The investigations into the alleged cocaine saga are still on-going. Arrests have been made, people have been released for lack of evidence on the part of the police, and aspersions have been made on certain people, especially the office of the Presidency – notably, perhaps, by Robert Mugabe, all the way in Zimbabwe. I need not restate the fact that Mugabe must be a desperate man to justify why he should be sympathized with, for he knows how he came into office.
Issues of national concern must be treated with some amount of seriousness, especially when such issues touch on the integrity and perhaps even the security of the state. Such is the case in the on-going alleged cocaine saga. Plus, all other interventions and interests shown on the issue by institutions, one definitely was expecting our lawmakers to have added their voice on the issue, but alas!
Since the plane forcefully landed at the airport with some substance believed to be cocaine, there had been several calls from members of the public and also from the independent press for the resignation or sacking of certain people in position; among them, Minister of Transport and Aviation Kemoh Sesay and the ONS Boss, Kelly Conteh.
These calls have been made not because, Sierra Leoneans are jealous of these people – as said by Kemoh Sesay [courtesy, Theo Nicol] – or because they are not loved, but because their resignation or sacking by the president has to do with integrity, and also to ensure thorough investigations that would for no reason be influenced by Kemoh Sesay or even by the non-performing Boss at the Office of National Security.
So even as certain people keep defending and making submissions as to why Kemoh and others must still retain their positions, those of us who believe in integrity and the dictates of an effective good governance system would never relent in repeating our request. Kemoh Sesay and others must be made to excuse whilst the Police are investigating the alleged cocaine scam and then allow for a proper job to be done by our police officers.
There should be no sacred cow, as said by the President in a recent nationwide broadcast. This must be forced into the ears of Kemoh Sesay, if he is failing to listen. Whether he is APC, PMDC or a member of the RUFP, this has to do with issue of national interest, which I suppose supersedes party interest. The President has said that, but it is like he believes more in saying things than acting. I have nothing against any of those that should be made to relinquish; I have admired Kemoh Sesay, as a young and vibrant opposition politician some years back.
I recall, witnessing a radio debate last year organized by my recent past workplace, Talking Drum Studio, on the decision by the then Kabbah government to appoint Kanji Daramy as Commissioner for the National Telecommunication Commission. Kemoh Sesay, who was one of the studio guests, was very vocal and critical over the decision by Kabbah on the grounds that Kanji was found wanting by a commission of enquiry and as such, should not be made to occupy public office.
Not only that, when Val Collier was alleged to be involved in corrupt practices as then Commissioner of the ACC, Kemoh Sesay and other APC parliamentarians then requested for his sacking. He was sacked, based on integrity, even though he has today been made head of the Public Service Commission by the very APC guys.
Simply drawing a logical argument would tell you that the fact that the Acting Airport Manager, John Rogers, was arrested by Police for interrogation as head of that institution, the same is applicable to the Transport and Aviation Minister, because, from reports, the Minister did give authority to the Acting Manager to allow the landing of the aircraft with the substance believed to be cocaine.
Now look at what is happening at the Special Court for Sierra Leone. Hinga Norman [of blessed memories] and Alieu Kondowa were arrested and charged not because, they actively partook in the alleged killing and maiming of innocent civilians, but because, they were believed to have had the greatest responsibility for atrocities committed by their men .
The ONS, with all intent and purpose, was established to be providing security advice to the President on issues relating to national security. But over the years, it has been like people collect moneys from government coffers at the end of every month without actually doing their expected job. Kelly Conteh must not be spared, with regard to the alleged cocaine scam. He must be shown the exit door. This could be the most difficult moment for the President, especially when he is expected by many Sierra Leoneans to make ‘hard decisions’ as ‘the captain of the ship,’ but obviously, the President must do that.
Kemoh Sesay and others are not bigger than the state. They must be suspended until investigations are concluded by the Police. If the President cannot do that for fear of losing a young man, as believed by Kemoh Sesay, then other bodies like our House of Parliament must act.
But could it be that even our House of Representation is so divided and composed more of party loyalists than those seeking national interest? I’m asking this question because it is like our parliamentarians have almost forgotten that they have a responsibility to the people of this country and not to the political parties they are representing. From my observations, certain people were only elected into parliament to represent themselves and not the nation.
The main opposition parties in our House of Representation – the SLPP and the PMDC – must take it in impressing on the president to suspend or even sack Kemoh Sesay and others to save the reputation of our country. Can they sit by and allow those who are supposed to be shown the exit door to continue occupying their positions, and then being paid from our tax payer’s moneys?
The MP’s must be seen displaying nationalism, but this has not been the case over the years, especially with our current parliament. Now let me draw the attention of readers to two issues currently at the hands of our member of parliaments. And they have to do with the passing into law of the Anti-Corruption Bill and the Anti-Drug Bill.
The President recently demonstrated the willingness and preparedness of the executive arm of government in ensuring that these bills become law soon, especially given the current status of drug trafficking in the country, least to talk of the fight against corruption.
But is there a big political divide currently at our House of Parliament or have our parliamentarians been overcome with parochial party interest? This is a wait-and-see situation for now. Obviously, the APC cannot succeed in passing the Bills into law because they have less than 75 Parliamentarians in Parliament, which isn’t enough to give them the 2/3 majority needed.
My passionate plea to our MP’s is this: Please treat issues of national concern with utmost priority rather than with political party interest. Irrespective of the political party one represents in parliament, when it comes to issues that are of public concern and interest, I think such issues must be given priority.
Our MP’s must not only be passing laws, but must also be making moves that would ensure people demonstrate integrity in public offices. In as much as we implore on the MPs to pass the Bills into law, they must also be asking our president to let go of those who have dealings with the landing of the aircraft at our airport.
Just for the sake of integrity, Mr. President, please ask your men to step aside.
Till then [email protected] is my email address By John Baimba Sesay