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12th December 2017

From Kenema with Hate: Why SLPP will Lose the 2018 Elections!

By Bockarie K. Sama (01/10/17)

This writer, an ardent supporter of the main opposition party, has highlighted why his beloved SLPP party has messed up big time.

To many of us who quietly support the party but have become rather embarrassed by its self-destructive character of recent, the just concluded Sierra Leone Peoples Party (SLPP) delegates’ conference in Kenema has been my last barometer before deciding whether the party will win the 2018 presidential elections. And my honest assessment is: not by any chance save for a miracle.

A Flawed Process:

As one of the candidates expressed in the Awoko newspaper, the process was extremely untidy. In the first place, the conference was scheduled to start at 9:00am on Friday. I had gotten there at 11:00am, only to learn that it has been moved to 3:00pm. So I left and came back at about 3:30pm. There was a lot of confusion of delegates not receiving their tags, observers not been allowed to get into the hall, and so on. What’s more, nobody seemed to be in charge. Meanwhile pro-Maada Bio Paopa songs followed other Mende songs blared from the speakers of the musical set, as the faithfuls danced the time away.

Then came the opening session: all the national executive officers and flag bearer aspirants and the presumptive first lady were seated at the high table. The peculiar thing was the absence of the National Chairman and Leader, Chief Somano Kapen. We later learned that he had had a standing off with his deputy, Dr. Prince Harding, who had moved the commencement time without his consent. But the process moved on briskly passed the opening session. It was what happened when the conference was actually called to order after the opening session that got my skin crawling. The Chairman of the occasion, Dr. Prince Harding, reading from a prepared statement, called on the conference to reverse the decision reached between the national executive of the party and some flag bearer aspirants at the Political Parties Registration Commission (PPRC), agreeing that the forthcoming Flag bearer elections be held in Freetown. It was my first exposure to Dr. Harding’s brash approach and complete disregard or perhaps ignorance of his role as chairman of a meeting, let alone a political party.

He ramped through a controversial motion moved by the putative Chairman or our City Council Mayor Mr. J. S. Kaifala, and seconded by Hon. Dickson Rogers, who was ubiquitous all through the convention. Like a Roman crowd, the conference yelled their support to move the Flag bearer convention back to Kenema. It took but for the sanity of one delegate who challenged the efficacy and ramifications of that decision. Brigadier Bio nodded his approval, and Prince Harding was forced to eat humble pie.

The polling process itself on Saturday started sluggishly. People moved around freely canvassing support, and delegates were left alone to vote their conscience. But that was to change completely the following day. Despite several attempts by the Paopa High Command, led by Brig. Bio to coerce delegates to vote Brig. Bio’s anointed candidates, it appeared he was not getting 100% of what he wanted. So when Hon. Kowa, his wife’s choice lost to Sawaneh, whom Mrs. Bio suspected of being in an adulterous relationship with her husband, Mrs. Bio allegedly went home and berated her husband. That is when Mr. Bio sprang into action and came to the hall to ensure that there will be no more ‘bush shaking’. From then on, a fool proof (or is it proven) strategy was put in place to ensure that none of their ‘delegates’ falls out of line.

In the sham election that followed that moment, only very trusted delegates were allowed to cast the ballots given to them by the IEMOC officials. All others who took the oath of allegiance but didn’t seem extremely loyal to the Paopa creed were asked to bring back their ballots without casting them. So delegates took their ballots, went into the polling booth, pretended to vote but brought back their ballots to the proper high command, which designated a trusted assistant to cast it for their favoured candidate. In essence, the elections were fixed and rigged. Its only good trait was that there was no physical violence.

An Executive of Concubines and Paopaists:

For some of us who live in Kenema and have followed the SLPP political process, the outcome was not in any doubt - the candidates Bio choose will emerge victorious. Bio very popular within SLPP circles, there is no if about that. I knew this from the start, but I would rather he had kept away from endorsing candidates, because his experience with that is not good. I was at his residence when the Kono group went to see him about Dr. Manyeh’s intentions. I didn’t quite like the way he spoke but I was still hopeful that he will learn from his experience from John Benjamin and Chief Kapen, both of whom he had endorsed at some point in time, but who came out against him down the line. But it appears Bio’s desire to have ironclad control of everything SLPP took the better of him.

Look at the people he favoured. He favoured Prince Harding over Dr. Morie Manyeh. Most sane SLPP supports both at home and abroad believe that Dr. Harding is not an ideal candidate for this party, especially at a time when we need to reconcile and clear the bad blood that he has engendered in the party. Is he the Chairman and Leader who will champion reconciliation and discipline at this time? Is Mr. Bio hanging on Dr. Harding’s boast that he has struck a deal with President Ernest Koroma and he has promised to hand over power to Brig. Bio? Really…is Bio that naïve or is it part of their Burkina Faso detente. How did Bio come around endorsing Napoleon Koroma over people like Kalilu Totangi and Mohamed Rado Swaray, who we all know should have been the frontrunners of that contest? Is it because Mr. Koroma’s only campaign slogan was “mi na pure pure paopa? Or was it because he has been providing that flawed legal advice that has increased tension in this party in Bio’s favour?

The new Organising Secretary of this party is a very young man who has lived his entire adult life in the UK. Does Mr. Bio really believe that this young man who left this country at a very young age so long ago is a more suitable candidate to people like V. V. Kamara who have made SLPP their home over the decades? Is his endorsement of Jimmy Songa in any way associated with Songa’s role in collecting $50 a month on his behalf to pay his rent? How does Mr. Bio imagine his alleged girlfriend, Fatmata Sawaneh, who is not on speaking terms with the Deputy Women’s Leader, who is also alleged to be the girlfriend of another paopa kingpin? Do you expect the National Women’s Leader to work amicably with the presumed First Lady now that she has publicly accused the latter of literally being in bed with the presumptive flag bearer of the party?

It’s a strange outcome, all in the name of campism; which in my view renders our efforts to get to state house, a bit herculean.

The Bio Factor:

I certainly looked forward to a balanced team of credible talents from diverse backgrounds on the national executive. But as it has turned out, the executive was handpicked by Brig. Bio in a last minute late night meeting with all the district executives and several Bio loyalists and some Members of Parliament. It is now confirmed that at that meeting held at Dauda Town in Kenema, Mr. Bio and his team (The Paopa High Command) invited Dr. Morie K. Manyeh to ask him to step down for Dr. Prince A. Harding, a demand we are told he turned down and walked away. It also emerged that Mr. Bio and his men asked one of the contestants for the position of National Secretary General, Alhaji Brima Koroma to step down for lawyer Umaru Mapoleon Koroma. He also refused to do that and even threatened to resign his position of Director of Administration at the party HQ. We also learnt that a similar proposal was made to Hon. Emma Kowa in favour of Fatmata Sawaneh, for the Women’s Leader position.

Considering that Mr. Bio remains the most favoured Flag Bearer aspirant within the SLPP, including mine, he has used the political capital we have accorded him to elect the national executive officers of this party. He has not given the delegates any chance to vet the contestants, especially for the three key senior positions that are very vital to the survival of the party. By out rightly endorsing candidates within the internal party politics even at this hour when he should be preparing for the national elections, Mr. Bio has fallen short of my expectations of the leadership temperament that I always assumed he had plenty of. Does he realise that by clearly speaking out in favour of one candidate that late in the contests, he is clearly saying to the others to go to hell? He was visibly angry and agitated. He scolded his senior Paopaists whom he suspected wanted to deviate from his dictates; threatened his supporters of resigning as the leader of the Paopa movement if they do not elect Dr. Harding and others. Then we saw him move to a back house where he doled out cash for the operation, according to eye witnesses.

As if that was not enough, he started inviting delegates and other executive members to both threaten and bribe them for his choices. Then he came to the hall where the elections were ongoing, surrounded by Prince Harding and other cronies. Then went back to the hideout, only for Kanja Sesay and Prince Harding to emerge moments later, holding up theirs and parading the compound in show of solidarity. The High Priest had spoken and the troops shall fall in line.

Prior to Mr. Bio’s arrival at the scene, Fatmata Sawaneh had won the Women’s Leader position over Hon. Kowa, who was the preferred candidate of Mrs. Fatima Jabbi Maada Bio. The First Lady in Waiting didn’t take kindly to this, so she bolted from the hall, but not before exchanging a few choice words with the newly elected Women’s Leader, who she said was having an affair with her husband; all this playing out in open court. It all left me gasping for breath. Will this conduct of Maada Bio, alienating people and openly stating that he cannot work with A and B except C, give me confidence that we can win the next election? Can I count on a First Lady with such a combustible temperament, who is bound to accuse every beautiful young woman who comes around her husband of been a harlot and a prostitute, to endear herself to the women voters of this country? I will leave that to time and his strategy for winning back those whom he has opening rejected. But the wife thing remains very troubling.

It has been my fervent prayers that the Kenema convention would at least give us a fighting chance as a political party. But thanks to Brig. J. M. Bio and his Paopa High Command, victory for the SLPP come 2018 is now a furlong hope. See you on the long bench at the Ataya Base on March 8, 2018. That is where a party run at the whims of an ego tripper belongs.

 

 

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Sierra Leone and China: Who Owns the Toll Road from Hastings to Masiaka?

Asks Pastor Mohamed Sesay (03/09/17)

This is the question being asked by Sierra Leoneans after the Chinese started collecting monies in the name of Toll Road Tax.

Ownership must come in here because it will be totally inconceivable for a Sierra Leonean company to go and pitch tent on a Chinese road and start collecting money there even to the inconvenience and detriment of the Chinese people.

Most Sierra Leoneans are baffled as to how the Chinese were able to reach that point where it all seems like the Sierra Leonean people are being taken on a roller-coaster ride by the Chinese who don't give a hoot as to the feelings and sufferings of those who use that road.

Whatever arrangement this government made with the Chinese will never be to the liking of majority of the people of this country which means the toll road tax is very unpopular and therefore all toll gates must be removed and other arrangements be made as to how to pay the Chinese company maintaining that road.

Without the toll tax collection lasting even a week the people of this country are suffering under its heavy weight already but to the Chinese who are collecting the monies it's all fun as they sit there enjoying themselves over their new found gold mine and now planning the kinds of minerals they will be buying with that money that they will ship to China leaving the people of this country wallowing in squalor.

That road had been there even before the Chinese ever were so how come now have they claimed ownership of it and are now busy collecting monies from Sierra Leoneans for its use?

The road neither belongs to the Chinese nor to this government but to the people so it is the people who own the road that must decide what they must do with it but the very people who own their road were never consulted to know if they will be happy to see Chinese people sitting on it and collecting money from them.

This is sickening. Imagine a landlord inviting a builder to help do repairs on his house with an arrangement that after the repairs the builder will collect rent for some time. Imagine after the builder has completed less than one tenth of the job he then begins to collect rent from the landlord.

The people of Sierra Leone are the rightful landlords of that road so how could somebody from somewhere else just begin to collect rent from them on their own bona fide property? Madness if the Sierra Leonean people allow this to happen.

Indeed there was an arrangement between this government and the Chinese contractors on an unknown system for the Chinese to maintain and expand the road and then collect the cost for that but what the people are facing now is totally unfair considering that the Chinese have fulfilled less than one tenth of their own side of the bargain but are now collecting. This is totally wrong making it clear that the Chinese are not interested in the road but rather on the benefits they will get from it.

This is no normal loan arrangement but rather a loan shark trying to fleece another person by pretending to be lending the person money like what we had in the olden days in this country with loan sharks giving 'wan pon for wan pon five' which was killing for those who became victims. The landlords of this road say that their road is not for sale neither is it meant for paying to use it.

It's unimaginable for Chinese people to pay to Sierra Leone tax collectors in China. It would never happen. I cannot understand why we should reduce our pride as Sierra Leoneans so low. Don't we have competent Sierra Leoneans who can collect these taxes themselve? No wonder many people, including Koya Chiefdom, are disgruntled.

Government must not over look this Toll Road Tax issue as it is surely a subtraction of electoral votes. Bai Bureh, who fought the Hut Tax War against colonialists in the 19th century would be crying in his noble grave for this Toll Road Tax.

 

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Astonishing why the APC Party Selects rather than Elects Flagbearers!!

By Abu Shaw (09/08/17)

The National Advisory Council has always chosen their flagbearers and astonishingly, the entire APC membership has accepted it wholesale!!!

It is an indication why democratic elections can be dangerous at times especially when the wrong leaders are elected. Or when such elections end in disunity and chaos. I believe the forgotten people often prefer a good leader who is selected undemocratically rather than a bad leader who is elected democratically. Many will disagree with me but that is the way life is. We disagree to agree. 

That is why the ruling APC party in Sierra Leone is unique in the eyes of its membership. Cynics will say the NAC is autocratic, dictatorial, undemocratic etc. simply because it has the almighty mandate to select rather than elect candidates it deemed fit to lead the APC party.

The National Advisory Council does not really need my humble advice as the constituents of the NAC are competent enough, according to the party hierarchy, to know who is fit to lead my beloved APC party come September 5.

This selection process has always been beneficial to the APC party as unity and peaceful co-existence within the APC membership continue to flourish.

As the APC party awaits the decision of the NAC technocrats to select the successor to president Ernest Koroma for the 2018 general elections, I hope and pray that they choose the correct person to lead the party.

Many competent names have emerged for the coveted post and I believe 50% of them can be brilliant leaders. But the advisory council knows best.

My only advice for the NAC is to consider a woman this time round for the vice president position. Men have come and gone but Sierra Leone's economy since independence has been bastardised with little or no major impact to change the lives of the forgotten people.

I think it is time for the APC party to make a woman a running mate, a platform that will provide the training necessary for them to take over this coveted position in the future. SLPP did it once with Dr. Kadie Sesay as running mate to Maada Bio but ended in humiliating defeat. Some of our women in politics are competent enough to make our homes more comfortable once again. 

So far unfortunately, very few women have thrown their head ties in to the APC flagbearer race namely Zainab Bangura and one Yansanneh. I believe our ladies should be more of challengers by taking the men head on if they are to be taken seriously in politics. 

My idol Captain Thomas Sankara shocked the world in 1984, by becoming one of the first presidents in the world to promote Women's Rights in Burkina Faso. "We should give women a chance as it is wrong for men to dominate women all the time," Sankara once noted.

Kudos to EBK for also setting the pace for promoting women in Sierra Leone politics but I think it is now overdue to have the first female vice president in Sierra Leone.

BUT THE NAC KNOWS BEST.

 

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Rotten Educational System Supports Unemployment in Sierra Leone!!

By Abdul Fonti (06/08/17)

I respect your argument, which was largely, if not squarely, based on the intellectual lens.

You could win any intellectual debate with this argument. However, your points are in contrast with the practical reality and I know this out of experience. 

To say the school curriculum or choice of course has nothing to do with employability is ridiculous to say the least. Then why really do we go to school and choose various disciplines? Why would people study various disciplines if it cannot employ them at the end of an academic struggle? Why do we have less lawyers, medical doctors and even accountants that are unemployed as compared to social workers or peace and conflict graduates in Sierra Leone?

How many jobs in Sierra Leone are available in Peace and Conflict related? You could have had a strong argument if your insistence was on the fact that the government and private sector have not done much to create employment opportunities for Peace and Conflict graduates. I agree with you that no graduate should be superior to another, but the employment reality speaks otherwise. 

In the newspapers for example, you will hardly ever come across a vacancy announcement requiring or seeking a Peace and Conflict graduate. This is simply based on the fact that the current job trend in Sierra Leone does not really cater for such graduates. Say what you may, that is just the sad reality in the country.

So why would I want to go and read Peace and Conflict if I am not sure of employment from that discipline at the end of the day. Current global trends point to targeted education and Sierra Leone should not be an exemption. 

On the school curriculum in Sierra Leone, it is not only outdated but even the curriculum delivery method is faulty altogether. Our education format is still largely based on the theory aspect instead of the practical. We read to pass exams with a curriculum that is so ABSTRACT. 

We continue to produce graduates in Linguistics, Mass Communications, Medicine, Law and Peace and Conflict among other disciplines that are total strangers to the practical aspect of their disciplines. 

Why would I be surprised to employ a Mass Communications graduate in my newsroom who could not even report professionally on a press conference? If you have not yet met linguistic graduates that cannot even speak or write proper English not to talk of pronouncing words correctly, you will need to listen to my experience.

The missing links in the educational system in Sierra Leone is just scary to say the least. In fact, we are operating a chaotic educational system with no career guidance, outmoded curriculums, outdated teaching methods, undeserved grading system, the list goes on.

I believe it is time to go back to the drawing board and try to redirect our educational system to a path that will lead to a serious future. Otherwise, Sierra Leone remains the 'UNFORTUNATE' country it is.

Courtesy: Abdul Fonti on Chernoh Bah and others (FPU) 

 

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Civil Servants Caring for Parties than Country Have No Place in Sierra Leone!!

By N'Bompa Turay (09/07/17)

In Sierra Leone, many civil servants, who are supposed to be above politics by serving any government honestly, are sadly doing otherwise!! Shame on them.

Investigations have shown that this cancerous disease is more prevalent now than never before. Many civil servants are today filled with intolerable hatred for the APC government of Ernest Bai Koroma. 

This evil design, mostly carried out by civil servants sympathetic to the opposition SLPP party cause, is geared towards leaking out top government secrets and classified information to sinister minded groups only to discredit the government and country.

Despite the code of ethics, solemn oaths to work honestly and impartially within the civil service framework, some highly placed workers are wolves in sheep clothing. They are the abominable Judases in the public civil service who are always discrediting the lauded achievements of the APC government.  

In past SLPP governments - a party that thinks it only belongs to the Mende ethnic group - senior civil servants belonging to the Limba tribe and other ethnic groups were retired indiscriminately without any justification. It is an open secret that Manso Samura and S.S. Sankoh were wrongfully retired on flimsy accusation of being Limbas. Is it a horrible notorious crime to be a Limba? SLPP party must remember Sierra Leone has 16 tribes in the country.

The regime of President Koroma has on many occasions expressed confidence and believed in the civil service and made sure his government does not interfere in the administration of the civil service. Salary increments among other incentives have been provided by the Koroma government. 

“There are very good civil servants whose performances are laudable. Their loyalty is to serve the nation, the government, and to refrain from every sabotage act that will discredit the government,” President Koroma often says. Yet, there are some very bad eggs sabotaging the impartiality of the civil service!                                           

It is an unpardonable crime for some highly placed civil servants to join forces with sinister quack politicians to discredit and ridicule the government they are serving. 

Those evil civil servants must decide now either to refrain from sabotaging the APC government and serve their country or resign to join the bandwagon of imbeciles. Lonta.

 

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APC Penetrating SLPP Stronghold is a Worry for the Palm Tree!!

By Kabs Kanu (11/06/17)

APC penetrates SLPP stronghold in Segbwema, wins 31% of the votes as ADP too takes 13%, leaving SLPP with a troubling 56 % pyrrhic victory.

If the bye-elections results in Segbwema, the birth place of the Sierra Leone Peoples Party’s most powerful operative, John Oponjo Benjamin , is anything to go by (and why not?), the SLPP  is in trouble as the 2018 elections approach.

All the tumultuous noise being made by rabid supporters, especially their so-called spokesman Lahai Leeman, who has been running his mouth about victory as well as war in Sierra Leone, as if somebody gave him some sassy wood to drink, appears to be mere rum-talk as the results from Segbwema recently demonstrated. It shows SLPP party is not anywhere close to winning any presidential elections in Sierra Leone in the near future.

In Segbwema, of all places, all the SLPP was able to garner was 1, 499 votes, representing only 56% of the votes. Their bitter rival, the ruling All People’s Congress (APC), whom they are vilifying as a spent force come 2018, put up a splendid show, winning 825 votes, which is a very impressive 31%. 

The poor SLPP hold on its stronghold was even emphasised by Mohamed Kamarainba’s Alliance Democratic Party (ADP) taking as many as 341 votes, which is 13 % of the total votes.

If the presidential elections are held today, with such figures from Segbwema, the SLPP will be roundly defeated as was done in 2007 and 2012. The results show that the waves of optimism that APC operatives have been generating about their party having penetrated the SLPP stronghold are based on reality on the ground. 

It is also demonstrative of the fact that APC stalwarts like Robin Faley, Moijue Kai-Kai, Sengu Koroma and Maya Kai Kai among others, are doing a marvellous job in the South-East.

Recent reports show that SLPP supporters are very worried about the results of recent bye-elections in Sierra Leone. Where by now, according to their estimation, the APC should be demonstrating a weakening hold on power, it has turned out that the APC is growing stronger and has even invaded their strongholds.

 

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Save Sierra Leone Democracy from Destruction Post Ernest

By Mahmud T. Kargbo (12/05/17)

The identification of faults in any area can often lead to the discovery that an individual or an institution is acting improperly contrary to law.

Few weeks back, the Parliament of Sierra Leone squeezed the Chairman of the National Electoral Commission to admit he made a mistake in the whole electioneering boundary delimitation process. 

Whether the National Electoral Commission Chairman was pushed to twist his initial statement where he said he did his own part of the job and handed over the documents to the Attorney General and Minister of Justice for detail legal consideration, one can't say. We were further made to understand by Hon. Rogers in the popular AYV on Sunday Programme, that the National Electoral Commission didn't procure the machines they are currently using for the voters and civil registration process. 

According to Hon. Rogers, the machines were procured by the Government of Sierra Leone.  Government in it part is saying the National Electoral Commission is an Independent Institution that's suppose to carry out its activities based on its Constitutional and Statutory mandate so they have no business in procuring machines for the National Electoral Commission. An inside source speaking to me in condition of anonymity said: "The machines were procured by one of our International Development Partners, specifically the British Department for International Development.” 

This is quite significant for obvious reasons. First, if the National Electoral Commission Chairperson can admit at the Well of Parliament that he made a mistake in handling the boundary delimitation process, what is the possibility that he will not continue to make more mistakes in this whole electioneering process? 

We all know that there's a price if one fail to go by the laid down rules and regulations of any Institution. In short, ignorant of the law is no excuse. But if our law drafters and enforcers decide to forgive the Chairman of the National Electoral Commission, we know immunity is a perk offered by prosecutors in exchange for valuable testimony that they cannot get otherwise, so the Chairman of the National Electoral Commission, who changed his initial statement, must have something good to tell especially if he did meet with State House before he faced the Well of Parliament or, at least, he seems to think he does. 

Second, our politicians know immunity is only valuable to people who are guilty - an innocent witness has no obligation to tell anybody anything, really, since they are just free to go; in other words, it doesn’t make sense for our Parliament and the National Electoral Commission Chairman to bargain for immunity unless the Chairman and Parliament are fairly sure he’s going to be found guilty of something in the first place.

Third, my sources told me NEC budgeted to procure U 40 machines, but my sources revealed to me they are currently using U 20 machines, if so why? 

And fourth, am reliably told that from NEC budget, there was provision for NEC to hire vehicles that are suppose to transport technicians to fix machines that will go faulty during the registration process, why this isn't happening?

So far, nobody has seriously taken the NEC Chairperson on these matters, and the investigation on the boundary delimitation possibly treasonous violations continues. But, there’s truly only two ways in which this rout could end: Either President Koroma is implicated in all of this, or he isn’t. 

If he is, the consequences are understandably disastrous: We elected a President that turned out to be comfortable in appointing people in our social positions of trust that are enjoying their jobs with the highest pride when they're working against the rules and regulations of their institutions, or are traitor to his government and the people of Sierra Leone – or, at minimum, they're so careless that their actions amounted to treason.

But even if President Koroma isn’t implicated, his most senior staff already are: Bai Mahmoud Bangura, Minister of Youth Affairs, was a "More Time" campaigned Agent. Mohamed Bangura, Minister of Information and Communication, he was very vocal on national issues prior to his appointment, but never campaigned for the recommendations of the Auditor General Report to be actualised. 

Joseph Fitzgerald Kamara, Attorney General and Minister of Justice, openly called the Auditor General Report "Mere Opinion" and he's suppose to advise the Government legally on the importance of the said report. And a combined APC and SLPP, but an APC dominated Parliament failed to genuinely press the Executive Arm of Government for the actualisation of the Auditor General Report. The list can go on. 

And, frankly, the consequences are equally disastrous: We elected a President whose some senior staff seems to be – unbeknownst to him – packed with rogue nationals ready to do dodgy dealings with foreign agents as reported in Panama Papers or are best known as traitors. In this case, President Koroma might not be as personally shaken, but the damage that will be done to the institutions of Sierra Leone democracy that he admirably fashioned over the years might be in danger.

True, the question is, can Sierra Leone democracy outlast this butchery? The dependability and uprightness of these institutions are under unexampled threat in our modern democracy. Not only are the very loyalties of our chief executive in question, but the damage molten upon the bureaucratic apparatuses that run the national government smoothly is also substantial. 

Instead of act as a professionalised, technocratic moderating force for President Koroma, his bureaucracy – or, at least, the appointed, high-ranking, non-civil service segment of it – seems to be acting more like an extension of buffoonish, incompetent past regimes it once claimed never to repeat their odd actions.

Honestly, there's no way we can put the blame on President Koroma. However if President Koroma administration ends, will the institutions of Sierra Leone democracy lead to carnage? - more so than ever before. But, as many must furtively admit in frustration - President Koroma’s efforts in democracy may erode after his tenure if few of his competent lieutenants do not step in. True, the economy was improving very fast before Ebola struck. True, things are improving now but not as fast as the electorates expect. Many Sierra Leoneans are feeling the pinch while the few are having a good time, which is grossly unfair.

Faith in Sierra Leone government and institutions has been tumbling and national approval ratings on government institutions in terms of social service deliveries are not encouraging. That is not on President Koroma. In fact, that disenchantment with government is likely one of the factors that put President Koroma in State House to begin with.

These institutions, and even democracy by its own, do not exist in the synopsis. Laws, rules, norms - all these things exist not for their own sake, but because they are meant to serve the people. 

And until our institutions can earn the trust of the Sierra Leone people by genuinely serving their interests and helping them in their time of need, and by providing them with real solutions in the face of deplorable standard of living, provide affordable, quality housing and education for all nationals and clean up the general atmosphere that is currently promoting the feeling of unease and displeasure within the majority, rather than continue to exist in some self-expressing good wishes numbness of sluggishness or inertness, there appears to be little reason why any administration, with or without President Koroma at its head, could gain legitimacy again.

Hopefully, after President Koroma, which ever political party assumes power after March 7, 2018 elections, the democratic ideals and institutions gained under the APC government will be maintained and improved.

Courtesy: By Mahmud Tim Kargbo, Centre for Research Documentation Policy Studies and Development of Law 4 Lamina Sankoh Street Freetown Sierra Leone Tel: +23278102619 23rd April 2017

 

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Ideas to Strengthen the APC National Youth League

By Mahmud Tim Kargbo (03/04/17)

Have you participated in any activities of the APC National Youth League? Do you want to be in the midst of those sharing their experience? 

Do you admire the concrete peace in the APC National Youth League? Do you have ideas that you can put into action in strengthening progress in the APC Youth League? Then this is your event, come to celebrate and share with the APC Youth League!

In what is constitutionally suppose to be the last Youth League Conference for President Ernest Bai Koroma as President of the Republic of Sierra Leone; APC Youth and Elders from home and abroad recently trooped down to Port Loko District in the Northern Province of Sierra Leone to witness the All People's Congress Youth League Conference. 

One thing that continue to manifest itself clearly is that even when President Ernest Bai Koroma is doing his last constitutional term as President of the Republic of Sierra Leone, he still remains highly popular among APC Youth and he's in full control of his government and political Party activities with almost all decision makers within the party and even beyond host serious amount of respect for his leadership qualities. 

His leadership qualities in terms of vision, pragmatism, consensus building, charisma and trust are still at their basking days according to them. This is why the youth of APC are fully behind his leadership and are very willing to throw their unflinching support behind whosoever he chooses as his successor to sustain the APC Party in power in the 2018 transitional elections. 

The truth and what many believe is the greatest disappointment for President Koroma is the fact that youth unemployment still remains a serious national concern under his regime. Unfortunately there's a looming greediness to the fault among most of the people President Koroma empower in his regime, they never have his type of spirit to pay back to the youth of the party by empowering them with skills and finances. 

President Koroma promised to die for the youth of Sierra Leone, but unemployment rate among Sierra Leone youth is still high and to make matters worse, the few youth in the country who are gainfully employed most of them remain academically incapacitated to catch up with the test of times and be in a quality position to positively contribute to our economy. 

In short, human capacity to efficiently provide the skilful labour force for our labour market continue to be a serious problem for sustainable economic growth in Sierra Leone.  It was a 3-day national event between APC Youth League from various aspects of life in Port Loko. 

The rendezvous targeted: Thematic stories, positive debates, creation of advancement stuff and other activities to share and celebrate, laying the centre of attraction on inhaling stories of the youth with an act of explaining the importance of youth joining the APC political party, partly through the sharing of past experiences of ex-APC National Youth leaders with a sense to sustain the party in governance in the coming transitional elections.

Most loyal APC members were expectedly in attendance and the conference gave participants the opportunity to reflect, review and evaluate past cooperation of the youth within the APC, but also expanded on everyone’s knowledge on APC in general, within the context of the APC National Youth League. The conference objectives was focused on the revision of the past and looking towards the future by:


- Analysis and assessment of APCNYL, looking at their strengths and weaknesses;


- Lessons learned from APC National Youth League in Action and what can be taken forward;


- APC National Youth League project placements – how to make sure both young people enjoy the fruits of the party without facing discrimination; 


- Improvement of the quality of future APCNYL projects as well as to strengthening the capacity of affiliating partner organisations in delivering quality youth projects promoting true brotherhood within the party;


- Development of ways of promotion of APCNYL, informing young people within the party about the opportunities it
offers;


- Promotion of evaluation of youth projects as a tool of self-assessment and of an increase of quality of future activities.

 

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Has the Deadly Ebola Returned to Sierra Leone?

Asks Ahmed S. Nasralla (06/03/17)

It was on a sunny afternoon, when the village hunter returned from the Gola Forest.

And he has his catch strapped loosely to his back; visibly sick and walking lazily to his thatch-roofed house. Suddenly, his family- wife, children and relatives- as well as neighbours come out to receive him, and the hunter collapses into their arms. Despite some care at home, the hunter’s case worsens. So the family decides to take him to the village herbalist for further treatment. 

Moments later the hunter dies, and family members start to fall ill. Cries and wails fill the hot-burning atmosphere as the villagers, gripped with panic, lament the calamity that has befallen them.

Finally, somebody calls the health emergency line 117 for help, but little help comes a little too late. Mobile network connection is on-and-off in this area. It happens that there is only one health official at the Peripheral Health Unit (PHU) and he’s overwhelmed with other patients. The PHU is about 200 meters from the centre of the village; you have to cross a bridge and walk a bit to get there.

An ambulance with wailing siren screeches to a halt. Three health officials dressed in PPE suits disembark, scaring the villagers some distance away. They walk purposefully into the herbalist’s hut, apply disinfectant all over the room and carefully cart the hunter’s body into the waiting ambulance. They speed off, with the villagers running and shouting after the vehicle.

A flurry of activities follows. Lab officials revealing the result of the tests done on the deceased hunter; contact tracers tracing all those that came in contact with the hunter; quarantine officials leading contact persons to a secluded unfinished building; the town crier announcing an emergency meeting summoned by traditional authorities to institute bye-laws; surveillance team; community health workers (CHWs), infection, prevention and control (IPC) team, burial team, social mobilization team all move into action.

This beckons the question: Has Ebola returned to Sierra Leone? The answer is no, not for now. The events just described were not real but part of a ‘Simulation Exercise for Community Based Ebola Response’, involving about 25 local actors all performing various roles and the community of Mano-Jeigbla as participants. 

The simulation exercise was organized by the NGO SEND Sierra Leone in cooperation with the Rapid Response Team (RRT) of the Kenema District Health Management Team (DHMT). It took place in Mano-Jeigbla Village in Tunkia Chiefdom in Kenema District on 21st February 2017. 

The activity was supported by the project “Prevention of Zoonotic Caused Health Epidemic in Sierra Leone”, implemented by the Government of Sierra Leone through the Ministry of Health and Sanitation, SEND Sierra Leone and The Conservation Society of Sierra Leone with support from Welthungerhilfe (WHH).

A simulation exercise is an interactive drama event that involves people as active participants rather than a mere audience, framing and placing them in a certain scenario and inviting them to act and behave as if the situation was real. 

The objective of this simulation exercise was to test the emergency response protocol of the DHMT in practice and the level of awareness and preparedness in the community two years after the Ebola outbreak. 

Would the various stakeholders – health professionals as well as the community leaders – remember and assume their roles and responsibilities to take rapid action if Ebola (or any other infectious disease) were to return to the community?

“We want to test the people’s knowledge about Ebola; whether they remembered what happened and what to do if it happens again,” said Augustine Brima, a field staff of SEND Sierra Leone who was among the advance team to prepare the community for the exercise.

Mano-Jeigbla village provides the perfect scene for the Ebola response simulation exercise. Located about 40 miles from Kenema town and a walking distance from the Liberian border, Mano-Jeigbla has a population of about 1,287 with 225 houses, most of them mud buildings with thatch-roofs. It is one of 12 villages in Tunkia Chiefdom with a total catchment population of 5,482. (Population and housing statistics from EDC Unit, PHU, Tunkia Chiefdom).

“The human traffic here is high,” said the Town Chief, Saffa Allieu Kallon. “People come and go from the Liberian border and travel to Kenema and other areas.” 

As the simulation exercise goes on, commercial motorbikes ply the route to and from the border transporting people. On the second day of the simulation exercise, 22nd February 2017, the whole community gathered at the village centre to review the exercise and proffer recommendations. 

Meanwhile, if it were real the families quarantined would have been held for 21 days and might have suffered some form of stigmatization on their release.

After the exercise, the villagers went about laughing as they recounted their experiences, but also emphasized that being part of such an exercise had enabled them to reflect and remember better.

Also present were officials from the implementing partners, the DHMT and the World Health Organisation to discuss what the simulation exercise had revealed in terms of gaps and challenges in the communities’ and health system’s ability to respond, share information, coordinate and work together during a health emergency situation. 

The villagers, as well as the officials, highlighted gaps in the exercise and proffered recommendations. "The success of the exercise does not depend on whether the community is perfect in their response to the mock outbreak. It’s about really getting them to do their own thing naturally and together we identify the gaps and plan how to address them,” said Mathilde Gronborg Helms, WHH’s Head of Projects responsible for monitoring the project, adding that the simulation exercise had proved to be a very interesting tool to raise awareness about Ebola and other diseases, and learning easily how to respond to the situation, and putting in place response mechanisms that work well on the ground. 

As such, the exercise served as a reminder of the need for sustained community based surveillance and strengthening of health monitoring and reporting, to promote resilience of the health system to prevent any future epidemic.

“We are not saying that Ebola will return,” said Josephine Jenneh Saidu, District Health Sister at the DHMT in Kenema. “We just want to be prepared, especially as we are now having cases of Lassa Fever, which has similar symptoms to Ebola. That is why the awareness raising should be sustained.”

Awareness and capacity gaps were observed during the simulation exercise and highlighted during the meeting, including the touching of a sick person; taking the sick to a herbalist instead of the health centre or alerting CHWs; eating of bush meat and lack of proper hand-washing practices. 

The villagers further lamented the fact that the only PHU in the chiefdom is grossly understaffed and that the vigilance of CHWs is declining due to lack of support.

Furthermore, lack of access to clean drinking water and toilet facilities is a huge challenge for general health and well-being and could as well accelerate the spread of communicable diseases. The community depends on a nearby stream and a well for water. Only few of the 225 houses have toilets, while the rest use the nearby forest as their rest-room.

“The challenges with the systems will always be there,” said SEND Sierra Leone’s Country Director Joseph Ayamga in an address to the community. “That is why when we work with community people it is their mindset that we challenge. If you don’t have toilets and water wells for example, we challenge you to dig them yourselves like the mud houses you built.  It is about what you can do to help yourself before help comes. It is that same mindset you will approach every challenge, including disease prevention.”

Courtesy: Asks Ahmed Sahid Nasralla (De Monk)

 

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Time for Our Politicians to Protect the Trees that Provide Shade

By Abu Shaw (03/02/17)

It is indeed worrying for my beloved APC party.

The prolonged infighting between the genuine Welfare Minister Dr. Sylvia Blyden and her Deputy Rugiatu Turay and with no end in sight is good news for the opposition parties.

For bad blood to brew between an APC minister and a deputy like this since last year should have been nipped in the bud by the Ernest Koroma government long time ago.

It is incredible why my government has not done enough to resolve this impasse in-house rather than allowing such a serious problem to escalate to a full blown national and international issue.

President Koroma and all the peace lovers in the APC should not keep quiet any longer on this issue. An amicable resolution must be found NOW to end this madness. 

Our ministers do not have enough time to carry out their national duties and anything that hold them back from performing their constitutional mandates must be discouraged at all cost.

From the Sylvia/Rugiatu imbroglio to the imported marabou man from Niger to the CFN Minors conspiracy are all detraction that the APC government must not condone if we are to win the 2018 elections hands down. For Deputy Minister Rugiatu Turay to continuously disrespect her boss Sylvia and even disobeys government policies is not only an affront to the constitution she swore to uphold, but it raises questions as to who is actually propping up Rugiatu to the road of self destruction. It remains to be seen.

A competent minister like Sylvia should be appreciated rather than demeaned. We are very lucky to have the likes of Sylvia in the APC government. That is why I always doff my humble hat to President Koroma for having the sixth sense to recruit the best minds.

It is an open secret that Sylvia Blyden's switch to the APC after ending her sympathetic feelings for the disunited SLPP party is still felt in the inner circle of the Palm Tree, though many SLPP diehard would hypocritically express happiness to see the back of Sylvia. SLPP loss is an APC gain. She is great addition to the ruling APC party.

I vividly remember the peace pack that SLPP Maada Bio engineered in 2011 for him and Sylvia to smoke the peace pipe. That historic handshake picture is still fresh in many minds. 

If the PaOpa chief can sum up the courage to strike a peace accord with Sylvia, I see no reason why my APC stalwarts cannot do the same to end the Sylvia/Rugiatu continued brouhaha.

We need lasting peace in the APC, not infighting. I am therefore humbly appealing to EBK to intervene ASAP and to usher sanity at the Ministry of Social Welfare, Gender and Children's Affairs. 

It's a blessing to have a brilliant mind like Sylvia in our midst. Lets allow Sierra Leone to enjoy the shade of brilliance instead of cutting the tree down. Thank you.

 

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Are the Likes of Maada Bio Really 'Fathers of Democracy'?  

Asks Mahmud Tim Kargbo (12/01/17)

Maada Bio's Pa-O-pas and the likes think they would achieve by deceitfully labelling themselves 'fathers of democracy'!!

Are these lies representative of the Pa-O-pa new generation leadership style and distributing such irresponsible baseless claims indicative of the end of the quality leadership of Maada Bio? Many politicians from all political divide, are completely at odds with the needed democratic leadership qualities to succeed President Ernest Koroma.

Is Maada Bio and his Pa-O-pa faction think these deceitful tricks for the ‘Democratic Leadership Qualities’ that must be protected at all costs for good governance can be misused without repercussions? Are Sierra Leoneans and the wider international community expected to fall for the likes of Maada Bio and his Pa-O-pa faction for such deceits?  No way!!!

It is high time a thorough evaluation of the past and current activities of the various people eyeing the seat of the Presidency in Sierra Leone be put under the microscope because many of the people planning to occupy State House, the seat of power in the country, have question marks.

And to buttress our democratic credentials, we also need to open some free thematic leadership lectures for the likes of Maada Bio to attend in order to bolster their capabilities and preparedness for the most important job in Sierra Leone. 

It’s either these negative politicians did not benefit from the modules of the democratic training institutions they attended, or Sierra Leone politics has not grown up enough over the years under the Agenda for Prosperity to potentially expose these intellectually dangerous leaders to the seat of power. 

The arbitrary killings of fellow nationals by Bio and co during their so-called National Provisional Ruling Council junta in 1992 eventually added to their desperate efforts to destroy our budding democracy when they partnered with the rebels to asked for 'Peace before Elections'. That was hypocritical deception of the highest order!!!

Not to mention Bio's act in embezzling tax payers' monies that he whittled away abroad and subsequently joined the academic field to improve his education with blood money. All these could have taught Bio and his Pa-O-pa faction that democracy never sleeps in the same bed with people that are true criminals.

Maada Bio's political character is incompatible with the description of 'father of democracy.' And to imagine that the Pa-O-pa faction can still parade these lies around in this modern era where facts and figures are very easy to come by, is itself disgraceful to put it mildly. 

Clearly, some of these corrupt Sierra Leone politicians have continued to be more clueless than one had ever imagined and the malaise is clearly getting worse by the day. 

God help our beloved Sierra Leone from the clutches of sheep in wolf clothing. Amen.

 

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The APC Party will Continue to be Pacesetters

By Mohamed Sankoh (22/12/16)

In Britain, former Prime Minister David Cameron shot himself in the head by provoking Brexit.

In the United States of America, the Republicans came from the opposition to topple the incumbent Democrats. In Nigeria, the opposition won the last General Elections. In Senegal, the opposition came from behind and breasted the tape. 

And in tiny The Gambia, a coalition of the opposition has won the Presidential election of December 1 this year. These victories might have given the opposing Sierra Leone People’s Party (SLPP) and its supporters a glimmer of hope. 

But wait a minute. There is a catch or catches here. From Nigeria to Senegal; from Senegal to Zambia, and from Zambia to The Gambia; opposition parties were able to unseat incumbents because they were able to sweep the capitals of those countries. 

But since Freetown, the capital of Sierra Leone, has no ‘Kamajor’ initiation bushes or ‘Ndorgboryosoi’ mentality; the SLPP should first try to win two seats in Freetown in the next General Elections, and from there they should think of winning three more seats in the next-next General Elections before they should start thinking of coming back to power in the third elections after 2018. 

Also in those countries, where opposition parties magically won the incumbents, the oppositions were not only organised but were seen as forces of change. They were seen as credible alternatives to the ruling parties. And they were also seen as parties whose leaders did not have credibility problems. 

But in the case of the SLPP, majority of Sierra Leoneans still regard it as a tribal and regional outfit not a political party with national appeal. There is no way a single tribe or region could win an election in Sierra Leone.  Not in this planet.

And besides, the political demography of Sierra Leone has always been favouring the ruling APC. The last Local Council by-election in Waterloo showed that, despite the austerity measures, the ruling party still has grip of the Western Area. And since the APC has been making in-roads in the southern and eastern parts of the country while the north and Western Areas are still culs-de-sac for the SLPP. 

It logically follows that in the face of all odds, and even in the optimistic figment of every SLPPer’s imagination, the APC is sure to always take gold in every election. Because whenever Freetown speaks on any matter; that matter will always be settled! And since the electoral voice of Freetown is always echoed by the Abacha Streeters (connotatively used in the generic form here), Freetown will be in APC’s grasp for the next ten or more years. 

And again, for any opposition to wand-flick the feat of defeating an incumbent government that party should be seen to be financially credible. But the SLPP is fiscal hysteria in itself. At present, it is unable to meet the deadline to repay a huge loan at the Sierra Leone Commercial Bank and the SLPP is now mooting the idea of filing for insolvency. How can any sane citizenry vote for a party that is not only bankrupt but whose leaders are still unable to give account of funds received before and during the last General Elections? Hey, I don’t think a starving man should be made manager of a restaurant (hope you are getting the sharpness of my metaphor?)!  

And it is only an unremorseful pessimist that will think that as things now stand so they would be before and during the next General Elections in Sierra Leone. This is only 2016. And before the would-be 2018 General Elections, things would be better than they now are.  

I am optimistic that before 2018, export of iron ore and other minerals would have increased; Dangote Cement would be in full production by the second quarter of 2017, and the Leone would have appreciated. 

By late 2017 as more companies begin to report more profits, this would translate into more taxes for the government; more investments; more jobs for our youths, and economic buoyancy for local sub-contractors. So, in 1-2-3 language, Sierra Leone as a nation would be expecting huge inflows by 2017.

Courtesy: By Mohamed Sankoh (One Drop) 

 

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If the Fuel is Stolen, How Could Subscribers Get Power?

Asks N'Bompa (16/11/16)

The National Power Authority (NPA) handed the baton to EDSA and EGTC after going through several mishaps.

The loss in that company National Power Authority) was through mismanagement, illegal connections, defaulting subscribers, several fire incidents etc.

EDSA fought it hard to stand on their feet but it seems the struggle continues. A lot has changed in the system of the power supply. The pre-paid meters are highly appreciated by the subscribers. The administration seems like coping till them recent alteration in the tariffs for power many cried over those changes but remained as subscribers.                                   

Most recently the Anti Corruption Commission and Sierra Leone Police caught a fuel tanker offloading fuel in a petrol station instead of the designated EGTC. The dry season is around the corner and repairs on the turbine of the hydroelectric plant must take effect. Here, the energy company must set up for the distribution of power using the thermal power house.                                                          

But if the fuel is stolen, how could the subscribers get power? This is the similar situation the former NPA had to put up with. Again, I am asking that we change and love our country. Bravo to ACC.                                                                                  

The Minister of Energy Henry Macauley and the EGTC General Manager Mr. Dennis Garvey are asking the general public to bring to their notice if any corrupt or any illegal fuel activity is seen. 

Well meaning Sierra Leoneans are dreaming of seeing real progress in the activities of the fuel company.

I wish to congratulate the Makeni people for their valuable contributions in the hound for fuel criminals and saboteurs. Keep it up and I hope others will follow suit all over the nation.

 

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Why we Need to Smoke the Peace Pipe for Our Country

By Abu Shaw (02/05/16)

Sierra Leone has suffered immeasurably over the years. Thousands have died needlessly for no justifiable reasons. Now, we have physical peace in the country since 2002.

But there are certain minds that are still sadly far from peaceful. Political affiliations have blinded some Sierra Leoneans so much so that the country has now almost become less and less significant in their eyes.

This is glaringly wrong. Sierra Leone does need minds that are peaceful at all times. Patriotism is the most significant virtue that citizens of any country must always uphold irrespective of their creed, religion, political partisanship etc. etc.

As journalists, we have the noble obligation to inform, educate, entertain the public with analytical news based on facts and figures. The Organiser newspaper believes many learned journalists in Sierra Leone are shining examples of professional journalism with high integrity and patriotism, a feat that garners respect both nationally and internationally.

As the first country in West Africa to start a newspaper publication, Sierra Leone journalism must always remember the ideals and dreams instituted by the pioneers of this noble profession.

We fervently believe the indefatigable penman and journalist late Wallace Johnson and the likes would oppose the way some of our media colleagues are misrepresenting the ethics of journalism.

We should all be proud of being members of Media Junction, Salone Thinker and other social media interactive forums as they give us the opportunity to brainstorm current news correctly for the benefit and development of our country. That is patriotism of the highest order.

But what is unfolding in the Media Junction for instance where some members are bent on publishing stories about their colleagues based on half truths, provocations and disrespect, is unacceptable and is a real cause for concern.

There is nothing wrong to write factual things with substance but when stories are geared towards provoking others just because they are not supporting the same political party, then we know there is a serious shortage of excellence in the media industry in Sierra Leone.

Such unprofessionalism deters the growth of the country. It is in this vein that we call on all our colleagues home and abroad to put their differences aside and stop attacking one another unnecessarily at the detriment of true journalism and our only beloved country SIERRA LEONE.

 

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Why Alie Kabba Lacks the Nutrients to Lead the SLPP party and Sierra Leone!!

By Abu Shaw in London (12/12/15)

Nineteenth century British politician and historian John Dahberg-Acton once stated: "Power tends to corrupt and absolute power corrupts absolutely. Great men are almost always bad men.”

The appropriateness of the above 19th century statement when applied to Alie Kabba, who is vying for the Sierra Leone Peoples Party flag-bearer position, is as timely as the Big Ben in London. 

It was apparently euphoric when Alie Kabba, who dubbed himself, ‘radical progressive nationalist’, declared his intention to go in to Sierra Leone politics one year ago. Many who knew him, including myself, jumped at his vision and immediately joined the campaign bandwagon to fight for the SLPP party leadership and eventually for State House, the seat of power.

One year on however, the Alie Badara Sanjan Kabba’s idealism has waned in strength because he has gradually shown his true colours to the astonishment of many former admirers. The Alie Kabba of NOW is a stark contrast to the individual that initially convinced me and others to lend unwavering support to his SLPP campaign. He is virtually not the same Alie Kabba whose extraordinary vision was based on democracy and the rule of law by having constant consultations with members and the decentralisation of power and respect for one another.

ALIE KABBA'S DEMOCRATIC DREAM EVAPORATES

In my one year membership of the Friends of Alie Kabba UK/Ireland team, Alie Kabba was living the democratic dream. During these formative months, everyone including Alie Kabba, participated in the formation of the Friends of Alie Kabba UK/I and he unhesitatingly endorsed London as the headquarters of his campaign team. He had extensive consultations with the executive members as to whether to run for the SLPP or form another political party - a third force.

After the SWOT analysis, the consensus was for the campaign team to choose the SLPP instead. Everything was rosy and smooth sailing. New members joined the executive team in droves as a result. From London, to Bristol, to Manchester, to Holland to Belgium, Alie Kabba was very humble and very consultative with the team on any decision making, an important tool he used throughout the tour of continental Europe 2015. How his positive attitude changed so quickly for the worse in recent times beggars belief!!

DICTATOR IN THE MAKING DESPITE ORATORY SKILLS

Alie Kabba’s oratory skills are amazing. Alie Kabba is one of the most brilliant speakers Sierra Leone has ever produced. His oratory gift can make any hard nut to crack. It is a gift that God has endowed in him, which in the African setting is called ‘Jayleebaa’. It means praise-singers with extraordinary talent and oratory skills. That is Alie Kabba’s most powerful weapon throughout his political life. But in real life, I believe, action speaks louder than words. In recent weeks, Alie Kabba started showing his true colours. He resorted to doing very strange things hitherto unknown to his character. He suddenly stopped having constant communications with the UK/I executives. Alie Kabba would neither take calls nor respond to emails from some executive members. He started imposing new policies on the UK/I campaign team without any form of consultations.

Consultation became non-existent in Alie Kabba’s lexicon. He secretly transferred his campaign headquarters from London to Europe, with the connivance of very few UK/I bootlicking executive members. I honestly do not have a problem if a leader decides to appoint people here and there to positions of trust as it is his/her functionality to do so. I have nothing against a leader who institutes brilliant policies on its membership. But when such a leader feels he/she has all the answers in the world, then such a leader has a democratic problem. Exhibiting the lack of consulting or brainstorming with close confidants in matters pertaining to governance, are the hallmarks of dictatorship. I absolutely abhor any leader, like Alie Kabba, who used and misused people with no semblance of respect in the guise of democracy. That was how Alie Kabba became a dictator.

AIR TICKET REFUND DENTS HIS CREDIBILITY

One conspicuous fact that came to light recently was Alie Kabba’s determination to enrich his personal coffers at all cost. After the Alie Kabba UK/I Dinner and Dance in September 19, 2015 in London, he emailed the UK/I Chairman, the Finance Office and the European Chair asking for refund of his Chicago-London-Chicago air ticket that he used to grace the London Dinner & Dance where he was Keynote Speaker. It was a real surprise for the rational executive members. It was unbelievable why Alie Kabba would ask for a refund of his air ticket that cost over 1,500 US dollars from the UK/I campaign team, a team that is financially handicap to carry out his own campaign functions? The refund issue eventually made tongues to wag and then questions about Alie Kabba’s real financial standing started to crop up. Is Alie Kabba so hard-up financially to stoop so low?

After lots of arguments, the money was reluctantly transferred to Alie Kabba through Western Union. Since the formation of the UK/I in London, he has never contributed a single penny to top up the meagre finances of the UK/I campaign team. We the few rational executive members started wondering whether Alie Kabba actually has the financial capability to propel his SLPP campaign. Or is he just one of those politicians who has the finances but is naturally greedy and selfish? I cannot remember any other SLPP flag-bearer or other Sierra Leone politicians who go cap in hand to ask for air ticket refunds for his/her own campaign. It was a real blow to Alie Kabba’s credibility. Or perhaps he is an opportunist to the core who is just trying to look for a job!! Posterity will tell!

ALIE KABBA’S PROMISES ARE EMPTY

When Alie Kabba highlighted his vision for Sierra Leone a year ago, I, like many others, plunged in hook, line and sinker. That was why I joined his campaign train in London. If the political and economic promises made by Alie Kabba for Sierra Leone are anything to go by, then there will be a big disappointment for Sierra Leone’s future considering his recent dictatorial tendencies.

Alie Kabba’s empty promises lured me in to joining the Sierra Leone Peoples Party, a party that I actually regretted affiliating myself with. I have never joined any political party in my life in Sierra Leone. To be lured in to the membership of the opposition SLPP thanks to Alie Kabba’s deceptive vision, was very painful to say the least. It was the SLPP party that incarcerated me without justification in 1998.

The SLPP ceased to be my favourite political party after the Tejan Kabbah/Solomon Berewa government arbitrarily arrested and persecuted me at Pademba Road Prisons for 10 months on the flimsy ‘collaboration charge’ excuses. Had it not been for Alie Kabba’s sake, I would not, in my wildest dream, associate my person with the SLPP party.

Alie Kabba has made lots of promises to see Sierra Leone on the hilltop of Africa. He said he wants to see the railways back to catapult the country’s economic growth for the 99% and not only for the 1% of Sierra Leoneans. That is why twelve months later, I have no doubts that Alie Kabba’s glorious promises are empty and deceptive for SLPP, country and man.

ALIE KABBA FALLS FOR FAKE IRON LADY’S CHARM

There are lots of twists and turns in the Alie Kabba dictatorial saga. One who perfectly fits the bill is his so-called Iron Lady Sia Evelyn Nyandemo. She barely knows Alie Kabba proper. She was introduced to the fake radical less than one year ago. But this empty Iron Lady has been elevated by Alie Kabba in so short a time that, suspicion about her real intentions to become First Lady is gradually becoming a reality. However, age is not on her side as Alie Kabba would definitely prefer a younger woman to suit his insatiable desires. 

But the fake Iron Lady, who was recently appointed by her leader as Global Fundraising Chairman, is alleged to have reportedly used one of her closest female relatives to lure Alie Kabba in to her charms. Reliable sources say she tricked Alie Kabba in to this love-nest early this year in London where she positioned her relative called ‘Amy Something’ in to her leader’s waiting hands. Alie Kabba even missed a very important radio interview in London to have a good time with his mysterious mistress. 

Alie Kabba also used his power to sideline the UK/I leadership by appointing another new lady called ‘Janet Something’ as his new Global Chairman. Janet is based in the US very close to her leader. His Global Fundraising Coordinating stooge is well remembered as a former PMDC party heartbreaker. These are the types of supporters currently aiding Alie Kabba’s campaign team. God help Sierra Leone. Amen.

USING AND MISUSING THE ORGANISER NEWSPAPER

My greatest regret was allowing my newspaper (theorganiser.net) to be the mouthpiece of Alie Kabba’s campaign team. My credibility was put on the line which pains me most especially after realising that Alie Kabba is a political LIAR, a former shadow of his political ingenuity. After all the voluntary publications in The Organiser newspaper to promote the messages of Alie Kabba, all I got from Alie Kabba was this disrespectful remarks: “Your newpspaper is not my priority in this campaign."

Alie Kabba sympathisers might say I am exposing him now because he refused to support my newspaper. Far from it! I am doing this because of a culmination of different negative things he has done in recent times, things that have the propensity to affect the SLPP and Sierra Leone in general. If these facts remain untold my conscience will ever remain to haunt my person. Making the dark side of Alie Kabba NOW KNOWN, is vital for the electorates in Sierra Leone.

In fact, Alie Kabba’s ingratitude dawned on me immediately after The Organiser newspaper hits the newsstand in May 2015. In the first week of my newspaper, majority of the executive members in UK/I and in Europe called to thank me for the publication. Alie Kabba made the call to me two months after the resumption of the newspaper and said: “Thank you and I like the name of the newspaper.” I did not take note of his ill conceived perception then. Alie Kabba has always hailed The Organiser newspaper as his main news dissemination outlet for the campaign. But he did not prove it practically. 

It was like a stab in the back but I am delighted now he did not mention my newspaper in his speeches as it would have dampened and tarnished the good image of my newspaper that I personally spent over 1,500 pounds sterling to set up. Now I understand why Alie Kabba requested few months ago to email him a  business proposal for my newspaper. I did as he persistently requested but he deliberately failed to even acknowledge receiving the emails.

He pretended not to know! The newspaper issue is just one of a catalogue of broken promises Alie Kabba has schemed in recent times. But he has woefully failed to have The Organiser newspaper paled in to insignificance. Now he is shamelessly using my business proposal as the main reason for my resignation. What has happened is a real blessing in disguise for me!

Be that as it may, I am now very delighted that the newspaper has moved away from the shackles of this false prophet. Now I am vowing to recommit my editorial stance to the benefit of all Sierra Leoneans irrespective of my future political affiliations.

HYPOCRISY WITHIN THE ALIE KABBA TEAM

The most worrying episode about the Alie Kabba campaign is the conspicuous hypocrisy that continues to permeate the team. This vice, I believe, has tremendous contribution to the lack of positive attitude in the campaign. The irrational executive members, who are in the majority, are so scared of Alie Kabba that they almost always endorse every policy put forward by the fake radical progressive nationalist whether good or bad. Whenever the few rational executive members called Alie Kabba to attention from straying away, the hypocrites would blindly jump to their leader’s defence.

Few weeks ago, Alie Kabba became so rude and disrespectful that he started shouting at executive members and made loud commands during one Skype meeting with UK/I campaign team. Reports say the former UK/I Chairman Steven Gbekie, was so infuriated with Alie Kabba’s outbursts that he had to tell him three times, in equally commanding voice, to ‘CALM DOWN! CALM DOWN!! CALM DOWN!!! It remains to be seen whether the fake radical knew that he had indeed stepped on the wrong toes.

Alie Kabba did not say sorry for his rudeness and I believe Steven Gbekie’s intervention to calm him down did not go down well with the leader. Instead, Alie Kabba immediately stopped having any form of communications with Mr. Steven Gbekie. The incommunicado went on for a month until Mr. Gbekie tendered his shocking resignation on Saturday December 5, 2015.

“PUBLISH OR PERISH” - SAYS POET YEATS

The legendary Irish poet and playwright William Butler Yeats, one of the foremost figures of the 20th century literature once said: “Publish or perish”. For fear of being burned up with dictators like Alie Kabba, I have decided to publish the dark side of him rather than perish not sharing these salient facts today for the people of Sierra Leone to judge. I do not want Sierra Leoneans to ask me in the future: "Why didn’t you tell us earlier."

I must confess, the Alie Kabba of Kay School years in Kenema is not the same Alie Kabba of today! Alie Kabba of Bo School years is not the same Alie Kabba of today! The Alie Kabba of FBC glorious years is not the same Alie Kabba of today! Within one year of my close association with the Alie Kabba campaign, I have noticed how Alie Kabba has metamorphosed in to a political dictator.

How three decades have changed a radical genius in to an unapproachable politician is beyond belief! This dramatic change from his humble demeanour and selflessness to something different was enough for me to quit the campaign team. And concomitantly, from the SLPP party membership.

How power can corrupt some individuals like Alie Kabba so easily is frightening. If Alie Kabba can be corrupted by power so easily when the REAL power is still far from his grasps, only God knows what the SLPP party and Sierra Leone in general would experience if he grabs presidential powers in the future!!

The 300 year-old 'Power Corrupt Statement’ by John Dahberg-Acton, son of Sir Ferdinand Dalberg-Acton has indeed stood the test of time. Politicians, like Alie Kabba, only justify how absolute power can corrupt some individuals so easily.

The facts above, among others, only indicate that Alie Kabba definitely has no NUTRIENTS OR GOODNESS in him to lead the SLPP, let alone Sierra Leone. God help us.

 

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How SLPP Supporter Are You?

By Abu Shaw in London (06/06/15)

This is the burning question that continues to confront me each time my media colleagues see a picture of me and Alie Kabba on social media networks. Even family members continue to ask if it is indeed true that I am now a member of the main opposition Sierra Leone Peoples Party SLPP.

It is ostensibly a big surprise to many who still could not believe their ears. Many close confidantes are very conversant with the deep-seated hatred and animosity I had for the SLPP for the past 17 years. It stemmed from the persecution I personally suffered from the SLPP Tejan Kabbah/Solomon Berewa 'democratic' era.

Detained and incarcerated for 10 months at the Pademba Road Prisons in Freetown by the SLPP government, it was the worst experience I have ever had in my journalism work. The prison was overcrowded with nearly 2000 inmates for a prison that was established to accommodate only 300 inmates. It was a nightmarish situation for me and very unbearable for my family and loved ones generally in 1998.

My only crime was working for a newspaper that strongly opposed military intervention to resolve the bloody conflict in Sierra Leone. The Expo Times newspaper, of which I was the Production Manager strongly advocated for a negotiated settlement to the civil war in our country. We were vehement in our opposition to the Nigeria led ECOMOG soldiers bringing arms and ammunition to fight the RUF and AFRC rebel forces. We believed the best way out of the conflict was dialogue and more dialogue as history taught us that very few wars had ended in battlefields.

This position was totally misunderstood by the military intervention propagandists and the SLPP government. Or did they pretend to misunderstand our position? I believe the latter is the answer. When I was arrested by ECOMOG in Freetown in early 1998, I was charged with collaboration, aiding and abetting the infamous AFRC military junta of Major Johnny Paul Koroma. My innocent dad lost his life as a result of the untold humiliation he endured when the rag-tagged and poorly trained Kamajor fighters took him to the bush hours on end at the outskirts of Kenema town. Only the timely intervention of the Paramount Chief and elders of Nongowa Chiefdom that helped him gain freedom. But my innocent father never really recovered from the shock. My father was the Chief Fullah Imam and Deputy District Imam in Kenema. He died in Freetown whilst I was still languishing at Pademba Prisons Cell 4 Blyden House. His corpse was flown to his resting place in Kenema.

Cell 4 at Blyden House was streets away from freedom as seven padlocked gates, that were heavily manned 24/7 by prison officers, stood between me and the road to liberty. It was there that I joined my colleague inmates Mr Victor Bockarie Foh, President Koroma's controversial Vice President; Mr Hilton Ebenezer Fyle, the former BBC Network Africa presenter; and the former Resident Minister East Mr William Juana Smith of blessed memory. I am still haunted by the summary executions of the 24 soldiers by firing squad in 1998. Nightmares continue to affect me to this day, as I vividly remembered that awful day when wicked prison officers jubilantly commanded all prisoners to enter their cells very early that day. We knew something strange was about to happen. Watching curiously from our small windows upstairs, we saw well armed ECOMOG soldiers marching towards the condemn cells, where the 24 Sierra Leone soldiers were detained since the death penalty was passed by the SLPP kangaroo court martial. There and then we knew that the dreaded execution was going to take place that day. 

Even the heavens noticed the impending nightmare that was underway. Dark cloud instantly overcame the bright weather as Gborie, Zagallo, Hassan Conteh and the 21 others dressed in black shorts and tops embossed with 'C' (connoting condemn), were lined up with their hands cuffed behind their backs. The gallant soldiers were then led away and we could hear their brave voices singing biblical rhymes as they were trucked away to their painful deaths. We cried inconsolably in our cells that fateful night. I was never the same person again after that as bitterness and trauma engulfed me up to this day. I cannot understand why some Sierra Leoneans who do not really know these 24 soldiers would quickly dismiss them as 'bad soldiers' without giving a second thought. As for me personally, I will ever remain to respect these 24 gallant soldiers. I met most of them in prison for the first time and because of the close bond and interactions we had during my 10 months of terrifying ordeal, I immediately changed my misconception I had before about these 24 gallant soldiers.They were decent ordinary Sierra Leoneans, who were only trying to implore their Commander-in-Chief to improve their conditions of service in the military. Even the Nigerian Captain lawyer who defended them at Solomon Berewa's kangaroo Court Martial in Freetown could not understand why the crème de la crème of the Sierra Leone army could  face such unjustifiable execution. It only highlights the utter stupidity of some of our selfish politicians in Sierra Leone.      

After 10 gruesome months of incarceration at the overpopulated prison, I was luckily acquitted  by the Tejan Cole Committee of Investigation in late 1998. The commissioners, after a month of trial, found me not guilty of the collaboration charge. But my colleague Conrad Roy, our brilliant News Editor was not so lucky. He lost his precious life in prison for no justifiable reason. The three other Expo Times staff namely Ibrahim Seaga Shaw the Publisher and Editor-in-Chief; Gibril Gbanabome Koroma General Editor and Charles Abayomi Roberts 'Punchy' Business Editor had to flee in to exile. The rest is now history.

After all the killings and destructions of our country, where did it all end? On the negotiating table of course! We suggested this peace path long before the rebel war escalated. But all our efforts fell on deaf ears. Representatives of the SLPP, RUF and AFRC subsequently met in 2001 in Lome, the Togolese capital, to trash out a negotiated settlement that finally ushered in real peace in 2002.

The wise often say time is the best healer. The timely arrival of Alie Badara Sanjan  Kabba in the political scene to vie for the SLPP flag-bearer position was the turning point in my own political affiliation with a political party for the first time in Sierra Leone. And with a heavy heart, I decided to join the SLPP party for Alie Kabba's vision. That is why I believe the SLPP is a very lucky party to have a natural leader like Alie Kabba in their midst. The SLPP must count on their lucky stars to have somebody like Alie Kabba, though many of the SLPP core members are so tribally blind that they could not see beyond their noses.

When Alie Kabba speaks, you feel his sincerity to the cause. You hear his determination to turn around the misfortunes of our country to the hill top of Africa. This is the vision that converted me in to supporting the Friends of Alie Kabba UK/I campaign team. Besides being tried, tested and succeeded, Alie Kabba is truly one of very few Sierra Leone politicians today who can bring back the glory years of Sir Milton Margai.

That is why I think all SLPP members, especially the delegates, must use their heads and every parts of their body that has even an atom’s weight of life, to vote for Alie Kabba as he is the only credible candidate who can take the SLPP to State House. Do not allow any political rivals to dissuade you either through the brown envelope format or otherwise, from supporting Alie Kabba. I have no doubt that Alie Kabba is a luxury for the 99% of Sierra Leoneans yearning for salvation since the country attained independence in 1961.

The Friends of Alie Kabba UK/I Chairman Steven Beckie and Secretary General Abdulai Braima and our Chairlady aunty Evelyn have all noted that they would have supported any political party that our leader Alie Kabba should have chosen. This is just a classic example of the trust we have in our leader.  

As the Media Officer for the Friends of Alie Kabba UK/I I have to say this: “Yes, I am now SLPP for Alie Kabba’s sake. Yes, I have forgiven the SLPP for Alie Kabba’s sake. I only hope that my innocent dad would forgive me for doing so. Ameen. For more information, please click www.aliekabba.com

TRIBUTE: ALPHA SHAW


1958 -1980

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By Mohamed Zackew (07/12/17)

Mr. President, I write to inform you about the way you have ruled this country some ten years ago.

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COMMENTARY

The Authoritarian Political Impulses and the Need for Real Change!

By Yusuf Bangura (07/12/17)

I define an authoritarian impulse as an urge to submit, or compel others to submit, blindly to authority.

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EDDIE K. ENTERPRISES

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