Like with many blunders that are made in Sierra Leone no one has been reprimanded, let alone penalised or forced to resign for the botched police arms shipment that rocked this nation for months.
There have been no apologies by any of those who just a couple of weeks ago were so stoutly and garrulously defending the bringing into the country by the Sierra Leone Police of arms and ammunition that are enough to fight Al Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb under the guise of policing November’s election or securing the homes of diplomats.
Now the government say they have handed the heavy aspect of the weaponry to the Republic of Sierra Leone Armed Forces. This clearly means that the police bought the wrong weapons. Did they not consult before the purchase order was placed? Were they not aware that rocket launcher, grenade bombs, etc were not needed by the SLP even if they had been without arms since the arms embargo was placed on the country at the height of the civil war?
We are surprised that the police bosses are still in office. Such huge blunder is punished in any civilised society. Even something not this serious would not leave a police chief in his seat in a decent society where accountability is valued.
On Monday, for example, the South Korean police chief resigned. The reason was that a 28-year-old woman was raped, murdered and dismembered after she had called the police to rescue her from a gang. It took the police 13 hours to arrive on the scene. Some reports say there was a communication problem between the emergency services and the police leading to the rescuers going to the wrong place and searching for too long before getting to the actual scene where there was no rescue to be made as the lady had been butchered.
The police chief, Cho Hyun-oh, said he was stepping down to take full responsibility for what he called the “unpardonable carelessness” of his officers. “I express my deepest regret at the police’s negligence which had such a horrendous result and attempts to cover it up with lies,” said Mr Cho.
He castigated his officers but still took full responsibility for the action – or inaction – of his men, and resigned. It is called civility! It is called leadership! It is called a great sense of responsibility! It is called accountability!
In Sierra Leone the police have done far worse things and no one has resigned or been sacked.
Here is a police chief who, even though he was not directly responsible for the carelessness of his men chose to resign. And this, despite the fact that communication mistakes between emergency operators and officers have been cited as reason the police were searching the wrong area to free the woman. And this, despite the fact that a man has been arrested in connection with her death at whose home the woman’s body was found. That notwithstanding the police boss called it quits.
The case of Francis Munu and his colleagues at the top of the SLP to have ordered and brought into the country weapons we are now told by the government their force did not need in the first place, is a far more compelling reason for some shake-up at the top of the police.
The questions persist: what were the real intentions of those arms? Who approved of their purchase? What was the bidding procedure the process had to go through? If the police boss has a conscientious answer to all these questions then he should leave his post and continue defending his position. That is what civilised people would. Where he fails to do that, a civilised government would sack him. This botched police arms shipment must not be allowed to go unpunished.