Poor Theresa: How A School Girl Found Herself In A Sierra Leonean Jail

Posted by Jeneba Project on Monday, November 21, 2016 Under: Articles

Sierra Leone has endured an unfair existence since the death of Sir. Milton Margai, the only post-independence Sierra Leonean leader who governed with an unwavering commitment to the rule of law and the welfare of his people. Sir Milton insisted on establishing a post-independence political foundation based on a government of the people, for the people, and in service for the people. Sir Milton died without completing his vision for our new nation and thereafter it survived at the mercy of crooks, incompetent politicians, and their cabal of sycophants parading as functionaries.

The cumulative effect of thirty years of bad governance and corruption was a decade of bloodbath. We weaponized ourselves and committed the most depraved violence against each other. At the end of the civil war we were left with a ruined country and nothing else to show for those years of our collective lunacy. Some of us learned from that experience and committed ourselves to rebuilding Sierra Leone as a nation of law and democratic values.

The core values of any democratic society are freedom of speech and peaceful assembly. After our social contract is sealed at the polls, these are the strongest mechanisms left for the people to hold their elected government accountable. Apart from the fact that our constitution enshrines these principles, we belong to International Organizations that prescribe them as a precondition for membership. Our freedom of speech and peaceful assembly as guaranteed in Articles (19) & (20) of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, which at this point in our existence as a nation I find rather preposterous to have to underscore for my government, are inalienable rights. In a democratic society, the people need no permission from their government to speak or assemble in a peaceful manner. The government may not like what we say, but it is our right to yeapeh! The duty of the government is to provide an atmosphere for the exercise of these rights and to listen appropriately!

However, in recent times the Government of Sierra Leone has not only denied almost every request for a peaceful assembly, it is currently holding a young college girl in custody for merely forwarding a post she received on social media. As if current conditions were not sufficient hindrance to our freedoms, ils ont mis le feu au paradis, by threatening to hold administrators of social media sites accountable for the contents of their members. That, fambul dem, is the beginning of a banana republic!

When they could not find another scapegoat, they came for Theresa. And poor Theresa, she languishes in jail! You may say or do nothing, but remember, you might be their next target, and who will speak for you then!

Joseph Kaifala, ESQ. is a Sierra Leone Renaissance Movement leader and founder of the Sierra Leone Memory Project.


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KATEHUN KATEHUN (pronounced Ka-te-hun)-is a Mende word for a symposium or community center where disputes are settled. Everyone is permitted to make his/her case before a presiding chief in an open forum. On this forum, I write primarily for those who stand committed to the Rule of Law in Africa and to the value that our future is better determined by the government of the people, by the people, and in service for the people. To advance the African value of Ubuntu through International Law and the Principles of a United Nations, which propels us towards Life in Larger Freedom.
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