a slave from Bonthe Island where the current president comes from, who fought his captors for his freedom.

This name change has fuelled anger among the Krios in Freetown and suspicion of ‘mission creep’ towards further marginalisation of the Krios. There is suspicion also that the action of the minsitry of lands in repossessing lands and property belonging to Krio families, speaks to this narative

This is what the Bar Association said:

6 Comments

  1. David Bangura – you do sound like an educated fellow. But I sense a bit of hypocricy coming from you here. You seem to be either short sighted or conveniently feigning ignorance. Just over a year ago, SLPP supporters in their desperation to get rid of the APC government, were waging all sorts of propaganda against president Koroma.

    Now you are wearing the shoe, and here you are telling people to back off criticisisng president Bio. Please dont kill off our freedom of speech. Its all we have left to ensure our democracy no matter how imperfect stays alive. Thank you.

    You can disagree with us but dont try to stiffle our freedom to criticise president Bio and his government, just like no one is stopping you from going after EBK even though he is no longer president.

  2. Historically, most persons or groups with military or pseudo-military backgrounds lack the intellectual sagacity essential for ethical socio-politico-economic growths. This is worsened in the case of currently lawless Sierra Leone whose elected political leaderships are laden with national and local assets and treasury looters with very little respect for assets management; audits functioning as management and administrative tools for optimisations – witness the current conditions of land-based King Tom Base-Load Power Station and allied Falcon Bridge and Blackhall Road sub-stations, and other infrastructures.

    Successive Sierra Leone Governments prefer sycophants because they lack the essential terotechnological skills, knowledge, skills and experiences – Sierra Leone as a nation continues as a victimised nation. All ideas about how we can all salve this current undesirable situation is invited and will be welcomed.

    • Interestingly, some of the most forward-thinking presidents in the United States had a military background. Presidents Andrew Jackson, William Harrison, Ulysses Grant and others were at one time or the other, generals in the United States military.

      We must be careful with the all too familiar put him down syndrome and the tendency to generalize things as if one size must fit all. Under the prevailing circumstances, president Julius Bio has done extremely well in just one year in office. Leave the man to govern and keep your negativism and insults to yourself.

  3. CEASE FIRE!!! CEASE FIRE!!! This is serious stuff. Thanks to Madam Yvette Auber Shears for bringing this issue to light through the SIERRA LEONE TELEGRAPH. The issue has even placed another issue – renaming or naming, whatever, part of the Wallace Johnson Bridge, in the light of which tells everyone how serious the situation has become.

    The Mayor of Freetown must be consulted in naming sites in Freetown, but that did not happen according to reliable sources. BAD IDEA. The Late Sir Milton Margai wasted plenty of time and energy to resolve the problems of the PROTECTORATE and the COLONY. Here we are again in 2019 under the leadership of an SLPP president seeing that hard fought success going down the drain. That will not happen. AH TELL YOU.

    When such problems start in a country where division is the order of the day, the President must take his responsibilities. President Bio in my view, must step in sooner that later and solve this problem which is at yet in it’s baby stage.

    What if this problem should have been under the watch of the APC? What will the SLPP say? I believe that, the SLPP will accuse the APC of trying to or destroying one of the legacies of the late Sir Milton Margai. Mr. President, we no longer want to go to those days of the PROTECTORATE and the COLONY ERAS. Don’t stay silent on this matter as you have in the past. This divisive issue now is at an all time low. The divisions are deepening, which is a recipe for TURMOIL as the President of the TRADE UNION said the order day.

    FATHER OF THE NATION, please intervene now. Your children are crying for help and they need your leadership. Bypass those extremist in your party, if there is any, and do what is right for the PEOPLE.

  4. Well…a repulsive,ghastly face can be hidden under a veil only just for a little while, sooner or later it is bound to be seen by every one. And a man’s character and true dispositions are like smoke, no matter the effort to hide and contain it, eventually it breaks free and soars for all to see.

    One’s True motives, habits and intentions can never be hidden! It is a total waste of time to try and do so. I have a feeling that the man who once wore Military khaki uniforms and boots, has become sick and tired of being polite and civil, and is anxious to return to his old, lawless ways.

    I think the Krio people did the right thing to get lawyers involved in this matter – Bravo! Perhaps now, eyes that have become blind with poor judgement, pride, tribalism and greed will begin to see things much more clearer. I believe those with keen minds, surely would have noticed that the smoke of marginalisation coming from this government, keeps on getting thicker and thicker, polluting everywhere and signaling fire is soon to come.

    They are changing and replacing names of bridges to suit themselves, and seizing lands forcefully. And worst of all, they are unremorseful, showing no restraint; demonstrating undisguised blatant contempt and disregard for the law. It’s obvious the SLPP is here to settle old scores.

    The British wanted them to come to power by all means and at all cost…well, this is the end result – a frightening nightmare. I hope they are happy now that their cold hearts have returned to their soft pillows, blankets and warm beds. Nerve wrecking indeed.

    All I see is problems everywhere and lack of the ability to govern – Problems, quagmires, conundrums, you name it, scattered everywhere, and countless in number like grains of sand. My advice to the Krio people is to be resolute, courageous and focused…drag them to courts everywhere – at home and abroad.

    Stand firm, tighten your belts and do all you can through the media to let the world know that you are being singled out and unjustly targeted. Inform CNN, BBC, AlJAZEERA – all of them should know what’s going on here. Remember there are two paths given to those who choose to fight injustice to tread – One is made of fire and the other of ice.

    This is a fight you must win. Lose, and you would have degraded your heritage completely, humiliated your people and disgraced your ancestors forever. Brace yourself for a storm is on its way. Remain collectively unshaken, because it is in the nature of storms to come and go…And after they have gone, then endless, bright sunny days will return as a blessing and a sign that you have persevered and have overcome….Rising Sun Will Rise Again!

  5. In poor, but crowded Freetown rural society, they typically define land rights for groups rather than individuals. In Sierra Leone, the individual’s or family’s right rest on an elaborate traditional and customary rights dating back before independence in Sierra Leone. Such customs enforce group control over the use and disposition of land.

    To minimize social friction and ensure the group’s survival, the entitlement of individuals to specific tracts of land is transitory. As a result, they lose some efficiency, since people lack incentives to improve the property. However, these losses are small as long as the land is abundant and farming methods primitive.

    It closely relates the evolution of permanent and enforceable land rights to increases or reduction in population density lack of advances in building technology, and the emergence of zoning land for Freetown present housing and agricultural markets.

    As land becomes scarce, societies can no longer rely on long fallow periods to maintain land ownership. They must adopt fertility-restoring technologies, which require the investment of capital and effort-and thus also require incentives for the government to change their practices. One such motivation is the right to own land continuously and to bequeath or sell it.

    One nearly universal development is a unified system of land documentation and registration, giving a landowner proof of ownership. If the registration system is valid and if Sierra Leone can protect the owner from encroachment or unsubstantiated challenges to his land, then the system will enhance the security of ownership.

    Land rights link up with another feature of agricultural development, the emergence of rural credit markets. Credit transactions often require collateral. The land is attractive collateral, provided that the owner-borrower can assure the lender they can transfer the property. Again, such an assurance enhanced by an effective system of land registration.

    The importance of land rights to a country’s development is the starting point of this conversation. It then describes the evolution of land right systems in Freetown Sierra Leone, reviews of the evidence from Africans to provide documents showing ownership of property since independence on the implications of existing systems that never existed fifty-eight years since independence.

    Sierra Leone then now has access to more resources at the expense of other communities—after fifty-eight years of independence, none of these excuses justifies poor governance or leaders committing crimes against their people. It is inexcusable for Sierra Leone’s leadership do not protect their citizens and then complain or respond defensively when these citizens only seek help to register their homes or redress elsewhere.

    Military power will not resolve the crisis in Freetown, any more than it has in other places or elsewhere in Africa—especially if all parties continue to invest in arms, soldiers, and militias. Only dialogue and a willingness to share power and resources more equitably can produce lasting peace and the opportunity to use those resources correctly like land and water for the benefit of all of Freetown’s micro-districts.

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