Sierra Leone’s new minister of internal affairs responds to questions from public

Sierra Leone Telegraph: 22 May 2020:

Newly appointed Minister of Internal Affairs of Sierra Leone – David Panda Noah, was a guest at Radio Democracy in Freetown yesterday, where he spoke about his new job and the changes he is planning to make to policing in the country.

Responding to questions from the general public phoning the radio station, this is what he said:

“I’m in God’s hands. Every morning, when I pray, I ask God to lead me, direct me, give me wisdom and understanding on how to work with the people of Sierra Leone, to ensure their security and for the Almighty God to provide security for us – using us who his excellency has appointed.”

Lawlessness,  cliques and gangs

“I’ll try to limit or work with them. They’re human beings. They’re Sierra Leoneans. We’ll reach out to them to find out firstly,  what’s leading them to being in cliques and gangs – to see if we can provide alternatives – good things that they can do to occupy their time or away from the cliques and gangs. (Photo: Panda-Noah).

“Sometimes, it can be work. Sometimes,  people are just lawless, but we’ll try to educate, teach and reach out, to ensure that we change that status quo. We have the law at our disposal to make sure that those who don’t comply, after reaching out, will face the full force of the law.”

Use of technology for law enforcement

“My deputy has big plans for a ‘smart city,’ which involves technology,  wherein the police will be observing people and potential crimes and able to stop them and respond to those crimes. We can prevent those crimes from happening as well, when we use cameras, information,  to deal with them.”

Welfare of the police and correctional services

“His excellency  is very keen on welfare. That’s why he talks about the human capital, because the human capital involves welfare; people being trained, people being developed. Therefore,  it is one of the key tenets of this government,  so welfare is one that we’ll address and look into and maintain. It wouldn’t be for the short haul, it’ll be for the long term.”

Rights of the police and the security services

“It’ll be maintained. We’ll teach, explain and communicate…give people information on what police officers can do and how they can do it. The information will be out there to the public so they’ll be aware. If they apprehend you; if they accost you or stop you, what you’d expect them to do. Also, what we expect the citizens to do.”

Women and children

“That’s my own tenet. Most of the places I’ve worked…I had a nursery school and mostly females worked there. Most of the people I transport to church are older women and vulnerable people, so I have a passion for women. I love my mum so much. I love my sisters so much. I never want anything to happen to them. I’d love to see women and girls riding their bikes at the beach anytime they want without any fear. Even men, nowadays, have to secure their phones because it’s so dangerous.

“We’ll change that. We’ll ensure that the necessary tools are there to make sure that women’s rights are protected. That women, vulnerable and older people are protected. I have a passion for that particular area.

“When I see kids on bikes I get so angry. They’re our treasure,  our future. We must protect them. Parents should protect them. Don’t put your child on a bike without a helmet.  It starts from us as citizens to ensure the security and protect our kids, the vulnerable and elderly.”

Policing social media

“They made it for one thing – to be social. Now, it’s not social at all. If you see what people write, it’s not social. It’s anger, hate, and incitement. These are things we shouldn’t be doing. We’ll work with the necessary agencies – NATCOM – and companies, where there are persistent violence on social media, to apprehend,  locate these people and caution them. If it’s extreme, do what the law permits us to do.”

Policing border crossings

“Very porous. We must equip the departments,  immigration and border departments to be able to handle it. Recruit more people to be able to man the areas. Use technology to help man the borders. We have a lot of challenges but ‘a journey of a thousand mile, start but with a single step.”

Allegiance to Bio and how that will interfere with your work

“I took my oath to the people of this nation to say I’ll do my duty religiously and diligently  for the benefit of the people of Sierra Leone. If I do wrong, his excellency is disciplined enough to punish me. I know that I have to work.

“I know him as a righteous man. When the righteous is in authority, the people rejoice. We’re supposed to be rejoicing because his excellency is there. With his excellency,  you wouldn’t  do anything which is not for the benefit or good of this nation.”

Orders from above

“When I was in SLRSA, he’s never called me for anything and I know that he leaves you to do what you know you should be able to do and what is right. That’s the kind of administration he runs, and I know that’s what he does. He does not interfere into what you have to do.

“Other people will tell you the same. He doesn’t interfere in any of these things. When he’s given you the position,  he expects you to use your good office and intelligence,  honesty and all of your virtues and values.”

With the appointment of a new internal affairs minister, president Bio is hoping for a big reduction in the rising lawlessness and crime in the country, mainly due to high youth unemplyment and joblessness, drug abuse and alcoholism.

With this in mind, it is important that the new internal affairs minister does not misunderstand or misdiagnose the causes of lawlessness in the country. Politicising the causes of youth violence and social disorder is not the answer, and could be both counter-intuitive and counter-productive. The minister needs to think and act very carefully.

13 Comments

  1. President Bio is a man of his words and a leader to reckon with. He made no mistake to appoint Mr. Panda Noah as the internal affairs minister of Sierra Leone. We pray and hope that Mr Noah in his capacity reduces the high crime rates and violence in mama Salone. Long live the president.

  2. Not so technical and wise Mr.Morris Koroma. I don’t believe, that radio stations are sources of intelligence gathering. Are you talking about damage control by the New Minister of the Interior on radio, where the “control” has already been “damaged” before he took office? To be honest, the new Minister went on air to tell me that he will do things differently and promised to implement the new “smart city” plan of his deputy. But, would his words fly? Your best source of intelligence is from your people, when you govern in a democratic manner and respect the rule of law, but that is not happening right Mr. Morris Koroma.

    The new Minister was talking about “smart city”. Was he talking about a “smart city” that is designed to point guns at opposition members in front of their party headquarters from white SUVs and to report at our prisons at 3:00am to properly monitor and guide our prisoners for chaos? What a great policing and intelligence gathering “smart city” that would ever exist. Isn’t it Mr Morris Koroma? Please reply Mr. Morris Koroma if you disagree with me. God bless Mr. Morris Koroma and all the recently appointed political recruits by President Bio.

  3. Hon Panda worked at SLRSA for just one and half years but believe me what he did was marvellous. He increased the staff strength especially the corps which has made the job easier for us. Promoting overdue promotions and finally our welfare was well managed during his tenor. I hope and pray he will calm down the political tension and make the citizens focus on development instead.

  4. Action speaks louder than utterances. Therefore let us wait and see before we go to judgment. Because many have spoken but we are still wallowing in poverty.

  5. I know David Panda Noah and his love and fearness of God and his respect for people he come across. Any one he knows in the UK will attest to this fact. I am quite confident he will succeed in his role as Minister of Internal Affairs because he is very straightforward and dedicated servant who will serve our nation deligently and he will do it without any bias of any kind.

    • Too early and not impressed yet Mr. Sulay Cabrini. But, I don’t know Mr. David Panda Noah and his love and fairness of God and his respect for people he comes across yet. He has to prove that to me and many other Sierra Leoneans. I have a question for you to answer as soon as possible on this glorious platform Mr. Sulay Cabrini.

      Will Mr. David Panda Noah with his fearness of God, ask President Bio and the Bio SLPP for a swift investigation into the Pademba Road Prisons riot and more importantly, launch an internal investigation into the 3:00am work schedule of his deputy at Pademba Road Prisons on that dark day?
      Finally, will Mr. Sulay Cabrini reply to my question, right here and right now? God bless Mr. David Panda Noah and Mr. Sulay Cabrini. We shall see.

  6. That is interesting. Asking for God’s security through mortal man? The Lord said it clearly. John 3:16 – “For God so loved the world, that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life”. Also – Psalm 125:1 – “Those who trust in the Lord are like Mount Zion, which cannot be moved, but abides forever”. Just believe and trust in the Lord and not through any mortal man Mr. Minister of the Interior. Go out everyday and ask God for guidance.

    Pray that God help you work independently, without any interference from President Bio and the Bio SLPP, but more importantly, start saying to the President, “reform the Police and make IG Sovula a boss for himself and only answerable to parliament”. You can do that if you trust in God for your security. Never you ask for God’s security through mortal man Mr Minister of the Interior. However, enjoy your job and God help you.

  7. Mr David Panda Noah, I hope and pray you succeed. There is a lot riding on your shoulders.Since you stated you have a passion for protecting women and children, I hope when you were saying those words you were thinking of the thousands of young women and girls that are currently detained in prisons right across the country that are not fit for human habitation. Some of these women are only in there for minor offences. I am against people who commit acts of criminality. But if you dig into some of these young women and girls lives you will be hard pressed to justify their detention.

    In our societies women suffer a lot in terms of sexual violence and unemployment. In majority of cases women are the main breadwinners of the family. So when a woman is detained the children suffer. Women pickup the pieces after a family breakup. Yet they are never appreciated for what they do, instead get all the blame for anything that goes wrong in our societies. I believe if we had more women leaders in our country or any country in Africa that country will be in a better shape in terms of economic development .There will be no Idi Amins or Mobutu’s DRC. Men are full of egos and power hungry.

    We always want people to massage our egos just so we can say I’m the boss!I hope president Bio leaves you alone to carry out your reform agenda.You should be a problem solver not some one who create problems for the president. As the new internal affairs minister, I commend you in your reform programme regarding how to make our disgraceful Sierra Leone police force more accountable to the people it serves. Refrom is long over due. Your first port of call should be to visit the notorious correction prison facilities to see how your Sierra Leonean sisters live. Good luck

    • The minister is not saying because he has great passion for women means they too should be lawless. Those women in the correctional services are not there because they are women or are defenceless, they are in the prisons because they committed crimes. They are not above the laws of the land. We are all equal in the eyes of the law. So no special preference they deserve in the prisons. They should be treated equally to men.

  8. Time will reveal all things. The days and nights given to us to perform our duties, are not limitless; they will soon be spent, like the meager, or substantial salaries we earn, leaving some brimming with with pride, and others traumatized by humiliation, for the attitudes, outcomes and end-results of their incessant labors. It is easy to chant, or say nice things on the radio that people will like to hear, but it is reality and truth that will be unbiased judges when the moment of trial and reckoning arrives.

    To examine whether we had been good stewards or not, will not be up to us to decide, for our actions will speak louder than our words. Congratulations to the Minister, remember the rooster will always crow at dawn, signalling the beginning of a new day and rest assured we will be listening to hear only delightful and good news – our ears will be attentive, to a crowing that signals, emphasizes and symbolizes peace, equity,respect and prosperity…Good Luck to you Mr Panda Noah.

  9. Sounds like Mr. Noah has the mindset and leadership to succeed in his new assignment. Majority of his responses to questions posed aligned with democratic principles of governance. With administration officials not matching their public utterances to meaningful actions. We are waiting to see how Mr. Noah will fare compared to his counterparts.

    • It is no mistake that President Bio appointed your minister of Internal Affairs. He believes that your experience in security, and knowing what trouble shooters are capable of initiating in modern Sierra Leone, you will make a real-time team player with your deputy Lawrence Lahai Leema. If you give Leema an ample playing field, he will boost you and help you reduce lawlessness from the streets of Freetown especially. As you do so, be careful in your answers to questions from interviews by some radio stations.

      Your answers may place trouble makers ahead of you by few steps. This is because radio stations are sources of intelligence gathering, and those who think your job is to deter their operations, will always pay attention to you. I am not teaching you anything by all means because I believe that you know better, but it is because Sierra Leoneans are tired of having those who make trouble for them going free without paying for taking the country a few steps backward. Mr Minister, remember that your position is what guarantees or endangers the internal safety of this Country, and therefore, you will have the support of all Sierra Leoneans. Congratulations Mr Minister!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.


*


This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.