Politicization of State Institutions Hunts Ernest Koroma

The politicization of our state institutions, especially the Sierra Leone Police, is now hunting former President Koroma, who is complaining to the world about not being consulted on the recent change of security guards providing security for him and his family after retiring from office a little over one year ago.

I am not aware that it is a norm in the Sierra Leone Police to consult or discuss the profile of police officers with the client before they are deployed, which is the concern raised by an aid to the former president in a correspondence to the Inspector General of Police.

What has come very clear from the current quagmire is a lack of trust in the Sierra Leone Police. This issue has remained an age old and very thorny issue for opposition leaders. The problem has kept on rearing its head up especially during elections. Ernest Koroma, while in the opposition before 2007, almost refused to use state security and paraphernalia to guide him during elections campaigns because of lack of trust.
The situation was the same with the current President Brigadier Rtd. Julius Maada Bio. The latter was very critical of the neutrality of the Sierra Leone Police and the Republic of Sierra Leone Military forces and had hugely relied on vigilante civilian outfits to guard him.

This perception about our security forces, by politicians in the opposition, suddenly changes hence they get power largely because they now have a chance to reorganize the structure of these entities to their advantage.What is very regrettable is that hence they do this, they become complacent with the critical challenges facing these forces and will do nothing to keep them out of politics and make them totally independent.

Ernest Koroma, who has prevailed over a politicized Police Force, is now having the backlash of such politicization by having an abrupt change of his security guard. There would have been no need to complain or require Government or the security players to confer with him on this. The Police is a professional body and has a mandate to provide professional security services to state functionaries, and I think they are responsible enough to deploy personnel based on the competencies of these personnel.

It is a lesson to the current administration that the Police they are politicizing today will one day be used against them and hence the best thing to do is to make the police very apolitical by stop interfering in their day to day operations. This was a hallmark of the post war restructuring process of the security sector and the British spent whooping sums of money to rebuild structures in the Police that would make them transparent and accountable only to the People of Sierra Leone.
The mandate of the Police was widened to involve or support development efforts rather than the traditional policing role of preventing carmine and the fear of crime. Their capacities were developed to contribute to world peace, fight domestic violence in collaboration with other Police organizations in the world.

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