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COCORIOKO » 2005 » March

Archive for March, 2005

NOSTALGIA AND DREAM ABOUT THE SIERRA LEONE WE LOVE

Saturday, March 26th, 2005

 

Monday March 13, 2006


First_Name:  SAIDU ,WINSTON
Last_Name:  SESAY 
Email_Address:  SWSESAY@YAHOO.COM
City:  RALEIGH
State:  NC
Zip_Code:  27616mb was dropped. At this point it  was 

Comments: It was one of those gloomy and frigid winter days in the USA.The sun
apparently was playing a cruel game of hide and seek with the clouds, and this
was not an amusing scenerio ; the clouds were doing a good job at obscuring the
radiant light and warmth emanating from the sun. As i looked out of my bedroom
window i could not help but experience some feeling of intense melancholy which
invariably was attributted to the state of the wintery weather outside .
Suddenly my mind was transported back to sierra leone and i recalled the
beautiful weather i experienced whilst i was living there.This prompted some
very strong emotions deep inside of me . I instinctively went on my knees to say
a prayer for sierra leone- i cherish the day all sierra leoneans will return
home with pride and a sense of duty towards country

As i stayed praying on my knees i fell into what seem like a trance or a
dream .I saw a great crowd of people assembled at what in my estimation looked
like a stadium . These people for some reason had focused their attention on a
man standing on a podium.He was working this mammoth gathering into a delirous
frenzy- every state ment this figure made was greeted with a thunderous and
sustained applause ,and screaming from this crowd- this left no doubt in my mind
that who ever was speaking on that podium was loved and revered by this
enthuasiastic multitude -“I have to make my way to the front were i can get a
closer look and also a better understanding of what this hubbla is all about” I
muttered to myself and in the process literally pushing people out of the way
until i found myself at the foot of the podium ,juxtaposed to an attrative lady
who was oblivious of my presence; she was too engrossed in her frenzied
chanting to even notice if an atomic bomb was dropped. At this point it was
feasible for me to visualise the man standing on the podium. There was this
commanding presence about him

I stood basking in the wonderful afternoon sun amongst this crowd ,trying
to make sense of what was happening around me,with an overtly perplexed look on
my face. Suddenly this same lady broke into my train of thoughts ” Don,t you
know today is a great day, our dear supreme leader in consultation with we, the
masses are choosing the cabinet to run this country. All appointments will be
made based on proven and meritorious service of individuals in the society”

For some reason the crowd became silent and listened intently to this “supreme
leader”as he spoke. After some brief introductory remarks the “supreme leader”
announced such: “After intense consultation with you ,the people ,in whose hands
power lies , it is with great honor and pleasure to announce the cabinet of the
government of sierra leone “:

Mr Charles Margai and MR ERNEST Koroma as CO- PRESIDENTS – These choices were
made after long delibration-Mr Margai by virtue of his incorruptable and
principled past and Mr Koroma who inspite of being in a party with some
unsavoury past has proven to be a visionary,honest and dynamic personality. The
hallmark of these choices is their integrity- It was a hard decision to
appoint one over the other and this left us with no option than to name them as
co-presidents

Vice President- Mr Alfred Akibo -BETTS- This is a man with great resolve and
discipline who does not compromise his principles especially on developmental
issues that affect the average man on the street”. At this point i could not
help but ponder if Mr Akibo-Betts was still alive or dead. “Papa we wan eat,
Akibo nae we man” someone in the crowd shouted.
Minister of justice and attorney general- Mr DESMOND LUKE–This is an
illuminary son of the soil who has served his country well. He has proven to be
a man of high integrity with a character that is beyond reproach.His
uncompromising love for the rule of law is nothing short of commendable.
Minister of defence and the interior- Rt.COL. JUXON- SMITH – His dedication to
discipline and accountability in service to the nation is worthy of emulation by
all and sundry
Minister of interior- Madam Goblo – GULAMA- a selfless woman ,a great hero who
served her people with dignity.Her exemplary effort brought tremendous respect
and recognation to the institution of local governance
ministers of finance – Mr Sam BANGURA and DR.John Karima- The former for his
brave stance even to his death on fiscal issues which will/and did affect the
development and progress of our country.The later by virtue of his prudent
fiscal policies that revamped a struggling economy which had been in a state of
stagnation- I know he served in a military junta- but we are giving credit to
whom credit is due.

Minister of Health- Dr Nahim – the only psychiatrist in the nation- his
selfless dedication to the care of the most underprivileged people in a society
that still regards mental illness as a stigma, can not be overemphasized. He
stuck with these people through thick and thin even in the dark episodes of our
country,s history and transition

Minister of information- Mr Paul KAMARA- HE HAS SUFFERED IMMENSELY for the
cause of democracy. His unwavering and resilient spirit has won him tremendous
praise both at home and abroad.

As i continued in my bewildered state, someone INTIMATED that the “SUPREME
LEADER” WAS SIR MILTON MARGAI-

The “supreme leader continued with his speech- ” We believe there are numerous
people out there in our great nation and in the diaspora also who are qualified
for these positions but we as a people will endeavour to collaborate in
indentifying such patriots and as time goes on we will make these appointments
and inform the populace accordingly.i want you all to take cognisance of the
fact that these appointments were made based on the criteria of proven honesty,
tolerance,foresight,a change oriented mindset to name but a few on the part of
these appointees .IKNOW YOU ARE ALL TIRED AND READY TO GO HOME. GOD BE WITH YOU
AND GOD BLESS SIERRA LEONE. Lest i forget we wILL be creating the ministry of
religious affairs which will be tasked with THE RESPONSIBILTY OF PRAYING FOR
THIS NATION and providing spiritual guidance” A NATION THAT REVERANCE GOD WILL
BE BLESSED

AT this point the sun went down over the horizon .The great majestic LION
mountains standing TALL. I WAS SUDDENLY STARTLED BY THE HONKING of a carhorn and
i opened my eyes to realise that it was time to go to work! What can become of
DREAMS?

Former Liberian First Lady tells it all : Charles Taylor has lots of concubines

Wednesday, March 23rd, 2005

 JEWELTAYLOR

Wednesday March 23, 2005

Jewel Howard Taylor is by no means an ordinary woman. She is the lady believed to have tamed  and controlled the emotional heart of the former Liberian President and dictator, Charles Taylor , who until two years ago held virtual sway and masterdom in the warlord fiefdom of West Africa. Or so Liberians thought about the relationship between Jewel and the so-called “Butcher of Monrovia..”

Now the former Liberian First Lady is talking. West Africa’s most feared warlord  during his heydays who left a woman shamelessly and bitterly crying on the tarmac of the Robertsfield International Airport as he left for forced exile two years ago , is a man of multitudes of concubines.

Talking to the Nigerian magazine , OVATION,  Mrs. Taylor disclosed that her husband has many concubines. When asked by the magazine whether Taylor had other women beside her, she retorted cynically : “He got plenty of concubines. Do not bother me about that one “.

Taylor is said to be romantically involved with the sister of Nigerian President , Olusegun Obasanjo , who granted him exile in Nigeria two years ago and he also has as his woman the daughter of His Excellency Hon. Donald Duke , Governor of Calaba State , one of Taylor’s townmates in Nigeria.

However, Mrs.Taylor, who is known for her jealous fits at the Executive Mansion during their stay there and also at the Governor’s Lodge in Calaba where they now reside, made many complimentary remarks about her husband during the interview. She said that most of the things said about Taylor were false and were propaganda from his enemies.

Mrs.Taylor complained that Charles Taylor was used by power-hungry politicians to invade Liberia .She said that after the late President Samuel Doe killed, the politicians who used Taylor could have said to him that hecould not be President, but her husband stood his ground that he had given enough blood and tears to gift somebody else the Presidency.

COCORIOKO WILL PRODUCE THE FULL INTERVIEW LATER

 

John Leigh organizes press conference at Stop Press Restaurant

Tuesday, March 15th, 2005

JOHNLEIGHOLD

Ladies and Gentlemen of the Press, thank you very much for accepting my invitation to attend this press conference.
I have called this briefing to convey to the governmental authorities, the general public and the officers and members of the governing Sierra Leone People Party respectively, certain matters of public and party interests.

I will speak on three topics and then take your questions from the floor. These topics deal with the Public Health, the administration of the SLPP and my very deep interest in holding publicoffice. But before I begin, I wish to express my appreciation for the great strides the media in our country has made in promoting responsible, democratic governance in our country by reporting the news and by publishing numerous Op-Ed articles on matters of national importance.

Without a free press, there can be no genuine democracy. I therefore urge you all, Ladies and Gentlemen of the media, to diligently press ahead with your work and to act m good faith at all times. Although mistakes have been made and will continue to be made, your work as radio and print journalists have been very beneficial to our country and will continue to be helpful to our country’s development.

Although mistakes have been made, I believe that no mistake made so far warranted the extremely severe sentencing of imposed upon journalist Paul Kamara. I therefore start this press briefing by asking the Government of Alhaji Ahmad Tejan Kabbah to set Mr. Paul Kamara free forthwith.

1. PUBLIC HEATH ISSUES

The first public health issue I’d like to discuss is the scary pestilence ravaging the people of the Sella Limba Chiefdom in and around their capital, Kamakwie (Kamakuyea). The pestilence is known in the locality as BIG FOOT. Public Health experts call it Elephantiasis. By whatever name it is called the pestilence has taken away happiness from the people of Sella Limba Chiefdom. When I visited Kamakwie recently, I observed that a major dark cloud of fear and worry has enveloped the area.
From the traditional rulers to the lowliest resident, the Sella Limba people in Kamakwie are deeply concerned about their plight and there is absolute justification for such a state of mind. Our fellow citizens need help urgently to arrest the disease and eliminate their fears. I urge the 50-50 Group to come to their sisters’ rescue and also that of their children.

 

As of September 2003, 585 cases have been diagnosed. Dr. L. A Conteh of the WesleyanHospital in Kamakwie has the records. 77% of the victims are women. A number of children have also contacted the disease. Most of the cases are located in communities closest to the Little Scarcies River. The two most devasted sections are Magbonkeni I and Magbonkeni II, each approximately 7 miles from the Little Scarcies.

The worst part of the disease is that the victims develop not only grotesquely enlarged feet, hands, breasts and scrotums but are ostracized by some in the community, isolated at homes in their villages and then blamed for witchcraft and dealing with devils. Consequently, wives are divorced, once-eligible brides are discarded, infected pupils are withdrawn from school and the victims become virtual untouchables in their isolated homes.

In fact, the disease is caused by the AEDES Mosquito breeding and plying the area. WHO used to spray vulnerable areas in the chiefdom but the war intervened, terminating the spraying.
It is time to resume the spraying and initiate studies and/or arrangements for a long-term solution to the pestilence. The Ministry of Health should now do whatever its personnel can to contain the problem ? including psychological counseling of the entire population to get rid of superstitious beliefs that cast blame on innocent victims – while searching for international assistance as necessary.

I myself will also take up the matter privately when I return to the States. I am willing to help whosoever wishes to address this major health problem.

Please also note that pockets of elephantiasis are also said to be in Mbanta and Masimra in the Makarie-Gbanti Chiefdom, Bombali District and in the Moyamba District at Mahara, Mokeleh and Mombet in the Kagboro Chiefdom.
HEAPS OF GARBAGE

The garbage situation in our nation’s capital appears to many people ? aside from its ugliness – as a serious threat to the health and safety of the inhabitants of our nation’s capital; not to mention its impact in discouraging investments and tourism.
Heaps of rotting or smoking garbage can be seen daily in public streets within the city. Rotting garbage provided a sanctuary for disease-breeding insects and rodents. Burning garbage disperses carcinogens in the air we breath. Small wonder, therefore, that life expectancy in our country is so low, with the frequent occurrence of untimely deaths in this town.

The Central Government and the new elected Mayor and City Council should put their political differences aside and work with each other to put the public interest first above their respective political interests and thus free our capital of the sickness and unsightliness in our streets.

THE ADMINISTRATION OF THE SIERRA LEONE PEOPLES PARTY

I respectfully call on all responsible officials of the Sierra Leone Peoples Party to devise an effective way to regularly communicate to the entire Party membership so that dues- paying patrons and the rank and file members are properly informed of all important Party activities on a systematic basis.

No reason has yet been given for the failure of the National Executive Committee and other party organs to meet and deliberate on Party matters since before the 2002 presidential and parliamentary elections. Or if they have met, we are not aware of the decisions taken or which group conducted the intra-party district elections that produced so much bitterness within our party. Many complaints exist.

I respectfully ask our party officials: where can a serious-minded party member go to review minutes of NEC Meetings?
What is the date of the next Convention? Why was the Mini-Convention required by the Party Constitution to be held in 2004 not yet held?
When and where will the 2006 Nominating Convention be held?
Rumors have it that the forthcoming Convention will be held in Freetowri rather than at Makeni as required in the interest of fairness. This switch is purportedly because there is insufficient accommodation in Makeni. The fact is accommodation is plenty in Makeni.

The traditional SLPP practice of rotating convention locales between Freetown, Makeni, Kenema and Bo should not now be changed arbitrarily and suddenly. Makeni wants and deserves to host the said Convention and has the ability to host 2,000 delegates, according to the SLPP Secretary-General of Bombali District.
The current Executive Council is operating on borrowed time and should stop keeping the membership in the dark regarding party activities.

MY iNTEREST iN HOLDING PUBLIC OFFICE
I am very much interested in becoming our country’s next president in succession to President Tejan Kabbah. However, I am not yet ready to make any definitive declaration at this time to seek the leadership of the Sierra Leone Peoples Party, as I have a lot of homework to do.

For example, I am still consulting with Party members around the country and with known friends of Sierra Leone around the world. I am also trying to put a campaign organization in place and to work out arrangements to provide for my American family upon my relocation toSierra Leone.

Please allow me to make it clear that no one is pressurizing me. No one can pressure me to run. My candidacy will be the product of my own free will. Hopefully, I will be able to make an announcement shortly.

I am likely to participate in the contest for the next SLPP Leader because none of the announced or unannounced candidate is a qualified as I am for the position. In fact, everyone of them is substantially less qualified for the leadership than I. Most of them are local lawyers, members of a profession notorious in our country for delaying the peaceful and objective resolution of matters before our Courts. Most come to SLPP merely looking for opportunities for their own advancement and are laden with notorious political baggage. Some have political degrees such as NDP, APC, NUP or NPRC.

Suffice it to say that after the completion of my homework, I will seek the indulgence of the membership to consider my application for Party Leader. Until then, I ask everyone to keep an open mind.
In my view, the contest ought to be decided on who is the most qualified candidate that will do the most good for the people of Sierra Leone and not on the basis of who announced first or who throws large sums of money around or is a descendant of particular persons.
With this, I will now take your questions. Thank you for your attention.

 

 

LEADING KONO POLITICIAN DIES

Monday, March 7th, 2005

 

Monday March 7, 2005

Mr. Abu Aiah Koroma, the politician once regarded as the leader of the Kono people of Sierra Leone, has died. Mr. Koroma died yesterday in Freetown, just two months after his beloved wife also succumbed to death’s balmy hands in the U.S.

Mr. Koroma,  a British-trained lawyer, came to prominence in the 1960s when the late Brigadier A.T.Juxon-Smith  appointed him Attorney General in the then NRC Junta . He was charged with  Misprison of Treason  by the Siaka Stevens’ APC government  in 1968 after  the NRC lost power that year .

The charge at the time alleged that Mr. Koroma knew or had cause to know that Brigadier Juxon-Smith and his junta endeavoured to subvert the SierraLeone constitution , but failed to inform authorities about it.  Mr. Koroma  considered the charge so preposterous he caused a stir in court  for many days when  he refused to take a plea .

Koroma was eventually found guilty and sentenced to a long-term imprisonment at the notorious Pademba Road Prison. He was later released when the government granted amnesty to the 1967 alleged coup masterminds and appointed General Manager of the Diamond Mining Company ( DIMINCO). He  also served as Minister in the APC government of Major-General J.S.Momoh.

Mr. Koroma remained in  the political limelight  when the military junta then , headed by Brigadier -General  Marda Bio , under international pressure , restored civilian rule with the 1996 General Elections , which Koroma contested as Presidential candidate for the Democratic Center Party ( DCP ) .He won only 36, 799 votes , which constituted 5 % of all votes. Mr. Koroma then  declared support for the victorious SLPP  was appointed in the very first Prsident Ahmad Tejan Kabbah government as Minister of Presidential and Political Affairs. He served in that capacity until he was dropped in a cabinet reshuffle in 2002.

Koroma was instrumental in having the Donsos , the Kono  wing of the Civil Defence Force ( CDF) , and remnants of the Revolutionary United Front ( RUF) in Kono join the disarmament program at the conclusion of the Sierra Leone war in 2001.

Sia Lamin  , who informed COCORIOKO  about the demise of Mr. Koroma , said his death was a huge loss to the Konos and Sierra Leoneans in general because of the services he rendered his country. May his soul rest in peace.

 

John Leigh takes on Sama Banya on frustrations in the SLPP , ambitions and the party’s image

Thursday, March 3rd, 2005

 JOHNERNESTLEIGH2

 JOHN ERNEST LEIGH

Dear Dr. Banya:

The Concord Times of February 11, 2005, quoted you in its lead news report as declaring that:

“John Leigh is a frustrated and utterly ambitious man whose

outburst would not dent the image of the party” [SLPP].

The newspaper further reported that you said that all those who think they are members of the party and would want any internal reforms should make themselves available at the party’s convention scheduled for late next month.  You then went on to label Mr. Moijueh Kaikai, an official of our party’s UK branch, as also ambitious and “misguided” and who mislead others without checking his facts ….

I am availing myself of this opportunity to respond to your above-cited statements, which in the absence of any correction from you or your staff, I assume were accurately reported by Mr. Ibrahim Seiburch at the Concord Times.

FRUSTRATIONS

You are absolutely right:  I am frustrated but not in the warped sense implicit in your remarks!  Assuming for argument sake that you are right about my purported frustration, what is the proper way to address an SLPP Chief Patron’s frustrations?  Would you put forth the effort to address the underlying cause or causes of his frustrations or poke fun and laugh at him as you seemed to have done when you spoke to the Concord Timeson the 11th instant?

Is your gloating over a Party Chief Patron’s sufferings an appropriate response?  Is this childishness your idea of proper Party leadership?

 

For your information, I am deeply frustrated, like millions of Sierra Leoneans, SLPP members, patrons, office-holders, sympathizers and supporters at home and around the world, because of the demonstrated poor leadership of our party that resulted in the trouncing of our party candidates in the recent local government elections in the Western Area by opposition party candidates and by independent candidates who should have been allowed to contest under the SLPP symbol.

 

By foisting your apparently unqualified spouse as the SLPP candidate for the office of Mayor of Freetown, you mindlessly offended a lot of already frustrated party members and the well-informed voters of Freetown who are now convinced that our great Party does not understand, let alone care about the very deep-seated problems confronting them in our nation’s capital.

 

It is my view that no party official has the right to put his and his family’s personal interests above those of our party, especially in a place crying for relief to solve manifold problems associated with rapid, unplanned urbanization and war damage.   In my view, promoting or allowing a poorly qualified candidate for the high office of Mayor of Freetown amounted to reckless and selfish leadership.

 

It further demonstrates the complete absence of what is required for proper, effective Party leadership, the type of leadership necessary to strengthen our Party so as to help rebuild a nation devastated by a vicious war provoked by the same exact type selfish and uncaring leadership practiced by pre-war regimes of which you’re a high official.

 

FRAUDULENT PARTY ELECTIONS
Second, others and I are frustrated by repeated kahlow-kahlow election practices within the Party.  I have received numerous complaints from genuine party members across our land that under your chairmanship, SLPP officers are helping to sabotage internal party democracy; destroy respect for our party’s leadership and provoking a huge party split by using crooked means to “elect” and foist upon the body politic, Party District Executives and Convention Delegates loyal to regime insiders.

 

The usual means employed, I am told, is the repeated use at the very last minute of bogus lists of party members qualified to vote for District and Constituency officers and imposing fake convention delegates unapproved by the legitimate party members.  Today, tension, anger and frustration permeate party organizations within many districts.

 

Third, others and I are frustrated because under your failed leadership, vindictive watermelon marginalizers are operating the Party for their personal benefit and marginalizing party members.    Party officials are vindictive to those who disagree with them.  Party offices are used as instruments of corruption rather than engage the Party as an instrument for the advancement of nation-building policies for a better future for all the people of our country.

 

The greed, selfishness, ungratefulness and vindictiveness that characterize party activities under your very poor leadership, are a cause of great concern by the party’s rank and file throughout the country and abroad.  Many of us fear that the possibilities for a massive party split under your watch are real and fast approaching.

 

CORRUPTION NOTORIETY

 

Fourth, others and I are frustrated by the repeated bombardments against the SLPP-led government for corruption by the people of Sierra Leone and by the international community as represented by the International Crisis Group, Transparency International, Human Rights Watch, British Cabinet Ministers, the United States Government, the European Union, etc. and you as Party chairman is doing little or nothing about this shameful situation.   Where is the leadership we expect from you?

 

IT IS MY RIGHT TO RAISE ISSUES FOR DISCUSSION

 

I played a key role in electing the SLPP government that is been criticized nationally and worldwide.   I played a huge leadership role in restoring constitutionality to our country and in isolating Charles Taylor as the enemy of Sierra Leone and Liberia.   Therefore, I have a right to feel frustrated because the corruption problem debilitating Sierra Leoneans refuses to go away.  In fact, government corruption is said to be even more rampart and spreading than ever.   Your willingness to quietly co-exist with the rampart corruption within the government established by our party increases my frustration and that of many others.

 

THE ?UTTERLY AMBITIOUS’ ISSUE

 

You spoke disapprovingly that both Mr. Kaikai and I as “utterly ambitious” individuals.  Why?   Are we the only individuals who wish to move up within our Party ranks?

 

How about that new comer to our Party who wants to succeed President Kabbah as Party Leader and President without first doing any thing good and lasting for our party like I did in 1995 and 1996?  Where was he then?   What has he done for the SLPP since he became an officeholder?  What did he do for Sierra Leone during the inter-regnum?   What is his background?  Is he more qualified than me in any way, shape or form?  Is he not ambitious?

 

How about the woman you wanted to be the SLPP Mayor of Freetown?   What has she ever done to strengthen the SLPP?  Is she not utterly ambitious?  What are her qualifications?  Are they sufficient for the position of Mayor of Freetown? Has she done more for the party than Mr. Moijueh Kaikai?  What, when and where has she contributed to our Party?  What has she achieved so far for herself prior to her selection as our Party’s candidate for the problematic job as Mayor of Freetown?

 

Isn’t she recklessly ambitious?  Or aren’t you recklessly ambitious for her?

 

Do you approve of the ambitions of party insiders who are using foul means to insure their re-election while splitting our Party in the process?

 

MY REAL AMBITION

 

For your information, I am very ambitious for my country.  I want to see Sierra Leone become a prosperous, peaceful society with flourishing democratic systems of governance both within all governmental units as well as within all political parties and all public, social and private organizations and within each family unit.  Successful countries have accomplished such.

 

Sierra Leone, too, can become a successful country.  We do not always have to remain in last place.   But under your ridiculous leadership, we are likely to remain in last place.

 

I am very ambitious for democracy in Sierra Leone that was why I initiated and led the campaign to restore the duly elected SLPP government and our then five-party parliament to their rightful places at the apex of our society after it was violently overthrown on May 25, 1997.

 

I am ambitious for long-term peace and stability in my country that was why I defined Charles Taylor and his activities for the world community so the international community would understand our people’s predicament and thus come to our rescue.

 

I am ambitious for the success of my Party that was why I paid to help resurrect it in 1995.  I am ambitious for the future of my Party that is why I invested my money and time to travel in all 12 provincial districts and in the Western Area to find out whether the awful news we abroad are hearing about the sufferings, the goings-on at home and the poor-image of the leadership of our Party are truthful, exaggerated or outright lies.

 

I am ambitious for prosperity to come to my country that is why I demand the highest standards of integrity in all my official dealings.  Without leadership integrity Sierra Leone will remain in last place and poverty will continue to ruin our people.

 

As you can see, I am ambitious for numerous legitimate reasons.   What is your ambition, if any?

 

BANYA APPEARS CONTENT

 

You appear content to continue maintaining party offices in premises full of stinking, sickening rivers of piss and piss stench.   Has it ever crossed your selfish mind that the stench of rotting piss is most offensive to party members, party workers as well as the general public?

 

Do you think it is fair and reasonable for you to have your offices in the State House while Party workers and Party members must endure the stench of permanent piss in order to hold on to their jobs or transact Party business?

 

You are a trained medical doctor, why then don’t you properly lead to insure that the highest standards of hygiene radiate around SLPP head offices?  Rather, you seem to me to be content with the very unhealthy sink of piss at Party headquarters and, perhaps, you may care nothing about the diseases contained in the rivers of piss flooding the entranceway.

 

When I think of SLPP offices in Freetown under your low-quality leadership, the nursery rhyme Old McDonald Had A Farm immediately comes to mind.  But instead of “a quack, quack here and a quack, quack there; here is a quack, there is a quack”, etc. all that comes to mind is “piss-piss here, piss-piss there, here is piss, there is piss, smelly, stinking, stenching piss, piss-ppissss everywhere.”

 

You should be ashamed of a piss-saturated leadership.  Piss and continuous pissing inside party premises degrade our party image and invite disrespect for Party leadership.  Piss in Party premises is denting our Party’s image.  My work and reputation enhance our Party’s image.

 

I know the time may soon come when party offices may be relocated.  But in the meantime, we ask that you address the disgusting piss problem – if only to end the shame, the smell, the unhealthiness and the frustrations of thousands of Party members, sympathizers as well as the general public.

 

IT’S UP TO DR. BANYA

 

So, Dr. Banya, please decide for yourself how best to address the issue of public frustration.  You are free to laugh at the frustrated, gloat at them or ignore their cries for help.  But you are also free to address the legitimate concerns of those frustrated by your chaotic leadership, a leadership characterized by endless pissing at Party premises; insatiable greed, selfishness, ungratefulness, vindictiveness; party in-fighting and crooked internal elections and other alleged nefarious practices.

 

PISS & THE PARTY’S IMAGE

 

Your claim that I won’t be able to dent the Party’s image is superfluous.

 

You also failed to give even a single example of what I might have said or done to warrant such a heavy accusation.  Why would a party member like me want to dent our Party’s image, a Party I worked so hard and generously to strengthen?

 

For the information of Party members, I have no interest in damaging our Party’s image. On the contrary, I have always sought to protect the Party’s image and to enhance its reputation nationally and worldwide.

 

My association with the Party brings successes to the Party.   I contributed heavily to our 1996 electoral success.  What did you do for the Party then and since?  After the AFRC overthrew our government, I worked around the clock, seven days a week for nearly a year to successfully help bring back home our elected government and parliament then in exile in Conakry.  What were your contributions, if any, towards the success of that heroic achievement, the first ever in Africa not only to reverse a coup but also to reinstate the exact government overthrown?  Even then I did not rest.

 

I then labored to prevent the combined 1998/99 AFRC/RUF invasion from Liberia but the leadership acted incompetently and they compounded their incompetence by improperly labeling me “the Prophet of Gloom and Doom”.  I suffered in silence but remain undaunted.  I subsequently pressed ahead with my next campaign to successfully define Charles Taylor of Liberia for the world to understand the evil he and others were doing to our people and country and the exact reasons for their evil conduct.

 

Where were you during all that time?  As Foreign Minister, I learnt nothing from you, Dr. Banya.  In fact, I was far more knowledgeable, experienced, skillful and hardworking than you ever were.  I was frustrated, but I patiently put up a straight face out of my love for our Party and country.

 

It is the stinking, sickening piss stench at Party headquarters, kahlow-kahlow tactics in broad daylight, leadership vindictiveness, selfishness, ungratefulness and greed; and corrosive government corruption that have dented the image of the Party’s leadership.

 

The Party’s image is ok and distinct from the party leadership’s.  Our Party patiently awaits the arrival of the genuine party leader who is capable of changing things for the better.

 

THE PARTY RANK & FILE

 

Please be advised that I have no problem with our Party or with our Party’s rank and file.

 

My concerns are directed at the Party’s backward, selfish, ungrateful and weak and vindictive leadership.  This leadership is in charge of our country and the repeated acts of their most senior officials are causing suffering at home, disrespect abroad and frustration all over.  British Cabinet ministers are not complaining about our Party.  They are complaining about the party’s governmental leadership that leads and controls a corrupt and incompetent government.

 

The party rank and file is complaining about gangster tactics used by elements within the party’s leadership to steal internal party elections nationwide by the last-minute use of bogus voters’ lists and the imposition of fake convention delegates not elected by the genuine membership.

 

Recently, they extended their crooked tactics to the USA Washington, DC Chapter.  I will deal with this crookedness later.

 

You should understand that it is the spreading corruption within our Party-led government, gangster tactics relied upon by our crooked party officials and insiders to gain the upper hand; marginalization of our membership, greed, ungratefulness, selfishness, vindictiveness and the unending rivers of stinking, sickening piss at party headquarters that have dented the image of the party’s leadership.

 

OUTBURST

 

My interview with SaLone Times and Standard Times was a very quiet affair, held peacefully in a professional atmosphere.   There was no shouting, no yelling at any time during the question-and-answer session.  It was all very civilized and completely free of any type of conduct that might remotely be characterized as an outburst.  The only outburst I am aware of occurred only in your imagination.

 

PARTY CONVENTION

 

Under poor leadership, participating at an SLPP Convention is not a simple matter.

 

First, no date is ever given for the Convention except at the very last minute.  And even then, only few people are informed.  Under our corrupt leadership, Convention dates and venues are closely guarded secrets, as are the list of delegates qualified to participate and vote at a particular Convention.  Moreover, there is no provision to challenge the credentials of the bogus delegates imposed on the Party by certain party officials.

 

Lists of voting delegates are kept secret and released only at the 59th second of the 11th hour.  Why such kahlow-kahlow tactics?

 

SLPP conventions under the leadership of Sir Milton were totally different. All members would know well in advance when and where the convention would be held, who the delegates were as well as the agenda.  The entire affair would be conducted under the rules of genuine democracy.   There would be zero kahlow-kahlow tactics at play during Conventions under Sir Milton Margai’s exemplary leadership.

 

CONVENTION DATE

 

Concord Times quoted you as saying that the next SLPP Convention will be held at the end of March.  What exactly does end of March mean?  Can you be more specific and as soon as possible?  Could you please let the entire membership know of the exact date and place for the convention?  Would you make available to members true copies of the delegates lists as well as establish an effective system to challenge delegates’ credentials?

 

Keep in mind that this convention should have been held in May 2004 as per the Party\s constitution.

 

Concord Times also quoted you as saying that those who think they are Party members and would want any internal reforms should make themselves available at the next SLPP Convention scheduled for “late” March.  In Bo, during the May 2002 Convention, in the presence of the entire Party leadership, I was told to “shut up” “sit down” and “go back to America” by those I consider Party nincompoops when I rose to legitimately challenge the credentials of bogus delegates from North America imposed by the convention organizers.

 

The imposition of sycophantic, rogue delegates upon the Party by crooked Party officials in violation of the Constitution must cease forthwith if our Party wants to avoid a catastrophic split under your watch.

 

I now challenge you to specify the exact date, time and place of our Party’s next Convention, together with the lists of genuine delegates and a transparent and accountable procedure to challenge bogus Convention delegates as well as a system for correctly counting all the votes cast during the convention.

 

PARTY FINANCIAL STATEMENTS

 

I also require audited or unaudited financial reports of our Party.   What happened to all the monies and other assets donated and collected by the Party since November 1995?

 

When I ask to review our Party’s financial statements, will I be told once more to ?SHUT UP’ ?SIT DOWN’ and ?GO BACK TO AMERICA’ by kahlow-kahlow Party officials?  Or will accurate and up-to-date Party financials be made available for all to inspect, review and debate according to democratic principles?

 

CONCLUSION

Thank you for your attention to the above matters.  I pray that you start working to improve the quality of your leadership for our Party’s sake and stop heaping scorn at the plight of frustrated members or condemn members with legitimate ambitions for the success of our Party and our country.

 

Finally, please be advised that I reserve the right to respond point-for-point to your further public comments, if any.

 

Sincerely,

 

John E. Leigh

Grand Chief Patron

Sierra Leone Peoples Party &

Chairman, SLPP North America Working Group

 

Police IG denies ordering shooting

Thursday, March 3rd, 2005

 BRIMAACHAKAMARA2

Thursday March 3, 2005

On-The-Spot report by Cocorioko’s Tamba Borbor

Inspector-General Brima Acha Kamara yesterday said that he did not order the Police to shoot at any student. He explained that over the past two days, the Police had done a commendable job by not using excessive force and yet succeeded in quelling the riot that had ravaged the city of Freetown. He also denied that anybody was shot and challenged the Press to bring the evidence of this. “We do not expect people to cheer us when we are enforcing the law but the general populace will vindicate us as people still haveconfidence in us,” he stated.

Fielding questions from Journalists at the weekly Police Press briefing yesterday afternoon at the Police Headquarters, the Inspector- General flanked by his Deputy Oliver Somassa and Assistant Inspector- General of Police Chris Charley, said that he was happy that no fatal incident had so far occurred and that he did not tell his men to go into the University campus. “My instructions were that they should stop at Harry Sawyerr’s Hill where I was informed the students had a check point.

The IG refused to accept that anybody was injured by live bullets fired by them, since he claimed; he was not an expert to verify bullet wounds. “Only the medical people can do that” , he stated. He also stated that the police have their limitations as they cannot use excessive force and that there was no need for it at this time because they used only force equal to the resistance and that the command and control did not break down which would have required the kind of force people are talking about.

He however confirmed that he had received reports that about three people were injured and admitted at the Emergency Hospital. He also admitted that because of the cash-strapped situation of the police they do not have any of the modern equipment for crowd control like water cannons, rubber bullets and others. “We are doing the best we can under the circumstances and I see no reason why people should blame us as we are serving the nation and not any group of people,” he declared.

He also disclosed that about 40 people had been arrested, while he has given instructions for the investigations to be sped up, so that those involved whether students or not will be charged to court by today. Deputy Inspector General Sommassa, whose vehicle was vandalized during the riots, said that the Police are spending millions of Leones everyday that this kind of situation exists. “We spend money on men, vehicles and other logistics which is not good for our economy”, he declared.

 

HEALING SIERRA LEONE’S SCARS – Kabbah’s Country

Tuesday, March 1st, 2005

By Karamoh Kabba

I listened to Robin White and Rick Wells since I was a mere youngster via short waves radio, by the only stereo set depending on which hamlet I happened to be? and there was Elizabeth Blunte. Those were the bygone days. Now, I can catch these programs through the Internet radio at any time of the day. Focus on Africa and Network Africa’s unique tunes are only sagacious of those long-gone days when I had to be by the stereo set a certain time. It’s leading to the following assertion; Robin is one of few journalists who have earned the authority to write like that about West Africa if not Africa.

When Robin said, “Kabbah is a genial, well meaning, competent man, and his official photographs do not do justice to his smile,” is journalism in its finest form and it is so true. But let us put the paradox under the microscope; “The ferry that takes you from the airport at Lungi to Freetown is a bit like Sierra Leone – struggling. It is old and decrepit, but it just about goes.” In addition, he went on, “Like all decent leaders, he is accused of not being ruthless enough. Corruption is said to be creeping back into the system and Kabbah stands accused of turning a blind eye.” These same journalists had used similar phrases for late President Joseph Saidu Momoh. And clearly, Robin unbounded his paradox, “But some would prefer a little dictatorship to big corruption — because that was the root cause of the anger that Foday Sankoh and his RUF was so ruthlessly able to exploit.” Read on when he writes, “Sit in a bar, or a newspaper office in central Freetown and stories just walk by. A group of blind, limbless soldiers come up to me with a petition protesting that they have been thrown out of their houses as part of a programme to cut down on military expenditure. One shows me a picture of President Kabbah standing over him when he was hospitalised after his injury. “The president promised me he would look after me until I die,” he claims.

The infamous Alieu Kamara, one-time spokesman for the junta that overthrew Tejan Kabbah in 1997, sips beer with the very journalists he once tormented. I express surprise he is still alive. “So am I,” he laughs.” Who will ever candidly call such character competent? To answer this question, he interjected the delimiting precedent “well-meaning.” President Kabbah is such an astounding personality, but the question is; are we looking for another President Joseph Saidu Momoh of Sierra Leone? No, I will vehemently refute – and surely, most Sierra Leoneans will – because, late President Momoh once told us he failed the people in a State of the Nation address, yet did not resign. Honestly, he was a well-meaning man himself with a great deal of self-discipline who ran the nation like a monarchy.

A well-meaning man who was a titular nominal figure overseeing a looting game that went on for years unabated until it plunged the nation into the heartrending decade we trod in anger and agony. Let me tell you this, the people around well-meaning leaders tend to benefit first, but lo and behold those people are crooked, their crookedness will apparently decapitate that well-meaning-ness right in that circle depriving the ordinary people.

A President need not be ruthless to stop corruption. He needs to be conscious of his duties, he needs to be pragmatic, and he needs to be conscious that final fingers will point at him and only him when things go wrong. It will do President Tejan Kabbah no justice to attack his personal ability, but let me point out some of the regime’s incompetence from different media sources in Sierra Leone: “As if the arrest and detention of their leaders by the so-called Special Court in apparent collaboration with the Government of Sierra Leone was not enough of a mess, the Kabbah administration has once again locked horns with their one time allies of the Civil Defence Forces.

The issue this time has to do with a proposal by government to award Kamajor fighters with medals, certificates and related honors. According to our sources, a large group of Kamajors from all over the country are presently meeting to deliberate over whether to accept the awards from the government.” (Freetown media) It is incommodious good-sense to have a leader under arrest and called the foot-soldiers men of mettle. This is manifest incompetence.

These are the consequences when ones ‘right hand does not know what the left hand is doing’. But as if this is nothing, “New Chief of Defence Staff, Maj Gen Mboma, meeting with the press for the first time, warned his officers that there should be “no more soldiers in politics as long as I am the CDS” and added “politicians should leave the soldiers to do their work.” (Freetown media) Is it the law that “no more soldiers in politics” or “as long as I am the CDS,” meaning that it is up to the next CDS to make his on law. These kinds of egomaniac statements invariably ruin our nation. Whereby everyone thinks he/she is above the law or he/she is the law. At least when the law is enforced in the name of the law, bound not to be broken by any Jack and Jill will make a statement that will prevent upcoming citizens of authority that the law is supreme than any man or woman and not the incumbent authority’s law, which otherwise opens others own lawmaking options.

The law enforcement bestowed upon authorities is what makes them who they are. Otherwise, they are ordinary members of families and circle of friends. Therefore, their semantics must give chance to the law to bestow authority in them instead of their individualism that invariably bestows despotism. But this is an example of how despots are made. Not to deviate from the gross incompetence of Kabbah’s regime, the people of Sierra Leone must recognize the better of two evils first. A bad democracy is preferable to a good autocrat or despot. The fact of the matter is, with democracy, the people are entitled to go back to the ballot box unlike the latter where they are deprived of the right to vote. But to knot it all, the people are sitting by a very good man, a father, husband or least, a man who needs supervision. He is a man who trusts people so much that he has been blinded by it. Kabbah will bring, as Robin rightfully stated, his people abject poverty and frustrations that in the first place triggered the decade-long rebel war. Nevertheless, that is why they have the ballot box to return to when elections come back around. Sierra Leone is tired of chasing leaders out. Democracy is here to stay. Karamoh Kabba

SPECIAL COURT EXPONENTS DEALT BITTER BLOW AS DAVID CRANE QUITS

Tuesday, March 1st, 2005

 

Tuesday March 1, 2005 

Exponents of the Special Court for Sierra Leone heaved sighs of disappointment yesterday when the UN-backed court announced that Lead Prosecutor, David Crane was stepping down. Crane had been impressive in his zeal and fervour to ensure that alleged war criminals whom the court was trying were brought to justice.

Crane’s decision to step down disappointed Sierra Leoneans who want to see justice in their country because Crane had shown a passion and dedication for his job that would be difficult to replicate by his successor. As soon as he wasappointed in 2002, Crane went all over the country collecting evidence , visiting alleged scenes of war crimes and holding town meetings to educate the public about the mission of the court.He had relentlessly pursued evidence wherever he smelt one and seemed to have carved out a tightly-knit case against the accused. Crane made a colorful opening statement at the start of the trial during which he waxed poetic as he emphasized the war crimes committed during the Sierra Leone war.

However, Crane had been at odds recently with the Trial Chamber of the court when he consolidated the indictments against the Civil Defence Force( CDF)  indictees but a legal question aroseabout whether or not he should have served the consolidated indictments on the accused and caused them to enter a new plea. The CDF  indictees boycotted proceedings of the court for long over the issue. It is not known whether Crane’s resignation had any direct connection to the consolidated indictments row. COCORIOKO  is investigating and will bring you the facts .

 

Kabbah Flirts with Fidel Castro: A Dangerous Trend !

Tuesday, March 1st, 2005

First_Name:  Joseph S.
Last_Name:  Sherman
Email_Address:  jsherman68@hotmail.com
City:  Washington
State:  DC
Zip_Code:  20010
Comments:  Kabbah Flirts with Fidel Castro:  A  Dangerous Trend !

Mr. editor,
The removal of your website by  the Egyptian woman from her computer because of you informative and educative article on President Kabbah’s visit to Cuba is indicative of  this woman’s shallow mindedness and still haunted and tainted with supressive, undemocratic, socialist values.  She lives in a dream world that misleads her that socialism is the answer to a changing world that yearns for freedom, liberty and the pursuit of happiness.  Her litany of examples on countries in Africa that benefited from Cuba economically or militarily is misguided and a concoction of misinformation.    Indeed, if Cuba is economically viable  to have helped African countries, then it is a shame for Cubans to live in abject poverty  and its citizens scrambling day by day to migrate and live a better life in foreign countries.    Militarily,  Cuba has helped to nucture dictators by providing military training for men who have been used to suppress opposition and freedom of speech in most African countries.    Therefore, if she chooses to removed the “Cocorioko” website from her computer, shame to her as she is considered the  least  and among your diverse  and dynamic readers.

On the issue of President’s kabbah vistit to  Cuba,  now that the world has one super power since the collapse of  the Soviet Union and the end of the cold war, political ideology and alliance is insignificant and has no more part to play in the economic survival of  any country.    Nevertheless, President Kabbah should know that  Fidel Castro is the only surviving autocratic and authoritarian leader who still defies the United States and democratic nations in terms of ushering democracy and tolerance.   No one can boast that the United States has a perfect democratic system, however,  the amount of tolerance in freedom of  expression and association without intimidation, supersedes most developed countries in the world more so communist Cuba.   Sierra Leone being a sovereign nation, President kabbah can solicit aid and forge an alliance with any country that he wishes, however, he must be careful not to eat with two hands especially with a country like Cuba that is with odds with the United States.   This reminds me of the Liberian scenerario, when the late President William R. Tolbert forged an alliance with the eastern bloc (Russia, Romania) and Communist China, in defiance with the United States policy towards these countries, the result is a military coup that ushered a military dictatorsip.  The late President Ronald Reagan supported the military government at the time which resulted to the horrendous civil war in Liberia that spilled over in Sierra leone.

Sierra Leone cannot afford any other distabilization, 11 years of brutal civil war is enough for the suffering masses of that country. Whatever benefit Sierra Leone will gain from President kabbah’s romance with Fidel Castro, he should exercise caution in order not jeopardize his friendship with the western world.  Cuba is one of the country labelled by the international human rights organiztions as having the worst human rights records and refusal to adhere to reforms.   Eventhough, I do not  believe in the policy of isolationism which Cuba is suffering today from many countries in the western world, President kabbah should know that his quest for the development of Sierra Leone from any source should not betray the trust that the western world has for him by not reading the writting on the wall.  Recalcitrant leader like Muhammad Kadafi of Libya, have read the writing on the wall and decided to take a new direction to be part of the committee of nations, indeed he succeeded.  Today his country’s stigma of being a belicose nation and training camp for terrorists has faded.    The policy of Cuba to maintain its old-aged philosophy is outdated and creating more hardship for its citizens.  Infact, Fidel Castro being in power for over four decades should send signals to any democratically minded leader that he has outlived his usefulness to govern and a dangerous person to do business with.

About the Author:

Joseph  S. Sherman was an erstwhile Broadcast Journalist with the ELCM Community Radio, now Radio Veritas, Monrovia Liberia, and former General Editor of  the defunct Footprint Newspaper in Freetown, Sierra Leone.  At present he is the Director of a Multi-Cultural Adult Education Center in Washington, DC.