One of Mandela’s celebrated references in periods of apartheid in South Africa seem leisurely now copied by Sierra Leone’s politician/activist Sylvia Blyden, following recent coercion allegedly meted her by IG Moigbeh and President Koroma.
What Mandela a long time ago said is to an extent becoming an inspiration to Sierra Leone’s Sylvia Blyden: “years of intimidation and violence could not stop us. And we will not be stopped now.”
It was Monday 12 that Sylvia manifestly came out with a strongly worded piece she titled “A Personal Viewpoint! Restricting Movements and the Dangers for 2018 Elections, Peace & Democracy” which has seen her incidentally accused her former boss (President Koroma) and the current police IG, Richard Moigbeh of using intimidation strategy to silence her.
She said a police security guard that was officially assigned her was unfortunately withdrawn without any formal notice and most surprisingly in a manner utterly intimidating.
Sylvia claimed it was few minutes to 6pm Monday 12th February, as the dusk was approaching while at her private residence on the top floor seated on the verandah sipping lemonade and watching the sun cast its red rays over the Aberdeen bridge estuary into the Atlantic Ocean that suddenly the calm environ was interrupted shortly after a van loaded of armed OSD Policemen, led by a senior police officer bumped into her small residential corner at Cockle Bay, Off Aberdeen Ferry Road, blowing an unusual police bullhorn quite loudly and as they reached the gates, jumped out as if on some vigorous police exercise; some of the officers brandishing themselves with arms uncalled for.
“The OSD officers were so many that my first inclination was that they have come to arrest me, given the threats earlier from the new Police Inspector General Richard Moigbeh; one he had made in a room full of lawyers and judges at the British Council,” Sylvia self-righteously said.
Although Silvia said she wasn’t moved by the incident, she claimed she ‘stood over the top verandah and calmly watched the police demanded for the gates to be opened.’
Upon entering the compound, she said, the most senior officer amongst them gave her a polite salute but in a very firm manner, also saying “Good Afternoon Madam. We are here to remove your police bodyguard!”
This, she said, was no doubt a bemusing moment which also had compelled her say to the officer in a calm mode, “I am no longer a Cabinet Minister, and I do not deserve a salute anymore by the Police.”
Her bemusement did not stop there, but further obliged her additionally asking: “why such a large number of police coming into my premise with bullhorns blowing and demanding for my gates to be opened just so to merely withdraw a single police bodyguard, who has been providing close protection for me during the day?”
She claimed however that a simple phone call from the police may have made the position that they will no longer continue to give her such a protection.
She accused the Inspector General Richard Moigbeh (a so-called PhD holder), of deliberately sending such a large number of armed police to her house, which she said was nothing less than intimidation on her person and of course the neighbourhood.
Sylvia also argued that she later got confirmation that no less a person than President Koroma gave the green light order to the IG Moigbeh for the withdrawal of her police protection.
Her guessed was that the two powerful MEN (President Koroma and the Police IG) decided to have subjected her to such a situation because she has been too vociferous and that the only way to keep her noiseless is to send a van load of armed police officers to her house, to in a way threaten her and her neighbourhood.
She insists she wouldn’t give in to any form of intimidation from neither government nor the police in her fights for the ‘rights to freedom of movements’ of the people of Sierra Leone, a thing she emphasized is a constitutional right.
“Indeed, it will be noticed that my stance on this matter was first expressed over five years ago shortly before the November 2012 Elections. It is not a new opinion I have suddenly developed this year. I vehemently opposed restricting citizens’ movements in 2012 and I am again opposing it vehemently in this 2018. Any decision by Police hierarchy to impose a nationwide restriction of movement on Elections Day is not only illegal but it is also immoral and, in my opinion, it is a huge threat to the peace and stability of Sierra Leone,” she forewarned.