YVONNE AKI-SAWYER NEEDS TO VISIT SATA LAMIN AT APC HEADQUARTERS By Dr. Sylvia Olayinka Blyden OOR
An indisputable fact is that Yvonne Aki Sawyer is Mayor of Freetown who claims she is a member of the main opposition All Peoples Congress (APC) under whose symbol she contested for Mayor when APC was in governance. Another fact is that the City of Freetown in 2018 Elections, was an APC stronghold so whosoever was given APC symbol was sure to win seat of Freetown Mayor. Therefore, Yvonne owes tremendous gratitude and loyalty to APC members for that symbol.
Another indisputable fact is: APC Women have had to flee from politically motivated violence by ruling SLPP party supporters in villages out of Freetown. APC Women fled to Freetown and now languish homeless; many temporarily sleep at APC headquarters.
The most striking of these examples is Madam Sata Lamin, a female politician, who fled from Kailahun where she was reportedly gang-raped by several male supporters of the ruling Sierra Leone Peoples Party.
The situation of APC’s Sata Lamin is best captured by APC Secretary General, Alhaji Osman Yansaneh in a ten-paged Press Statement he released in July to mark the 100 days milestone of SLPP/President Bio in office. Alhaji Yansaneh states inter alia, on Page 6 of that 10-paged official APC document that, the case of Sata Lamin “was thoroughly investigated by all political parties in Parliament, the Sierra Leone Police, the military, the Sierra Leone Human Rights Commission, the Inter-Religious Council and local stakeholders nationwide” who were part of a Committee set up by President Maada Bio to look into political violence.
Yansaneh goes on to reveal:
The Cross-party Committee discovered despicable human rights violations on especially women. One notable example was the gang rape of one Sata Lamin, an APC supporter, by several men in Kailahun. The identified assailants include; Brima Morie, son of SLPP Chairman of Nyanyahun town, Kailahun District, Sama Bonda, Maya Bonda, Massaquoi Senessie, Alieu Kanneh, Aruna Bockarie, Sao James, Mohamed Lamaningo etc.
Yansaneh continues narrative thus:
Despite the fact that Sata Lamin knows her assailants, identified them in her testimony before the Cross-party Committee team, and reported the matter to the Sierra Leone Police, no action was taken. Sata Lamin licked her wounds, bore the medical cost and carried the stigma as well as the consequent separation from her SLPP husband who would not continue his marriage with a woman who had been raped by several men.
The above narratives are official APC words written and signed. Well, it is shocking to know that as I type in October 2018, most unfortunately for Sata Lamin, six months since she was gang-raped for being an APC party member in SLPP-dominated Kailahun District, she is still without justice.
Shamefully, all the so-called Women’s Rights groups and other civil society groups like the Campaign for Good Governance (CGG), the Sierra Leone Civil Rights Coalition of Alphonso Manley, the Center for Accountability and the Rule of Law of Ibrahim Tommy, etc. etc, (they all know themselves) have not lifted a finger to seek justice for that APC woman. This is a female APC politician with a well-documented case of Gang-Rape that was politically motivated.
In addition to report by such a powerful team put together to investigate, it is also a fact that Sata Lamin’s medical records, hospital records, police records, intelligence records, all indicate this heinous crime indeed happened to that poor female APC politician. I cannot imagine any gender-based violence worse than being gang raped by several men, one after the other, as punishment because you support a different political party in a multi-party democracy.
Sata Lamin is with children who fled with her to Freetown for safety after her discharge from hospital. Sata and her children are languishing in Freetown, the city where Yvonne Aki-Sawyer is the highest municipal authority; a position she attained through APC. Party stalwarts are counselling Sata. In midst of this, what has Freetown Mayor Yvonne Aki-Sawyer done?
Well, Yvonne who loves to play to gallery as someone in need of special protection in politics because of her gender, has never (I repeat, NEVER!) taken up the cause of her APC female women like Sata Lamin. The women fled to FREETOWN and she is the FREETOWN MAYOR but she has never considered them as needing her camaraderie. Infact, Yvonne does not even give that a thought. Imagine if she had championed the matter of APC women who fled political violence in SLPP strongholds and are sleeping rough in Freetown?
Imagine if Yvonne had used the current high profile which APC gave her by letting her become Freetown Mayor, to champion the cause of those APC female victims? Imagine if Yvonne as Mayor of Freetown had spoken out about these rape victims and gender-based violence perpetuated against APC Women who have fled to her City for protection and safety? Imagine if Yvonne had a heart and a conscience strong enough to stand up and speak out for Sata Lamin who was gang-raped and fled to Freetown? Imagine how far the matter would have gone?
Yvonne’s inability to reach out to those APC victims of real gender-based, political violence is amongst reasons why some of us are never swayed when she jumps up to start shouting her now-regular, WOLF! WOLF! We have now seen her pattern of crying wolf, only to turn around and hug, kiss and make-up with the “wolves”.
Infact, Yvonne is always ready to cry WOLF and then when the APC picks up the battle on her behalf, she turns around and betrays the APC with her words and actions. Who can forget how she embarrassed the APC few weeks ago when she and Alie Conteh, APC National Youths Secretary were on a STAR-TV discussion programme?
As far as many inside APC are concerned, Yvonne Aki-Sawyer is a selfish and treacherous person who used APC but is now undermining APC in a multitude of ways.
However, Mayor Yvonne can prove them wrong. How can she do that? Well, she can start by paying a visit to the APC party headquarters, ask for Sata Lamin, console Sata and help the APC take Sata Lamin’s pitiable case for justice to the world.
Sata and other APC women may not be Krios but they seek protection inside Freetown and deserve for their gender-based plights to be made known. Until then, I am only interested in hearing protests over genuine APC women suffering from real violence. I am tired of hearing WOLF! WOLF!