Notice: register_sidebar was called incorrectly. No id was set in the arguments array for the "Sidebar 1" sidebar. Defaulting to "sidebar-1". Manually set the id to "sidebar-1" to silence this notice and keep existing sidebar content. Please see Debugging in WordPress for more information. (This message was added in version 4.2.0.) in /home/cocorioko/public_html/wp-includes/functions.php on line 4041
COCORIOKO » 2006 » May

Archive for May, 2006

ERNEST BAI KOROMA : ‘THERE WILL BE NO SACRED COWS IN THE APC GOVT.

Friday, May 26th, 2006

ERNESTKOROMABEFOREELECTIONS

 

Sunday May 21, 2006
http://www.cocorioko.com/

The leader of the opposition All People’s Congress ( APC ) and Presidential candidate for the 2007 General Elections,  Mr. Ernest Bai Koroma, has warned that if he wins the elections and becomes Sierra Leone’s President, there will be no sacred cows in the government.

Answering questions from the Editor -In-Chief of COCORIOKO , Rev. Wilfred Leeroy Kabs-Kanu in a one-on-one exclusive and marathon interview at the Marriot Hotel in Somerset , New Jersey , yesterday , the APC  leader promised that corruption will be severely punished during his reign. He said that those days when people would embezzle the country’s money and get away with it will be over for good in Sierra Leone.

Mr. Koroma promised that “nobody will be spared ” if they involve themselves in corruption. He said that corruption was one of the ills that plunged Sierra Leone in her present mess and “This new  APC”  would not allow it during their reign. Asked about the image hangover from the rule of the last APC  government and whether it was affecting perceptions of the present APC, Mr. Koroma said emphatically that history has exonerated and vindicated  the APC.” And we have nothing to be ashamed of any longer .”

He said that Sierra Leone and the international community have had the opportunity to see other governments in power , like the NPRC, the AFRC  and the SLPP, and how they have fared worse in power  than the APC. He however recalled his testimony before the Truth and Reconciliation Committee ( TRC ) where he acknowledged the mistakes of the APC. He emphasized that he has made the honest admission before the TRC  and elsewhere that the old APC  made many mistakes.He however gave the assurance that this was a new party and a new dispensation and this APC  is determined not to repeat the mistakes of the past one.

What kind of politics is John Leigh playing ?

Tuesday, May 23rd, 2006

Tuesday May 23, 2006

BY E.P.J VANDY

Reading through the piece written by Sahid V. Vandy of Awareness Times in his May 15, 2006 article caption: John Leigh Goes Berserk again in Sierra Leone, I couldn’t help but laugh aloud, when the writer said, and I quote”…. out of the whole host of dignitaries, the loudest and most vociferous of all those who were asking the people of Port Loko to give their fullest support and vote in 2007 for what he termed as “the abled leadership of Solomon Ekuma Berewa” was John Ernest Leigh”.

There could be a mistake, as this could not be the John Leigh, who has made the world believe that he was above such nonsense; the only man standing today and equipped t0

clean up the administration’s political wreckage and avert chaos; the man with 35 years of experience in economic development, and according to him has the ability to create national wealth and knows how to circulate money to the grassroots. These are his words, not mine. He has maintained and sharpened this line of attack, considered harsh by many but nevertheless accepted by his supporters. Not any more. The question that we should be asking is, “why the sudden u turn of mind”?

John Leigh’s hypocrisy is noted in his criticism (April 11, 2005) of defenders of the current administration and leadership triage of Dr. Sama Banya, Vice President Berewa and President Kabbah as heroes, refereeing to it as spirited and misplaced defense. In his eyes, they are no heroes. Today, he adores and courts them, and has become the advocate and mouthpiece, and quoting his exact words in his conversation with the Awareness Times reporter:

“The momentum for this SLPP Party is growing everyday. SLPP Government, Tejan Kabbah and Solomon Berewa cannot satisfy everybody all at once but they are doing their level best by targeting the most needed areas.” A complete irony and policy shift in his position.

What were you thinking, Mr. Leigh, when you had this to say on the failed policies of President Kabbah and his SLPP led administration:

“Since his inception, there has not been any policy adopted that has benefited the ordinary man. They are benefiting just themselves while the majority of the people are living deplorable lives.”

Did you not say that the government’s economic policy was static and cannot be sustained? How are you going to reconcile these two positions? These are mixed messages you are sending. Did I hear somebody say, you’ve metamorphosed overnight as the PR for a man you considered less fit to be the leader and President of our beloved nation; the man you said is a lawyer and knows nothing about administration? This is the same man you’re are now clapping for and dancing to his tunes, and like the reporter puts it; “he clapped and danced so hard that he sweated profusely all over the light blue shirt he was wearing”. Oh poor John Leigh. Desperation and frustration can force people to be jokers.

Let’s face it: every politician at one time or another will have to change his announced position to meet a changed situation. They all flip-flop, like we all do sometimes in this changing world. Here it is unique, as John Leigh the brave, the bold has been caught with his pants down.

The photos were shocking revelations of how people can fall so low in their quest for power, recognition, and water down their moral dignity, which is priceless. As a public figure, and nation builder (as he claims) and when placed in context with his political ranting and ego bashing all over the media , this flip-flop and flim-flam from him cannot go unnoticed.

Yesterday, it was JB Duada who lambasted the VP, as the most corrupt person he has known only to turn around and kneel for power, and he got what he went for; Special Assistant to the President. Moral decadence has caught up with that generation in their zealousness for power, and it is about time that the civilized community takes a stand to correct this decay and deceitful politicking and hold accountable people like John Leigh, Abass Bundu and JB Dauda for such shameless acts. Like my favorite radio talk show always says, we are in a “savage nation” and heading for doom, if men and women with sound mind do not cage these flip-floppers in the political zoo.

Let me move you through virtual memory of John Leigh’s in-depth view of the so-called failed administration he is now bedding and dining with? In his response to John Manah in the article: ETERNAL VIGILANCE IS THE PRICE FOR NATION-BUILDING-April 11, 2005, he wrote:

“People such as Mr. Mannah ought to realize that there is a major distinction between us, the purported marginalized but productive Party members and workers, on the one hand; and on the other hand, the failed LEADERSHIP of ungratefulness, greed, selfishness, lies, kahlow-kahlowness, vindictiveness, marginalization, incompetence, tiredness; piss-stink-and-stench; heaps of garbage in public thoroughfares and market areas; stagnant and smelly polluted fluids and garbage in public drains; persistent blackouts; bold, ubiquitous disease-carrying flies buzzing all over; blood-sucking unopposed mosquitoes injecting debilitating killer diseases into people including farmers, mothers, children and babies. Then there is the same LEADERSHIP of persistent cronyism, nepotism, favoritism, willfulness and failure”.

And on the VP, John Leigh’s cynical words are many and varied, and using his exact words amongst others has said about Berewa:

“What has Berewa ever done for the SLPP and, if any, when?

He has not only questioned the VP’s membership, but his commitment and loyalty as well. We knew about Berewa’s non refusal to make financial contributions, through John Leigh, and his infamous remark ?How, nah all Mende man day join SLPP? Bo lef me yah!’.

Leigh has said that Berewa “thinks a whole lot about his so-called presidential apprenticeship that he received from someone who himself never underwent any presidential apprenticeship and who was never a president-in-waiting”.

Continuing in the same vein, he has lambasted the VP about his perceived cronyism, nepotism, favoritism, and his woeful inadequacies in the area of economics, finance, business, international affairs and management. In short, the VP is not qualified to lead him, not alone the nation.

Putting two and two together, and after careful analysis of current events, there seems a connection between the present position statement of John Leigh and his recent remarks in the media for which he was slammed and scorned by the PMDC loyalists (and other well meaning compatriots) after reference to their base and supporters as mostly low grade noisemakers – san san boys, Honda drivers, ex-combatants, carwash boys etc.

Perhaps his purported country wide tour might have been a clandestine peace mission conducted to roller coast with the VP on his 2007 victory cruise ship??? Like Abass Bundu, John Leigh knows that his political comeback can only be guaranteed with a Berewa ticket. Getting on board now is better than being late, as the gate is closing down on their type, and he follows in the footstep of Abbas Bundu, who at least had the nerve to face the nation and pour out his destiny, past and present with the party.

Do Sierra Leoneans deserve at least the same too from John Leigh, on his flip-flop, his bickering and of course the sudden u turn??

This is a hunch, which is deep seated: that outside the SLPP, John Leigh cannot command a voting bloc in any given constituency, and I want to challenge him to prove me wrong by contesting for a constituency election.

He would be defeated hands down by one of these “san san boys”, he decries and looks down upon. Talk and say what you may, write the usual 21 pages edition to refute these insinuations, but pretty much right meaning Sierra Leoneans really do not care and give a damn on those ego shots. It just doesn’t have the same ring anymore. John Leigh’s political career path is history, like Karefa Smart’s.

Serious Sierra Leoneans at some point believed in John Leigh, thinking that he could just be that person who would do things differently. His words and his vibes particularly during the interregnum period and his push for the restoration of constitionality (but not with the lion share of the burden as he put it) spoke for itself.

I remember when some sections of the press and his opponents were right on his heels as a whistle blower on the administration in the infamous NOPEC Oil Deal in April 2001; some of us stood behind him, knowing that he was doing the right thing and putting nationhood first before cronyism.

Those were the good old days, when John Leigh was the one many came to revere. His inconsistency, and rhetoric now lack conviction, particularly before and after the convention, heightened in the light of the Awareness Times publication of his shasa dance with the VP.

His vociferous defense of a man he had chastised, condemned and accused in every aspect, is a colossal political mistake. Where are your principles John Leigh? Let me hear your ranting and defense on this matter. Sierra Leoneans deserve to know. Mending fences with the VP is very laudable but to be frank, you put yourself on the spot by your blaa blaa, and bashing of a man whom many hailed as hero. You were out and about in the media all day long. See what you have got yourself into?

Remember, Sierra Leoneans who had your interests at heart cautioned and threw in a few words of advice to consolidate efforts and work with the other leadership contenders, to ensure an all out victory against the incumbency, who was tough to beat. What did you say?

Overconfidence and your ego got the better judgment of you, brow beating all who meant good for you. You had nothing good to say of your fellow contenders. Name bashing was the campaign tool. And now, you are back to square one buddy, tailgating the VP and coasting for recognition and a taste of the pie. TIME OUT, Mr. Leigh. The VP knows you right through. He knows about your diabolical plans, and mark these words; you will be used and dumped just like the Pa did. When you cry wolf, nobody will come around this time.

Please don’t tell the nation that you are wooing the SLPP and Solo Bee for another lucrative deal, position or even the hotly contested VP position still out for grabs. What a good conduit to recoup the few thousands bucks spent on the party leadership bid, and to recover those hard earned money $90,231.81 the Kabbah Administration owes him since September 2002. John Leigh in his entire pronouncement has been hammering on monies spent on the party. Your bet is as good as mine; he wants it all back, maybe not.

Check this one out; a self proclaimed champion of democracy, free speech and the media is now running away from the media, those very institutions he had used as PR machinery, to launch his political bid for the highest office. John Leigh has scorn for the media particularly papers that challenge him. There is no exit from this ugly situation. This is a man who doesn’t like a contrary view, and once expressed as long as it goes against his own, will counter and fume with lyrics and vibes. He took on John Mannah, Karamoh Kabbah and many others.

A bitter John Leigh (though he asserts he has never been bitter in his life, and I beg to differ) following a failed leadership bid and without a nomination, said this on the ” conbention” as he puts it, on the elected choice as “thoroughly unpopular, and a brutal imposition”, that will be difficult to market.

Records have shown that you’ve been bitter all the time, just like we all have one way or the other. Don’t even say that you have not been bitter when things fall apart and do not go as planned. Were you not bitter in your description of the SLPP administration (just before the conbention) as “too kalokalo and full of swegbeh policies and tactics” which in your own words, “have got people disgusted.”

The monies you spent for which you continue to roar are not free lunch, as there is no free lunch anywhere. These are monies spent to buy your way to power and the sweets of office that follow it. This is for personal gain. Had you stayed the course and held upright on your principles, then it would have been a different matter. Just maybe, nobody would have been bitter. I am not bitter because of your support for the VP, or the SLPP party. I am bitter simply by taking you on your words. Period. Do you want to know why I care? National duty and vigilance, just like every other well-meaning compatriots.

People never learn from mistakes. Read my lips, just like the SLPP folks, rudely insulted him in March 2002 in the part naming convention, John Leigh is going to be going to be disgraced one more time, like it happens for all failing politicians, who’ve outlived their usefulness. So dust off those flip-flop sandals of yours and come straight and square with the nation. We demand answers and an apology for those words against the VP and the SLPP as a party, and all that believed in you before.

Ernest Koroma says he will provide ray of hope for Sierra Leone

Tuesday, May 23rd, 2006

All People's Congress (APC) party candid

Exclusive interview with COCORIOKO’s Editor, Wilfred Kabs-Kanu  ( 2)

ERNEST KOROMA  SAYS HE WILL  PROVIDE RAY OF HOPE FOR SIERRA LEONE

Tuesday May 23, 2006

The leader of the opposition All People’s Congress ( APC) , Mr. Ernest Bai Koroma,  has said that he was very positive about winning  the 2007 Presidential  Elections . Mr Koroma  then  promised that when he becomes President  he will provide a ray of hope for Sierra Leone.

 The APC Leader gave the assurance last Saturday in an exclusive interview with the Editor-In-Chief of COCORIOKO, Rev.Wilfred Leeroy Kabs-Kanu at the Marriot Hotel in Somerset , New Jersey.

The Editor asked Mr. Koroma point-blank questions from the word ‘go’  : “The 2007 General Elections : What are your chances  ? “., he asked .  Without blinking an eyelid, the APC  leader replied: “We are going to win it.  We are positive about it. ”  “What gives you this assurance , Mr. Opposition leader ?”, the Editor  inquired.  Smiling ,  Mr. Koroma responded  : “I say so because I believe we have gone a long way in restoring confidence in the minds of the Sierra Leonean people that the APC  is the only hope for their progress. And the people have confidence in us. This was manifested in the Local Council elections of 2004 , especially in the city of Freetown . “

“Is that enough to make you develop such confidence ?” , the Editor further asked. “Oh yes, why not ? “, Mr.Koroma enthused : ” Freetown being the capital is the barometer of the country’s politics. The results there are a manifestation of the thinking of the Sierra Leonean people , and also a kind of perception they now hold us in high esteem , This time, we will not only take Freetown. We will take the North and part of the South/East .” Koroma replied.

The APC Leader elaborated  that he was also confident because of the dismal failure on the part of the ruling party, the SLPP. ” The ruling party has failed miserably in the delivery of social services , management of the economy and its ability to fight corruption. The people of Sierra Leone have lost  complete confidence in them and  they have realized that the SLPP  can no longer serve their interests,  The Sierra Leonean people are looking for a change and they have realized that only the APC  can bring back changes in the country ” he asserted.

The Editor asked the APC leader to say something about  the disunity within the party. “Don’t you think that this rift within the party will affect your chances of winning ?” . Mr.Koroma shook his head, stretched his body  and said that the APC  will not be affected by the rift. “What is considered a friction is a resistance put up by people who I will refer to as bad losers and opponents  in the battle for leadership. They have refused to accept defeat We have been through 2 conventions in 2002 and 2005 and I emerged victorious. They are bad losers but I don’t think this will destroy the prospects of the party to win the 2007 elections.” The APC leader recounted that the APC was in this rift when the party won the local elections in Freetown. “We were also in this while the party was growing in popularity.If it did not affect us then, it wont affect us in 2007.  It is not going to affect us in the elections at all  “, he emphasized.

The APC  leader however acknowledged that the conflict in the party was unfortunate. This conflict, he went on, sends out the wrong signals about the party.

“Why is it so difficult to merge  with all these contending forces and form a united front ? “, the Editor asked. Mr. Koroma stated that the APC  was working towards unity , “But if you closely analyse the 2002 elections you will note that the people of Sierra Leone sent a clear message to the political leaders that they are now interested in the inspired leadership of the APC. Within 3 weeks after the convention of 2002 , I was able to capture 27% of the votes and all other political parties put together did not get more than 4% of the votes. This is the clarion call of the people that the parties must be united. It is also an endorsement of the people for my leadership. ”  Mr. Koroma however promised to work very tirelessly to ensure  that both the dissidents within the party and other political parties are united to save Sierra Leone.

Asked what his priorities will be in power, Mr. Koroma pointed out that he will concentrate on the following : Improving the social delivery services , principally education and health and energising the economy to provide the basis for the private sector to take its rightful place in the economic development of the country.

The party leader asserted that most of the developments in Sierra Leone today were made by the APC  during their reign. He drew attention to the infrastructure –Roads, buildings and social services. He also spoke about the abundant scholarships that the APC  provided Sierra Leoneans of all tribes and persuasions without any discrimination. He said that the SLPP  can never match the developments made in Sierra Leone by the APC. Mr. Koroma stated that it was in view of the achievements of the APC  that Sierra Leoneans will vote them back to power.

READ PART 3 OF THE INTERVIEW TOMORROW

 

 

 

John Leigh supports Solomon Berewa for President

Monday, May 22nd, 2006

JOHNLEIGHOLD

PRESS BRIEFING STATEMENT BY JOHN E. LEIGH

Ladies and Gentlemen of the Press:

Thank you for accepting my invitation to attend this Press Briefing.

I hope each one of you will report fully and accurately to all your numerous readers and listeners, respectively, the relevant remarks made here today.

I am holding this briefing to inform all my fellow citizens of Sierra Leone and all my friends and well wishers abroad that I am supporting Vice President Solomon Berewa for the office of the President of Sierra Leone beginning in 2007 in succession to President Tejan Kabbah.

I support VP Berewa as our next President because I believe he is the most qualified candidate among those currently vying for the presidency.  In my experience, Mr. Berewa is known to be far more experienced, far more educated, far more able, and far more good-intentioned than any other candidate contesting with him.

I know Mr. Berewa to be nationalistic, not tribalistic.  Mr. Berewa is known to me as a mature leader free from petulance, political selfishness and rash actions.  In fact, he is quite deliberative.

 

BEREWA WILL MOVE SIERRA LEONE FORWARD

I believe that when elected, Solomon Berewa will pursue policies and implement practices to improve international affairs, promote economic development, protect our institutions, advance women’s rights and institute law reforms.

While one candidate has already announced that he prefers to impose a dictatorship up on us but ONLY under his so-called benevolent leadership, VP Berewa seeks genuine democracy.  And while another opposition candidate will most certainly impose a harsh tribal hegemony upon us, I believe Mr. Berewa will strive for efficient, responsible, representative government composed of highly trained, experienced and good-intentioned officials in order to move the country forward regardless of gender, tribe, region, or religion.

Mr. Berewa has personally assured me that considerable attention and resources will be concentrated in waging a war against poverty; food insufficiencies; improving Sierra Leone’s image and respect worldwide and in uplifting the lives and the general wellbeing of our people.

Under his leadership, I expect that laws that discriminate against women and hinder their advancement will be repealed or reformed as would laws that criminalized libel.  No more jail time for Sierra Leone journalists.

I believe that many more qualified people from all regions of our country will be more willing to work with VP Berewa for the advancement of Sierra Leone than for any of his rivals.

 

I BELONG ONLY TO THE SLPP

As the leader of the SLPP, Mr. Berewa heads the one political party in Sierra Leone that belongs to all its members equally and which possesses a culture of internal democracy – the very culture I personally live by.

This is in sharp contrast to the situation in the two other political parties that are either owned by one man; or very new with no tract record; or monopolized in a significant way by members of one single tribe as evidenced by the disproportionate numbers of top officials and cadets – civilian, police and military – that they appointed from only a few chiefdoms in only one province in their pre-war governments.

I learned recently that one immature politician and his close supporters have been telling his membership falsely that Dr. James Jonah and I are with him in his new party; and that we might even be contesting for the leadership of his party. This is talking rubbish, nonsense.   That man’s party is a one-man affair and a useless dictatorship and was set-up to improperly confiscate the much talked about Third Force.

I am a member of the Sierra Leone Peoples Party and will so remain.  I know that that are some serious internal problems within the SLPP.  However, I have no intention of leaving my party and joining any of the other two parties – let alone take part in a phony leadership contest in a new party of dictatorship.  I plan to continue to seek reforms from within the SLPP.

Dr. Jonah retains his friendship with President Tejan Kabbah, the SLPP President of Sierra Leone. From what I know of him, I can tell you that Dr. Jonah is unlikely to participate in any political venture predicated on vexation and dynastic ambition and whose leadership, from its public acts, oozes immaturity. At any rate, I do not speak for Dr. Jonah. I am only giving you my views in light of the persistent rubbish talk that he and I will be contesting the leadership position in one of the new parties.

 

PLEASE GIVE BEREWA YOUR FULL SUPPORT

I appeal to all the people of Sierra Leone who believe in what I stand for to join me in supporting Mr. Solomon Berewa for President and in vigorously campaigning for him with me so that he will most certainly become our next President in 2007.

 

SLPP WANTS YOU TO REJOIN YOUR PARTY

I appeal to all those SLPP members who have left the party to join new-fangled opportunistic parties to please return to your SLPP home and join me in helping to make our party more democratic and stronger.  Long after the 2007 elections have come and gone, SLPP will be around ready to help you.

No one can say the same thing for a one-man, new party born in vexation and grounded in vaulting personal ambition. Nor can one put any hope in a party whose mind-bogging, long, bad record in office, notorious tribalism, poverty-generating practices and narrow mindedness will keep it from winning national elections in the foreseeable future because large numbers of people suffered grievous wrongs under their power.

 

PLEASE JOIN ME TO FIGHT TRIBALISM

As we Sierra Leoneans get closer to each other; learn better from each other, sensible people will realize that there is no place for tribalism in our country’s future. We will all come to understand that either we all must advance and prosper together or we will all fall together!

I therefore appeal to my Northern brethrens who truly abhor tribalism and who seek genuine democracy, justice and development to forthwith cross-over en-mass into the SLPP and join me there in helping to make the SLPP a truly democratic and much stronger national party so that we will continue to advance our country’s interest for the benefit of each one of us.

Thank you for your kind attention.

Dated in Freetown, May 22, 2006

And

Respectfully submitted

By:

John E. Leigh, Member Sierra Leone Peoples Party

 

Saved by American influence : Part 1

Thursday, May 18th, 2006
By Abrahim Alimu Jalloh. MD, USA.
Sierra Leone at 45 is still toddling. His Excellency the President, Dr. Alhaji Ahmad Tejan Kabba’s 45th independence anniversary message to the Nation was based on the theme: SIERA LEONEANS AND THE IMAGE OF SIERRA LEONE.
We have been garbing ourselves with the mnemonic idea that Sierra Leone is the Athens of West Africa and the beacon of light of Africa.

But since 45 years of self determination, compared to other African countries, Sierra Leone has been plunged into massive corruption and ‘ I don’t care attitude’ in all spheres of life. For the past couple of years, we have been hibernating at the bottom rung of any World ranking. With each passing day, one hears disheartening  stories about Sierra Leone.
I stopped sending letters or important documents through the Sierra Leone Postal Services long ago for reasons which Augusta Torto from Sweden was very brief in her article entitled ” Sierra Leone Post Office is full of thieves and hungry people” posted to the Cocorioko website on April 24,2006. She concludes ” Sierra Leone Post Office is a disgrace to the country”.
On the 25th April,2006, at about 5:00am Eastern Time, which was about 9:00am in Sierra Leone, I was denied my morning sleep when the phone rang cacophonous. Such sounds are only international calls. I wasted no time to pick up the phone.”Hello…!” I opened the conversation.

My daughter and her mom were on the line. My daughter had been issued a visa to travel to the United States of America but she needed to have a transit visa into the United Kingdom from the British High Commission in Freetown.
“Papa”, she started, ” den say yu for sen yu bank statement bifor den gi-me thee visa”.
I tried to recover from the shock.” Were are you calling from, were am I to fax the bank statement?”
She told me that they were calling from an internet cafe. I talked with the owner of the cafe hoping that he would give me his fax number. He gave me Sierratel’s fax number, the Nation’s owned telecommunication system.
At about 9:00 am EST, which was1:00pm in Sierra Leone, I picked up my bank statement and dashed out to the nearest fax office.

Siera Leoneans and the image of Sierra Leone was put to the test. I hastily gave the Sierratel fax number 224-439 accompanied by the code 011-232-22 to the operator who was also busy serving other customers from Liberia and Guinea.
For over twenty minutes, I was just hearing some crackling sound. My papers did not go through. The operator, not to lose the other customers, told me to wait awhile. In about ten minutes, four customers from Liberia and Guinea had their papers faxed. He tried my papers again to Sierratel to no avail. Time was running out. Offices in Sierra Leone would not be opened on the 27th April because of our Independence anniversary. My daughter’s travel date was on the 28th April.
I jerked my cell-phone from my pocket and dialled her uncle, who is working for a reputable phone company, straight in Freetown with the utmost conviction that he must have access to a fax machine. He told me that there was no fax machine in his office, but I should give him fifteen minutes to get a fax number from a cabinet minister’s office. I was a bit relieved for the assurance.

When I called him after seventeen minutes, he told me that the fax machine in the minister’s office was out of working order. I was flabbergasted at such a  ministerial negligence. But he said he had got another fax number .I took my pen to write the number down. He started “224-43…” I interrupted him: ” Is that Sierratel?”.
He said “yes”.

The I started calling him by name with desperation ” Ansu, I’ve tri’d that Sierratel number. It’s n’t going thru. Please inquire some other places”
I called a Sierra Leonean friend working for a Travel Agency in the USA to give me their office fax number in Freetown. He was very delighted. I took my pen to write dwn the number. He started “224-439”
“Mr. Desmond!”, I called out ” if  that is the only fax number then I am doomed”. He gave me another fax number for Sierratel 228-430

I ran into the office again. In fact with this  number, the fax machine was given signals which warranted the operator to ask for my origin. Time was tickling fast.
I called Ansu from Freetown. He gave me an office telephone number of a senior civil servant to contact the secretary for their fax number. I dialled the number. From the scretary’s tonation, I wondered whether she had eaten any breakfast or lunch.But when I said I was calling from America,the United States of America, she answered with a soprano voice punctuated with ” Sir” and ” Yes sir”.

I told her that I am a friend of her boss and wanted to fax some papers in his office. She told me that her boss travelled to the provinces, and he locked his office with the fax machine inside. I was again wondering why should a public officer deprive his or her junior workers of office facilities. That is the attitude of a Sierra Leonean portraying the Sierra Leone image.It was almost 12:00 noon EST, and 4:00pm in Freetown.
“Ansu”, I called again, ” I dont think whether your niece will travel to the United States.

Ansu, too, was becoming worried. He advised me to calm dowm like a nursing mother.He gave me another  telephone number to a female friend called Mommy. I immediately dialled the number. A voice from America was enough to keep  Mommy straight and attentive. She immediately gave me their office fax number assuring me to fax the papers. With such assurance I called my daughter and her mom to go to Ansu’s office for the papers would be ready shortly.
I dashed into the fax office with a mournful look demanding sympathy from the operator. I gave him the new fax number. I was quietly praying. After ten minutes, the opertor’s patience ran out and asked me to go somewhere else.
Gnashing my teeth and almost driving through a red light, I reached home at about 12:45 pm EST. From my home phone, I called Ansu who told me that he was sorry. Mommy called him and said that the janitor forgot to put on the Kabba Tiger.
I asked what he meant by Kabba Tiger. He said it was the generator which has taken the place of the constant electricity blackout supplied by the National Power Authority in the city. I heaved a deep breadth. From Salpost to Sierratel, and now NPA !
I remember in the early years of post independece Sierra Leone, each of the twelve district head quarter towns had constant electricity supply, and the major roads and streets in these towns were macadamised ( well tarred ). Today, all the roads and streets are pothole ridden like trenches deep enough for one to hide from enemy fire.What is Road Authority doing? Hurricane lamps and faggots have replaced electricity in the towns except for Bo and Kenema.Another Sierra Leanean image portrayed.
Ansu told me that he had sent my daughter and her mom to the Millennium telecomminucation center at Rawdon street which is very reliable.
At about 1:00pm EST, which was 5:00pm in Sierra Leone, I called them on their cell-phone. With no time to waste, they handed the phone to a gentleman I must talk with to give me the fax number. I took my pen. He started “224-439”. I nearly collapsed. I told him to give back the phone to my daughter and her mom for me to talk to them. I was very angry and asked why they did not go to the Millennium center.They said all communications in the Millennium center were down. The manager, therefore, asked them to go to Sierratel.
The gentleman grabbed the phone from them telling me that their fax machines are in good working order. He said may be I dialled the wrong number.I read out the number to him, and even the second fax number 228-430. He said the machine with the 228-430 was a standby machine but it has been out of working order for a long time he can not remember. I told him if the standby machine is out of working order what can he tell me about the main machine. I tried for about ten minutes again using my fax machine at home to no avail. I asked my daughter and her mom to go home which was about 1:30pm EST, 5:30PM in Sierra Leone.
I had to be at my job at 2:00pm. Fifteen minutes late would lead nearly losing a job in the USA. For any single dollar earned in America is through hard work and dedication like the lumpenproletatariates in Sierra Leone John Leigh referred to as San San boys and ordinary noise makers. These group  of people are doing an honest job sacrificing ten to fourteen hours everyday to earn their living to build a better Sierra Leone.
Sierra Leoneans in the diaspora are also working hard. But for any single dollar we send back to our native home, the American and European governments get it back
in ten folds from our thieving ministers and top civil servants who are siphoning our Nation’s wealth in thousands and millions to foreign banks.

At about 1:50pm EST, I tried  Sierratel again for the last time. The machine was buzzing like an eighteen century cannon.
I thought of all the friends and their places of work in Freetown. A friend working for the American Embassy came to my mind. He had given me his cell phone number over a year ago which I had never called. We frequently communicate through the internet. My fear was ” Do I still have his number installed in my cell-phone?”
I checked out my cell-phone. The name Abdul appeared. I dialled the number. I heard a familiar voice saying ” Hello”
I jumped on my feet bellowing like a commanding officer. ” Abdul, this is Jalloh”
“Hi, ha-ha-ha, long time.How is the States?” He responded.
I told him that it was no time for banalities.Thank God he knew about my daughter’s coming to the USA. I asked for his fax number. He told me that he was not in his office. My stomach rumbled and l exchanged carbondioxide for oxygen to keep me from swooning.

He noticed my silent-desperation. He said ” Stay on line let me contact the secretary in the office for the number”. In less than three minutes he read out the fax number to me.
It was 1:57pm EST. I faxed the papers. While I was waiting for the confirmation, I called my daughter and her mom to tell them the good news and contact person for the papers. I was told that my daughter was already sick. She had lost hope in the entire system. When I got the confirmation about 1:58pm, I called Abdul to thank him and the American  influence in Mother Salone. It was indeed a timely save.
At 2:00pm I signed in for work.

 

CHARLES MARGAI WANTS TO REPEAT HISTORY

Thursday, May 18th, 2006

 charlesmargaifullycropped

Thursday May 18, 2006

First_Name:  Brima
Last_Name:  Alpha
Email_Address:  Brimaa@optonline.net
Address:  10 Regency Manor Drive
City:  New Brunswick
State:  New Jersey
Zip_Code:  08901
Comments:  Charles Margai want to repeat history. Exactly fourty years in 2007, Charles Margai aim to do the same power hungry mistake his dad did in 1967 that led APC to take over the country.

His father divided the SLPP party because he want to stay in power by whatever means even when the party dont want him to be the party leader. As the saying goes, thou father thou son, he bear the same fruit with his father, power hungry. Charles Margai will never be president in Sierra Leone because of his over ambtious behavior for power. I am relly sorry to say this but Charles has lost credibilty to many Sierra Leoneans abroad. SLPP is not a FamilY Property.

You need to go through the party rank and develop the party base in order to be nominated party leader not on the basises of family name “MARGAI”. Therefore my advise to Charles is to come back and start building his base in the Party like any other memeber and not because you are margai. Let me assure you that this time around you are going to fail hopelessly and the Margai name will be dump in garbage forever. We dont need power hungry family in Sierra Leone today.

AMBASSADOR PEMAGBI DESCRIBES SLPP ELECTIONS AS FAIR AND TRANSPARENT

Monday, May 15th, 2006
Sierra Leone’s Permanent Representative to the United Nations, Ambassador Joe R. Pemagbi , yesterday told COCORIOKO  that the Sierra Leone People’s Party ( SLPP) Executive elections for  its North American Branch  held in Somerset , New Jersey ,  on Saturday , was fair and transparent.
AMBASSADORJOEPEMAGBI
In an exclusive interview with this newspaper, Ambassador Pemagbi described the elections as the best thing closer to perfection because it was done openly and everybody in the hall was given a chance to vote for whoever they wanted.
Pemagbi derided the complaints made by some members that the elections were not representative of the different chapters of the SLPP  in the U.S . He said :” I don’t know the number of chapters the SLPP has in the United States but we did make a great effort to get people from the various chapters to attend the meeting in Somerset…I made telephone calls and sent e-mails and with the way news spreads fast in this country, anybody who wanted to come would have done so “.
The Ambassador , who stated  that the process could not have been very  perfect, given the circumstances under which it was organized and held,  praised the elections for the democratic atmosphere under which it was conducted.  .”Everybody was given a paper and time to write down whom they wanted for the various positions”, he clarified.
Ambassador Pemagbi stated that the organization had been in conflict and the elections were a stop-gap measure to ensure that there was a structure in place to work with the party in Sierra Leone.” For three years , there has been no structure ( I have been here for four years) ” he told this newspaper, and  something had to be done to put together a structure so that the work of the party can go on in the United States.” We cannot hold back the work of the party because one or two chapters did not send representatives…People will always complain, whatever one does to ensure fairness and transparency, ”  he continued.
The Ambassador said that the Columbus , Ohio Chapter had been very dormant , but through his efforts when he went there, they sent 2 representatives , which was better than nothing. He hoped that the officials  of the party would work hard to promote the goals of the SLPP..
ANOTHER TOP SLPP  official , who spoke to COCORIOKO  and praised the elections was Mr. Felix Sandy , Secretary-General of the Delaware/Philadelphia Chapter  .
Mr. Sandy said he was even one of the candidates for the position of Chairman, but he was defeated by Mr. Matthew Margao .He however said he held no bitterness and he approved of the elections because it was held in an atmosphere of transparency and fairness.

SLPP HIGH-POWERED DELEGATION SPEARHEAD ELECTION IN NEW JERSEY FOR NORTH AMERICAN EXECUTIVE

Monday, May 15th, 2006

The ruling Sierra Leone People’s Party ( SLPP)  has a new executive to run its affairs in the continental United States of America. The executive was voted in during tense elections held in Somerset , New Jersey , as the party’s high-powered delegation from Freetown watched on Saturday evening.

 

Winning the elections and becoming the Chairman of the North American Branch of Sierra Leone’s oldest  political party was Mr. Matthew Margao .

 

 

Fielding questions from COCORIOKO  on Margao’s integrity and suitability for office , the Secretary-General of the New York Chapter, Mr. Brima Alpha , declared that Margao was ideally suited for the job.

.

 

“Do you trust him ? “,  asked COCORIOKO. Mr. Alpha replied emphatically that many people at the convention  expressed  great trust and confidence in Margao .They  predicted that Margao will provide inspiring leadership for the SLPP Branch in the U.S., he asserted.” I don’t know him personally, but many people say he is a good leader , unifier and organizer and he knows how to raise funds.”   Margao himself could not be reached for a comment because he was said to be very busy with the delegation from Sierra Leone. But some other members COCORIOKO  spoke to expressed confidence in his ability to lead the SLPP  in America.

 

Elected Secretary General was Mr. Kalilu Totangi , also from the once strife-torn Maryland/Washington Chapter and Professor Augustine Smith from the Atlanta/Georgia Chapter was elected Publicity Secretary. Mr. Issa Koroma won the election for the position of Social Secretary.

 

Ms. Florence Jenkins  and Mr. Sankoh from the Delaware/Philadelphia Chapter become the Women’s leader  and the Youth Leader respectively while Mr. Francis Bundu from Mayland/ Washington is now the Treasurer. The position of Vice-Chairman does not exist in the SLPP North American Branch heirarchy and individual chapters act as Vice -Chairpersons.

 

The elections were held at the  New Jersey Chinese Community Center at 17 School House Road , somerset . According to Mr. Alpha , there were 100 delegates

 

Alpha praised his New Jersey Chapter for the excellent manner they organized the whole program. He told COCORIOKO  that contrary to what detractors wanted the world to believe , the New Jersey Chapter  of the SLPP was united and this was proved by the way the visit of the high-powered delegation from Sierra Leone and the meeting were handled.

 

Mr. Alpha said that the Chapter hired the Chinese Community Centre for which they paid $1, 500 and the members worked also to ensure that there was sufficient food for everyone.

 

Mr. Alpha went on to say that even Sierra Leone’s Permanent Representative to the UN, Ambassador Joe R. Pemagbi was satisfied with the meeting. He said that the New Jersey Branch did a wonderful job and Saturday was one of his happiest moments in the United States of America.

 

 

Many Parties calling on RUFP for merger

Saturday, May 13th, 2006

Saturday May 13 , 2006

By Tamba Borbor in Freetown

The Revolutionary United Front Party (RUFP) Thursday 11 May 2006, urged the National Electoral Commission (NEC) in Freetown to conduct the forthcoming elections farily come next year, whiles stating that they would not allow other political parties to use as violence in order to defraud the presidential and parliamentary come 2007.
 
In an interview with COCORIOKO, at the party’s Lightfoot Boston Street office Freetown, the Public Relation Officer, (PRO) Michael Gana, said whiles scouting for a credible person to leader for, the imminent elections, “we are going to sit by and look at people rigging the poll, that’s why we are going to make sure that, this election is properly monitored, transparent sand fairly conducted.”
 
Therefore appealed to RUFP supporters and members not to tolerate other parties to easily carry them away simply because they already have their political belongingness to the RUFP and should bear in mind that they are running a political party.
 
He said so many political parties have called upon them to merge but they have a set criteria already in put place and which political party so ever is able to fulfill their conditions then, his party would forming a coalition with such party.
 
“Merging with other parties is actually not our problem, the fact that as long as our party does not lost its name and its membership then we are prepare to for an alliance with other political organizations,” he said.
 
How would the RUFP respond to the call of the incumbency for a merger Gana replied, ” the government of Sierra Leone is not our enemy we have no problem with that, only that they have to look into our problems and ready to heed to our conditions with a popular consultation with our members across the country.”
 
For what will be the RUFP developmental agenda if the party happens to sweep the polls come 2007, the PRO said “fighting a revolutionary war for well over a decade, with the same ideology now transformed into a political one, we don’t believe in making bogus promises.
 
We can’t at present promise the people notwithstanding that if the RUFP win and take over the power, we would allow the people to determine what they want for their country.”
 
On which way forward, the RUFP leadership for the 2007 elections, Gana stated that his party is still organize and that as long as people want power, and the party has a national popularity, “they would come and meet us because they need us.”
    
 
 
 
 
 

Alleged spy at Special Court nabbed

Saturday, May 13th, 2006

By Tamba Borbor in Freetown

Police attached the United Nations backed Special Court in Freetown Tuesday arrested a suspected United States of American citizen, Mich Chemidline outside the court, for taking footages without obtaining permission from the authorities.

 According the Inspector General of Police Brima Acha, the suspect, Chemidline will be charged to court for subversion.

 Rodmier Taylor Smith of the Public Affairs Section at the US Embassy in Freetown also confirmed the arrest of the suspected US citizen but stop-short from saying why Chemidline was nabbed.

 Reports further stated Chemidline has been around the Special Court’s vicinity at New England Vile, from the 29th April the year taking snap shorts.

 Chemidline is currently held in police custody ahead of his appearance in court for alleged subversion whiles his home in Freetown was searched by police for incriminating materials but however refused to comment on the continuing investigation into the matter.

 An immigration source in Freetown has disclosed that this is Chemidline’s first visit to Sierra Leone.

 The Deputy Chief Public and Press Affairs at the Special Court, Peter Anderson, said the snapshots were taken outside of the court, thus it is not a Special Court matter.

 Since the commencement of the war crime court hearing started in Sierra Leone, this is the first incident of subversion that has so far occurred at the court.