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LAWLESSNESS OR MAMMY CURSE?
~~Lawlessness is one of the major national problems President Ernest Bai Koroma had highlighted in many of his nationwide speeches since he acceded to power in September 2007. On his re-election in November 2012, the President reiterated his stance on lawlessness and advised Sierra Leoneans to be law abiding. But it seems that the President’s admonition against lawlessness has not been heeded to by most Sierra Leoneans including the grassroots and prominent citizens from whom much is expected. A typical example of lawlessness occurred last Friday when the Principal Immigration Officer (PIO) Mr. Alpha Kholifa Khoroma had an altercation with a traffic warden which landed the latter at the Pademba Road Maximum Prisons on the grounds of officialdom.
The Principal Immigration Officer (PIO) was cruising in Freetown with his official vehicle with an expired insurance which is against the traffic rules of this country. A traffic warden intercepted him and requested for his insurance only to learn that the PIO’s official vehicle was carrying an expired insurance. An altercation ensued between the two that culminated to verbal attacks which the police had to intervene. Upon initial investigation, the traffic warden was arrested and sent to the Pademba Road Maximum Prisons while the PIO was let off the hook by virtue of his official position despite he had committed a traffic offence as a former senior police officer.
The problem of lawlessness in this country is that many Sierra Leoneans in positions of trust use their offices to defy the national laws which they are supposed to religiously uphold as responsible state officials. Could you believe that a very senior government official like Mr. Alpha Kholifa Khoroma would drive a vehicle with an expired insurance? As a decision maker in the current administration, the PIO should have been a shiny example of a law-abiding citizen, but he used his honourable position to bulldoze the traffic warden enforcing the traffic rules in public interest. And the system being what it is, the offender was spared the rod while the enforcer of the traffic rules was dragged to detention at the Pademba Road Maximum Prisons after they had verbally attacked themselves upon request to produce his current insurance which the PIO did not have.
According to eyewitness accounts, it was Mr. Alpha Kholifa Khoroma who started using invectives against the traffic warden before the latter could respond, but the former used his official position coupled with his former service in the Sierra Leone Police (SLP) to have the poor traffic warden locked up with impunity. This is very unfair in any democratic country where the rule of law and respect for human rights are more paramount than officialdom.
The bottom line is that Mr. Alpha Kholifa Khoroma disrespected the traffic rules by using an official vehicle with an expired insurance, given his previous occupation as a senior police officer that is ought to know better than the average Sierra Leoneans. This country is doomed if people from whom much is expected are behaving like touts and simpletons.
The traffic warden should also be blamed for lawlessness by failing to restrain himself when rudely attacked by the PIO. As a junior officer, he would have responsibly reported the matter to his supervisor for further instruction instead taking the gauntlet with the PIO though the latter misbehaved publicly.
No matter the fact concerning that, both the PIO and the traffic warden misbehaved publicly to the annoyance of onlookers. That is why I will recommend to the appropriate authorities to immediately release the traffic warden from detention and to ensure that Mr. Alpha Kholifa Khoroma updates his insurance after flouting a traffic rule with impunity. Besides, both do not only owe apologies to themselves but also to the general public for misbehaving publicly.
By and large, the President’s admonition against lawlessness should be taken seriously by well-meaning citizens who want this country to be counted among the civilized countries of the world where nobody is above the law irrespective of their positions. Former British Prime Minister Tony Blaire openly apologized to his people in a television broadcast when his driver broke a traffic rule by moving on when the red traffic light was on. Mr. Alpha Kholifa Khoroma could have done the same to the poor traffic warden but his official egoistic tendencies led him to molesting the law enforcer who may have reacted without knowing the former’s position in government. Any responsible government officials should not be engaged in “mammy curse” like what the PIO and the traffic warden did to the annoyance of the public. The traffic warden should be immediately released from the Pademba Road Maximum Prisons because Mr. Alpha Kholifa Khoroma is more culpable than the traffic warden except Government wants to give the impression that senior officials with strong APC background are above the law and should behave at whim.