Sierra Leone Telegraph: 24 December 2015
As opposition political leader Alie Kabba spent last night behind bars in Freetown as a prisoner of conscience, the people of Sierra Leone on this Christmas Eve are pondering the thought of Sierra Leone once again becoming a repressive state, ruled by a dictator.
Throughout their previous twenty-five years tenure of office, the ruling APC party ruled Sierra Leone under a corrupt communist dictatorship led by president Siaka Stevens, which destroyed the country and transformed it into a failed and bankrupt state.
Throughout those dark years of APC repression and the abuse of power by those in high office, civil liberty, freedom of speech and human rights abuse were prevalent and rampant.
Today in Sierra Leone we see the return of political repression and the curtailing of civil liberty, with the once discredited APC back in power.
Yesterday’s arrest of opposition political leader Kabba by the police, using a trumped up charge of bigamy, was nothing short of travesty. This must be strongly condemned and resisted.
Sierra Leone’s ugly and brutal civil war was started by a repressive and corrupt APC regime. Today we witness the return of the same conditions that created the cycle of violence which provided the oxygen that fed the war.
For a government minister to use her sexuality and position in government, so as to influence the powers from above to invoke an unlawful arrest is a despicable act of abuse of power.
Alie Kabba is cited in a divorce court action brought by the minister for local government – Diana Konomanyi in Freetown. The case is in the High Court. Judges have not instructed the arrest of Kabba on any charges, let alone for bigamy, which Kabba strongly denies and has submitted his evidence in court. (Photo – Diana and president Koroma).
Should it not therefore be for the court to decide on whether bigamy has been committed or not? Is Alie Kabba guilty until proven innocent of any crime?
Why did the minister use her powers as a government minister to call upon the police to arrest Kabba?
Is this not not travesty of justice, and yet another example of Sierra Leone returning to political repression once again under an APC government, after the arrest of a journalist just few days ago?
This is Native Tucker’s report from Freetown: (Photo – Alie Kabba).
According to Justice Kekula Bangura, the minister of local government and rural development Madam Diana Finda Konomanyi via his solicitor Ibrahim Sorie, had filed divorce papers in the High Court before him, on the 30th June 2015, in which she is seeking a divorce from her husband Alie Kabba.
Speaking to me on 30th June 2015 at his chamber 6th floor, Guma Building, Lamina Sankoh Street in Freetown, Justice Kekula said “The matter is presently before me in an originating notice of motion done by her counsel but no progress had been made so far”.
Asked whether there had been any response from the solicitors representing the husband, he said yes but refused to comments on the issue.
According to the court registrar, Madam Konomanyi is seeking divorce on the grounds that Mr. Kabba failed to inform her that he had another wife in the United States.
Because he had been arrested and locked up in police cell at the Criminal Investigations Department (CID) headquarters at Pademba Road in Freetown, I was tempted to call Justice Kekula to ask whether he ordered the arrest of the respondent Alie Kabba because of the matter before him.
On his part, he said the Plaintiff herein (the minister) is doing his job, which he described as hijacking function.
He said he had earlier explained to the Plaintiff (Diana) the implications and interpretation of her actions, but she snubbed him with the back of her hands and refused to respect the orders from the High Court.
Notwithstanding her disrespect for the Court, the judge and the law, the trial is before a judge and must continue.
In my humble opinion I think this is grossly disrespectful to the judiciary and the very judge who is presiding over the said matter.
How can the police effect an arrest in a matter before a High Court judge unknown to the judge?
Why must the local government minister Madam Diana order the arrest of a man she is requesting a divorce from, if really she is no longer interested in him?
How can the police reduce their functions in arresting innocent Citizens on the orders of Politicians?
Are the Sierra Leone Police actually protecting lives and properties together with innocent civilians?
Are the police aware that someday a change in government can occur?