Sierra Leone: PMDC Leader Laments over State of Insecurity
By Stephen V. Lansana
The Leader of the People’s Movement for Democratic Change (PMDC) party, Charles Francis Margai said Sierra Leone is the most insecure country at the moment.
C.F. Margai told a news conference on Monday, January 15 held at the party’s headquarters in Freetown that “without security, there cannot be stability, and without stability there cannot be development in any nation.”
He was deliberating on the issue of insecurity in the country in relation to the murders of former head of the nation’s military, Retired Lieutenant General Samuel O. Williams at his resident in Devil Hole in Freetown, and that of retired Magistrate Imran Raman at Marjay Town.
He said both persons were murdered in different circumstances, adding that Lt. General Williams died under questionable circumstances. “I believe as a country, we are eager to know the findings of the investigations that are ongoing, which we hope will not be protracted. Our advise as a party to the police is that if they have any difficulty in coming out with evidence of the assassination of General S.O. Williams, they should not hesitate to communicate that to the citizens, as we could advise the leadership of this country to bring in competent individuals who are better qualified to conduct such sensitive investigations.
He extended his condolences on behalf of his party to the families of Gen. S.O Williams and Magistrate Imran.
He disclosed that they have done their own investigations on the brutal killing of Gen. S.O. Williams, adding that they are going to keep their findings from the public at the moment as they would not want to prejudice police investigation. He further said they will disclose their findings at the appropriate time. “We have done our own investigation on the brutal killing of Gen. S.O Williams. Perhaps we know much more than you think we know.”
He explained that on the day of the killing of S.O. Williams, he sent specific individuals to his residence at Devil Hole, and they later reported to him. He said he has people at S. O. Williams’s residence who are monitoring the situation, and they usually give him feedback. “But I do not want us as a party to prejudice the investigation,” he said. He said he will not work with the police in the investigation for very obvious reasons. He added that the incident was not a case of armed robbery as nothing was taken away from the later army chief’s residence.
Lawyer Margai stated that every Sierra Leonean is eager to know those that planned the murder of S. O. Williams, as well as those that carried out the dastard act. He added that the truth will be revealed soon because Sierra Leoneans want to prevent a recurrence of such happenings.
He said the party has also heard of the disappearance of one Idriss Kpange, a photojournalist. Margai furthered that he was told that the journalist is very quiet, not controversial. The PMDC helmsman added that he was told that the child of the said journalist was also kidnapped and the child was only seen few months before the disappearance of his father. “These happenings in our society are very scary. People do not have the liberty to express themselves,” he said.
“Let us not fool ourselves, Sierra Leone is the most insecure country at the moment,” Margai emphasized. “Apart from the killings of S.O Williams and Imran, we have heard of other murders in the country which are no less important because every life is important.” He said the country needed to avoid brutal killings.
Margai disclosed that last week in one of the radio programmes at Sierra Leone Broadcasting Cooperation (SLBC), they were discussing about the disappearances of people in the Moyamba District. He said he clearly heard a lady whom he knew very well, saying that whenever a particular minister visits Moyamba, parents will become worried about the safety of their children. Margai also stated that said some of them know the particular minister. ”But the question is, what have the police done by way of investigation,” Margai asked. He added that he will not call names because he doesn’t want to be very personal at the moment.
“The problem in our society today, especially in this country, is twofold: Lack of an independent judiciary police force. If these two institutions are not independent, I cannot see Sierra Leone making a headway as far as governance is concerned,” he said.
He said whenever a journalist or an individual becomes critical, a government official will go on air and claim that some people are inciting others to engage in violence. “I wonder if those public officials really know the meaning of incitement. I doubt it very much,” he said.
He said journalists should not be afraid of being critical as long as they investigate their stories very well. He assured journalists that they will stand by them when such issues crop up.