We lost a soldier for justice two weeks ago. Achmed Dean Sesay, a twenty-eight-year-old legal empowerment advocate working with Namati in Sierra Leone, died in a road accident on Monday, August 19.
He was leaving his office on a motorcycle, with his helmet on, when a truck speeding in the opposite direction swerved into his lane. The truck immediately killed both Achmed and a farmer named Santigie who was walking on the side of the road.
Our hearts are broken. We would like to share some of Achmed’s story.
An audio tribute
In 2010, Achmed was part of a new cadre of community paralegals who extended the model of the organization Timap for Justice to other parts of Sierra Leone. He worked with BRAC, supervising their first paralegals in the country. He joined Namati this June.
From the beginning Achmed proved himself to be an extraordinary advocate: committed, hardworking, soft spoken, a natural leader. He could squeeze justice out of an often broken system.
One of many cases he dealt with involved a village, Manonkoh, where an iron mine flooded 350 acres last year. Achmed had worked with the farmers of Manonkoh to ensure that the company rehabilitated the land and paid compensation. On hearing of Achmed’s passing, the chief of Manonkoh called our Sierra Leone team leader Sonkita, weeping uncontrollably.
The people of Manonkoh, and those of many other villages where Achmed worked, have sent gifts—money, palm oil—to Achmed’s family, in gratitude for his service.
On Facebook, where Achmed had started a page for the Sierra Leone Paralegal Association, and where he had 4000 friends, he wrote this recently:
“Be modest, quiet, simple, do more & talk less, always control your anger & never let your anger control you and try to be humble. Never look down on another person except you are ready to pick that person up.”
That was precisely how he lived.
Achmed is one of many dedicated advocates who have died in the course of their work. People who serve on the frontlines to pursue justice face many risks, from dangerous roads to government retaliation.
We take this moment to honor them all.
Our media associate Bremen Donovan spent time with Achmed on her recent trip to Sierra Leone. She prepared a short audio tribute to him, in which he narrates a day in his working life. It was played in church at Achmed’s funeral—we would like to share it with all of you.
In grief, and solidarity,
Vivek, Sonkita, Daniel, and the whole Namati team