On the demise of Arata, it is sad for any young man to lose his life in such a cruel, brutal, and despicable manner. For those who know little or nothing about this young man widely and commonly known as Arata — he was an easy-going “Raray Boy” in the streets of Freetown who wanted to escape the rigours of street life through political favour, connection, and recognition. And in 2018, he attempted to grab the opportunity by associating with the ruling SLPP to gain recognition and favour. Then his new story began.

Because of his history of street life, he was quickly recruited into the thuggery unit of the SLPP known as Soja Team. Alongside well-known SLPP thugs like Abravo and Ratti, Arata soon became famous after they led numerous operations in attacking and intimidating opposition APC supporters in various communities in the Western Area. Arata and his Soja Team companions were even assigned a vehicle to facilitate their operations. They were key players in the disruption of Constituency 110 election re-run a few years ago — when the election was disrupted and materials vandalized with the help of former Minister Kabineh Kallon. Now Arata is no more on the scene.

Clearly, this is a lesson to every young person. The aim of politicians is to use the youths to gain political power and then ultimately abandoned them. Arata is a sorry victim. The politicians he sacrificed for never thought for once to ensure that he was gainfully engaged. The dream of Arata was to get out of the street to lead a new life, but he was completely frustrated. The system failed to pick him up for empowerment and financial independence. So this young man resorted to robbery with the hope that the politicians he fought for would protect him at any time he landed in police net. He had been arrested and taken to the police on several occasions, but this time he met his nemesis. He was brutally murdered in a mob justice shortly before the Police intervened.

Many SLPP faithfuls blame the police for not issuing out a warning to the public against mob justice until Arata fell victim. This is sad. Sources say Arata went to the police for protection but he was ignored and left to the mercy of the mob. Whatever the case, no Sierra Leonean youth deserves to lose life in this gruesome manner. This is all the reason why we keep on reminding politicians of their responsibility to be mindful of the people’s welfare at all times. They also have a sacred responsibility to protect the youths and create an enabling environment for their growth, development, empowerment, and usefulness in society.

Arata is gone but not forgotten. His story is one that this generation and the next generation will learn from. Only God will judge him, not man.