Dear Madame Isatu Bomposseh Acha Kamara and family

It was a sad moment in early January this year, when I learned that my great friend and brother Brima Acha Kamara was chronically ill and in palliative care at home in Freetown. Shortly afterwards Mariama Coker informed me that he had passed away.
May he now rest in perfect peace.
I pass my condolences to all of Acha’s family and friends. My wife, Susanne together with former colleagues from the Commonwealth Community Security and Safety Project (CCSSP), with whom I have been in touch, have asked me to pass on their most sincere condolences.
Acha was an outstanding man and an exceptional professional police officer and in the four years we worked together we became great friends. I first met Acha in the weeks immediately before I was appointed by the late President Kabbah to be the Inspector General (IGP) of the Sierra Leone Police (SLP). We had a personal chat together. I found him to be far reaching in his thinking, to possess a good vision of the long-term future that the SLP required to provide a good service to the people of Sierra Leone and he had a clear vision of the pathway to be followed to achieve the type of police service desired by President Kabbah and the people of Sierra Leone. This personal chat was part of the process I used to help me assess the senior team to help me deliver.
I recall chatting with my colleagues from the Commonwealth and the then acting IGP, the late Kande Bangura, and saying Acha was extremely impressive and had the leadership and managerial potential to go all the way to the top of the SLP!

Acha was promoted to Senior Assistant Commissioner in February 2000 and was given the responsibility for policing operations throughout Sierra Leone. At the time, the main focus was on Freetown. It was not an easy task and Acha had many problems to solve and he did so well building teams to work closely with civil society, the United Nations and Sierra Leone military, and to bring all SLP officers on the pathway to improvement and development. His work was outstanding.
In 2001 he was selected to attend The Police Staff College at Bramshill in the United Kingdom. He undertook the premier Senior Command Course: this is the course that selects officers that have the potential to be leaders of British police forces and is attended by two or three officers with similar potential from other countries. Acha passed out in the top percentile and was assessed as “Outstanding”
On return he was appointed as the acting Deputy Inspector General (DIG), as the late Kande Bangura was taking his outstanding leave before taking up an appointment as the head of a new unit to manage and control illegal drug use. As the DIG, Acha assumed the lead for managing the development and improvement of policing throughout Sierra Leone. He once again succeeded with the local needs policing context working closely with the people through the Local Police Partnership Board strategy being spread throughout the nation. Also, together with Kadi Fakondo and others, he was a strong supporter of equal opportunity for all members of the SLP. In particular, he was determined to see women police officers achieve equality and be able to follow identical careers as their male counterparts.

Acha was a man that was always calm under pressure. This came to the fore in January 2003. The SLP had received intelligence that there was to be an attempted insurrection led by an attack on the Presidential Lodge at Hill Station. Early one evening we received intelligence that the attack was to be that night. Acha volunteered to lead the dangerous operation. The incident happened but Acha’s planning and leadership led to the insurrection being stopped in the East End and many people arrested. This was an absolutely critical incident. Acha remained calm and displayed high quality operational competence.
The next step was that my contract was to end in June 2003. Police Council decided to recommend Acha to be promoted to DIG and that the President should consider his appointment to IGP. The President recommended him to Parliament, where he underwent an interview lasting around two hours and was then deservedly appointed as IGP!
We parted company on 3 June 2003 at the Presidential Lodge immediately after the President had formally appointed, by oath, Acha to be the IGP.
Over the past years we have met occasionally when he has been in the United Kingdom and spoken by telephone.
I hope that what I have said shows what a great man Acha has been. He has given wonderful service to the people of Sierra and the Sierra Leone Police.
Madame Isatu and family you must be devastated by your loss but very proud of the great Brima Acha Kamara. I am sure that when they meet in Heaven the Good Lord will praise Acha for his outstanding life.

Rest in Peace my bother. I will never forget you.

Keith

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