In a bid not to prejudice the ongoing criminal prosecution, the legal advisers of this newspaper have advised that we do not directly comment on the murder investigation concerning an OSD Officer alleged to have “murdered” a bike rider last weekend.
However, what we can safely say is that when the matter commences proper with witnesses, the speed of charging the officer to court for “Murder” will expose an indelicate penchant of the authorities to appease Okada riders at expense of the image of Sierra Leone Police Force.
It will also expose a Police hierarchy not hesitating to sacrifice young professional officers in a bid to shield how they have bungled up their relationship with the public. It will leave citizens asking questions of Inspector General Francis Munu and his Executive Management Board.
Sierra Leone Police is not as bad as it has been portrayed to be by members of Opposition SLPP. What the police is suffering from is generalised growing disconnect between the authorities and the citizens.
There is too much information vacuum in national polity which Opposition (cleverly too) is taking advantage of. The SLPP is clearly succeeding because despite the visible popularity of the President himself as a person, the populace seems to have scant regard for his APC Government and its functionaries.
As an extension of inability of Government, the Police and the Justice sector are also inadequate in their public relations.
There is way too much corruption in justice sector for now and this is debilitating to any healthy relationship between the populace and the Government because the interaction between a Government and its citizens is usually through first-hand experience with the social services and the justice sector.
So, whilst the improved health for women and children is good, the continued corruption pervading the justice sector to the extent that police demand bribes even for simple tasks like entering a complaint report into Station Ledgers, is killing the image of the authorities in the eyes of populace. The unprofessional demands for bribes by unscrupulous police officers; in and out of police stations and in and out of traffic are now at an all time high.
It is a fact that the impunity of armed robbers has raised anger of the citizens against the inability of the police to effectively police all neighbourhoods.
Meanwhile, Sierra Leone was yesterday ranked very high in the Global Peace Index of the prestigious Center for Strategic International Studies in the USA. Sierra Leone ranked above USA and many other countries in terms of peace and security. This indicates that the country is not as lawless as some would like to portray it is. Many Sierra Leone Police Officers are doing a wonderful job in the face of so much challenge in a poor post-war country.
APC led Government is suffering from growing inability to get justice sector to behave professionally and inadequacy in information management; this is raising tensions.
Government tries to appease the tensions by molly-coddling lawlessness arising out of such tensions whilst at the same time not addressing true source of the tensions.
Brazened by the molly-coddling, the emboldened citizens (in this case, the okada riders) now turn their lawlessness against the symbols of State authority (in this case, the police stations).
The Government needs to revisit their strategy; current strategy is simply handing the country to the lawless ones to increase the levels of lawlessness.
© Copyright by Awareness Times
Newspaper in Freetown, Sierra Leone.