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Social media attack on Deputy Internal Affairs Minister

17 May 2020 at 23:25 | 1593 views

Ministry of Internal Affairs

14 Gloucester Street, Freetown

Press Release

16th May 2020

Social Media Attack on Deputy Minister Leema

The Ministry has learnt, with dismay, about a video on social media which purports to be a report of Deputy Minister Lahai Lawrence Leema’s unfair treatment of a group of the physically challenged. The said video claims that the Deputy Minister (photo), in person, heaved insults at this group and assaulted them using his armed body guards. The video also suggests that the Deputy Minister has urged the presidency to disregard the general concerns of the physically challenged community.

Conversely, the Ministry’s Media Communication and Outreach Unit has acknowledged counter videos, audios, as well as several other messages from the same physically challenged community regarding the initial video. The contents of the messages from these several sources are clear: they condemn as unpatriotic the aforesaid initial video; they indicate that the initial video was concocted to create mischief and stir anxiety in the public while stimulating hate against the Deputy Minister.

Nevertheless, the Ministry urges the public to note:
1. That Mr. Leema holds the utmost respect for all Sierra Leoneans, regardless of their class, status or standing in society, physical impairment, disability or otherwise.

2. That the incident at the heart of the so-called unpatriotic video occurred sometime in November 2019, and at no time has the Deputy Minister unwarrantedly treated the physically challenged group with contempt.

3. That a consequence of the so-named mischief-making video has been hauling of invectives at the Deputy Minister by members of the physically challenged group after he urged them to leave his car-parking lot where they had occupied in apparent wait for him. Clearly, this act was an attempt by this group of Sierra Leoneans to provoke the Deputy Minister to anger.

4. That those physically challenged individuals who hauled insults at the Deputy Minister at his car-parking lot came back immediately to him and apologised for their indecent act.

5. That the Ministry rejects any attempt to smear the Deputy Minister.

6. That investigation into the alleged incident in the initial video has begun and the public will be informed about its findings accordingly.

Meanwhile, the Ministry of Internal Affairs warns against any act which constitutes public hate and violence in any form. Be reminded that His Excellency President Dr. Julius Maada Bio is a father figure who cares for the wellbeing and dignity of every Sierra Leonean, regardless of party affiliation, tribe or ethnicity, as has been amply demonstrated with schemes like the direct cash transfers to vulnerable members of our nation during the COVID 19 lockdowns, a clear indication that the administration of President Julius Maada Bio cares for every facet of our society.

Media, Communications & Outreach Unit, Ministry of Internal Affairs.