Dr. Sylvia O Blyden: Sierra Leone Telegraph: 18 June 2020:
Fellow Sierra Leoneans know me as someone who cannot be forced to say what she does not believe in. So my current circumstances should not dilute the strength of my message today.
It is not made under duress but is done very freely to ensure I distance myself from certain nefarious activities, state my position on National Security and apologise to all those in and out of the Judiciary who have been offended by abusive words thrown at them by persons alleging to be my followers, admirers or supposedly claiming they were writing in defence of me.
As a leader, I am choosing to apologise on behalf of my followers in order to show my distaste for such actions and to condemn those who are not my followers but are seeking to inflame situations.
The public will recall last month of May 2020 when an unidentified voice issued a dangerous audio purportedly in support of me. I immediately had my Office put out a statement to dis-associate my person from that social media audio making threats to national security as part of supposed protests against my detention. My Office made it clear that I don’t subscribe to such threats.
The public will also recall that few days ago in this month of June 2020, I also had my Office put out a release to debunk a suggestion published on social media that I was frustrated with the country’s legal systems.
Although I never heard or saw these two materials first-hand, as soon as they were drawn to my attention, I immediately debunked them and distanced myself from them. I have never and I will never encourage any threat to the Security, Peace and Stability of my beloved country, Sierra Leone.
Throughout the nineties into the turn of the century, I worked very hard for Sierra Leone to enjoy the peace, stability and democracy that we enjoy today. I will never be a part to destabilise this country.
Now, I have been kept completely incommunicado from social media and also prevented from accessing local newspapers since June 3rd 2020 when I was re-arrested until today June 17th 2020 so I had not seen any published content on any media.
However, I am now informed by a very credible, impeccable source that there are persons using the media to throw very abusive language against officers of the Sierra Leone Judiciary especially the learned magistrate, Her Worship Hannah Bonnie who is presiding over my current matter. These persons are either using my name directly and so, are impersonating me or they claim to be abusing the Judiciary as some form of protest in my ostensible favour.
By way of this statement, I wish to dis-associate myself from any abusive words thrown at the Judiciary. Any such abuse done in my name is a fraudulent misrepresentation. I have authorised no such activity.
I have also not authorised abuse of the Honourable Attorney General. My issue with the Attorney General has been to differ from her on points of Law and never have I spoken any abusive words of her. I have known her since 1993 when I was in Medical School, and she was in Law School. I consider her to be a Sierra Leone sister. When she was in London, I regularly published of her academic achievements including when she became the first Sierra Leone woman to get a PhD in Law.
I hold no malice against Dr. Priscilla Schwartz as Attorney General and Minister of Justice. My grandfather, Professor S.A.J. Pratt (R.I.P), one of the most brilliant Sierra Leone lawyers, was the very first Cabinet Minister to serve as Attorney General when Sierra Leone attained Republic status in 1971. I have respect for that office.
Similarly, I am patriotic enough to put national interests above limited parochial or partisan interests. This is why I publicly and very strongly defended the Attorney General on social media few weeks ago that she was absolutely correct to say the regulations for any State of Emergency (SOE) declaration do not need to be mandatorily tabled in Parliament for swift approval as there was a 90-days constitutional leeway given to the President.
Section 29 of the Constitution cannot be subject to Section 170(7) as subsection 170(7)(c) places a mandatory maturity timeframe of 21 days that negates the very essence of an Emergency. In furtherance of my defense of the Attorney General, I also cited the proviso of the very important Parliamentary Standing Order known as SO(18)(8) which eloquently speaks in favour of the Attorney General’s opinion.
I am proudly a very senior member of the opposition APC party but I did not hesitate to defend a governing SLPP state official as it was extremely important to help clarify to our people that the Attorney General did not breach the constitution with the assumed ‘delay’ to table the regulations in such a politically charged atmosphere.
So clearly, I have no malice for Dr. Priscilla Schwartz. Even as I seriously detest the legal charges against me, I possess a strong personality that is big enough to appreciate she is doing her job. I defend State authorities because I am patriotic enough to put the national interest above limited parochial or partisan interests.
My patriotism and love for a united and stable country is why I called on Sierra Leoneans to fully support the President’s proclamation for a SOE to enable us combat the threat of the Covid-19 coronavirus. Many politicians did not want me to support the proclamation but the scenes of dead bodies piled up in Italy, America, UK, etc. etc. drove me to make the call as a patriot. Thankfully, those scenes did not replicate in Africa. However, at that moment, the love for my people is why I acted patriotically. My criticisms of some aspects of how the coronavirus outbreak is being handled, is borne of the same wider public interests.
I want to see a Sierra Leone where citizens, especially those in leadership or with large number of followers, emulate me and put Sierra Leone first above all partisan interests.
To all Sierra Leoneans who believe in me, if you do believe in me, then you must believe in my ideology and refrain from engaging in any form of activities that threaten national security.
Peace, Unity and Love are amongst what the forefathers of my APC party stood for when they split from the SLPP to form the APC. The APC ideology does not believe in revenge nor does it promote de-stabilisation of Sierra Leone. The historical records are clear on this; Very, very clear. Let all Sierra Leoneans strive to emulate the peaceful APC ideology of our Founding Fathers in this our multi-party, democratic dispensation.
I hold no bitterness for anyone; even those who have connived and contrived against me. I know revenge is odious so I have already forgiven them. My destiny cannot be stopped by them.
To those, especially supporters of the SLPP and SLPP-led Government who abuse me daily on social media with nobody cautioning them to stop, I have already forgiven you. May God be the Judge.
I know that at the end of the day, only the truth will reveal at the Judiciary and I will walk away innocent of all charges. Please do not abuse the Judiciary on my behalf. Please respect the Judiciary. There are many ways to seek redress through Judiciary channels if one is displeased with a decision taken at any level – all the way to the Supreme Court. Those who are reporting on my case in court, should please do so without abusive language or prejudice.
Please do not make any threats of vengeance on my behalf against any one in authority. That is not my way. I completely condemn such behaviour.
If you believe in me, then please believe in God Almighty. Rest assured that any divinely ordained destiny cannot be stopped by man. No human being can stop my destiny. The struggles are challenging but we shall overcome and there will be Victory for us. Let us trust God Almighty and collectively work towards a stable, peaceful and united Sierra Leone with full respect for the Judiciary.
Keep your hearts free of Hate and Malice. Love is the answer. Long live the Republic of Sierra Leone.
SYLVIA OLAYINKA BLYDEN OOR, Aspirant for the Presidency of Sierra Leone, Pademba Road Prisons Jail. 17th June 2020.