|Does Sierra Leone Need This Again?|
Sierra Leone spent the better part of ten years engaged in a dangerous, atrocious, brutal and bloody armed civil conflict that led to massive proliferation of arms and ammunition in the country. This proliferation of weapons resulted in a state of near anarchy with armed groups and civil militias practically running the country; leading to lawlessness, decapitations, amputations, rape, and armed robbery by groups of youths fueled by drugs and negative ideology.
Peace and some semblance of normalcy was only reintroduced into the country after the forceful intervention of the regional West African force ECOMOG and the United Nations which sent the largest peacekeeping force in the world into the country at the time.
One of the main actions taken by the international community to maintain and sustain peace in the country at the time was to embark on a full scale national disarmament program, aimed at removing arms and ammunition from lawless groups, allowing the peacekeeping forces and ultimately the country's military and police forces to regain control over security and law and order in the country once again. The international community spent millions of dollars convincing elements of the Revolutionary United Front, the pro government "Kamajor" and "Tamaboro" militias and the anarchist "West Side Boys" to bring their weapons to collection points for destruction in a bid to reduce the number of arms in the hands of dangerous characters in the country.
|Sankoh's Symbolic Disarmament|
So for the parliament of the country to once again legislate and sanction the proliferation of arms into the hands of the civil society in a security situation that is still fragile at best, is an action that can only be described as unreasonably insane. In the face of vehement opposition by opposition party members, the majority APC parliamentarians whose leader was just given a massive pay increase surpassing even that of the president, went against all reasonable arguments and set the stage for the resumption of conflict and possibly genocide in the country once again.
|UN Disarmament in Segbwema|
In preparing for the upcoming parliamentary and presidential elections, the ruling APC party, surprised by the growing support of country's opposition amongst the people, has been spending millions of dollars on the purchase of arms and ammunition to arm the government paramilitary unit known as the OSDs. Sanctioning the legal possession of arms and ammunition by so called "civil groups" is seen as just another ruse by a jittery ruling party determined to hang on to power with the use of blunt force, even if the people decide that they have had enough of the massive increase in poverty and decline in living standards that has seen the value of the local currency decline by more than 100% since the current government came to power.
|RUF Leader Issa Sesay Disarming|
The disheartening thing about the current trend in Sierra Leone is that the immediate ex-president, Ahmed Tejan Kabba who handed over to the current president Ernest Koroma, invested years trying to rid the country of arms that were or could fall in the wrong arms. He encouraged the strengthening of civilian democratic institutions and undertook a whole scale reformation of the police, bringing in expatriates to make the force a respectable and responsible force that was committed to the maintenance of law and order.
The current government has in a short period reversed all the positive steps that were instituted to make the police a model in West Africa and has resorted to using the police as an agent of democratic suppression and harassment of opposition supporters.
|Michael Von Schulenburg|
The outgone Executive representative of the United Nations Secretary General to Sierra Leone, Michael Von Schulenburg, became so alarmed at the negative trends in the country that he openly voiced his opposition to the developments. The government not only requested his removal from the country, but had pro government journalist such as the notorious Sylvia Blyden vilify and write so much trash about the poor diplomat, that they practically ran him out of the country.
|RUF Intellectuals Happy|
The parliament's decision to have weapons in civil hands is probably predicated on the fact that the government will have control over ian individual or group is allowed to gets weapons. But given the porous state of the country's borders, the proliferation of weapons in neighboring Liberia, Guinea and Ivory Coast and the number of youths in the country who spent years using firearms to commit heinous crimes,the decision by the parliamentarian is not only irresponsible, but it is a clear manifestation of why Sierra Leone remains at the bottom of every conceivable index of human progress in spite of the massive natural wealth and relatively sophisticated human capital compared to its neighbors. Sierra Leone is like a country that has been personally cursed by God himself. The people are resilient and patient, but the selfish culture of the country has always been a breeding ground that yielded leaders who promise heaven while they are in opposition, only to deliver hell when they are in power. On hearing this law, Satan and Foday Sankoh will this week thow a major party in hell