‘Pipoo’ Policeman Gone, Taylor-Pearce Tribunal Rides on Tortoise Back

It has been another eventful week in the country. From the suspicious sea container to the enactment of a new public election law and the sacking of the not-so-popular Inspector General of Police, Salone social media has been on fire. Not unusual though.

For very good reasons, many people have been celebrating the removal of Mr. Sovula. Whether the behaviour of the Police would change with a new boss at the helm is a matter of wait-and-see and if you know the way these institutions work, you would be cautiously optimistic. The police have, for a long time, worked for power and against people and political opponents. So, it is hard to imagine that much will change. It will be a pleasant surprise if the new police chief breaks away from the script to serve people and not only power. Otherwise, history’s judgement would be as harsh on him as the judgement of the present has been on the erstwhile Inspector General.

With all that has been going on, we want to refocus our lenses on the Lara Taylor-Pearce situation. We are a small nation that gets overwhelmed by fast-moving events and therefore easily forget important matters such as this. The media must keep such issues under the spotlight and continue to remind people, not ‘pipoo’, that this is an active situation that does not deserve forgetting.

The Auditor-General and her deputy were controversially suspended from office and the tribunal set up to investigate them has made unimpressive progress. At least, in the eyes of the public who have been following the matter with keen interest. Considering the importance of such a case and the swiftness with which they were suspended, one would imagine that the government, which accuses the highly respected auditors of misconduct would expedite the case and prove their point for all to see.

While we do not wish to go into the substance of the matter in question, it is important to take stock of the progress made so far and highlight the need for a speedy resolution of the situation. We all know what the public perception is on the matter and for such a high-profile case, with serious implications for governance and accountability, the public should not be kept waiting for long.  This is a matter that the state has investigated before the tribunal was set up. So, we would not be wrong to assume that they are already armed with the evidence required to make their case. This is not a war crimes trial. The outcome is for all to predict but for now, we can only remind ourselves that delaying justice undermines justice.

It is unclear whether the government has been paying attention to the damage this issue is causing and will continue to cause them. Do they care? As we say in Krio, ‘Who go know?’.  What is clear though is that the suspension of one of the country’s few genuinely popular and highly respected public officials and put her before a tribunal which seems no faster than a snail, continues to undermine public trust in their leaders and shows how easily power can go against the very state institutions that it is meant to protect and promote. And for a government that came to power trumpeting accountability and singing anti-corruption, the Taylor-Pearce situation will probably go down as one of the thickest stains on this administration.

Therefore, it is in the interest of the government to ensure that the matter is treated with the importance that it deserves and the sensitivity that it carries. The burden of proof lies squarely on the State and failing to get the job done quickly leaves people to either confirm their scepticism or continue questioning the motive of the President when he suspended Taylor-Pearce and her deputy.

Whatever you are up to in the days ahead, please take care of yourself and have a nice weekend.