The Resident Minister East Hon. William Juana Smith has told journalists that there was a series of security threats in Kenema during the visit of His Excellency the President Dr. Ernest Bai Koroma.
He made this disclosure on Saturday 9/8/08 during a Press briefing held at his Maxwell Khobe street office in Kenema.
He explained that while the President was scheduled to inaugurate the newly elected councilors in the Eastern Province a man named Senesie Kallon of 11 Circular road was caught with two dangerous implements namely a catapult and Sling hidden in his hat while trying to make his way into the hall. He alleged that the suspect was among the crowd of opposition supporters who were chanting provocative and abusive languages.
Mr. Smith said, even in the hall decorum was broken where in series of utterances were made that disturbed the solemnity of the meeting in which people were expected to perform in a very cordial and peacefully manner the duties assigned to them by the state, but police came in to quell the situation.
The minister displaying the Sling, Catapult and the hat to the journalists, thanked the police for their alertness saying if the suspect had succeeded in entering the hall only God knows what would have been the situation. He said that the suspect is not going to be free adding that the police is thoroughly going to investigate the matter by going into the bottom of the dubious arrangement organized.
It is believed Senesie Kallon was not the only one involved. “We don’t have rebels and Kamajors in this country anymore” Resident Minister Smith thundered adding that they are prepared to enforce the full force of the law in this country people who think they can perform lawlessly should realize that there is law and order in this country he said.
The Resident Minister cautioned the opposition party to stop the negative propaganda explaining that the SLPP never generated revenue on its own but donor driven and the only place they had was the deep water quay. At the time they went out of office the international world knew that they had negatively made use of everything they gave them. Four months to the end of their time the donor people with held about five billion leones, this is the money they (SLPP) claimed to have left in the bank for the APC government.
Mr. Smith further revealed that the commission of enquiry is coming where in those who have been in office will go and explain how they spent the money that was put in their care.
Speaking about the tense atmosphere that erupted at the end of the programme in which fingers were pointed at him for changing the programme the Resident Minister described the atmosphere as a sort of security threat.
He explained that he don’t know where a programme came from and by the time they got into the hall they had distributed the said programme which he said he didn’t see as he was the chairman of the ceremony, stressing that he must approve of a programme first before he chairs the programme.
He stated that nobody can force a programme on the chairman of a meeting saying that even if he should have seen the first programme before they entered the hall it is his discretion to accept it or even to allow whom so ever to give the vote of thanks.
He said the programme was a national programme drawn from the national decentralization secretariat (DECSEC) in Freetown. On the main programme there was nothing like the host Mayor to give vote of thanks but was stated as one newly elected Mayor/Chairman, and it is left with the chairman’s discretion he said.
The Resident minister pointed out that with the development he would not have appointed the Mayor here (Kenema) they referred to as host mayor, did he host anybody he asked?
He cited the instance in Bo where he said it was the Pujehun chairman that gave the vote of thanks and in Kenema he called for Kono chairman to give the vote of thanks because the people were unruly, they have no respect for the presence of the President whom they depend on to give them money to do what they want to do in the councils.
“As chairman I used my right discretion as far as I’m concerned, suppose I have called on your so-called Mayor to come and give the vote of thanks and he went on inciting people in the place. Even if I should have seen the first programme before the second programme I would not have allowed the host Mayor to give the vote of thanks.
The Minister ended by saying that before they got to the hall, there was riot right from the gate and that is why the accused was caught. He said they heard about it, their intelligence was telling them that abusive languages were even used in the hall. If we have not arranged proper security measure in Kenema town immediately after the ceremony they were going into the streets to cause problem.
“They don’t know that Cocaine has been coming into this country; he called on the Journalist to go and look at the Hill Station where ministers built houses. Cocaine has been coming but they were very unlucky on that day as it were the same night that the president was coming from Gambia. The president is going to the bottom of the cocaine matter.” “I have a house in Kenema and I spent all my life here you can see I was not born here but you are not better rooted than I am because I have all my children born and bred here and I paid my taxes regularly. I must notbe blamed for what happened at the Eastern Polytechnic in terms of programme changing he concluded.