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I would rather be doing something else like enjoying the beautiful summer California weather in the city (San Francisco) this weekend; or maybe stick with the World Cup, but I can’t stand the fact that our collective intelligence as a nation is being insulted by these proponents of inquest and compensation of the families of Bambay Kamara and others murdered in the aftermath of the NPRC coup. In 2009 I wrote a piece on the same subject illuminating how the APC has chosen to bring it up in manners that characterize an anachronism at best. We have to move on! The last straw for me is not the venomous and/or vitriolic stuff, high on verbosities and low on logic that Sim Turay has been spewing forth recently. One can understand the man’s bitterness. If I was as powerful as he was and was sent on exile “ to do odd jobs in England “ by a coup led by Samuel Sandy (may his soul rest in peace) that I via nepotism “ the only way one could be an officer those days “ personally recruited into the army, I would be brimming with hate. That’s perfectly ok. (Photo: Fayia Sellu)
What is not right though is for any Sierra Leonean to assume that being in power gives them the gumption to write our history for us. Rising Sun What Life Has Taught Me anybody! I read a piece off the internet quoting the Information Minister’s recent interview to GLOBAL TIMES pretty much stating Government position that the families of the deceased will be compensated. Seriously?!
It would smirk of insensitivity to sit here posit an argument that seemingly spurns the search for justice and disregard the plight of the bereaved families of Bambay Kamara, Yahya Kanu, Salami Coker and others. Notice I deliberately refused to mention lesser mortals that were killed along like SSD Kandapa. Like the tens of thousands of nobodies (war fatalities) people like him don’t seem to matter in politics.
But let me come back to the issue at stake here. We can go right ahead and scalp off all the scars of the war if we choose to, and while at it, I can’t help but think of the thousands of inquests that the Koroma Government can commission. And the compensations too! It is no secret that the Truth and Reconciliation Commission was not as thorough as we would have wanted. Under the circumstances it did a broad-brush of a job of truth-telling and reconciling. But even its report which for many is less than adequate, still sits there gathering dust. And for the heck of it, it will be good to mention that these points like Jobs for Youth, No More Attorney General cum Minister of Justice, and so on were the vanguard campaign slogans. But I am not writing here about Government priorities.
My point is war-related extra-judicial killings and how we can’t afford to be selective in revisiting them. After the first shot at Bomaru on to the Lome Peace Accord, oceans have slid under the bridge or our war years. I feel compelled to instruct these inquest-maniacs that NPRC like AFRC were derivatives of the war. Both coups were a result of bad welfare conditions in the army. They turned full-blown coups after the presidents Momoh and Kabba ran away leaving a power vacuum. Were not Charles Margai and British High Commissioner Penfold talking to mutineers at Cockerill before the June 2 incident? Word is that before Sim Turay (the victim) shot Samuel Sandy there was no Head of State Strasser or NPRC. To say that prominent members of the SLPP were prominent in the NPRC is like the proverbial pot calling the kettle black. Look at the prominent AFRC acolytes now APC bombers. Please!
No, but on a more serious note, the idea of making our war one of tribalism is one I find most insulting. It is indeed worrisome if people like Turay are getting audience while the Civil Service continues to suffer ethnic or regional cleansing. President Koroma may be erring unforgivably on a promise of being president of all of Sierra Leone. No scholar, writer or historian worth his salt can find a clear pattern of tribal or regional proclivity in the conduct of our war. The rebel leader was a Sankoh and today the Special Court tried Issa Sesay, Hinga Norman, Santigie Kanu et al. I am always proud to say in any forum out here that our war was never tribal.
Strasser was chased out of college in Warwick into madness, and many NPRC members that can’t be APC like Idriss Kamara– the former secretary of state or his namesake Leather Boot, have nasty stories to tell. I think its time to move on. If we are really crazy about the inquest thing, we can do just that, till the next elections. I have suggestions. I can’t get over the brutal murder of innocent students who were out to demonstrate against junta rule under the AFRC, August 18, 1997 Vaffie Konneh and others, the Mabella massacre – the list goes on.
Apparently, elections have consequences. The APC can pick and choose which inquest they want to have and whom to compensate. They can elect to shuffle inquests way up the rungs of national priorities. Even President Obama that many have been attacking for his issues with priorities on domestic matters knows better than to go after Bush/Cheney for torture. Again, just maybe, if this dish of vengeance is served cold, we can move on to other things. Sad!
By Fayia Sellu, USA
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