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COCORIOKO » 2006 » June

Archive for June, 2006

SAVED BY AMERICAN INFLUENCE Part 1

Saturday, June 24th, 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.

 

PMDC’s day in Bo

Friday, June 23rd, 2006

By Theophilus S Gbenda

Sierra Leone’s newest and fastest growing registered political party, the People’s Movement for Democratic Change (PMDC) on Saturday, 17th June, 2006, turned Bo Town into complete Orange, a place that used to be an entirely SLPP (Sierra Leone People’s Party) stronghold, when thousands of supporters and admirers draped in the Orange colour of the party came out to welcome and show solidarity with the party’s Leader, Mr. Charles Francis Margai and his entourage, who were in Bo to officially launch the party’s Southern Region office.

Dauda Tombo Bangura and PMDC strongman Cheif Sui

Many observers referred to the massive turn out as unprecedented, and a pointer to the fact that the PMDC has made a significant in-road within this very short time to establish itself in the traditional dominion of the ruling SLPP. It is difficult to come out with a specific figure of the people who came out in utmost show of genuine support to Mr. Charles Margai and the PMDC. What is however important to note is the fact that all the people that matter in the Bo township, where part and parcel of the thousands of people who came out to register their unflinching support to the party.

On that remarkable Saturday morning, PMDC supporters including scores of former SLPP die-hearts who have now thrown their weights behind the PMDC, converged at Kebe Town, about three miles from central Bo, where they patiently waited to receive the PMDC leader and entourage from Freetown.

Countless supporters in front of the newly launched Southern Region Party Office

Mr. Margai, and entourage were expected at 10:00am but only showed up three hours later following unavoidable stoppages on the way to talk to PMDC fans who blocked him to pledge their loyalty and support to him. When Mr. Margai and his team eventually arrived at Kebe Town, they were accorded a resounding welcome. The large crowd alongside the team from Freetown processed from Kebe Town to the Bo Coronation Field, where Mr. Margai and other PMDC big guns including the USA-based Dauda Tombo Bangura, the National Secretary General, Mr. Ansu Lansana etc, delivered impressive sensitization statements.

From thereon, Mr. Margai was escorted by the crowd in a motorcade of over one hundred vehicles to where the Regional party office is situated for the official innauguration.

PMDC’s Charles Margai in the midst of enthusiastic supporters

Independent reports have it that the reception accorded to Mr. Margai during this visit is an manifestation of the clean-sweep the PMDC has had of SLPP supporters in the district.

Police Officers leading the mammoth Procession

SLPP die-hearts spoken to in Bo refused to make comments, though it was clear by their looks that they were extremely concerned over the future of the SLPP in the part of the country.

Vigilant police Officers in close protection

In the words of a Bo resident Pa Foday Kallon, a former SLPP staunch supporter and now an ardent follower of the PMDC, “it is only a fool who will encourage thoughts that the SLPP still has stronghold over Bo and its environs.”

PMDC National Chairman- Alhaji Bai Kamara during the rally

The success story of the PMDC in its current sensitization drive goes far beyond Bo town and Bo District as a whole.

Reports monitored by independent observers have point out to the fact that the PMDC flag is flying high in places like Mattru Jong, Gbangbatoke, Pujehun, Zimmi, Kailahun, Kenema, Moyamba, Daru, Portoru, to name a few. All these places were formerly dominated by the SLPP, and it was unrealistic to imagine that any other political party will ever make the slightest positive in-road there.

Chief S.K Foyor in Action

Ironically this is exactly what the PMDC has done, and according to findings, the people have voluntarily thrown away their Green SLPP garments and are now proudly dressed in the PMDC Orange.

PMDC Masked Devil

One Pujehun residents, Madam Isatu Kowa remarked, “our support for Charles Margai and the PMDC is genuine, we have gained consciousness and we will never be fooled again.” Reports also have it that the well know SLPP slogan “One Country, One People” has been silenced by the PMDC slogan “One for All, All for Me”.

Masked Devils in Action

Since last week’s Bo political twist, reports say the few SLPP supporters in Bo and the party’s Central Secretariat in Freetown, have been busy holding co-ordination meetings to find possible ways of countering the unprecedented success of the PMDC in the district and other parts of the country where the PMDC has reportedly over-shadowed the SLPP.

Charles Margai and other PMDC big Guns on High Table at the Bo Coronation Field

One of the strategies according to reports is to amass people in a way that will double the one that came out in full support for the PMDC in the recent Bo visit of Charles Margai and other PMDC big guns. However, skepticisms are being raised as to whether the SLPP will ever pull again the kind of crowd seen behind Mr. Margai during the said visit.

 

A Cross Section of Supporters at the Bo Coronation Field
Another PMDC Masked Devil in Action

The international Aid lie

Friday, June 23rd, 2006


By C. JAMES HUGHES 23/6/2006


Its official from the United Nations that Sierra Leone is the poorest nation in
the world. While academics, NGOs and international institutions mathematicize
this is Gross National Product, mortality and other ratios, we live with the
reality of hunger, diseases, squalor, unemployment and despair. Everybody,

even the unborn has now reached the chorus that corruption explains why Sierra Leone
is such terrible a place to live. Underpinning this chorus is an assertion that
the country is a huge recipient of international cash.In two articles in June
last year, in response to a London Times article on corruption in Sierra Leone
, I made key points.


While agreeing that corruption persists in the country, I made the point that
the level of noise about it draws purpose from various motivations. I argued
that civil society organizations and the media in Sierra Leone lack either the
intellectual preparedness or the energy to discuss corruption in any other
dimension beyond shouting “corruption borku.” Indeed shouting” corruption
borku” is a political instrument for some journalists and politicians, and a
cash machine for some civil society organizations. I argued in the
aforementioned articles that people from the West may be hollering corruption
as ploy to divert attention from their own contributions to our mess.Whether
people agree with these points or not, one thing the media and civil society
must not miss in this country is their role in engendering informed debate. It
seems that we are in fact missing that role. Listen to civil society leaders or
read our newspapers.


They are basically delivering “Poda Poda” conclusions with the only effort of
doing it in English. Whether we are discussing corruption, vice presidential
running mate, poverty, “donor korpoh”, we carry the same passion, analyses, and
conclusions from the “Poda podas,” to parliament, to newspapers to civil society
organizations, and UNDP reports to Kofi Annan. This brings me to the noise about
international assistance to Sierra Leone . The chorus is that Sierra Leone has
received huge monies from donors; which are being squandered or misused. The
argument goes that the bad state of our roads, the lack of electricity in the
big towns and cities, squalor and poverty does not show well the quantum of
money this country has received.
There are serious distortions veiled in the sum totals of monies that are often
quoted as assistance to Sierra Leone .


America for instance may have spent $1bn in Sierra Leone as international
assistance. Have we bothered to ask how much of that money went into budgetary
support for government? It is only money in government hands that government
has control over in terms of investment choices. America has its agencies that
spend her money here. And since the end of the war America ‘s money has been
spent on humanitarian assistance, governance strengthening and social
integration issues. So why are we looking for the roads, brand new generators
at Kingtom, adequate housing, and the like simply because America spent $1bn
here?The Chinese built stadium. Stadium is there. They built Magbass sugar cane
complex. Today Sierra Leone is exporting sugar. The Chinese built Dodo
Hydro-electric dam at Hanga. The Danish built the Bo power station. Bo and
Kenema have electricity. If Americans are spending on social integrations, then
let us look for social integration in accounting for American monies. And do we
even know that a big chunk of the sum totals of particularly American money is
‘monetized’ commodity assistance? These include army trucks and boots, tents,
bulgur, and oil.


Excepting EU direct budgetary support, and some DFID money and grants from World
Bank, the bulk of donor money in this country is not spent by the government.
And if those who spend their monies have chosen to do so on relief and
humanitarian issues why do we want to explain youth unemployment, ask of energy
pipe-borne water and proper housing in relation to “donor korpoh” Did we not see
how Government on her knees went out begging for $40m to complete Bumbuna? Where
was the willing donor or lender? Nowhere! And mark that the Special Court has
consumed that same amount of money in three years.In 2004 Clair Short, the
British Overseas Development Minister was here talking about British money and
corruption in Sierra Leone . The British in fact are daily patting their own
backs for their money in Sierra Leone . What money are we talking about?
£40million every year. £40million simply mean that per capital investment on a
population of five million translates into 50 pence per person per year.


Yes, Britain spends 50 pence on one Sierra Leonean per year. This is pure
comedy! And the 50 pence is derived on the assumption that all £40 million
pounds goes into government coffers. Mark the sorriest part: only part of the
£40 million goes into government hands. IMATT and other British projects use
the rest. This means that Britain is actually spending something like Le2,000
per Sierra Leonean per year for direct poverty reduction, or social service
related investment.
I do not seek to say that the investment choices being made by donors are
irrelevant. I simply want to say that the results that we look for in our
discussions of poverty, aid, and government must relate to the investment
choices made by those who hold the monies.


Britain for instance has emphasized recovery of governance institutions in its
assistance to Sierra Leone . Law enforcement capacity around the country, a new
army, the Anti-Corruption Commission, Law Reform Commission, Public Sector
Reform and such others stand testimony to such assistance.The pathologies of
Government however in respect of use of donor money are often explained in the
context of “development.” Humanitarian assistance is not development
assistance. In consultations for the 2004 Country Assistance Strategy of the
World Bank, Sierra Leoneans were unanimous in their emphasis on roads,
pipe-borne water, electricity, and housing among other things as constituting
their understanding of development assistance. Country-wide consultations in
preparation of the PRSP similarly captured this consensus. Sierra Leoneans from
all backgrounds never talked about those flamboyantly worded projects of the UN,
USAID, DFID, or EU on which millions of dollars have been spent. Donors are not
interested in those things that speedily fulcrum development in this country.


It is money borrowed by Government from international financial institutions in
the name of Sierra Leone that is building the highways, completing Bumbuna, and
expanding pipe-some water delivery in rural and urban towns among other core
development activities.And the disturbing and criminal thing is that it is
these same donors that are crying loudest Government’s failures in respect of
youth employment, proper housing, hospitals, roads, energy etc.

 

The Hinga Norman/ Charles Margai imbroglio

Sunday, June 18th, 2006

Subject: WHY MR. MOININA’S PLEA FOR MARGAI/PMDC SHOULD BE REFUSED
From: John E. Leigh
To: All
Date Posted: 13:18:44 07/18/06 ()
Email Address:
Entered From: cache-mtc-ae04.proxy.aol.com at 64.12.117.8

Message:
Dear Forumites:

I submit this posting in opposition to the request of Mr. Albert Moinina seeking support for PMDC’s Margai. My approach below is to answer each of Mr. Moinina’s claims in the order in which he presented them on behalf of Mr. Margai and to demonstrate that there is no legitimate basis for decent people to support PMDC. I have prepared the attached in the interest of my country’s future and not because of any thing I might have against Messrs. Moinina and Margai.

1. MOININA: Charles has always been with the people. Unlike most of us who left SL for economic reasons, Charles has stayed in the country and contributed in his own way in the betterment of the lives of the people.

REBUTTAL: The above reason is not a sound one. Siaka Stevens, Joseph Momoh, Valentine Strasser, Maada Bio, Johnny Paul Koroma and Foday Sankoh – all stayed behind; all were with the people and none left the country for economic reasons.

But what good did their staying behind do for our country? Their remaining behind probably equipped them to help ruin our country. Some of them tried to bring betterment to the country but it was not because they stayed behind. It was their mentality but even they faltered at some point to the disappointment of many.

By the way, what specific deeds has Mr. Margai contributed in bettering the lives of our people? Vagueness won’t do. We need specific examples.
Furthermore, are people who left SLeone for economic reasons not beneficial to their people back home?

Would our country have been a better place if we all had stayed behind unemployed or underemployed without international exposure and education, begging foreigners and partaking of the corrupt ways that developed after Independence?

For your information, SLeoneans send millions of dollars annually to their people, schools, churches, communities, political parties, etc. Without these remittances, our country might have exploded once again or if not, our people would be far more miserable and our country more wretched than before. Remittances from émigrés are a key way for poor countries to develop. Hence, leaving SLeone to better one’s self is not a negative conduct as Mr. Moinina is implying here.

Lastly, I believe Margai stayed behind in SLeone for his own benefit because of his burning desire to further his selfish political career to lead. He thus missed out on learning international ways and observing how the world really works.

2. MOININA. Charles has always been a fighter for justice for the average man ¡V He has championed many cases for the poor and average people.

REBUTTAL: Give us specific examples, not just vague declarations. Did not Hinga Norman, a jailed national hero, complain about Mr. Margai’s request for $50,000 retainer upfront before looking into his case – after Mr. Norman was shockingly arrested and detained for war crimes and was desperate for legal help?

3. MOININA He [Margai] is a believer in democracy ¡V Without Charles and others, Joe Jackson and others would have rigged the 1986 election.

REBUTTAL: The 1986 elections were a One-Party Election that was still rigged. Those One-Party elections did nothing good for our country. They gave phony legitimacy to a civilian dictatorship of corruption, incompetence and unfairness – six months without a single flicker of electricity in the nation’s capital; and largescale marginalization of decent people – and were a prelude to a most devastating war; the relentless plunder of our country by foreigners and the concoction of a so-called Greater Liberia of which the Western boundary was the Sewa River.

Finally, if Mr. Margai was a democrat in 1986, by August 2005 he had changed and publicly advocated to set up a so-called benevolent dictatorship under his dictatorial leadership. That was his stance in the SLPP Leadership Debate over the airwaves with VP Berewa and others, including myself. I have the tapes.

4. MOININA. He [Margai] is smart. He may have failed all his exams in school, but today he is one of the best lawyers in the country.

REBUTTAL: Mr. Margai is not smart by any objective standard. If he is smart why does he have so many dunce heads and disreputable types around him or defending him in the world wide web but only a sprinkling of good, decent, deep people is seen on his side or are heard defending him?

If he is so smart, he would never have sought to recruit me to serve under his rubbish, tribal leadership. If he is so smart, he would never have sought to hijack the Third Force. If he were so smart, the CKC violence would never have occurred.
If here were so smart, he would not have engaged in his notorious, disreputable party hopping – SLPP, APC, SLPP, NUP, SLPP, PMDC. Where next, SLPP?

If he was so smart, he would not have infuriated paramount chiefs with his suggestion that they must face re-election every five years, like MPs. If he was so smart, he would never have sued his father, Sir Albert, who is alleged to have then cursed him that he will never realize his life’s ambition to lead Sierra Leone.

If Margai was really smart, he would have accepted the Hinga Norman case with alacrity instead of behaving arrogantly in demanding an impossible fee upfront as related to me by Mr. Norman. If he was so smart, the constitution he claimed he drafted for SLPP would have not hard so many loopholes that made the Makeni ConBention possible.

Further, Mr. Margai is by no means one of the best lawyers in SLeone. Being politically prominent does not add up to being “one of the best lawyers in SLeone”. Perhaps, you could prove me wrong with specific examples of his smartness and being the best lawyers in SLeone. And I stand ready and willing to be educated in this matter but please defend his dubious constitution-writing ability.

5. MOININA. His [Margai’s] integrity is indubitable ¡V his clean records, albeit unsubstantiated rumors of corruption as Minister of Interior, is loud and clear.

REBUTTAL: If as Mr. Moinina claims Mr. Margai’s “integrity is indubitable” and his record clean, how come “loud and clear” rumors of corruption at the Ministry of the Interior refuse to go way nearly five or six years after leaving the ministry? How come he sought to hijack the Third Force for himself? How come his uniform supporters crashed the CKC Closing Function last November? How come he has refused to educate the voting public about his background – education, qualifications, problems solved, experience relevant to the position of president?

If he has integrity as per Mr. Moinina, how come he is a party hopper: SLPP, APC, SLPP, NUP, SLPP, PMDC? People of integrity are not fickle minded; they are resolute! How come he took his father, Sir Albert, to court? And what is the true story behind the trust funds allegedly bequeathed by his father for his children? This may help buttress his claim of integrity.

6. MOININA. His [Margai] ¡§Arrogance¡¨ ¡V The above can be similarly ascribed to Ernest Koroma, but this is where they differ. Charles is a no non-sense person and does not compromise his principles. Therefore he is coined as ¡§arrogant¡¨. Majority of our politicians past and present are in politics first and foremost and possibly the only reason is for their personal benefits which lead to corrupt practices with such low salaries. Charles has refused to get along with these thieves in their corrupt practices. We have heard of people like Bash Taqi and Wilshire Johnson who were outspoken critics of governments. When given power they conveniently joined the band of thieves. Charles is an exception and so he is ¡§arrogant¡¨.

REBUTTAL: Two wrongs do not make a right. Merely because Mr. Ernest Koroma is deemed arrogant by Mr. Moinina does not and cannot justify Mr. Margai’s alleged arrogance. In fact, Mr. Moinina does not seem to understand the source of the claim that Mr. Margai is arrogant. It is not because he refused to join thieves. It is because he acts as if he is God’s gift to Sierra Leone and must automatically lead, pah-o-pah; hence party- hopping, Third Force-hijacking, CKC and arrogantly and repeatedly seeking to recruit me to serve under his rubbish lightweight leadership.

In fact, I understand he alone made all the essential decision for PMDC – from writing the party’s constitution, selecting the party’s name, party colors, party’s banga symbol, etc. to filing for registration paper, etc.! Such unmitigated arrogance!

PS: Ibrahim Bash Taqui never joined the hand of thieves as claimed by Mr. Moinina. Mr. Taqui gave his life in the service of the truth. He was executed with Dr. Mohamed Funna because he refused to “set yie” or “set mut”. I don’t know which Bash Taqi Mr. Moinina is talking about.

6(a) MOININA: For some of these reasons, Charles is loved by the youths and not because of his Margai name. Of course, you will have people who may support him just because of his name, but these are in the minority. People may support a candidate for various reasons. In the 1986 election, one candidate in Bo town was very popular among women because they said he was handsome. He lost the election anyway.

REBUTTAL: Some youths love Mr. Margai because of his yap-yap talk, believing that he is different from our traditional politicians. They yearn for a savior and don’t know any better. Besides, Mr. Margai made himself available for he lived locally and was on the make to advance his insatiable political ambitions since the days of Siaka Stevens.

Other Margai supporters are your everyday tribalists and descendants of Sir Albert’s former office-holding supporters. My opinion of him is that he is of the same culture, the same frame of mind as those who have dragged our country down through violence and into last place. He is also an unreliable political hopper who no one knows where he will be tomorrow.

My personal assessment is that he feels he is born to lead. Period! If he cannot lead, he hops from party to party. But where are his leadership qualifications? What major national problems has he ever solved in his life despite his long years in SLeone politics beginning at least in the One-Party days of Siaka Stevens?

6(b) MOININA: Berewa and his team want to continue Kabbah¡¦s policy of either ¡§set u yie¡¨ or ¡§u sai u tie cow na dae e dae eat¡¨. Charles and Ernest are totally against corruption, ¡§zero tolerance¡¨ in their own words. Ernest, leading the APC has no chance of winning the election.

REBUTTAL: VP Berewa has informed the public in my presence, again and again that he will continue what is good in the Kabbah Administration, avoid what is bad in the Kabbah Administration and will introduce new good programs for SLeone.

6(c) MOININA: I appeal to his supporters to join the PMDC to give a clear mandate to Charles in 2007 election. I equally appeal to SLPP members for their support because, SLPP has brought peace into the country it has failed woefully in combating corruption our number enemy towards the realization of our dreams and goals as a nation. God bless you all.

CONCLUDING REBUTTAL: SLPP did indeed bring peace to SLeone but those who did the mostest to usher in national peace and international respect were quietly marginalized by the outgoing Administration because they would not “set yie” or “set mut” about the wrongdoings they were aware of – and for no just cause.

Instead of party-hopping and political prostitution, genuine SLPPers should remain in the party and strive to clean it from within. Those who were misled into joining other parties ought to RETURN TO THE FOLD AND join me to help VP Berewa and others re-position SLPP into its true role of leading our country to permanent peace, justice, prosperity and solid international respect free from dynastic arrogance, tribalism, primitive backwardness, incompetence and lie-lie propaganda.

Lastly, from Mr. Moinina’s submission, it is clear that PMDC is a one-man party. It Margai this, Margai that. Everything centers around one man as demonstrated by Mr. Moinina. SLPP on the other hand, is a genuine democratic organization.

Sierra Leone Health Pride Achieves Second Annual Conference in Sierra Leone

Monday, June 12th, 2006

sandrajimez 

SANDRA JIMINEZ

By: Betty B. Long, Clinical Nurse Specialist and

Adjunt Professor at Pace and Long Island Universities

 

The Sa Leone Health Pride, consisting of a high powerful team of medical specialists from the prestigious Columbia Presbyterian Hospital in New York City, returned from Sierra Leone on May 26, 2006, from a two week tour after participating in their Second Annual Educational Conference and work-shop. The Sa Leone Health Pride, Inc., is a Non Profit Organization founded by Sierra Leonean born  Nurse Practitioner & Adjunct Professor, Florence M. Dorwie. Apart from teaching in two Universities in New York City, Ms. Dorwie also works at Columbia Presbyterian Hospital where she successfully solicited the help of Physician Specialists, Specialized Nurses and Counselors for this trip. Once this was achieved, she immediately began preparations for the trip to Sierra Leone in September, 2005.

 

OPENING CEREMONY

 

The team left New York on May 12, 2006, and conducted successful conferences and workshops in Freetown and Bo. The opening ceremony was on May 15, 2006 at the Miata conference Hall at the Youyi Building, Brookfields, Freetown. The conference was organized in conjunction with the Ministry of Health and Sanitation, and the Reproductive Health Services in Freetown. Ms. Dowie introduced each member of the team and explained the goals of the organization. Noticeably absent was the Minister of Health and Sanitation, Mrs. Abator Thomas, who had previously consented to deliver the opening remarks; however, a letter of excuse from her was read by Dr. Daoh the Chairman of Reproductive Health Services. Present were: Dr. Peter Silcana of UNFPA, Dr. Yvonne Harding of Marie Stokes Hospital, Dr. Smart, Vice Chairman of RPHS at Cottage Hospital, Dr. Kargbo of SLPMMA, and representatives from UNICEF and WHO. Sixty registered participants and other unregistered participants attended the Freetown conference. The primary goal of the Sa Leone Health Pride, Inc is to assist in reducing infant and maternal mortality rate in Sierra Leone, which is one of the highest in the world and is ranked 177 on the UNDP’s Human Development index scale.

 

 

 

 

WORKSHOPS

 

Several doctors and nurses from local hospitals and clinics attended the workshops. Participants from the Northern Province and the Western Area and the surrounding areas attended the workshop in Freetown. The Bo Workshop attracted a far large audience from the Eastern and Southern provinces, including Bonthe. Participants in Bo appeared more spontaneous, updated and were noticeably knowledgeable in answer to questions. Equipments were freely distributed to Matrons of Government Hospitals and Heads of local clinics.

 

TEAM ACTIVITIES

 

Dr. Laxmi Baxi, Obstetric and a Gynecologist for more than 30 years, also former Chair of Maternal Fetal Medicine at Columbia Presbyterian Medical Center lectured and presented two papers to a group of physicians at Connaught Hospital on Diabetes in pregnancy and other complications in pregnancy. At an earlier conference at Miatta Conference Hall at Yuyu Building, Dr. Baxi lectured on Obstetric Emergencies, Postpartum Hemorrhage, Shoulder Dystocia and Cord Prolapse. Dr. Baxi has published more than 100 articles and papers; she is a trustee of Sa. Leone Health Pride, Inc., and is strongly committed to assist in reducing infant and maternal mortality in the country. Dr. Baxi believes that conferences and workshops such as these are necessary to upgrade the experience of doctors and nurses.

 

Dr. Nancy Jasper is an Obstetric and Gynecologist, an Attending and Assisting Clinical Professor at Columbia University College of Medicine in New York. Dr. Jasper lectured about Sepsis and Management of Labor on a broader comprehensive approach. She is strongly committed to help reduce infant and maternal mortality in Sierra Leone.

 

It is noted that New York Presbyterian Hospital was the only hospital to be named to the 2005 Honor Roll by the US News and World Report. It is the hospital of choice to many dignitaries, ordinary people and world leaders. About two years ago, President Clinton (USA) had a successful major heart surgery performed at this hospital.

 

Other members of the team:

Ms. Dawn Kilts is Dean of School of Nursing, Long Island University, Brooklyn Campus, New York. She is also a Nurse Practitioner. She made strong presentation on Hypertension in Pregnancy and is very strongly committed to the aim of the Sa Leone Health Pride, Inc…

Ms. Betty B. Long, Adjunct Professor at both Long Island and Pace Universities and is a Clinical Nurse Specialist at Columbia Medical Center and Midwife. She expressed in serious terms the dire consequences of poor medical facilities, the high mortality rate and feels obligated to render as much help as she can possibly afford. She lectured on Sickle Cell Anemia in Pregnancy and was the Guest Speaker at the School of Midwifery. This was Ms. Long’s second visit to Sierra Leone. She is Trinidadian and has adopted Sierra Leone as her second home. She is the Vice Chair of Sa Leone Health Pride, Inc.

Mr. Douglas Kilts was a Nurse Practitioner and HIV Counselor at Beth Israel Hospital, New York. He is now retired. His presentations in Freetown and Bo were based on HIV in Pregnancy and enlightened on more recent developments. He is also committed to help address the rising problem of HIV in pregnancies.

 

Ms. Caitlin Kilts is a young and vibrant student pursuing a Masters in Public Health (MPH) degree at the Columbia University School of Public Health. She made compelling presentations in Freetown and Bo on Malaria in Pregnancy. Amazingly, Caitlin has expressed her focus in helping to alleviate some of the medical problems she saw during her premier trip to Sierra Leone.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

FOUNDER

 

Given the chance to be home with a powerful team of medical professionals was indeed an exciting feeling for Ms. Florence M. Dorwie, who is the Founder and Director of Sa Leone Health Pride, Inc. During the conference in Freetown Ms. Dowie lectured on preterm labor. At the School of Midwifery, Ms. Dowie demonstrated on a tool on how to perform speculum exams and cervical assessment. Ms. Dorwie is Adjunct Professor at both Long Island University and Pace University in New York City. She is also a Nurse Practitioner in Labor and Delivery Triage at Columbia Presbyterian Medical Center and, she is also a Sexual Assault Examiner in the City of New York. Despite her very busy schedule, Ms. Dorwie has an exceptional desire and compulsion to help her beloved country, Sierra Leone. Her aim is to assist to reduce the high infant and maternal mortality in the country. “I have committed myself to my people and country, and a large percent of my earnings is spent on Sierra Leone” she said recently. Florence explained that “a woman is more likely to die giving birth in Sierra Leone than in any other country in the world, mainly due to a shortage of medical staff and medical equipments, poor training, and compounded in some cases by greed and selfishness by some practitioners. The consequences are alarmingly endemetic, damaging and potentially disastrous; that the staff is not properly equipped to deal with complications that occur during labor, delivery and postpartum.” One way of helping is through education, she said, “the each one teach one model” and by providing the most essential health care materials.  According to Ms. Dorwie, several of the doctors she spoke to do not own a computer, those who do, do not have ongoing electricity to access mail and obtain information on line; as a result, they are separated from this ocean of knowledge, the research and processing of data that the computer readily provides.

 

 

 

WHY FLORENCE WAS TEARFUL

 

The team visited and interviewed patients, staff and ancillary workers at Caunought Hospital, Cottage Hospital and Marie Stokes Hospital, all in Freetown. At one hospital, four patients with full term gestations who had reportedly started laboring at home with either a nurse or a traditional birth attendant, and encountered problems were transferred at last minute to a hospital only to have Caesarean Sections performed; but it was too late, all ended with stillbirths.   Three of these patients developed sepses and one an ileuses, all complications of prolonged labor and Caesarean Section. All were at risk. One of them was a 15 year old girl from a suburban region of Freetown was reportedly in labor for two days. She was fully dilated but could not deliver. She was transferred to a hospital in Freetown where a Caesarean Section was performed. She apparently lost her first child. At the same hospital, a woman was transferred from the provinces to Freetown with obstructed labor. She had a fistula-an opening between the vagina and rectum caused by prolonged and obstructed labor. She had pungent odor similar to that of a decomposed flesh. The team was informed that she had no family member or resource to purchase the urgently needed antibiotics to treat her sepses. Death seemed imminent. The attending physician confirmed her problems and inability to purchase antibiotics. At this point, it was too much for Florence to hold, and she cried. The team immediately volunteered to provide the drugs to treat the patients, and requested a guarantee from the physician that the medications will not be withheld or sold to the identified patients, a common practice we are told demonstrated by some physicians, nurses and matrons in the country. But the Physician turned to the team with a smile and said he could not guarantee any thing; however, he later promised to dispense a 24 hour dose to the identified patients and to provide us with their prognosis. Florence immediately left the group and went home to get the required medications for the patients: Cipro and Amoxicillin which she handed to the physician. Six days later, on the eve of the group’s departure to New York, they visited the patients at the hospital and were elated to note that all the patients described were alive and progressing well. One of them was sitting up smiling and eating; the 15 year old was strong and active and was due to be discharged soon. Another patient had significantly improved in health but was still receiving antibiotics for slight infection. We were all happy. Our effort paid off. We saved lives. We believe that if health care providers could transfer high risk patients to tertiary care center on time, medications are available, proper training administered, proper structure, attitude and supervision implemented, a passionate approach to life is maintained, funds are available then more lives would be saved. We noticed that during our rounds simple things like thermometers were not available to take temperature. This does not auger well. No doubt, if these areas are corrected, far more lives would be saved.

 

SCHOLARSHIP AND FREE SURGICAL PROCEDURES PROMISED

 

We visited the Medical School, a subsidiary of Fourah Bay College,  and spoke with the Vice Chancellor Dr. Aiah Gbakima, and the director/chair of the Medical School to discuss about an exchange program involving Doctors and Nurses. Ms. Dawn Kilts, the Dean of Long Island University School of Nursing in New York, discussed a plan to provide scholarship to young, talented and interested Sierra Leonean doctors and nurses to attend identified institutions in the US, but with stipulation that they be bonded by the Sierra Leone government to return to Sierra Leone and provide a minimum of 2 to 3 years service as payback for their training. In retrospect, Interns/Resident doctors and Nursing students from the US would have access to go to Sierra Leone to do electives which may help to ease scarcity of caregivers in Sierra Leone.

 

Dr. Baxi and her husband who is a cosmetic surgeon have expressed interest to visit Sierra Leone and provide free services to at-risk patients with Cleft Lip, and Palate.

 

Dr. Jasper has also expressed a desire to go to Sierra Leone with a team including anesthesiologists to repair fistulas sustained during obstructive labor or gynaecological problems.

 

DONATIONS

 

Please note that Stethoscopes, Fetal Scopes, Laceration and Circumcision Trays were donated by Ms. Susan Sheppard, a Representative from Kendall Health Care.

Sa Leone Health Pride gave out one hundred Blood Glucose Monitors donated by Ryan Walker of Bayer Healthcare.

 

Sa Leone Health Pride purchased the Strips for the Blood Glucose Monitors and bought medications: Cipro, Bactim, Amoxicillin Flucanizole, Tylenol, Cytotec and Methagine.

Sierra Leone Health Pride, Inc also donated Educational Materials (Videos, CDs, Books, Pens and Manuals) to doctors and nurses, and Thermometers, Gloves, Pregnancy wheels, Disposable Panties for patients with Post Partum Hemorrhage.

 

 

 

 

 

SPECIAL THANKS

 

Our team stayed at the elegant Kimbima Hotel. We extend a special thanks to owner Mr.: Sam King, who was wonderful and professional. Mr. Ernest Ndomahina for his generosity and other staff members at Kimbima for the appropriate and wonderful treatment the team received.

 

Thanks to Mrs. Mamie Caulker for her time and valuable work in coordinating the workshops, and as Liaison between the Ministry of Health, the Reproductive Health Services and with the Founder of Sa Leone Health Pride, Inc.

 

Thanks also to Bayer and Kendal Health Care for donating materials and equipments.

Thanks to Dr. Yvonne Harding for providing her vehicle to pick the team us up from the Heliport to the hotel and to Miata Conference Center.

 

A special thanks to Mr. Rashid Sesay for providing his lap top and projector for our PowerPoint presentations.

 

The Sa Leone Health Pride gives thanks to all the patients and staff at Connaught, Cottage and Marie Stokes Hospitals for sharing their stories with us. We also thank all those who rendered their time to help us work collectively as a team and to assist the team in their effort to reduce infant and maternal mortality in Sierra Leone. So many people helped but all the names can not be listed herewith, so we thank you all very much.

 

TEAM

 

The members of the team were each responsible for their travel and other expenses from the United States to Sierra Leone and back. Our sincere thanks and appreciation to all of them, donors and other professionals for their immense support, dedication, humanity and selflessness. .

JOHN ERNEST LEIGH ‘S SEPARATE REBUTTAL OF MESSRS . MOHAMED SHERIFF AND KARAMOH KABBAH

Friday, June 9th, 2006

 JOHNLEIGHOLD

 

JOHN ERNEST LEIGH ‘S SEPARATE  REBUTTAL OF MESSRS . MOHAMED SHERIFF AND KARAMOH KABBAH


IBRAHIM SHERIFF’S UNTRUE ALLEGATIONS AND FALSE LOGIC

By Hon. John Ernest Leigh

Friday June 9, 2006

The piece under the names IBRAHIM SESAY and IBRAHIM SHERIFF and titled: Ibrahim Sesay Chides John Leigh and President Kabbah and posted in Cocorioko a couple of days ago, is full of allegations lacking any factual or logical foundation.

The only correct statement Mr. Sheriff made about me is his claim that at the time of the RUF/AFRC junta, I was SL ambassador in Washington. As I read his poorly written piece, I see ?REMEDIAL’ written all over Mr. Sheriff’s face. I hope I am wrong.

First, I never claimed at any time, any where and by any means that “the Federal government of the United States had dispatched four U.S. Marine ships to flush the RUF/AFRC rebels out of Freetown.”

Your claim is pure lie-lie, invented by an individual who appears to me from his writing as someone that is not sophisticated even though he has lived in the West for years. Mr. Sheriff ought to try and get his facts and timelines right before unjustly attacking others.

SS KEOSERG WAS FOR AMERICANS

Second, the S.S. Keoserg arrived in Freetown on or about early June 1997 – and not after the 1999 January invasion. This American vessel arrived in Freetown in response to RUF/AFRC persistent and wanton atrocities and hooliganism and, apparently, only after the British, Nigerian, Ghanaian and US Ambassadors/High Commissioners (all friends of Sierra Leonean democracy) had concluded that the AFRC coup was not the usual military coup but a criminalized junta violently molesting ordinary civilians and hell bent to keep power for criminal purposes no matter what.

Sierra Leoneans as well as our resident international visitors including Americans were all victims. I had no prior information that any American vessel was heading to Sierra Leone except when I heard media reports at the time when the S.S. Keoserg was already in Sierra Leone waters to evacuate Americans.

WE DEMONSTRATED AT STATE DEPARTMENT

After I received this news, the embassy quickly linked up with a Sierra Leonean-led movement to restore democracy in SL, Amnesty International and others to stage a demonstration across the street in front of the US State Department, condemning the violence (looting, raping, beatings, killings, maiming, arson, thieving, illegal burying of killed victims, brutal arrests and illegal detentions, etc.), and the attitude (pa-O-pa we will take and keep power by force) of the RUF/AFRC junta. We used the occasion to ask for American help to rescue our people from this RUF/AFRC’s horrible bondage.

There were half a dozen speakers, including myself, that participated in the demo in front of State.

After the demo, I followed up on a prior arrangement to officially present our request for liberation to the State Department. My request for immediate help was refused. Following that meeting with US authorities, I held a press conference – this time directly at the State Department entrance that was again carried by the same media. I repeated both my request to include vulnerable Sierra Leoneans in the Keoserg evacuations and the eviction of the coupligans. I then returned to the office. The whole affair was a huge success.

DEMO COVERED BY INTERNATIONAL MEDIA

CNN, VOA, BBC, South African Radio and Radio France, etc. carried the demo at State live around the world. Mr. Sheriff should ask VOA for the tape he relied on for his bogus accusation. He will definitely get a copy for a small fee.

Also, a PMDC high official who tried to recruit me years ago but to no avail, Mr. Bami Thompson, once informed me proudly that he has all my TV/radio tapes. Ask him to help you with your research. You will be disappointed with the result if you are looking for dirt.

DEMO BENEFITED SIERRA LEONEANS

Contrary to your claim, my TV/radio appearances brought dignity and respect to Sierra Leone and put the fear of the Lord in Ghadaffi, Campoare and Charles Taylor. This helped drive the rebels and coupligans to Lome.

A few good came out of that meeting at State. I concluded from all available indications arising out of that meeting that the US will support genuine democracy in SL and that if the exile government retains popular support at home, it will continue to retain diplomatic recognition of our elected government. The demo also set in motion coalition building in the US to help free our people from the RUF/AFRC bondage.

Lastly, CNN carried the news and photos of the demo and press conference worldwide.

DEMO MOTIVATED SANI ABACHA TO HELP EVICT COUPLIGANS

A few minutes upon returning to the embassy that day, I received an international telephone call from Abuja, Nigeria. On the other end of the line was Alhaji (Dr.) Hassan Adamu, then Nigerian Ambassador to the US who was home on consultations and with whom a genuine friendship had quickly developed because of my prior association with Nigeria as well as my easy style in dealing with people.

Ambassador Adamu said he had a message for me from General Sani Abacha, the then Nigerian Military Head of State.

The Nigerian Ambassador said that the entire Nigerian Cabinet had interrupted their meeting to view the CNN report about our demo and my press conference at the State Department and that they all saw me speaking fire. We laughed.

EARLY EDUCATED SIERRA LEONEANS IMPRESSED NIGERIANS

Dr. Adamu then said something most poignant about SL and Nigeria, namely, that Gen. Abacha wants me to know that all decent Sierra Leoneans should be rest assured that Nigeria will not sit idle by and see decent folks butchered by violent thugs; that Nigeria owes Sierra Leone a deep debt of gratitude for helping to open up their country to British influence and for educating several earlier generations of Nigerians at Fourah Bay College.

{Like I have preached in this Forum: Good education of our entire population is the key to our salvation. We need well educated leaders who respect their teachers if we are to pull off such a thing. Leadership grounded on flunkies, remedials, drops outs, etc. are a big danger to a struggling society that must strive for success.}

SANKOH SOON HELD INCOMMUNICADO. SHERIFF IS IN ERROR

At this point I thanked him very much and informed him that the rebel leaders, Mr. Foday Sankoh, who had been arrested months ago for arms trafficking in Lagos international airport and detained in Abuja, had just had a message broadcasted over SLBS-TV/Radio backing the coup and authorizing his RUF lieutenants to join Johnny Paul’s brutal junta. I said this Sankoh’s message had terrified the population. Not only that, but that Mr. Sankoh was in constant telephone contact with his co-rebels and Johnny Paul’s people.

Ambassador Adamu expressed great credulity at this bombshell news.

I then asked the ambassador to have his government confiscate Sankoh’s communications gear and hold him incommunicado until the coup is reversed. He promised me there and then that Sierra Leoneans will not hear a word from Sankoh again until further notice. And true to this pledge, not a word was ever heard from Sankoh until the preliminaries to Lome had been agreed to and when he was freed to take part in peace negotiations in Lome.

Therefore, Mr. Sheriff, during my entire tenure in Washington I did nothing to worsen the plight of Sierra Leoneans any where, any time. If any thing, my work helped to cleanse our country of the coupligans and terminate your sufferings.

Your ungratefulness is common within a certain flunky political grouping.

KABBAH’S EVACUATIONS WERE APPROPRIATE

You complained that President Kabbah fled to safety in Guinea and left people like you after the January 1999 overrun of Freetown by a combined force of RUF/AFRC.

What did you think he should have done then? Stayed behind like you?

First, several of your allegations are wrong. President Kabbah did not flee to Guinea in January 1998 or 1999. He escaped to Lungi in January 1999 to free you and bring peace. He escaped to Guinea in late May 1997. The RUF invaded Freetown in January 1999, not 1998. The RUF was invited by Johnny Paul shortly after his May 25, 1997 violent coup to join his brutes to govern and bring “peace” to our country. The AFRC idea of peace is to rape and kill people and put fellow RUF rapists and killers to help keep their victims in bondage.

For your information, escaping to a safe haven, if at all possible, is the most sensible decision a besieged leader must take. By escaping, our besieged president placed himself in a superior position to work to free you eventually from the RUF/AFRC bondage and put permanent peace in place. Today we enjoy genuine peace nationwide. This peace was earned under the leadership of the SLPP President of Sierra Leone and if he had stayed behind under notions of false heroism, you might still be in punishing bondage.

As for leaving you and others behind, you cannot compare your anonymous status with that of your country’s president. You are NOT in the same league. And power-hungry brutes are guaranteed to deal with him far differently than they would deal with a non-sophisticated, partially educated someone like yourself.

President Kabbah was a prominent target for killing by the coupligans. You were not even known to them. In fact, none of them knew you from Lucifer or Angel Gabriel. If the President had foolishly stayed behind as you immaturely seems to argue like a dunce remedial graduate, he would have most certainly be tortured and killed by RUF/AFRC brutes. Under those circumstances, restoring legitimate democracy to Sierra Leone would have been exceedingly far more complicated than actually happened, if at all.

Simply put, had Mr. Kabbah not escaped, you and the rest of our people would have suffered much more, much longer. UNDERSTAND?

SHERIFF YOU ARE PART OF THE CROOKED PROBLEM

You said you attended a meeting in New York where Berewa spoke in 2003 and Ambassadors present. I cannot speak for him as I wasn’t there. But you claimed you were then the SLPP Young Generation Leader. If so, you must have belonged to the rubbish Nallo faction that conducted a fake Makeni-style convention in Philadelphia years earlier to secure influence within the party in Sierra Leone. When I sought to explain at the 2002 SLPP Convention in Bo that Mr. Nallo was not the genuine leader of SLPP North America, some people yelled at me in bad faith and said other nasty things. But I never retreated.

{One of the few people who rescued me that day, is the fellow who first persuaded me {after Makeni to take an objective look at the Berewa program.}

Nallo went on to become a proud SLPP Member of Parliament. What good has he done since for his people in Sumbuya? What good has he done for the SLPP? What good has he done for Sierra Leone?

Do you think VP Berewa wants his endorsement? No. Do you think PMDC wants his endorsement? I doubt. Do you think the people of Sumbuya ever want to see him as their parliamentarian? I doubt it. Those do-nothing MPs are the ones that damaged the good name of SLPP that I had help to forge during President Kabbah’s first term.

So, Mr. Sheriff please do not complain about selfish, manipulative, deceitful, do-nothing representatives of the people. You are one of them. Now that my message of reform has resonated through several party echelons, party members are questioning the likes of Nallo and yourself.

ONE-MAN’S DICTATORSHIP

People like you have no clue as to how to hardness development funding from our abundant natural resources for genuine national development because people like you collaborate with and help the Nallos of SLPP. After serving the Kalo Kalo Philadelphia group as Young Generation Leader, you have no right to now complain about poor leadership in your country because people like you aided and abetted their climb to power over the heads of your own very suffering people who are in a mood to throw out all those rascals SLPP MPs. Henceforth, SLPP candidates for Parliament will be selected by the grassroots.

I hear your Leader has promised to give his party’s partly falamakata banga symbol to over 1,000 supporters already, many in North America. Clearly, your falamakata party is a case of one dictator making all the decisions himself alone.

CONCLUSION

Former SLPP members like yourself who have disappointed your own very people are the very ones fleeing to PMDC to pursue flunky tribal agendas. I am thoroughly familiar with the primitive tribal mentality of your type. PMDC is most certainly the child of PNP (Pikin Nah Pikin).

I may reply to your follow up rebuttal provided it makes sense. If, however, it is another factually inaccurate piece that relies on flunky, dunce and remedial argumentation, please take this as my final goodbye to your remedial politics. *JL*

 

COCORIOKO WISHES TO APOLOGISE TO MR. MOHAMED SHERIFF FOR OUR INADVERTENT MISTAKE WITH HIS SURNAME ON THE INTRODUCTION OF HIS ARTICLE AGAINST MR. JOHN LEIGH. FATIGUE CAN DO A LOT OF THINGS AND THIS WAS A TYPICAL EXAMPLE.

REBUTTAL TO MR. KARAMOH KABA’S HALLUCINATIONS Re BEREWA

By John E. Leigh

I have said that if people feel I am too hard on certain political flunkies and remedials, it is because of the things they actually say or do to me, and not because I do not respect their right to establish their own political party, or rely on non-influential noisemakers like sansan boys and others; or elect whomsoever they want as their party’s officers.

Take the blunder now committed by one Karamoh Kabba in this newspaper and the Simple Simeon conclusions he reached that makes no sense at all.

KABBA IS CONFUSED

Mr. Kabba says that I have no moral authority to say certain thing supportive of Mr. Berewa’s candidacy because, as he falsely claimed, I once criticized Berewa to Kabba in the spring of 2001 at the embassy regarding a diamond deal I claimed was criminally corrupt. This claim is not true and the reasoning he relied is foolish.  He must be hallucinating!

First, Mr. Berewa did not become Vice President until after the May 2002 presidential election. Therefore, my learned friend does no know what he is talking about in the spring of 2001.  Then Dr. Joe Demby, not Berewa, was our vice president.

Further, whatever views I held about the policies of the Administration I have published openly for all to see beginning in 2004. Never once did I say something in private on a matter I viewed of public importance that I did not say or write about in public when I had the opportunity. And I did not publicly criticize the government until after I had left office.

My real intention at all times is to promote good governance. I hold no malice to anyone whatsoever. Nor was I ever interested in splitting my party as some oppositionists badly wanted and possibly relied on for no sensible reason.  Party unity, especially at election time, is sacrosanct to someone like me who believes that bad as things are, our party is moving towards genuine democracy and away from tribalism.  Why should I help split my party and allow the opposition pre-war poverty spreaders to waltz into power again?

OIL, NOT DIAMONDS, WAS THE ISSUE IN 2001

Second, the hot issue during the spring of 2001 was Oil, not Diamonds. In April 2001, I had written a critique of an agreement entered into the month before by our government with an American company to test for oil and manage our coastal shores. This agreement was negotiated without the Washington DC Embassy’s knowledge and came to our notice only from an internet news report.

I wrote my critique – and carefully reviewed it with my senior staff – to genuinely advise our government as to how the deal would be perceived by leaders of those governments and legislatures that the embassy had succeeded in persuading to stand firmly behind our then overthrown elected government, not only to try to catch Johnny Paul and his brutal crew but also to help us with diplomatic, humanitarian and economic development aid.

The letter was addressed to Mr. President and copied to the two officials involved in the negotiations. A fourth copy was addressed to the then Foreign Minister. The letter was delivered to the addressees by hand on or about April 22.

I was told later by the messenger that the president read my memo right away and was most displeased and very angry – for what I do not know. My memo was published on or about June 6 in the local press to much public criticisms of our government and I was stopped at Lungi Airport from boarding my flight that day. Clearly, oil, not diamonds, was what was important in the spring of 2001.

I WAS NOT KNOWLEGDEABLE ABOUT THE DIAMOND DEAL

Third, I remember once on or about 2004 of been asked by Editor Mr. Sahr Yamba Musa of The Concord Times to comment on the Koidu Holdings Kimberlite agreement. Since I did not know enough about the deal, I respectfully declined and told him so. Later on during my very brief campaign for SLPP Leader when I was more knowledgeable about this issue, I took a position contrary to that of the government but not personally against Mr. Berewa.

Fourth, I believe that my quiet recall as ambassador was on account of that oil memo and not the fictitious diamond conversation Kabba has invented about a man who was not yet Vice President in the spring of 2001.  Mr. Kabba seems to me as a most reckless liar inventing trash, probably because he is upset with the result of my research about a Form Four Flunky Drop Out who wants to be president in a land where education has to be the essential instrument for liberating the masses of san-san boys from profound poverty.

NO RESPECT FOR SCHOOL TEACHERS

We clearly need national leaders respectful of our suffering teachers. We need national leaders that would inspire pupils to take their schooling seriously. We need a well educated population that is respected worldwide.  And we need a president intellectually equipped to address our seemingly intractable economic and social problems.  This particularly high school flunky presidential candidate cannot be expected to be up to such demanding tasks.

I sincerely believe that a high school drop out who becomes president would send the wrong message to the world, to our teachers and our pupils that we can disrespect teachers fiti fata, flunk out, drop out with no school certificate and then use family’s political clout to gain the upper hand.  Such an individual is unlikely to be intellectually equipped to fight successfully for us in this highly competitive world.

DISAGREEMENTS SHOULD NOT MEAN EVERLASTING ENMITY

Mr. Kabba’s illogical conclusion that because I criticized the administration, I have no moral authority to endorse my party’s candidate for president is not surprising. Mr. Kabba is out of his league if he thinks he can sit in judgment of who does or does not have moral authority to participate in one’s party affairs. Let the party’s membership and the public decide, not the likes of party hacks as Mr. Kabba.  Where did he get his authority to make pronouncement on moral issues?  Offensive arrogance has now permeated through the PMDC ranks.

I have already explained my reasons for supporting the SLPP and Mr. Berewa and I need not repeat them here. Suffice it to say that:

(i) Intelligent people will not find it a problem to accept the fact that merely because one criticizes another does not automatically mean the critic cannot ever endorse the criticized.

Only childish types would conclude that once a critic always an everlasting opponent.

Since my criticisms are always based on facts and logic; are wholly lacking in malice; and because my views have resonated within party echelons; it was not difficult at all for me, after carefully touring the whole country several times after Makeni, to endorse Mr. Berewa, especially when party heartlanders would rather swallow the bitter pill of Makeni than allow the opposition to waltz into power via a party split.

Did not Senator John McCain criticize President Bush? Did not Gov. Howard Dean criticize Senator John Kerry? Did anyone of those party opponents rush to form his own new party or interrupt their former high schools’ graduation ceremonies with loud, threatening thugs dressed for the occasion in bright falamakata party colors and engaged in boisterous yells? Did he ever graduate from his alma mater? Such arrogant immaturity!

(ii) Merely because one advocates views critical of his party’s government does not mean that he or she must resign from his usual party and join another, especially one where immaturity, flunkies and remedials flourish.

And

(iii) Merely because a disappointed group of disgruntled opportunists and political harlots believe that an effective government critic logically belongs to their group does not mean that the said critic has any interest in associating with, let alone belonging to, any such group; Nor may he be interested in abandoning those who helped him in his first serious bid for his party’s leadership, howbeit unsuccessfully.

A FORM FOUR FLUNKY WITH NO SOLID EDUCATION CAN’T LEAD ME

Kabba and his crew must accept the simple truth that they misplaced too much hope on my joining them and/or supporting then, even in light of the available contrary evidence. For far too long – a few days after Makeni – I had long announced that I am not leaving my party.  Also, I never rushed to support Berewa. Only after I became comfortable in working with him and only after repeated consultations with voters did I endorse him.

I have also told numerous PMDC recruiters over several months that I am not interested in becoming a member of their party.  But they keep on bombarding me with unwanted invitations.  Do you think I have any interest in wasting my time with a Form Four High School flunky who spent two years in Form Four but who did not complete high school; an arrogant man who has no school certificate, no “O” Level certificate, no “A” Level Certificate, no English Bar, no college – just lowly Irish Bar and yet wants to lead?

Now that I have released my statement endorsing my choice for president, PMDCers are in a quandary and in terrible disarray because of my decision to endorse Mr. Berewa and remain in SLPP.   Again, my preference is to seek reforms from within my party rather than behave like our usual political harlots, jumping from one party to the other simply for pecuniary benefits but with no long term commitments.

I confirm that out of the three presidential rivals, Mr. Berewa is my first choice. Guess who is my last choice?

Again, I have no interest in associating with Mr. Karamoh Kabba’s PMDC flunky, lie-lie, drop out remedial group. Thank you very much. -JL

 

HOW CORRUPT IS SOLOMOM BEREWA ?

Friday, June 9th, 2006

 

Friday  June 9, 2006

First_Name:  MOHAMED
Last_Name:  SESAY
Email_Address:  medbatu@yahoo.com
Address:  112 N.Broad  street
City:  Philadelphia
State:  Pennsylvania
Zip_Code:  19102
Comments:  HOW CORRUPT IS SOLOMON BEREWA?

By Mohamed Sesay

“He however conceded that government vehicles and drivers paid by the government are used. Petrol is also bought with money from government coffers” (Patriotic Vanguard).

These are the exact words of the former Sierra Leonean Ambassador to the United States John Leigh on the campaign trail with Solomon Berewa. Leigh was conceding to the facts we have always been stating. The corruption and desperation of the present SLPP government could not be overemphasized. As Leigh rightly states here, Solomon Berewa is using monies from the coffers of the government of Sierra Leone to further his Presidential goals. Indeed, even the Americans will agree with me that corruption remains the most potent setback to development programs in Sierra Leone as evident in this statement posted in the State Department’s website, “Corruption and incompetence remain serious problems at all levels within the government of Sierra Leone”.

Those SLPP stalwarts blind to the truth will continue to argue with foolhardiness in disputing these cogent facts about the excesses and aberrations of the current government. From John Leigh’s statement, it is abundantly clear that the resources of Sierra Leone, provided mainly through donor funds and loans are effectively and abusively used to promote the political agenda of the ruling SLPP government in fighting political opponents to ensure that Berewa wins the elections in 2007. These are the same funds that the international community allocates to Sierra Leone as grants but mostly loans, repayable with high interests. This is how people like Berewa continue to pile the debts of Sierra Leone just to satisfy the greed for power.

NACSA is funded by donors for the overall socio-economic and infrastructural development of post war Sierra Leone, but in present day Sierra Leone, when the director of NACSA sneezes, the rest of the government catches cold. The Director is reportedly the wealthiest government agent in the country and his prominence is such that many political stalwarts in the Kabbah led government believe that he is an enigma-the force that is standing in the way of the president’s choice Momodu Koroma in the race for Berewa’s running mate. Owing to the unfettered access to NACSA funds, as reflected in his pseudo-micro credit projects in the North lately, the NACSA boss is indispensable to Berewa’s campaign since funding for developmental projects continue to be diverted towards the campaign effort as evident in John Leigh’s statement.

Just recently, the minister of information, Prof. Septimus Kaikai was lashing out at the recent report by the NMJD that seriously implicated the office of the vice president Berewa as a biased report. His argument was based on the fact that the government was able to accomplish 24% of the expected goals of the HIPC projects through the contractors, but fell short of implementing the 76%. Well, the truth is hard to tell and to defend a corrupt servant like Berewa is difficult as the figures speak for themselves. The fact of the matter is that the award of the HIPC contracts as substantiated by the NMJD report was based on partisan considerations and cronyism- a flawed method. The failure started from the day the contracts were awarded under the auspices of Solomon Berewa the SLPP flagbearer.Shouldn’t Berewa be also investigated in the first place for corruption?

Ibrahim Sesay chides John Leigh and President Kabbah

Wednesday, June 7th, 2006

JOHNLEIGH 2

Mr. John Ernest Leigh 

 

Wrdnesday June 7, 2006

First_Name:  Ibrahim
Last_Name:  Sheriff
Email_Address:  blamaseifu@yahoo.com
City:  Darby
State:  USA
Comments:  THE LIES JOHN LEIGH AND BEREWA TOLD ME
My motherland, Sierra Leone appears to have been singled out in the brutal faces of deceit, greed, selfishness, manipulation and intimidation. The land of my birth is so very far away from the dreams of its citizens. A small West African nation of about 4.7 million people (twice the population of the U.S. city of Philadelphia where I currently live) that is endowed with natural wealth and smart people, but continues to rank as one of the poorest countries in the world. A country that has all the resources and manpower to feed itself; provide energy for itself; afford quality education and healthcare system; construct good road networks and other infrastructure remains incomprehensively incapable of addressing all of these things that will hold that West African nation tight together. What a nightmare.

In my convinced opinion, our beloved country has been plagued by our social acceptance of the status quo. The elite politicians who the grass root or average Sierra Leoneans consider as their representatives are the same people who manipulate them to their disadvantages. In other words, it is deeply embedded in a typical Sierra Leonean perception that the politicians in parliament and State House are unchallengeable because they are the powerful. In return, the so-called elite politicians use this psychological misunderstanding about their duties and responsibilities to cling onto power at all cost. In doing so, they use lies and deceits without remorse and shame. These are the best tools for both John Leigh and his boss Berewa. I will tell you why.

When the civil war reached its highest peak in the late 90s – with all outlets from Freetown and the provinces closed, the RUF rebels became barbaric and inhuman. It was a time when Sierra Leone needed help so ?badly’. When the RUF/AFRC invaded Freetown in January, 1998 and inflicted violent and ruthless brutality on the people of that city, the Commander-in-Chief (President Tejan Kabbah) flew out of the country to Guinea and left the ordinary Sierra Leoneans to grapple with the choice between death and the hacking off of their limbs. John Leigh who was the then Sierra Leonean Ambassador to the United States went on the Voice of America radio service and made a very convincing announcement that the Federal government of the United States had dispatched four U.S. Marine ships to flush the RUF/AFRC rebels out of Freetown. While his announcement was convincing to the ordinary Sierra Leoneans, it fueled more anger into the RUF/AFRC rebels who upgraded their levels of torture and murder. Contrary to John Leigh’s announcement that the ships were to arrive in Freetown in two days, the U.S. Marine ships that arrived in Freetown two weeks later were there only to evacuate U.S. citizens from that barbaric civil conflict. As the BBC and VOA were the two major information sources for all Sierra Leoneans, people kept themselves close to their radios – but to no avail. John Leigh must understand that the average Sierra Leonean knows him as a seasoned liar and will hardly have confidence in him. He has classified Berewa as the most qualified candidate for the Sierra Leonean presidency in 2007. Oh yes, we know John Leigh as a man of that kind. What qualifies a man like Berewa for the presidency when he is part of a failed system? What innovations will this man bring to the table? What dynamism makes him into that qualified man that the people of Sierra Leone need at this nick of time? Unfortunately, our people are not fully aware that Berewa himself is a seasoned and pathological liar. Let me tell you why.

In 2003, as the then president of the SLPP Young Generation in the North America region, I was among a delegation from Philadelphia that met with Solomon Berewa in the United Nations Sierra Leone office in New York. He referred to that meeting as a family meeting among SLPP members. All Sierra Leonean diplomats including Ambassadors from Europe, Asia and Africa were present. Of course, the Foreign Affairs Minister Mr. Momodu Koroma was also there. Berewa addressed that Sierra Leonean crowd for over an hour. He lied with impunity over major development programs in Sierra Leone. Berewa told all of us at that meeting that the Bunbuna Hydro-electric plant was to be completed by December, 2004. It is left to all Sierra Leoneans to tell whether he told the truth. When asked about Hinga Norman, Berewa clandestinely removed himself and Kabbah from the implications of the Special court and squarely blamed it on Hinga Norman. Berewa told us that prior to the arrival of the officials of the special court, he and Kabbah insistently asked whether Hinga Norman was comfortable with the arrival of the court. They also asked him about whether nobody had ever called and questioned him about his involvement in the Civil Defense Force (CDF). What a terrible lie and plot against an innocent and patriotic Sierra Leonean. What did Berewa and Kabbah knew so much about the intents of the Special court that made them restless? Were they eager to have this noble man in custody and make him inactive in the Sierra Leonean politics? Indeed, the truth will come out one day. While the meeting proceeded, I asked Berewa about what the SLPP has done for the youths of that party since the party’s rise to political power in 1996. I was honestly eager to understand what road map does the SLPP has for the Sierra Leonean youths who laid down their lives for the sake of democracy that got Berewa into power. In response to my question, Berewa who was very enraged at me rose to his feet with anger and proudly said that the SLPP government and party is not going to groom any youths because every Sierra Leonean is to prepare his/her own way to a political office. He said that he has no guarantee that if they groom the SLPP youths, they might not end up in other political parties. Perhaps, I will take this as the only truth Berewa has ever told because it is absolutely true that the SLPP cares for no san san boys, Honda riders and car washers. Were these the qualifications that John Leigh was talking about? What is painful here is that the average Sierra Leonean electorates are not aware of the kind of people that asked them for their votes. These people are liars who have no vision for the future of a country that has so much to rely on. For goodness sake, how can Sierra Leoneans give up Sierra Leone for another 5 or 10 years of misrule, lies and deceits? Sierra Leone must wake up. John Leigh has got nowhere to go. He has lost direction and now rumbles around with lies. Berewa has not been chosen by God to be president of Sierra Leone. If I am him, I will give it up.

The John Leigh phenomenon and the search for honest men in Sierra Leone

Tuesday, June 6th, 2006

  JOHNLEIGH 2

JOHN ERNEST LEIGH

By Wilfred Leeroy Kabs-Kanu     June 6, 2006

(Culled from Leonenet-TAMU)

A long time ago, a philosopher went through the streets of Athens with a lamp looking for one honest man. He searched  houses,  attics, basements , closets and under beds but he found not a single honest man.

 If one were to do the same today in Sierra Leone, he would find not a single honest man. All he would find are rascals and rogues —  a disgrace to Sierra Leone, a country founded on Christian principles.

 Liberia, my second country,  is no better. One day, Samuel K.Doe was pressurized by his Military/Police government  to sign the death warrants for five  Police Officers who had been found guilty of corruption by the Supreme Military Tribunal .They had violated a PRC Decree that called for death by firing squad for its violators. Doe searched and searched for an escape route. He found none. Then an idea occured to him .He said : “OK, now I agree with you all .  let us execute these Police officers. They have committed corruption and the decree says they must die, so they must die. But you know what ? I want them to be executed by their own peers. Therefore, I want the Police Chief to form a firing squad, but this firing squad must consist of five police men who can swear on an oath that they have never taken bribes before or engaged in any corrupt act. When you get these police officers , let me know and we will kill those people ” ( Words to this effect )

The Police Chief went to town and made a public announcement which was broadcast nation-wide , inviting  honest police officers to come forward to constitute the firing squad. The anouncement was made and made and made and made. No Police Officer came forward. After about a month, Doe said he was giving the Police Chief one more week to complete the search because he wanted to kill  ” Those People ” and get done with it. One week elapsed. Nothing. And Doe barranta : “You want to tell me there is not one single honest police man in my Police Force ? Not a single one who can come up and see he has never taken a bribe before ? This is a disgrace to me, a disgrace to the police force and a disgrace to Liberia. “.That evening, Doe fired everybody–The Police Chief , the Minister of Justice and other top brass of the force.

The moral of this incident is that honest men are endangered species in our neck  of the woods.

 I will  therefore not sit down and allow others to destroy one of the few honest and sincere men we have in our nation. Our country has so many rascals and criminals and so few honest men that we must protect the honest ones from being sullied by political demagogues.

John Ernest Leigh may have his faults ( And who doesn’t?  ). If God had found one righteous man in the cities of Sodom and Gomorrah, he would not have sent fire and brimstone to consume those twin cities. If man was righteous, there would have been no need for Jesus Christ to come on earth.

We are making a serious error on this forum by amplifying John Leigh’s mistakes at the expense of the exemplary character that the man possesses . John may be all  that you guys are saying but he stands out as one of the few sincere, honest and credible men we have aspiring for power in Sierra Leone. John Leigh has not committed any crime by  aspiring for power in his motherland where his father, mother , siblings and other family paid taxes. It is his natural right to seek power in the country just like the rascals some of you glorify. So why all the hue and cry , my people ?

Whenever we want to analyse the character of a public official, we should look at his record of performance the last time he held a position of trust. The last top position that John held was Sierra Leone’s Ambassador to the United States. Unless you live in your own world, my friend, you should know that John Leigh  distinguished himself in that position. When he took over the Sierra Leone Embassy, it was riddled with corruption  and dishonest men– the malaise that has destroyed our nation. Like a trojan out to remake the world, John Leigh cleaned up the whole embassy. He removed those found guilty of corruption and set stringent standards for service at the embassy. This is the main reason why some people do not like him. We don’t like honest people.The Bible tells us in 2 Timothy that in the last days, men will love evil people and hate the good and just ones. This is what is happening in Sierra Leone today. We love evil more than good. We love rascals more than proven heroes.

What most people do not know about Leigh is that he is a very FRANK MAN. He likes to vent his feelings and he says it as he sees it. He does not pretend about his feelings. He does not flatter . Should we not love this kind of man who will make you know where he stands in every issue, instead of the pretenders who flatter with their tongues but their hearts are full of dead men’s bones ? ! ! !

I am not minimising John Leigh’s mistakes. Again, let me say it : He might be all that you guys are saying but his good character, honesty and sincerity of purpose outweigh his mistakes— And we must concentrate on them , instead of his foibles. And this is the crux of my thesis here too . This is my concern in this issue. This is why I am defending him. We are paying too much attention to the man’s mistakes. We have to also look at what the likes of John Leigh will accomplish in power.

I believe that if we give John Leigh the chance to hold political power in our country, he will help to cleanse the augean stables. He will make mistakes like all of us, but his achievements will outweigh his failures. He will send the rogues and rascals packing .

I am defending John Leigh as Rev. Kabs-Kanu and not as the Editor of COCORIOKO. I am not an SLPP Supporter and I don’t have any plans to be one. I am different in the way I look at my country. When I look at Sierra Leone, I look at personalities and their character , not their parties, tribes or regions. I am therefore looking at John Leigh, the man , not John Leigh, the SLPP aspirant for power.

TO BE CONTINUED

.

The Lies John Leigh and Berewa Told Me.

Tuesday, June 6th, 2006

JOHNERNESTLEIGH1

JOHN ERNEST LEIGH
 – Tuesday 6 June 2006.

“John Leigh has got nowhere to go. He has lost direction and now rumbles around with lies. Berewa has not been chosen by God to be president of Sierra Leone. If I am Berewa, I will give it up.”

SOLOMON BEREWA

My motherland, Sierra Leone, appears to have been singled out in the brutal faces of deceit, greed, selfishness, manipulation and intimidation. The land of my birth is so very far away from the dreams of its citizens. A small West African nation of about 4.7 million people (twice the population of the U.S. city of Philadelphia where I currently live) that is endowed with natural wealth and smart people, but continues to rank as one of the poorest countries in the world. A country that has all the resources and manpower to feed itself; provide energy for itself; afford quality education and healthcare system; construct good road networks and other infrastructure remains incomprehensively incapable of addressing all of these things that will hold that West African nation tight together. What a nightmare.

In my convinced opinion, our beloved country has been plagued by our social acceptance of the status quo. The elite politicians who the grassroots or average Sierra Leoneans consider as their representatives are the same people who manipulate them to their disadvantage. In other words, it is deeply embedded in a typical Sierra Leonean perception that the politicians in parliament and State House are unchallengeable because they are the powerful.

In return, the so-called elite politicians use this psychological misunderstanding about their duties and responsibilities to cling onto power at all cost. In doing so, they use lies and deceit without remorse and shame. These are the best tools for both John Leigh and his boss Berewa. I will tell you why.

When the civil war reached its highest peak in the late 90s – with all outlets from Freetown and the provinces closed, the RUF rebels became barbaric and inhuman. It was a time when Sierra Leone needed help so ‘badly’. When the RUF/AFRC invaded Freetown in January, 1999 and inflicted violent and ruthless brutality on the people of that city, the Commander-in-Chief (President Tejan Kabbah) flew out of the country to Guinea and left the ordinary Sierra Leoneans to grapple with the choice between death and the hacking off of their limbs.

John Leigh who was the then Sierra Leonean Ambassador to the United States went on the Voice of America radio service and made a very convincing announcement that the Federal government of the United States had dispatched four U.S. Marine ships to flush the RUF/AFRC rebels out of Freetown. While his announcement was convincing to the ordinary Sierra Leoneans, it fueled more anger into the RUF/AFRC rebels who upgraded their levels of torture and murder.

Contrary to John Leigh’s announcement that the ships were to arrive in Freetown in two days, the U.S. Marine ships that arrived in Freetown two weeks later were there only to evacuate U.S. citizens from that barbaric civil conflict. As the BBC and VOA were the two major information sources for all Sierra Leoneans, people kept themselves close to their radios – but to no avail. John Leigh must understand that the average Sierra Leonean knows him as a seasoned liar and will hardly have confidence in him.

He has classified Berewa as the most qualified candidate for the Sierra Leonean presidency in 2007. Oh yes, we know John Leigh as a man of that kind. What qualifies a man like Berewa for the presidency when he is part of a failed system? What innovations will this man bring to the table? What dynamism makes him into that qualified man that the people of Sierra Leone need at this nick of time? Unfortunately, our people are not fully aware that Berewa himself is a seasoned and pathological liar. Let me tell you why.

In 2003, as the then president of the SLPP Young Generation in the North America region, I was among a delegation from Philadelphia that met with Solomon Berewa in the United Nations Sierra Leone office in New York. He referred to that meeting as a family meeting among SLPP members. All Sierra Leonean diplomats including Ambassadors from Europe, Asia and Africa were present.

Of course, the Foreign Affairs Minister Mr. Momodu Koroma was also there. Berewa addressed that Sierra Leonean crowd for over an hour. He lied with impunity over major development programs in Sierra Leone. Berewa told all of us at that meeting that the Bunbuna Hydro-electric plant was to be completed by December, 2004. It is left to all Sierra Leoneans to tell whether he told the truth. When asked about Hinga Norman, Berewa suavely removed himself and Kabbah from the implications of the Special court and squarely blamed it on Hinga Norman.

Berewa told us that prior to the arrival of the officials of the special court, he and Kabbah insistently asked whether Hinga Norman was comfortable with the arrival of the court. They also asked him about whether nobody had ever called and questioned him about his involvement in the Civil Defense Force (CDF). What a terrible lie and plot against an innocent and patriotic Sierra Leonean.

What did Berewa and Kabbah know so much about the intents of the Special court that made them restless? Were they eager to have this noble man in custody and make him inactive in Sierra Leonean politics? Indeed, the truth will come out one day. While the meeting proceeded, I asked Berewa about what the SLPP has done for the youths of that party since the party’s rise to political power in 1996. I was honestly eager to understand what road map the SLPP had for the Sierra Leonean youths who laid down their lives for the sake of democracy that got Berewa into power.

In response to my question, Berewa who was very enraged at me rose to his feet with anger and proudly said that the SLPP government and party is not going to groom any youths because every Sierra Leonean is to prepare his/her own way to a political office. He said that he has no guarantee that if they groom the SLPP youths, they might not end up in other political parties. Perhaps, I will take this as the only truth Berewa has ever told because it is absolutely true that the SLPP cares for no san san boys, Honda riders and car washers.

Were these the qualifications that John Leigh was talking about? What is painful here is that the average Sierra Leonean voter is not aware of the kind of people that ask them for their votes. These people are liars who have no vision for the future of a country that has so much to rely on. For goodness sake, how can Sierra Leoneans give up Sierra Leone for another 5 or 10 years of misrule, lies and deceit? Sierra Leone must wake up. John Leigh has got nowhere to go. He has lost direction and now rumbles around with lies. Berewa has not been chosen by God to be president of Sierra Leone. If I am Berewa, I will give it up.

Photo: Vice President Solomon Berewa. Is he a liar?