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Archive for January, 2006

Who is Solomon Berewa?

Wednesday, January 25th, 2006

Who is Solomon Berewa?

By Sidie Yahya Tunis

Wednesday January 25, 2006

 

SOLOBEE2

Sierra Leoneans in general see Solomon Berewa as the Vice President of our beloved country and a man who helped President Kabba bring Sierra Leone to economic backwardness. There is a group of us, however, who see Solo B as the chosen leader by President Kabba to continue his legacy of corruption, intimidation, misrepresentation and total economic and developmental destruction of Sierra Leone.

 

 The most fitted description of Solomon Berewa, however, came from one of his closest allies, one time cabinet Minister in the J.S. Momoh administration and former finance minister of the ruling SLPP, Mr. J.B Dauda. JBD described Solo B as the most corrupt politician he has ever known in his entire life. I decided to follow up on this description because Solo B is now the flag bearer and leader of the SLPP and is also hoping to become the next President of Sierra Leone, a country that needs to be entirely cleaned up from the same corrupt elements.

 

JBD himself is not only corrupt, but knows pretty much what corruption is and I believe has dealt with so many corrupt people because he has served on two very corrupt administrations. First the J. S Momoh government, which had corruption written on the foreheads of every cabinet minister and government official and which was famous for the saying “USAI U TIE COW, NAR DAE E DAE EAT”, then the current Tejan Kabba administration, which recruited money hungry people like Momodu Koroma, now foreign minister and once a briefcase carrier to Charles Margai, to help him economically destabilize the country.

 

 The difference between these two governments however, is that unlike Kabba, Momoh was never ashamed to admit that he has let the country down. Kabba however, continues to claim that he has done well as president and throws anyone in jail who dares challenge his claims.

 

JBD did not need to tell us that Berewa is corrupt because just his actions are enough to let us know this. This man once wanted to have nothing to do with the SLPP, but quickly bought his way into Tejan Kabba’s good books by helping him slaughter the junta boys of AFRC. He also prevented the Anti corruption commission from doing its job through section 48 of the Anti Corruption Act.

 

 That Commission has become a failure because he obstructed all moves by the Commission to take appropriate action against all those of his bodies who were found guilty of corruption. Then came the SLPP convention, where he used Tejan to buy out the delegates so that Kabba can be set free once his tenure is over. Oh and then came Abbass Bundu, who was once convicted by the same Berewa, for selling Sierra Leone passports and converting the money to his personal use. Berewa has now embraced Bundu as he, Bundu, became a member of the SLPP.

 

With all these things happening, how can one believe Berewa and how can people still continue to think that this man will bring any developments to that country at all? The man has no agenda and every time he is out to speak to the people, all he says is how smart he was in law school and how good a student he was at CKC. What are even more frightening are the people you can expect to see in this man’s administration if God forbids he becomes president.

 

 We can’t afford to have people like passport trader, Abbass Bundu in another administration, neither do we want to see briefcase carrier now turned foreign minister, Momodu Koroma, house breaker, Bobson Sesay, J.J. Siafa, a.k.a J.J. Blood, who has talked so much for this short time he has Secretary General than all the ten years Prince Harding spent in the same position, Kanji Daramy, who was found guilty of corrupting Salpost, but was made Presidential spokesman. At the end of the day these people will continue their very activities while we continue to suffer as a country. Let us not fall for the little gestures Solo and his allies have started doing, going to these small towns and opening schools just to fool the people into voting them to power. Now, do we have options? Yes, we do.

 

 The People’s Movement for Democratic Change is born and has Charles Margai as its leader. This party is here to give our country its glory that has been taken away by corrupt leaders like Solo B. One thing that I want to bring to everyone’s attention is the fact that we have never heard anyone, not even Solo B, who hates Charles so much, refer to him as corrupt.

 

People have said that Charles is arrogant, but have never said that he is corrupt. At least Sierra Leone still has politicians that are not corrupt. SLPP hates Charles so much because of this one reason. When you have a party that is full of corrupt people that are eager to continue their agenda, there will be no room for honest people like Charles, which is why the leadership of that party has fought him over and over to make sure that he does not get the leadership. For those who think that the SLPP has been their religion or symbol of their family, think again because at the end of the day, it is not party that rules, but individuals because if it is party that rules, then people like Kabba and Berewa would not be leading the SLPP. That party was formed on moral values and principles, none of which is in existence under this leadership.

 

 You all need to really sit and ask yourselves whether you will continue your loyalty to SLPP and continue to put the wrong people into government just because of SLPP and also whether saving a party that is being crippled by corruption is more important than saving a country that is being crippled by those same people that have crippled the party? Either way you look at it, no good will come out of it because if you vote in Berewa because of SLPP, then you are only saving Berewa, but not SLPP and at the same time not the country and so all we need to do is look closely at the aspiring leaders, then make our choice and not at the parties. Making a choice between Charles Margai and Solomon Berewa should not be a difficult one at all especially if we look at their track records in terms of national interest.

 

If you think that you are okay with all that is going on in our country and would prefer things to remain the way they are or get worse, then support and vote Berewa to power, but if you, however, think that change is needed in our country in any shape or form, then support the PMDC and its leader Charles Margai, as the party was formed by Sierra Leoneans who have our country’s interest at heart and who want to see progress and prosperity in our beloved nation. Let us choose wisely come 2007 so that we can all enjoy what belongs to all of us as Sierra Leoneas and may God bless our country.

 

IS SLPP GOVERNMENT NEGLECTING SOME PARTS OF THE COUNTRY , ESPECIALLY THE NORTH AND WESTERN AREA

Wednesday, January 25th, 2006
Bridges like these are common in the Northern Province of Sierra Leone. They can also be found in the Pujehun District in the South.
 By Joseph S. Sherman, WashingtonDC

 Wednesday January 25, 2006

 The Northern Province and Western Area of Sierra Leone have become victims of the SLPP partisan politics.   The city Freetown, where the seat of government is situated is engulfed in darkness and polluted by carbon monoxide due to emission caused by generators from business houses and residential homes.  The streets and alleys have also become dumping ground for garbage

The irony here is while towns like Bo and Kenema in the South and East of Sierra Leone, a strong hold of the SLPP government, enjoys 24 hours electricity, and other needed utilities, Freetown the capital city of Sierra Leone and the entire Northern province are in abysmal darkness and exposed to carbon monoxide poisoning thereby its residents and unborn babies susceptible to anemia, chronic heart disease and respiratory problems.

The corrosive effects of partisan politics in any country deters the development of that country as in the case of Sierra Leone where the entire Northern Province, especially towns like Port Loko, Lunsar, Kambia, Makeni and Magburaka have been deprived of needed utilities and infrastructural development since the SLPP ascends to power.

Today, a bridge linking Kambia District from Banekeh village to Thomparay ferry in Kamakwe in the Bombali District is impassable due damages caused by flood and heavy duty trucks and neglect from the government to have it repaired.  Traveling to any of the mentioned towns by road is arduous due to unpaved roads full of dangerous potholes.  The only means of transportation for people or individuals in these towns is by motorcycles, nicknamed “OKADA” because most commercial drivers don’t risk their vehicles on roads that are impassable or impenetrable. 

Motorcycle transportation has become the most popular means of travel in many parts of the provinces , especially the North, due to impassable roads and dangerous bridges.

PRESS RELEASE BY THE PATRIOTIC SIERRA LEONEANS BASED IN UK

Tuesday, January 24th, 2006

PRESS RELEASE

BY THE PATRIOTIC SIERRA LEONEANS BASED IN UK

  • We the Undersignedwould like to extend our sincere thanks and appreciation to the International Community, And in particular, Her Majesty’s Government and The United Nations for their continued interest in the welfare of the peoples of the Republic of Sierra Leone;
  • That by this singular action, the International Community has demonstrated its satisfaction with the Government of President Ahmed Tejan Kabbah, and in particular its commitment towards eradicating poverty and the causes of poverty in Sierra Leone;
  • That the Peace process, established through the collective will of the International Community, and in collaboration with the government and peoples of Sierra Leone, can only be consolidated through the continuance of a structured funding programme;
  • That Sierra Leone and her people will be the major beneficiary of this major funding initiative which is targeted at poverty eradication, disease prevention, and the establishment of a Judicial system which will assist in major ills like corruption and the causes of crime;
  • We laud the major drive undertaken by the government of Sierra Leone towards achieving fiscal responsibility and the restoration of the rule of law, together with a determination to ensure that the democratic process is developed and sustained;
  • We affirm the need for security and peace in our country, and believe that this can only be achieved through the existence of a strong economic foundation;
  • We believe that this is a National issue, beneficial to all Sierra Leoneans;
  • We therefore deplore the efforts made by some people to treat this as a partisan political issue, ignoring the fact that this is of national importance;
  • We condemn in the strongest terms attempts by these disgruntled people to use this issue as a platform to express their frustrations on issues of local interest;
  • And finally, we believe that the issue of the advancement and interest of our country is Bigger than any Party or its Leader and must be seen as such. This should be a bi-partisan issue and the interest of our country should be paramount. By advocating that the International Community should not help Sierra Leone at this hour of need, these disgruntled people are no better than traitors, serving their interests better than the country they claim to love.

The Patriotic Sierra Leoneans UK

There are serious Dangers and Implications in Giving Mixed Messages.

Tuesday, January 24th, 2006

An Open Letter

 

To: Your Excellencies, the British High Commissioner, the American Ambassador,

                            The French Ambassador and the EU Ambassador in Freetown.

 

  From:    Kai    Pokawa

Croydon United Kingdom.

There are serious Dangers and Implications in Giving Mixed Messages.

I have had the opportunity to read the joint memo signed by your Excellencies in connection with the ongoing political situation in My Country.

 While I share and sympathize with your general political concerns, yet I remain very uneasy with your sentiment, especially with the way it was conveyed. I believe your intervention is untimely and may convey the wrong message to certain parts of our population.

 I am particularly surprised that you choose to comment on a matter that is currently subject to Judicial Proceedings.

 I believe your actions though unintended could contribute to developing a well spun synthesis which will only invite collusion on multiple delicate points of general political and social concern in the Country. There could be bigger implications. In the current delicate political climate, it is easy for any situation to be misinterpreted by a faux na�f fortuitously time combination of hatred and chaos.

 Every Sierra Leonean is grateful for the assistance you gave to us during our dark days of the civil war. We will forever remain grateful especially to the British government for the assistance then and the continuing assistance now.

 You must however remember that we an emerging democracy. Our system of government, constitution and law is mirrored on the British system. The British system underlines the RULE OF LAW as its fundamental basic principle. No one is above the law and everyone no matter what their status is equal under the law. With the help of your governments and Particularly Britain we are aspiring to those high standards of democratic Principle.

 You are aware that there is a vibrant freedom of press, currently in Sierra Leone, and the Judiciary is independent there are no cases of human right abuses.  Can I politely remind you, gentlemen that only two weeks ago, a well known journalist who had been sentenced for seditious libel of the President was set free by the Appeal Courts? What does that say about the independence of the Judiciary inSierra Leone?  What message does that send to you about our freedom of speech, and how many developing countries can boast such separation of powers with emphasis on the independent of the Judiciary? These are the sort of developments and achievement that you should be lauding us for and letting the world know the progress we have made so soon after a very savage civil war.

 However, to continue such progress we require all citizens to obey the laws of the land. Your jointly signed letter seems to insinuate that the arrest of Mr. Charles Francis Margai was anything other than a due judicial process involving law enforcement agency, the Police. People with lesser minds may well conclude, and rightly, so that you suspect, that the Executive in Sierra Leone has something to do with this arrest. That will be an alibi for the truth and a dangerous misconception.

 It will be a slur on the hard working police officers struggling to carry out their daily duties under pressure. The chief of Police has over a period given eloquent interviews explaining the facts as they are, and not from a speculative point of view. I think I am comfortable with his explanations.

You should also join me in celebrating the independence shown by our Judges, their dedications. Remember that the honesty and impartiality of our High Court Judges   should never be questioned.

 I cannot comment directly on   Mr. Margai’s case because it is Sub Jud ice. I cannot either comment on the Bo incident because I was not there and therefore passing Judgment on Mr. Margai will be unfair, and that is not my style.(I think though, the Bail sum was a little too high)Again this is only my opinion. Only the Presiding Magistrates and the prosecuting authorities were privy to the facts and I am sure they set the bail sum accordingly to reflect the facts as they saw fit.

 To my mind, Mr. Margai should have gone to the Police station when he was politely invited to do so. I think it was irresponsible on his part, especially as a very senior practitioner of the laws and one aspiring to become President of our Country to so blatantly try to bring the law into disrepute. Charles Margai, is a brilliant Barrister, he will probably easily win the charges against him in any event (from what I have seen)

So why then did Mr. Margai refuse to go to the police station? I know you cannot answer this question, but these are the questions you should asking yourselves if you want to make an honest assessment of the situation in Sierra Leone.

 It was Mr. Margai’s refusal to answer a polite request from the police that left the police with no option but to secure his arrest in public. Charles knew that his arrest in public will bring out his supporters on the streets of Freetown, and that is expertly what happened. To my mind, I find it difficult that anybody else could be blamed for the dangerous development that occurred.  That been the FACT of the matter, I believe therefore that in your endeavor to see peace and democracy in Sierra Leone and the rule of law maintained, just like in your own countries, you should have addressed the matter in that vein. Tell it as it is. You will never expect a politician to behave in such a way in London or Washington, so why tolerate it in Freetown.

 Famous people, the world over are arrested everyday, recently Scott Libby in Washington, and there was vice President Juma in South African, who has even more political support, that even the president, but neither of them mobilized the mob to cause havoc on poor innocent citizens.  They are letting the law take its course. Charles should do the same.   The Law and not the Mob should rule if we are to have and maintain a proper democratic process in Sierra Leone.

 To my Sierra Leone brother and sisters reading this letter, I want you to remember that we are all Sierra Leonean first and last and remember the aphorism   of Alan Wolfe ?behind every citizen lies a graveyard.’ Ask yourself, are you a true citizen?

 The future of Sierra Leone is in our hands… I am and remain sanguine; I think we should all be.

 

 Cc (1)  Rt  Hon   Momodu  Koroma   Freetown

 

    (2)  Rt  Hon   Jack    Straw             London

 

    (3)   Rt  Hon    Hilary Benn             London.

My Vision of a New Sierra Leone

Tuesday, January 24th, 2006

Please allow me to dream and share the dream with all who love Sierra Leone.

 In my dream, I see all the roads paved, from the motorways down to the small villages.

I see all the towns and villages with street lighting and the streets clearly named. I see houses in these villages well constructed with proper drainage, electricity and water. I see most of the villagers watching national TV with Isha Sessay presenting the National News. I then switch to local news and hear that Gbangbatoke eleven will be playing a home match aginst Brookfields Warriors for a place in the quarter finals for the Presidents Cup right here on Saturday.

I see myself, an old grey man, in one of the nations inter city coaches going at a steady 60 mph from                to the Capital, Freetown. The ride is smooth and the scenery beautifully tropical. Did I not just see monkeys playing in the trees? Must have been dreaming. I must have fallen asleep because now we are on a three lane road with a lot of traffic. We come to traffic lights and stop. The shop to my left is an electronics shop with the doors closed; air conditioned shop I suppose. The sign board says they deal in all sorts of TV’s from 60 inch plasma TV’s down to the regular 14 inch ones etc.

The lights have changed to green and we start to move on. We are now at the Cotton Tree Interchange and the coach veers left following the sign to Brookfields Coach Terminal. Just then a chap behind me asks out loud in Krio “Bo do yah, we don pass Wellington?” We all burst out laughing. An old lady replies “How bah, na bus sweet you so? Boh Boh, we don pass Wellington long tem. You get for take taxi go back.”

We arrive at the Coach Station and I take a blue taxi home. Blue taxi because I know the chap owns the business, he is a very good friend of mine.

I get to beautiful Madungo Town and home. Tom, my black Labrador is there to greet me with his tail wagging so furiously I am afraid it might snap off.

After my shower I ask my Darling to get me some supper, jollof rice.

I hear a deafning blast and wake up instantly. The taxi had just had a blow out right there at the junction of Aberdeen Ferry and Wilkinson  Road and in front of a stinking garbage mountain.

Please let me dream for only in my dream can Sierra Leone be like that or am I wrong? 

The Dreaming Sierra Leonean

Kobina Hunter

The Three Political Musketeers

Monday, January 23rd, 2006

Subject: The Three Political Musketeers
From: Gibril Gbanabome Koroma
To: All
Date Posted: 07:45:44 01/23/06 ()
Email Address:

Message:
In this commentary, Vanguard editor Gibril Koroma looks at three major gladiators in Sierra Leone?s current political fights, three musketeers in the country?s murky palace of intrigues and power dynamics.One of the musketeers is in detention while the other two are busy fighting each other in the political boxing ring.

AHMADTEJANKABBAH3

PRESIDENT TEJAN KABBAH

Since the return of Sierra Leone?s president Kabbah and his SLPP government from forced exile in Conakry, Guinea in February 1998, Sierra Leone politics has essentially been about Kabbah, his government and the political gymnastics they have been displaying, sometimes to the pleasure and sometimes to the chagrin of the Sierra Leone populace.Examples of these political contortions are the return of peace ( causing pleasure) on the one hand and the rise of massive looting of the national treasury by state officials( causing chagrin)on the other.The leader of the main opposition party, Ernest Koroma, is meanwhile too busy fighting off very recalcitrant and very stubborn rebels within his own party to make much of an impact on the national scene.

But in the last couple of months, Kabbah has quickly and deliberately dropped out of the limelight with the hope of a peaceful retirement and the chance to enjoy his accumulated wealth undisturbed.He has handed over the mantle of leadership to his trusted second in command and loyal lieutenant, Solomon Berewa, at the very controversial SLPP national convention held in Makeni in August last year. He has also handed over most of his functions to Berewa and, like the proverbial praying mantis, seems to be washing his hands of both party and government. This brings us to the three political musketeers: Berewa, Margai and Norman.
Berewa

 

SOLOBEREWA

SOLOMON BEREWA

Solomon, Ekuma, Dominic, Berewa (to invoke all his names),was born on the 6th of August 1938 in the obscure, little town of Yengema in the Bumpe chiefdom of southern Sierra Leone. He later attended the Roman Catholic primary school in Serabu where he started to develop his faith in the catholic dogma. From there he made the transition to the then newly established Christ the King College (CKC) in Bo, the capital of the south. He was one of the foundation students, no mean feat at the time, since the Roman Catholic fathers were definitely looking for the best students to build the image of their new post-primary institution and to spread the gospel of catholicism. That was in 1953.

In 1958, Ekuma entered Fourah Bay College, the highest institution of learning in the country at the time. He subsequently graduated in 1963 with a BA degree and returned to CKC to teach. He is said to have taught one of the musketeers in this piece, Charles Margai.

Not satisfied with the life of a country school teacher, Berewa abandoned the classroom to become a cooperative officer in the civil service, a position that was more financially rewarding and secure. He probably made enough money to head for the United Kingdom in 1968(the year the SLPP effectively lost power to the APC) to read law. He did very well in law school at the University of Newcastle-Upon-Tyne and later the Inns of Court in London.He won a couple of prizes while in school. Those who know him very well say he was a very brilliant law student.

Berewa returned home in 1973 to become a government law officer and in 1980, he again left government service to establish a law firm with Garvas Betts, another brilliant Sierra Leonean lawyer. He (Berewa) quickly made a name for himself defending alledged coup plotters like the late Francis Minah and other high profile individuals, mainly politicians.
When Ahmad Tejan Kabbah became president in 1996, he appointed his friend Solomon Berewa Attorney General and Minister of Justice.He (Berewa) later played a prominent role in the negotiations with the RUF rebels who gradually developed confidence and trust in him leading to the Lome Peace Accord.Some people say he blundered magnificiently by failing to protect pro-government warlords in his negotiations with the UN while negotiating for the establishment of the Special Court for Sierra Leone. Others say he used the Special Court to sideline one of the musketeers in this commentary, Samuel Hinga Norman, the chieftain of the ruthless pro-government Kamajor militia.

Berewa’s Personality
Berewa is an enigma to many Sierra Leoneans. Even though reasonably known in Freetown and Bo before 1996, it was after Kabbah became president that year and appointed him Attorney General and Minister of Justice that he was suddenly and brutally thrust into the limelight of Sierra Leone politics. He, like, Kabbah, had little experience in statecraft and had little personal knowledge of the country?s political elites outside his immediate circle of friends. And he knows precious little about the psyche of the Sierra Leonean voter. He, like Kabbah, made many mistakes, antagonising many people by his words and deeds.He lacks the charisma to help him connect with the people. His attempts to use courtroom mannerisms and logic while addressing the country?s illiterate masses is one of the reasons many people don?t really know or understand him.He is not ?a man of the people?. He is consequently a burden for the SLPP, very difficult to package and sell to the anxious and hungry masses. Luckily for him,however, he belongs to a party that has a very strong support base in the south and east of the country although Charles Margai is capable of taking away a large chunk of that support.

Berewa’s politics
Although very mild and polite in his dealings with people, Berewa has demonstrated a cold Machiavellian style in politics that has elicited the admiration of friends and supporters and the opprobrium of opponents and enemies. The way and manner he handled negotiations with the international community,the trial and execution of the AFRC coup plotters, the elimination of Foday Sankoh and the containment of his RUF fighters, among many critical and sensitive actions, revealed what admirers call a strong, foxy and steely nature, while critics say he is a cold and methodical killer with a vindictive and power-hungry streak.In his defence, Berewa said he was only applying the law as the country?s Attorney General and that anybody else could have done the same.
Berewa is a strategist who does not like to talk about his plans or what he has in store for his opponents. For instance, the other contenders for the SLPP party leadership had no inkling of what was going to happen at the Makeni convention nor did the rest of the country.Berewa got most of the votes, to the amazement of many. His recent encounter with Charles Margai shows he is not a man who forgives easily. One after the other, he always tries to ?punish? people who challenge him, from John Leigh who called him a ?local despot? to JB Dauda who said he was hopelessly corrupt. Leigh was humiliated in Makeni (he could not get anybody to nominate him) and JB Dauda was fired from his post as Finance minister a few hours after the convention.Consequently, many Sierra Leoneans including Toegondoe Sagba, a US resident, strongly believe Berewa may become a dictator if given the chance.

charles margai 06

Charles Francis Margai

Charles Margai is unique among the three musketeers. He comes from one of the top political families in the country. The first Prime Minister of Sierra Leone when the country gained independence (1961) was his uncle Sir Milton Margai. When the latter passed away in 1964, Charles Margai?s father, Sir Albert Margai took over as Prime Minister after a power struggle with the then Foreign Minister Dr.John Karefa-Smart.
To many people therefore, Charles was born with the proverbial silver spoon in his mouth which makes him different at least based on this fact from the other two musketeers who come from modest and humble backgrounds. This fact is also used by Charles? detractors to proclaim that he is arrogant and far removed from the masses. They say his desire to be president is due to his supposed belief that the Sierra Leone presidency is his divine right due to his family background, a charge Charles always denies.
Like Berewa, Charles also attended the CKC school and was one of Berewa?s students at one time. He also studied law in London. Not much is known about Charles? student life in London but it?s likely that he was not a bad student considering his performance as a lawyer in Bo and Freetown. He was one of the first lawyers to establish a reputation in Bo where he still has an office and a beautiful house.
Margai’s Personality

To many Sierra Leoneans, the name Charles Margai symbolises arrogance, stubborness, courage, integrity and moral strength. He is not the type of man that can back down easily in a confrontation or the kind of politician that can kowtow(laybelleh) to any one. Like the uncompromising John Karefa-Smart(an elderly Sierra Leonean politician), Charles makes the largely corrupt and immoral Sierra Leonean political class uncomfortable. One could say it?s this uncompromising attitude and high sense of morality that is the root cause of his problems in the SLPP and with other politicians in the country. They fear him and don?t trust him because he is so much unlike them. He is like a leopard among hyenas.

Margai’s Politics
Charles Margai is a highly principled politician that is admired by many people in the south and east of the country. He also has a significant following in the Western Area. He is however not very well known in the north and therefore needs a popular northerner to sell him to the people of the north.The most senior northerner in Margai?s PMDC, Dauda Tombo Bangura, is largely unknown, having spent a long time in the states.But Dauda has built over the years a solid image in his Kissy, Freetown neighbourhood and in parliament.He came to the PMDC via PDP-Sorbeh and the SLPP.

Those who are close to Charles Margai say he has a fiery temper and was beside himself with anger over the corruption and ineptitude that have engulfed the SLPP. There is also no love lost between him, on one hand, and Kabbah and Berewa on the other. He also seems to have little patience for tribalism and sectionalism.

HINGANORMAN3

 

Samuel Hinga Norman
Samuel Hinga Norman was born in 1940 in Ngolala village, Valunia chiefdom, Bo district, in the south of Sierra Leone (all three musketeers are southerners). Like Berewa, we know little of his roots except that he joined the British colonial army at the age of 14( what we would call today a child soldier). That was in 1959. After undergoing various training programs in Sierra Leone and Britain, he rose to the rank of captain(there is controversy over the validity of this “captainship” but we would rather not go into that here).
After the turbulent 1967 elections which the SLPP lost, the then lieutenant Hinga Norman was charged with the responsibility of arresting the then Governor General and annulling the elections. That was Sierra Leone?s first coup and the coup leader was the late Brigadier David Lansana.

Norman’s Personality
Hinga Norman, a former section chief of Tellu Bongor chiefdom in the south of the country, is appreciably known in the south-east but still remains unknown in many parts of the north. To most of the illiterate masses in the Western Area who cannot read newspapers and don?t own television sets, the name Hinga Norman is just a name. They have never laid eyes on the man but they have certainly heard of his exploits. The name “Kamajor” is a household name in Sierra Leone. Norman, as the head of the Kamajors, the traditional Mende hunters of the south and east, has carved an image of himself as the quintessential African warlord: feared, respected and sometimes hated. Those who have met him say he is sometimes brash, outspoken, impulsive and compulsive. He, like Charles Margai above, seems to have little respect and utter contempt for Freetown?s corrupt, greedy and inept political class. He also has deep love for the SLPP, a party with which he had been associated throughout his life, sharing its joys and troubles from his younger days to the present.

He commands respect among the rank and file of the Kamajor militia, an outfit he remodelled and reshaped from a superstitious crowd of peasants with “chakabullas” (outdated and anachronistic guns) to a modern fighting force conversant with the language of modern automatic weapons.But like the late rebel leader Foday Sankoh?s RUF, Norman?s kamajor militia quickly ballooned into tens of thousands of fighters as the war escalated, leading to serious problems of indiscipline.

Norman’s Politics
Norman is a politician with a transparent and no-nonsense style. He comes out strongly against the people he loathes and never calls a hoe a farming implement. For him, a hoe is a hoe. He enjoys a good fight and loves the media attention his scuffles with the SLPP leadership provokes even from his prison cell.
Hinga Norman, by virtue of the thousands of kamajor fighters solidly behind him, knows he is a force to reckon with in contemporary Sierra Leone politics. He is quite aware that if he comes out of prison intact and healthy, only the sky will be the limit for him in Sierra Leone politics. His political opponents are only too aware of that.
As I write these words, Hinga Norman is preparing himself for his trial scheduled for the next couple of days. Guess who is his principal witness? You got it, President Ahmad Tejan Kabbah himself. Would Kabbah appear or not appear? Let?s wait and see.

“2007 is Salone’s stability test”, says Victor Angello

Monday, January 23rd, 2006
 
VICTORANGELO2
H.E. VICTOR ANGELO
By Chernor Ojuku Sesay
Monday January 23, 2006

The Executive Representative of the UN Secretary General in Sierra Leone Victor Angello, has said in Freetown that the 2007 Presidential and Parliamentary elections will be the stability test for Sierra Leone.

 

He was addressing members of the Sierra Leone Association of Journalists (SLAJ) Monday, who paid him a courtesy call at his Mammy Yoko Headquarters.

 

The Head of the United Nations Integrated Office in Sierra Leone (UNCOSIL) emphasised that his mission will ensure that the 2007 elections be transparent, free, credible and acceptable to the people of Sierra Leone and the International community.

“We have to make sure that voter education and constitutuency delimitations are properly carried out in every corner of this country and to the satisfaction of every body”, he stated.

 

Whilist admonishing that political parties must be allowed to carry out their political activities in every corner of the country without hinderance, he warned political party members to work within the laid down rules of the game.

 

The role of his mission in Sierra Leone, Angello continued, is to promote Human rights, expand democracy and other developmental issues.

“We want to ensure that the Judicial system is truly independent, far away from political interference and faster in delivering justice in a fair manner,” he assured.

 

He lauded Sierra Leone media for what he described as the tremendous improvement interms of both the quality of contents and quantity of newspapers and radios in the country.

Earlier, the president of SLAJ, Alhaji I. B. Kargbo assured the UN boss that contrary to the views held by most government functionaries, Journalists are peace makers and partners in development.

“However, we’ll continue to frown at any corrupt practice by government functionaries especially those acts that provoked the war in Sierra Leone,” I.B. said.

 

He appealed to Mr. Angello to help in building the capacity of the Sierra Leone Media and appealed for equipment for the SLAJ offices in Freetown, Bo, Kenema and Makeni.

He commended the UNDP for the appointment of a Media Consultant who, he said, has done a great work since she started working in the country.

 

 

The Executive Representative of the UN Secretary General in Sierra Leone Victor Angello, has said in Freetown that the 2007 Presidential and Parliamentary elections will be the stability test for Sierra Leone.

 

He was addressing members of the Sierra Leone Association of Journalists (SLAJ) Monday, who paid him a courtesy call at his Mammy Yoko Headquarters.

 

The Head of the United Nations Integrated Office in Sierra Leone (UNCOSIL) emphasised that his mission will ensure that the 2007 elections be transparent, free, credible and acceptable to the people of Sierra Leone and the International community.

“We have to make sure that voter education and constitutuency delimitations are properly carried out in every corner of this country and to the satisfaction of every body”, he stated.

Whilist admonishing that political parties must be allowed to carry out their political activities in every corner of the country without hinderance, he warned political party members to work within the laid down rules of the game.

 

The role of his mission in Sierra Leone, Angello continued, is to promote Human rights, expand democracy and other developmental issues.

“We want to ensure that the Judicial system is truly independent, far away from political interference and faster in delivering justice in a fair manner,” he assured.

 

He lauded Sierra Leone media for what he described as the tremendous improvement interms of both the quality of contents and quantity of newspapers and radios in the country.

Earlier, the president of SLAJ, Alhaji I. B. Kargbo assured the UN boss that contrary to the views held by most government functionaries, Journalists are peace makers and partners in development.

“However, we’ll continue to frown at any corrupt practice by government functionaries especially those acts that provoked the war in Sierra Leone,” I.B. said.

 

He appealed to Mr. Angello to help in building the capacity of the Sierra Leone Media and appealed for equipment for the SLAJ offices in Freetown, Bo, Kenema and Makeni.

He commended the UNDP for the appointment of a Media Consultant who, he said, has done a great work since she started working in the country.

 

 

SIERRA LEONE IS NOT AN ISLAMIC STATE

Monday, January 23rd, 2006

 

By Alpha Saidu Bangura

Monday January 23, 2006

From the bottom of my heart I thank the president, Alhaji Ahmed Tejan Kabba and the Inspector-general of police, Mr. Brima Acha-Kamara for not listening to a few fanatic Muslims who wanted to stop the Eastern Paddle Society from parading the streets of Freetown on EID-UL-AHDA day.As a devout Muslim, myself, I would like my Muslim brothers and sisters to understand that Sierra Leone belongs to every Sierra Leonean(Muslims,Christians and Non-believers).Therefore all Sierra Leoneans must be treated equally and fairly.
The Eastern Paddle parade held on EID-UL-AHDA DAY is a cultural activity for every Sierra Leonean.This parade have been held on EID-UL-AHDA day for over fifty(50) years now. It is the constitutional responsibility of government to promote and sustain our culture. It will be very unfair to stop it only because Muslims do not like it to be held on that day. I hope and pray that my fellow Muslims will keep in their minds that Sierra Leone is not an Islamic country and it is not govern by sharia law.From time in memorial we Sierra Leoneans (Muslims, Christians and non-believers) have been getting along amicably.That is what makes us a very unique nation.  At this point we should not allow one group to impose its religious believes on others.
One of the fundamental principles of democracy is peoples freedom to associate themselves with any group of their choice as long as they do it in a lawful and orderly manner. I am sure if  our Christian brothers and sister want to stop all public activities on Christmas and Easter, knowing my fellow Muslims well as I do, they(Muslims) will be displeased.All of us(Muslims,Christians and non-believers) celebrate Christian holidays together. Please, let us continue get along peacefully and with respect for each other.
I will conclude by appealing to president Kabba, to tell our brother and sisters in Islam that the role of the president of Sierra Leone is different from the role of the chief Imam of Sierra Leone.The president up holds and defends the constitution of Sierra Leone.The constitution(which is the supreme law) protects the rights and privileges of all Sierra Leoneans.The role of the chief Imam is to defend and spread the words of the QURAN to Muslims.We should never allow Islam to be institutionalized in Sierra Leone.Once again I thank president and his police chief for standing up for the rights of all our people.

Golley, others face Treason charges

Monday, January 23rd, 2006

OMRIEGOLLEYOLD 

OMRIE GOLLEY

Monday January 23, 2006

Chernor Ojuku Sesay

Omrie Golley, Mohamed Alpha Bah and David Kai Tunde were today sent to Pademba Road Prison  after they were refused bail by Sam Margai presiding Freetown Magistrate Court No. 1.

 

According to the charge court sheet read in court, the accused persons, on the 9th January 2006 plotted to overthrow the government of Sierra Leone and to assasinate Vice President Solomon Berewa by an unlawful means. The charge sheet stated further that on  diverse dates between the 9th to 13th January, 2006, the accused persons conspired together with other persons unknown to hold a first meeting at Bintumani Hotel on the plot to overthrow the government in order to create a situation where chaos will prevail; and that on a date unknown within the first day of December 2005 to  January 2006, the accused persons met at Kaddy’s Beach Bar again to hold their second meeting.

It was also stated that Mohamed Alpha Bah visited the ammunition store at Wilberforce Barracks.

 

The prosecution team is led by Attorney General and Minister of Justice, Fedrick Carew. Others in the team are O.V. Robin-Mason, Gerald J. Soyei, Mrs. J.A. Betts and A.K. Barber among others.

The defence team include Charles Francis Margai and Ansu Lansana.

 

Charles Margai pointed out that the defence team shall increase their number on the next adjournment date. He further asked the Attorney General whether he has any intention of taking the matter to the High Court.

The accused were not granted bail.

Meanwhile, the accused persons are remanded at the Pademba Road Prisons. The matter comes up again on the 30th January at 9 am.

 

 

 

 

 

APPEAL FOR GOLLEY’S RELEASE (FROM LONDON )

Monday, January 23rd, 2006

 OMRIEGOLLEYOLD

Monday January 23, 2006

First_Name:  Edward
Last_Name:  Cooper
Email_Address:  Keymastercooper@yahoo.com
City:  London, UK
Comments:  Dear Sir,

On Thursday, January 12th — I was informed that my dear friend Mr. Omrie Golley, who is a London Barrister and former UN peace negotiator, was arrested by the Sierra Leone police in his hotel as he was about to leave for the airport to catch his flight back to London.  Immediately following his detainment, I was told that the President of the country, Tejan Kabbah, went on national television and radio declaring that Mr. Golley had been apprehended, for reasons that he was suspected in trying to destabilize and subvert the government of Sierra Leone. I am told that no evidence to substantiate the accusation has yet been presented. Although the Inspector General of Police, Mr. Oliver Somassa, has since issued a statement that Mr. Golley and three other people have been detained pertaining to matters of state security.

As for clarifying who the three other people were that the police arrested with him, the police neglected to say that they were his personal young staff helpers that have been assisting him year in and year out to carry his bags, to cook for him and to do his shopping and run his errands every time he visited Sierra Leone.

In his most recent trip, Mr. Golley was visiting the country on private legal matter on behalf of a European client. His arrest comes as a shock to us all, for we recognize Mr. Golley as being a respected barrister and a man of peace whose success as a UN appointed negotiator brought tranquility and economic development to the country.

Indeed Mr. Golley is widely credited for playing a most the pivotal role in the Sierra Leone peace process when he, by request of the UN, went forth and  assumed the role of spokes-person for the RUF, (The Revolutionary United Front), who were engaged at the time  in a most horrific civil war with the Sierra Leone Government. I feel the label Mr. Golley has been given by the police as being a ?RUF Strongman’ certainly demonstrates that the police desire that Mr. Golley be viewed by the general public in a manner that brings about a more  erroneous label of him, rather than by what he truly is, which was and still remains, a true peacemaker.

Working alongside the United Nations, the Government of Sierra Leone and the International Community, Mr. Golley was able to negotiate an end to the conflict, thus bringing peace, tranquility and prosperity to the country. This is fully documented and no one should deviate from this fact.

Since his work with the UN, and over the years, Mr. Golley has been a regular visitor to Freetown, often bringing financial investors like myself with him to boost the country’s economy, thereby adding to the prosperity which the people of the land seek so dearly.

On several occasions, Mr. Golley   had been asked to throw his hat into the political ring, but as he always told to me, he prefers the tranquility of his personal home life rather than undertaking the task of the nation’s leadership, when he knows full well that others are already doing that job. If a change in heart has taken place, it is still not a reason to label him a state security threat.

His wife has been informed that his telephone privileges have been suspended. This act deprives Mr. Golley of his human rights, for no one should be deprived of such independence. The Inspector General of Police, Oliver Somassa, stated that he entered the country on his Sierra Leonean Passport, which he always does. Mr. Golley was born in England, has a British passport and this does indeed make him a British citizen, which grants him the protection of Queen and Country.

We humbly urge the government for his immediate release from prison so that he may return to his loved ones in London. “Arresting Mr. Omrie Golley and accusing him of subverting the government of Sierra Leone, is something that makes no sense to those like myself who have worked along side Mr. Golley in his quest to help the country economically. I urge the Government of Sierra Leone to demonstrate that it has a keen interest to allow its committed sons and daughters to freely participate in the development of the country without fear of intimidation or recrimination.”

Mr. Golley’s immediate family, friends and clients alike, eagerly await his return from Sierra Leone and are convinced that whatever the outcome, he will forever continue to bring prosperity to the land.