AIG Braima Jah Must be Stringently Punished

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By Festus Justus Margai

Email: [email protected]

A certain female Sierra Leonean RSLAF officer who circulated on social media a message advising her RSLAF colleagues to refrain from allowing themselves to be instigated by anyone to execute a coup was instantly dismissed by the RSLAF.

In other words, because she on her own volition shared such a message on social media platforms without seeking the permission of her superiors and without going through the appropriate RSLAF information and media department (which is the correct channel for dispensing such information) to the public, she was immediately sacked for her act of spreading a message to the general public for which she had no right or clearance.

This brings to mind the frantic efforts of suspended AIG Braima Jah who is hopping from one radio station to the other granting interviews without first (as should be the case) seeking permission from his superiors and without seeking permission or going through the appropriate Police Media Unit headed by Media One.

Instead, AIG Braima Jah is oblivious and even at some point recklessly going about openly challenging the Inspector General of Police, Ambrose Michael Sovula over something he apparently thinks is his right.

At this point, it is important to ask whether the Sierra Leone Police (SLP) has no rules and regulations in the SLP Code of Conduct and Ethics guiding such matters. Is AIG Braima Jah a law unto himself that he deliberately breaks all protocols and the Police Ordinance to embark on a crusade aimed at bringing the name of his superior and the SLP into disrepute?

Many observers that have been following this unfolding episode are of the firm belief that like the RSLAF officer that was sacked for ‘talking off her mouth’ in matters she had no right or permission; AIG Braima Jah deserves the same if not far worse treatment.

He must face the music for his insubordination and    other crimes committed against a superior officer, He must be made an example in order to set an unforgettable precedent. LONTA!

PARLIAMENT VIOLATES ECOWAS PROTOCOL ON DEMOCRACY & GOOD GOVERNANCE

The West African Parliamentary Press Corps (WAPPC) has accused the Parliament of Sierra Leone of violating Article 32 of the ECOWAS Protocol on Democracy and Good Governance entered into by member states by interfering in the internal arrangement of the Sierra Leone Parliamentary Press Gallery (SLPPG).

In a letter dated 9th September, 2021 and addressed to the Clerk of Parliament Hon. Dr. Umar Tarawally, the President of WAPPC Barr. Edwin Andrew Arthur wrote:

“As a responsible body of Parliamentary Reporters in the West African sub-region, we believe strongly that the involvement of Parliament in the reconstitution of the Press Gallery leadership in the absence of any election violates Article 32 of the ECOWAS Protocol on Democracy and Good Governance entered into by member states.”

For the purpose of clarity, the letter reads, Article 32 under Section VII on page 18 of the document, seeks to uphold the Rule of Law, Human Rights, and Good Governance, with member states agreeing “that good governance and press freedom are essential for preserving social Justice, preventing conflict, guaranteeing political stability and peace and for strengthening democracy.”

In view of the above, WAPPC’s position is that the recent reconstitution exercise of the Sierra Leone Press Gallery leadership by Parliament, not only interferes with the independence of the media and undermines press freedom but also speaks poorly of the integrity of Parliament to entrench democratic ideals in its day-to-day dealings with the media and public.

As a professional body charged with regulating the professional conduct of Parliamentary Journalists in the West African sub-region, WAPPC expresses interest to set in motion the necessary machinery that would lead to a final resolution of all pending issues between the Sierra Leone Parliament and the SLPPG, and immediately see to the conduct of a transparent election to produce a new Executive.

It should be recalled that following the unfortunate public notice from the Clerk of Parliament dated 27th July 2021 announcing the reconstitution of an ‘Interim Executive’ of the SLPPG, the Sierra Leone Association of Journalists (SLAJ) condemned the announcement and called on the leadership of Parliament to advise the Clerk to withdraw the notice.

SLAJ President Ahmed Sahid Nasralla maintained that Parliament has no business interfering in the internal arrangement of the SLPPG as it is an independent body of professionals reporting Parliament and that SLAJ will not recognise the ‘so-called’ interim executive.

“We are absolutely disappointed by the public notice from the Clerk’s office. The SLPPG is an affiliate body of SLAJ, and so they are accountable to SLAJ, not Parliament,” said Nasralla. “Besides, SLAJ had set in motion a process of reformation of the SLPPG and it was on course albeit some challenges. All we have been waiting for was for the Reformation Committee to submit its report, and then SLAJ (and the Media Reform Coordinating Group-MRCG) would come in to coordinate and facilitate the next steps of putting the SLPPG house in order.”

Meanwhile, the SLPPG Reformation Committee has submitted its report to SLAJ and other media stakeholders, following which a meeting of stakeholders was called by SLAJ and the MRCG where the recommendations of the report were adopted. A subsequent general meeting of media stakeholders and the members of the SLPPG was held and two committees were appointed to review the constitution and audit the finances of the SLPPG within a time frame of one month.

In spite of all this, Ticha Lemp Lemp is trying to confirm reports that the Clerk of Parliament is also working with his interim executive on the setting up of a parallel SLPPG that will be accredited by Parliament to sit in the gallery and report on the Legislature.

In July 2020 the Sierra Leone Parliament made history by repealing the infamous 55yr-old criminal and seditious libel law ushering new dawn for the country’s media and fledgling democracy. One year later the Sierra Leone Parliament is adamant to undo itself by trying to reverse that historic achievement and making fun of His Excellency President Julius Maada Bio’s tremendous achievements in the area of media freedom.

Please see WAPPC Letter below:

WEST AFRICAN PARLIAMENTARY PRESS CORPS (WAPPC)

Office of the Clerk

Parliament Building,

OAU Drive,

Tower Hill, Freetown,

Sierra Leone.

9th September, 2021.

Dear Hon. Dr. Paran Umar Tarawally,

The attention of the West African Parliamentary Press Corps (WAPPC) has been drawn to a Public Notice by your office, dated the 27th of July, 2021, announcing the reconstitution of the Parliamentary Press Gallery leadership pursuant to Standing Order 80 of the House Rules of Procedure.

As a responsible body of Parliamentary Reporters in the West African subregion, we believe strongly that the involvement of Parliament in the reconstitution of the Press Gallery leadership in the absence of any election violates Article 32 of the ECOWAS Protocol on Democracy and Good Governance entered into by member states.

For the purpose of clarity, Article 32 under Section VII on page 18 of the document, seeks to uphold the Rule of Law, Human Rights, and Good Governance, with member states agreeing “that good governance and press freedom are essential for preserving social Justice, preventing conflict, guaranteeing political stability and peace and for strengthening democracy.”

In view of the above, it is our position that the recent reconstitution exercise of the Sierra-Leonean Press Gallery leadership by Parliament, not only interferes with the independence of the media and undermines press freedom but also speaks poorly of the integrity of Parliament to entrench democratic ideals in its day-to-day dealings with the media and public.

Accordingly, in keeping with our responsibilities as a professional body charged with regulating the professional conduct of Parliamentary Journalists in the West African sub-region, we express our interest to set in motion the necessary machinery that would lead to a final resolution of all pending issues between parliament and the Press Gallery, and immediately

see to the conduct of a transparent election to produce a new Executive for the latter three months from now.

While hoping to work with the Sierra-Leonean Parliament to ensure a seamless transition by the Interim Exco, as well as strengthen the harmonious professional relationship between the Legislature and Reporters, kindly accept the assurances of our highest regards.

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