OPEN LETTER TO HON. MOHAMED BANGURA, THE MINISTER OF INFORMATION AND COMMUNICATIONS
(Edited version by The Voice of Binkongoh)……
Dear Honourable Minister,
I write to express my sincere frustration over your failure and inability to maintain a very good external relationship between the people and the Government of Sierra Leone.
Upfront, let me recall an example of your cultivating bad-relations. In August this year, you wrote a letter to me ordering me to retract a very very credible report I wrote in Awareness Times. You were just trying to intimidate me because you felt I was a young man whom you could bully. Although being young, you forgot that I am leading the editorial team of the Nation’s most widely read newspaper. That bullying-act of yours drew my attention as to whether you really know what you are doing, in trying to intimidate a popular newspaper instead of trying to woo it over to your side. I have since studied your behaviour in understanding whether the points raised by your critics about your credibility and ability to head the ministry, prior to and during your parliamentary approval, are indeed true.
What I have concluded from closely studying you is that, your flawed leadership of that ministry has exposed other ministers and supporters of the All Peoples Congress (APC) government to ridicule and unnecessary hatredness. On daily basis, our government leaders and supporters are subjected to needless molestations, because of your failure to provide them the protective shield they deserve.
Most importantly, it is the responsibility of your ministry to respond to the public outcry over the arrest of one Theresa Mbomaya for allegedly circulating hate messages on the social media.
In the meantime, I do not want to ask about the position of the government in response to your insistent lapses. However, I want to unreservedly blame you for the current public dismay against the government of His Excellency President Ernest Bai Koroma. This is a result of your failure to educate the public about the arrest of Theresa Mbomaya for a period now spanning over three days. I feel it as a great cause of concern.
Two days ago, the outgoing American President, Barack Obama during his ongoing last world tour, stood shoulder to shoulder with the German leader Angela Merkel and warned all leaders around the world not to underestimate the Social Media. People could see the pains in Obama’s eyes as he hinted on how unchecked propaganda on social media got voters in America to vote his party out of office. Chancellor Angela Merkel agreed that all governments should not leave any propaganda on Twitter, Facebook and Whatsapp unchallenged. What the two powerful World leaders were saying is that the Social Media is now more powerful than their governments. Social media is the humbling equalizer wherein governments have to swallow humble pie and engage their governed citizens on a toe to toe dialogue. If not, they lose office. The current President-elect, Donald Trump used the Social Media to boot Obama’s Democratic party out of power.
Despite this growing awareness of the power of the social media, when one comes down to Sierra Leone today, there is not even a single statement that has been issued by your ministry on such a very very important State issue that has dominated the said social media for many days now. This is a total unseriousness of yours!!!!!!
Instead of focusing on your job, you are more or less concerned about issuing a Minute Paper in which your ministry is threatening more arrests for social media users. This is totally disgusting!!! The questions now in the minds of many are: at this moment, is such a Minute Paper really addressing the demand of the public?? Or is it that you do not know your job??
Administratively, it is obligatory on your ministry, as the official mouthpiece of government, to elucidate on the position of government on the arrest, because it is clear that Theresa may have been charged for Publishing False News or for Seditious Libel – both of which, we all know, are crimes against the State.
The public is demanding answers to the actual contents of the charges levied against Theresa. The public is restless, as the detractors are having a field day with your silence over the matter. Nature abhors a vacuum, so is your silence being filled with propaganda from Ernest Koroma’s detractors.
Let me also at this point clearly state that I am not questioning the court’s indictment of Theresa. I am also not questioning the actions of the erudite magistrate of the court on the case so far. Instead, I am asking the Ministry of Information and Communications to educate the general public on why Theresa was arrested and charged. Keep us informed so we can better make our judgment.
Apparently, most people are afraid of even asking you these questions for fear of being arrested. Far from me!!! I serve my conscience and the people of Sierra Leone. I cannot continue to live in a situation like a blind man, in a dark room, looking for a black cat, that is not even there. Therefore, I demand answers to my points raised.
Why was Theresa Mbomaya arrested? Tell the people Mr. Government Spokesman. Issue an official signed and stamped Public Notice that will clearly inform the citizens as to why the lady is in jail. Speak out Mr. Government Spokesman!!!!!
Whilst I await your timely response to my request, I also hope that you will put on a proactive stance and learn to take your job seriously. Or better still, resign from your position if you think that you are unfit for the numerous pressures you are faced with.
Abdul Malik Bangura,
Awareness Times Newspaper.