By Ragan M. Conteh
The parliamentarian, representing Constituency 077, Kafu Bullom Chiefdom in the Port Loko District, have lambasted the Sierra Leone Police for arresting one Michael Magba Mansaray for merely praising the developmental projects of the erstwhile regime of former President Dr Ernest Koroma in Bo City.
The victim, Michael M. Mansaray, according to the MP, is expressing his opinion about the good things the former regime of Ernest Koroma have done. Hon Kargbo said such arbitrary arrest, of respectable people across the country, is uncalled for.
Hon Abdul Kargbo made the disclosure during the debate on the second reading of the Cybercrime Bill on Thursday 29th April 2021 at the Bintumani Conference Center, Aberdeen in Freetown.
Hon Kargbo stated that this system of governance is undemocratic and a ploy to silence people as well as undermine freedom of expression of citizens in the country.
“How can you arrest a man just for praising a leader he believes has done tremendous work for Sierra Leoneans?” Hon Kargbo said.
The MP dilated that the Cybercrime Bill is yet to be passed into law, but the police are already violating the rights of the people. “What if the Cybercrime Bill is passed into law? Considering the enormous powers given to the police, on the Cybercrime Bill, they will use it for their selfish interest,” the MP said.
He pointed out that this is not a police state and urged the Speaker of Parliament, Dr Chernor Abass Bundu, to intervene and ask for the unconditional release of Michael M. Mansaray in Bo, southern Sierra Leone.
The MP stated that they have witnessed a lot of violations against people for merely expressing their opinions about the government of President Julius Maada Bio. He revealed that the Cybercrime Bill is draconian as it supersedes the 1965 Pubic Order Act, which targeted mainly journalists over the years. He added that such a bill, which aims at creating another obstacle for the citizens, should be scrutinized before being enacted.
Responding, the Speaker of Parliament, in his submission, pointed out that he has received such information from Bo City and that appropriate action will be taken on the matter.
In his submission, Hon Dr. Kalokoh, from Bombali, stated that the All People’s Congress (APC) Party is the only party that has the country at heart.
“In fact, it has a national character; it is developmentally oriented and, above all, it cuts across all tribal and regional lines. The APC, as a political party, will not sit by and see the ruling Paopa government continue to make laws that are not of national interest, Hon Kalokoh noted.
“The Cybercrime Bill should be thoroughly scrutinized to make it devoid of political interests,” he urged.
Sources, from the Bo Police Station, indicate that Michael Magba Mansaray was arrested at the Bo Stadium as a notorious thief. He is still in police custody, and is expected be charged to court in the next couple of days.