Alfred Palo Conteh, Sierra Leone’s Minister of Internal Affairs yesterday said he supports the death penalty and has ordered the Prisons Correctional Service immediately clean killing machine- The Gallows- for emerging death sentence(s).
He made this statement as he speaks on recent wave of violence by youths calling themselves ‘Cliques.’
Minister Palo Conteh references quotation as in the sacred good book- The Old Testament: “an eye for eye,” meaning a person who kills must equally be killed but within the law- death by firing squad or by the gallows.
He further also reminisces reign of late Siaka Stevens and the Mammy Yoko killing in 1977, which obviously had seen persons found guilty of murder killed and remains displayed in public as a restraint to bar future unlawful killings.
He stressed he’ll not sit down with ‘Cliques’ to discuss issues of violence, as according to him, he sees such as indirectly legalizing conducts of so-called ‘Clique’ groups.
Palo’s call for the death penalty, on the other hand, is seen as undermining President Koroma’s quest for the utter eradication of such as was evident in 2012 when he (President Koroma) voted against same at the United Nations.
And that President Koroma in 2014 was awarded abolitionist of the year, in whose occupancy as Sierra Leone President has neither killed anyone nor caused the killing of someone as with the case former Sierra Leonean Presidents- the late President Kabba, Joseph Saidu Momoh, Siaka Stevens and of course former junta leader Valentine Strasser.
It could be recalled also that the former Minister of Justice Franklyn Bai Kargbo in May 2014 told the United Nations that Sierra Leone intended to abolish capital punishment in law and that the death sentences of the country’s last death row prisoners had been commuted to life imprisonment.
In 2010, there were 13 prisoners on death row but presidential pardons contributed to emptying the death row – and according to Amnesty International, there were no prisoner on death row by the end of 2012.
In October 1998, a firing squad publicly executed 24 soldiers for taking part in a military coup.
The firing squad members were seen in battle gear with their faces masked by leaves.
Each condemned prisoner was hooded and tied to a stake.
Baimba Moiforray aka LAC was recently sentenced to death (the first death sentence since 2013) and has been the only person sentenced to death for now.
Palo’s unbending call for killing by gallows has seen international organizations including Amnesty International frowning at such more so that it is coming from no less a person but a state Minister.
Others say Palo appears to be undermining the reputation and governance trends of President Koroma, whom many say has earned himself a clean sheet vis-à-vis killing by firing or by hanging.
When Musa Tarawallie was former Minister of Internal Affairs, he brought together hundreds of ‘Cliques’, and then provided jobs for them, while also warned them discontinue all forms of violence.
This, however, cut short the spate of violence, arm robberies, other ills by Clique groups nationwide.
Suppositions are that because elections are at the corners, politicians may take advantage of the propagated death penalty to shut up political opponents and other critical people.