‘If I become president”: Episode Seven

8 mins read

Jattu Bockarie is a result-oriented Public Servant, an Economist, a Gender Activist, and an Entrepreneur of ‘Mu meh’s local food. Her passion for women’s rights and the protection of young girls has always been impactful to the country. Despite her attachment as a Public Servant, she has always been in the thick and thin of several activities championing the ideal rights of women and girls.

She attended the Evangelical Primary School. Later, she moved to St. Joseph’s Secondary School where she attained her junior secondary and senior secondary education. She holds a Certificate in Population and Statistics Study, and BSc. Economics.

She has volunteered for several organizations including the Youth in Action for Peace SL (YAP) as a Finance officer, enumerator at Innovation for Poverty Action (IPA).  She is currently working at the Customs Services Department, National Revenue Authority as a Revenue Officer.

Among many, In 2019, she received a Certificate of commendation For her immense contribution to partnership and development.

In an exclusive interview with us at Salone Messenger in our new series: ‘’IF I BECOME PRESIDENT’’ which is intended to flesh opinions of Sierra Leone’s young emerging leaders and those in the street of Freetown on the future of a United Sierra Leone, here is what she said will the first thing she will do if she becomes the President of Sierra Leone, why and how?

SM question

J.B

What will be the first thing you will do when you become president?

Why?

J.B

‘’As a Gender Activist, the many factors that have accounted for the increase in various types of Domestic violence and sexual assaults are being seen as the lapses of the security sector precisely the Police which is in charge of internal security.

The Judiciary has also been an aspect of challenge in the process of administering justice. Public Confidence in the judiciary over the years has been at its lowest ebb.

1. It must be noted that over the years the Sierra Leone Police, in particular, has been flooded with unprofessional employees serving in professional capacities and the same lack of passion to carry out their duties. They lack the enthusiasm to thoroughly investigate cases without cutting corners which leaves victims especially victims of Sexual and Gender-Based violence cases vulnerable.

2. There is no gainsaying that some of the Police officers to a very large extent lack the expertise, knowledge, and experience in investigating matters of Sexual Assault and Domestic violence within the Family Support Unit (FSU). Some of them lack the training to handle such matters.

3. Interference from people (the powerful, rich, and connected) have always crept into compromising matters of sensitivity seemingly because of the lack of total independence of the Police. The Issue of independence is a serious factor holding the Police institution from properly executing it duties because the Head of the Police is constitutionally a Political appointee, and as such, this only poses the  risk of hindering the work of the institution because he who pays the piper calls the tune.’’

How?

J.B

‘’1. To this, therefore, I will suggest and recommend that the leadership of the Sierra Leone Police is selected by an independent body other than it being by Political appointment.

With a nonpartisan body that will be in charge of appointing the Police Leadership, we will ensure that positions and promotions for senior officers be merit-based wherein those who are qualified to be promoted get their fair share. This will, in turn, enhance effective policing without the usual ‘Laybelleh’ to those in power.

2.  The need to train more Investigators mainly on the means of investigating and charging matters related to Domestic violence, Sexual Assaults, and all other related offenses brought to the FSU. This will create much-needed professionalism within the Police force. There will also be a need for refresher training courses for the Sierra Leone Police so they learn, unlearn and relearn so that their operations will be in line with international best practices.

THE JUDICIARY

Why?

‘’The internal issues of the Judiciary are no more a novelty whereby justice for those who deserve it has been deprived. This many a time has been evident in political matters wherein certain people who possess more authority have interfered into the activities of the Judiciary to get sections their way. All of these have been so, as a result of the implied dependence of the Judiciary on the executive arm of government.

Going forward, and in the effort to solve this prevailing situation, I will equally create another independent body consisting of the brightest of legal minds with the acumen of leadership and who cannot trivialize their integrity for no one. These people will be further charged with the responsibility of appointing or selecting the Chief Justice and other justices of the High Court and Supreme Court.

This recommendation banks on the fact that effective justice has been compromised, for instance, in the matter between former Vice President Sam Sumana and the State in relation to his unconstitutional removal from office as Vice President as dictated by the ECOWAS verdict. Many sentiments were raised prior, during, and even after the matter was judged in favor of the State.  But it was subsequently ruled by the ECOWAS court in favor of Chief Samuel Sam Sumana. This wrangling in entirety showed the extent to which our Judiciary is challenged.

The Chief Justice for example I recommend must be appointed by an independent body of retired Judges and women and men of high integrity. This body will select from among three people and make the recommendations to the President to choose from among the three.  There may be no denying that when it comes to matters which might interest a President, there is every likelihood that effective justice can be compromised hence the Chief Justice may want to retain his or her status as head of the Judiciary the more reason his appointment should not be solely dictated by the President’’

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Sallu Kamuskay

Sallu Kamuskay is a Sierra Leonean activist, storyteller, and blogger. He was born in Sierra Leone but later relocated to Guinea as a refugee because of the war in his country. Sallu Kamuskay uses his phone to engage on social media, under the name ‘’Salone Messenger’. He Co-Founded the Salone Messenger platform after his experience of the war, Ebola, and injustices. According to him, silence was the root cause of war, and of many social injustices, we continue to face as a nation. In 2013, during the Ebola crisis, Sallu Kamuskay took the risk and volunteered to fight Ebola. He spent some months in both safe and unsafe places; helping the victims and telling their sad stories. The election in 2018, left a divided country with communities fighting on tribal lines. This inspired Sallu Kamuskay to serve as the coordinator of the United Sierra Leone peace concert, which was organized in 4 major parts of the country, targeting violent communities and troubled youth. Sallu Kamuskay led a group of entertainers, activists, and organizations across the country on a peace tour, a program supported by the European Union, United Sierra Leone, Africa Union, ECOWAS, and the Messeh Leone Trust. Sallu Kamuakay has also served as a staff writer for the Hidden Voices Magazine.
Over the years, Sallu Kamuskay has been using his Techno phone to be able to tell stories, the phone he used to tell the story of Gbessay during Ebola who was admitted at one of the Ebola treatment centers after rumors that she had Ebola when the actual sickness was ulcer, she was almost abandoned at the treatment canter with no medication provided to her. She could have died. Sallu told the story via social media and was able to secure funding from the United Sierra Leone to buy her medication and advocated for her. She was later discharged and taken home, He did the same to a patient that died and was abandoned in the street, Sallu Kamuskay used his phone and shared the message across, the corps was later taken and buried. It could have been more disaster without his voice. The story of late America Stress 3-year-old daughter. The hero’s daughter was abandon after his father's death. He shared her sad story and was able to get a sister who has taken the child as her own and is currently providing her with educational support. The article of America Stress can be read on the link below http://ayvnewspaper.com/index.php/k2-categories/item/7350-america-stress-a-hero-to-recognize.
Sallu Kamuskay feels the stories of Gbessay, America stress and that of many others need to be told. The media house we have cannot better tell these stories, they are better reporters than telling human interest stories. He created the Salone Messenger platform and brought together passionate storytellers to be able to tell these compelling stories.

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