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Archive for July, 2007

MORE VIEWS ON THE TOM NYUMA ISSUE

Saturday, July 28th, 2007

By Jonathan Leigh, Freetown.


Tom Nyuma has been brought down to Freetown this evening and hospitalized following the incident in Bo in the early hours of today in which he and two others were severely beaten on an allegation of attempting to assassinate APC Leader, Ernest Bai Koroma.

It was Finance Minister, John Benjamin who arranged for him to be brought to Freetown and also intervened for him to be treated in Bo when he visited the police station where he was briefly detained. The police were insisting that they obtain statement from him before allowing him to seek medical attention.

There are conflicting reports as to what exactly happened. An early report says Koroma arrived at the Countryside Hotel around 4am from Mattru Jong. He was tired and immediately checked into Room 4 of the hotel which was reserved for him.

Soon afterwards, some of Nyuma’s bodyguards were seen around Koroma’s room and his security suspected that they were on a clandestine mission. The suspicious bodyguards of Ernest Koroma then pretended to depart for their respective rooms. A few minutes later, it is alleged, Tom Nyuma surfaced and then went straight to Koroma’s room and while he was attempting to turn the door’s lock he was pounced on by Koroma’s bodyguards. Tom was alleged to be armed with a pistol at the time of the incident.

According to Police Local Unit Commander in Bo, Chief Superintendent Foday Umaru Karefa Dabo, they(the police) have been able to establish that Nyuma checked into the hotel shortly after midnight, three hours before Ernest Koroma’s arrival and it was around 3 a.m that he(Dabo) got a phone call from the Inspector-General of Police from Freetown for him to proceed to the hotel following a complaint made by Ernest Koroma to Acha Kamara about the incident.

The police say they were told upon investigation that two bodyguards of Nyuma were returning to the hotel after spending the night out. They subsequently encountered the bodyguards of Ernest Koroma, one of them being Idrissa Kamara alias Leatherboot.

Both groups of bodyguards are ex-combatants and knowing one another, the Nyuma group explained to them that Nyuma was at the hotel after being queried by the Koroma group as to their mission in the area.

Also staying in Room 22 of the hotel was John Benjamin who was returning to Freetown from Kailahun with some of his security personnel. Infact, he had to be smuggled out of the hotel through a back door and went straight to the police station to see Nyuma who was reportedly bleeding profusely.

Benjamin arrived in Freetown this afternoon as he had planned to travel with Nyuma early in the morning to Freetown, according to an arrangement between the two when they met at Daru close to the border with Liberia.

The two bodyguards to Nyuma were grabbed and severely beaten by bodyguards of Ernest Koroma. They also allegedly rushed to the room were Nyuma was sleeping with his girlfriend, broke down the door and took him out and he too was severely beaten.

Nyuma, according to reports, was passing through Bo from Daru where he had gone to see his relatives for the first time since he was deported back from the USA three weeks ago.

His girlfriend whose name was given as Lynette was also abducted but was later released.

Dr Kaitel, who was treating Nyuma confirmed he was hospitalized at Dr. Yillah’s hospital and his condition was said to be serious. He said Nyuma had a series of stab wounds on his body.

Chief Superintendent Dabo said they were trying to get Ernest Koroma’s bodyguards who are alleged to be involved in the incident for questioning but were unable to lay hands on any of them. He said he told Ernest Koroma to ensure they were turned over to the police for investigation.

 


Subject: LANSANA GBERIE SPEAKS
From: Independent Man
To: All
Date Posted: 19:25:22 07/23/07 ()
Email Address:
Entered From: adsl-68-127-105-250.dsl.pltn13.pacbell.net at 68.127.105.250

Message:
Lansana Gberie speaks.

VIOLENCE & ELECTIONS IN SIERRA LEONE
By Internationally Acclaimed Sierra Leonean, Lansana Gberie
Jul 23, 2007, 21:34 Email this article
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Over lunch the other day at Chatham House in London with some old friends there, I was asked – apropos of something that I had recently published in that venerable Think Tank’s magazine World Today on Sierra Leone’s forthcoming elections in August – my views about the much-speculated prospects of widespread violence during the polls. Will the government attempt to rig the elections in favour of its preferred candidate, the current Vice President Solomon Berewa, in the manner in which Nigeria’s Obasanjo did for Musa Yar’Dua? Where is violence likely to begin? What are the signs to look for in order to spot rigging?

As you can see, these come close to the familiar old question: Did you beat your wife? But one of the chaps at the lunch was going off to Sierra Leone as an elections monitor, so I tried to answer the questions very carefully. I noted that to begin objectively understanding recent and current events in Sierra Leone, one must first abandon two common (and cognate) assumptions about African politics: the idea that only government is capable of rigging elections in any meaningful sense; along with supporting idea that only government has the capacity and willingness to unleash violence on political opponents. I will return to these points in a moment.

First, a word or two about the elections. Sierra Leone has conducted two successful elections since its war ended in 2002. The first, nationwide Presidential and Parliamentary polls, held in 2002, overwhelmingly re-elected President Tejan Kabbah and his Sierra Leone Peoples Party (SLPP). And in 2004, local government polls across the country witnessed significantly gains by the opposition All Peoples Congress (APC), including a win of the municipality of Freetown, although overall the SLPP carried far more councils. The Presidential and Parliamentary polls in August, however, will be far more significant than the previous two. They will be conducted wholly by the Sierra Leonean state, through its National Electoral Commission (NEC). The UN force Unamsil, which helped conduct the 2002 and 2004 polls, is no longer in the country to provide logistical support, security, and oversight. The elections, in other words, will be a crucial test of whether Sierra Leone can now finally be counted as stable and democratic. Success in this regard will mean that the elections have to be relatively free of violence and undue tampering. Failure, which is the opposite, is simply not option.

I make these obvious points to stress a larger one: which is that these elections are bigger, more important than the ambitions of any one presidential candidate or political party. They are about the future, the security and well-being of about 5 million souls.

Now to the point I made at the Chatham House lunch. In the course of researching and writing a large report on the elections for an international organisation recently, I chanced to read the report by IFES (the International Foundation for Electoral Systems) on the 2004 local council elections in Sierra Leone. The report revealed widespread irregularities, so widespread and egregious indeed that it has since not been released to the public. The report showed convincingly that the former NEC was dysfunctional – so much so that its polling agents across the board seriously tampered with the polls with impunity. A quick analysis of the findings showed quite clearly that candidates for the opposition APC rigged the elections (using polling agents) in many cases more comprehensively and competently than did candidates for the ruling SLPP. That was, in some ways, an eye-opener – even for me who knows a thing or two about Sierra Leone’s post-independence political history.

Electoral violence is part of that history. This is utterly regrettable, but one ought to bear this in mind. It is all very well now to state, and this is true, that the Sierra Leonean state now has a reasonable monopoly over armed violence, but the operative word is reasonable. It is not absolute. It is quite clear that the country’s stability is fragile, and sociopathic entrepreneurs, whether projecting themselves party leaders or warlords of sorts, can still cause enormous havoc and undo the hard-won gains of a very expensive peace (won after thousands of deaths).

To its credit, the Sierra Leone government seems very well aware of this. To any fair
observer, the government has, since the current electoral process began, been cautious to the point paralysis in dealing with evident challenges to the security of the state by some members of the opposition. I use the words “evident challenges” very advisedly. Bluster and chest-thumping on the campaign stump may have their appeal, but it crosses the line for a major party leader to explicitly threaten to unleash violence in the event of electoral loss. The two major opposition leaders, Ernest Koroma (APC) and Charles Margai (PMDC or Peoples Movement for Democratic Change), have made these threats publicly – Koroma, to a friendly newspaper in Freetown, and Margai, at several public gatherings. Nor can their threats be dismissed as mere bluster.

Shortly after Koroma issued his threat, the Revolutionary United Front Party (RUFP), the group that represented the deranged guerrillas who spearheaded Sierra Leone’s decade-long carnage, announced that it had joined the APC to help defeat the SLPP in the polls. As an electoral force, of course, the RUFP is absolutely insignificant: it failed to win a single seat in both the 2002 and 2004 elections. Its value, as Koroma must understand, is purely symbolic, flowing from the (swift) logic of the machete: primitive violence and brutality. Following, Koroma instigated a rally of the APC ignoring the little legal requirement regarding police permit – and of course some violence was reported.

Now I have met Koroma a few times, and I know him to be a gentleman of an almost anodyne type. I understand this on a personal level. During a meeting with Koroma over a year ago in the course of work I was doing for the British government, Koroma mentioned that he would be traveling to London the following week. That visit would coincide with the launch of my book at Chatham House. I casually invited him to drop by. To my surprise – as well as immense pleasure – he did, and he bought a copy of the book, which I duly signed. So you see, all this sound too desperate, and Koroma should appeal to his better instinct and make a public renunciation of his threat.

I am not so sure about Margai. I have met Margai a few times since he broke away from the SLPP (in the process resigning as a cabinet minister) to form his PMDC. He had lost the party leadership to his senior colleague, Berewa, and found that the party was no longer good enough for him. This is, of course, his right; and he may be well correct in denouncing the leadership process as rigged. What is less clear is why he thinks that that experience guarantees him majority support for the presidency – and the failure to realise such a vote an indication of fraud for which violence must be unleashed on the nation. The PMDC, for all the initial enthusiasm (now almost completely waned) that greeted it, is a very new entity, rather like a new bookstore. No one has voted for it, and it can therefore claim no electoral support anywhere. This is just by way of delivery of some home-truths. The PMDC is an untested party, the leadership driven largely by the belief – half complacent, half demagogic – that disenchantment with the ruling party in some quarters automatically translates into votes for its most vociferous critic. As everyone knows, this is a dangerous delusion, and people close to Margai should be telling him this.

It is clear that no one is doing so. I met Margai last year with an American colleague. We were staying at the Cabenda Hotel, owned by Femi Hebron, founding member of the PMDC. My colleague and I – on assignment for the UK government – expressed an interest, to Hebron, in talking to Margai. Margai dropped by the next morning for a chat. I was impressed by his sense of commitment and determination. But throughout the one-hour long conversation, concentrated around what alternative vision he had for the country, the most concrete things I noted from Margai were, to the effect, “When my uncle” [Milton Margai] or “When my father” [Albert Margai] was in charge things were better etc…The next time I met with him was at his party’s offices in Freetown, where, at the All Political Parties Association (APPA) meetings, he vowed that he it was just a matter of time before he would be sworn in as President, and that the SLPP will not even come a distant second, so unpopular had the old party become. He claimed that he had no confidence in the NEC, the judiciary, and the police. I wondered how anyone wanting to be President of a country through a democratic process could be so contemptuous of its core institutions, but alas, Margai did not appear to get my point.

He already claims to have extra-legal instruments of coercion to defend himself and his interests. He has claimed to command the support of the bulk of the former RUF and Kamajor militia combatants, and therefore his party “has what it takes to protect its interests” – the quote is from the recent International Crisis Group (ICG) report (July 2007). Margai was being asked in the context of recent home burnings (over 100 dwellings destroyed in a series of arsons) in Pujehun District, a stubborn stronghold of the SLPP. I investigated this incident while in Sierra Leone recently, and found that the burnings were indeed perpetrated by ex-combatants and other supporters of the PMDC who objected to pressure being put on a PMDC supporter by his brother, the Paramount Chief of Malen Chiefdom, an SLPP supporter.

No one has been arrested for these terrible offences, even though the Sierra Leone Police intervened to put a stop to it, and many of the perpetrators are well known. Isn’t Margai, in a perverse way, right about the unreliability of the police after-all? The same kind of reckless lawlessness (and impunity) seems to be at the bottom of the recent violence in Kailahun District, another stronghold of the SLPP. Margai simply has little, or no, support in these areas, and what support he has is concentrated among the ex-Kamajors, who resent the treatment meted out to Hinga Norman by the so-called Special Court of Sierra Leone. (To the consternation of some of us – for long supporters of Norman – Margai has, since Norman’s death, been claiming to ‘continue’ Norman’s ‘legacy’! The fact that Margai was Minister of Internal Affairs, in charge of the Police that so brutally arrested Norman, makes no impression on the man! He certainly did not resign because of the shameful treatment of Norman; Margai resigned simply because he saw his presidential ambition frustrated by others in his former party.)

Margai seems to be in too much hurry. In every human endeavour the line between ambition and impatience, commitment and desperation, determination and over-zealousness, can be very thin, and it demands enormous good sense and nobility of purpose to maintain a fine balance. For an important politician in a situation like ours, maintaining that balance can make all the difference in the world.

Someone should tell Margai that it is simply not realistic for him to expect his PMDC to make significant electoral gains, let alone win the Presidency, in so short a time since its inception. The two traditional parties, the SLPP and the APC, are still very strong. And whatever its many faults, the current SLPP government cannot, by any measure, be considered a failure: a government that has maintained the fragile peace, more than tripled enrolment in schools, built or refurbished hospitals and police stations across the country, constructed or refurbished hundreds of miles of roads, in the constrained circumstances that Sierra Leone found itself in since the war, cannot be considered a failure. This Presidential election, someone must tell Margai, is really a contest between Solomon Berewa and Ernest Koroma…
________________________________________

 


Subject: Re: LANSANA GBERIE SPEAKS
From: Cornelius Hamelberg
To: All
Date Posted: 21:52:51 07/23/07 ()
Email Address:
Entered From: c-2b8472d5.01-32-73746f42.cust.bredbandsbolaget.se at 213.114.132.43

Message:
All the familiar echoes and puffiness. Indeed “Monkey noh dae lef im black han” comes close to the question, “Have you stopped beating your wife?”

Two points of observation about this article which is culled from Miss Sylvia’s SLPP speak-easy called “Awareness Times”. Other points to follow.

Writing for popular consumption, Mr. Gberie is certain: “Sierra Leone has conducted two successful elections since its war ended in 2002.”

Much can be said about the background to the elections and the conditions and atmosphere in which the 2002 elections was conducted. The 2002 Elections were slightly flawed since the government did not – was not able to assert territorial sovereignty over some of the East of Sierra Leone – where voting was slightly disrupted – or did not take place.

But moving fast forward to today, more importantly, as the fateful day August 11 approaches, questions are still being raised about the alleged or expected neutrality of the former Lady nun who forsook/ deserted her vows to become the Christina Thorpe who has since then been appointed Director-General of the elections/ Electoral Commissioner

Another question that we must look into and which and it’s reasonable to want to know the answer as to whether the reasons Mr. Eugene Davies the Electoral Commissioner gave for resigning from his post, have been addressed, and whether Miss Thorpe who has replaced Mr. Davies as Electoral Commissioner has inherited the same situation but without protest and complaint because she is more compliant with the wishes of her bosses who appointed her.

Fears about her neutrality persist. She is feared to be a pliable woman who is also ready willing and able to make the kind of compromises that no nonsense Mr. Davies was not prepared to make.


2. Yes, Hon Charles Margai may well be “correct in denouncing the leadership process as rigged” as even Mr. John Leigh an SLPP party stalwart and failed aspirant for SLPP Party leadership – and we are to assume an impartial an honest and independent witness and most significantly, a declared enemy of Mr. Margai – was also defeated at that election in which he (Leigh) failed to even a win a nomination. Charles Margai managed to get all of 34 votes at that Makeni Con-bent / Convent- ion. And if what Mr. Leigh says is true about his colleagues, then Mr. Margai has every reason to be DISGRUNTLED.

Until very recently (before it became apparent/ dawned on him that Mr. Berewa was not going to appoint him his running mate) he had appointed himself to the post of Mr. Berewa’s resident mouthpiece on this Cocorioko forum, although he had tried to convince us and all his comrades in the SLPP that the Makeni affair was not a convention at all, but a “conBention” prearranged and Bent in favour of Mr B-erewa and that it was at that ConBention that he was “ROBBED” of even a nomination. Yes, he and not Hon. Charles Margai repeatedly told us that the voting was rigged in favour of Mr. Berewa. He wept profusely real tears about it (the spilt milk) or was it only sour grapes?

Why did Eugene Davis resign as Electoral Commissioner?

May God deliver Ernest Koroma and Charles Margai from evil

Saturday, July 28th, 2007

ERNESTKOROMAAPC2

 

BY CORNELIUS HAMELBERG 

May the Almighty protect Charles Margai & Ernest Bai Koroma from evil.

Sheikh Tunis,

All is sadness.

http://www.chabad.org/library/article.asp?AID=15781

Why should retired army man turned thug Tom Nyuma, with his unenviable track record, lastly deported from the USA – and now known to have been stalking APC leader of the opposition Hon. Ernest Bai Koroma, be suddenly and most mysteriously lodging in the same hotel as Hon Ernest Bai Koroma, and to have been found loitering around Hon. Ernest Bai Koroma’s room, armed with an automatic pistol?

It’s not too difficult for even the most innocent mind to put two and two together and arrive at a reasonable conclusion: he was not there to protect Hon. Ernest Bai Koroma.

Fortunately,

“But for the intervention of the APC leader, Nyuma would have joined his ancestors from the hands of the APC security forces.”

Now what has happened to him – and it could eventually send him to the peace of the grave – is not so strange. It’s a form of spontaneous street JUSTICE and it seems that he was looking for it – like that European tourist paedophile that was beaten to death in Ghana when people found him in a room, in action on a little Ghanaian boy. They were not more reasonable in the heat of that moment.

It is the duty of the police to protect the lives (bodies and limbs) and property of all Sierra Leoneans – and the duty of the military to also protect our borders.

If the Sierra Leone police cannot provide people protection, then people will have to provide themselves with their own protection from whoever wants to harm them. Wouldn’t you?

We cannot have a situation in which there are marauding gangs of party loyalists some of them former warlords not very different from some ex-soldiers loyal to Kabbah/Berewa or lieutenants to other parties to the civil war going around as bodyguards in each and every entourage that surrounds the various politicians on the road, sometimes in “Enemy territory” / others’ political party strongholds which can be intolerant) but which are on their campaign trail as they take their message to every part of the country – as they should be entitled to. Yes Ernest Bai Koroma is entitled to carry on his peaceful campaign in BO and in the South, just as the SLPP is doing unmolested in the North. It’s his country. All of it.

Things are bound to get out of hand in the heat – the emotional heat which goes up a few degrees Fahrenheit every time there is a confrontation – and now they (all sides) will be armed and prepared for confrontation and for the unexpected.

Anything, even the worst can happen. And then what?

On the morning of the Nigerian Election of 1983, I was on the island of Bakana (in the Delta) – no problem – I was under the protection of the Amachree and family – the King of Kalabari. Levy Braide (NPN) was the minister of Agriculture and a permanent resident of that island. ( Professor Tam David-West of Buguma – is also a Kalabari man).On the morning of the election, the representative of the NPP ( Igbo party so to speak) was dragged down from the top floor of his dwelling and beaten…… there is no problem or tribal rivalry between Igbos and Kalabaris – in fact many Kalabari men are married to Igbo women…….point : no ethnic tension but only political rivalry , which even in Bakana which was 95% NPN) resulted in that little act of unprecedented violence by the very peaceable and most peaceful Kalabari people ( I don’t know with any certainty the ethnicity or identity of the thugs who did the beating —- it surely did not add to or diminish the number of votes cast for the NPN on that island and voting was over early in the day and the celebrations of “NPN Magic” were underway before evening……..

It is in disputed territory that violence tends to erupt…………in Sierra Leone too, and not in safe havens.

The idea of attempts on the lives of the two very popular opposition leaders, Hon. Charles Francis Margai and Hon. Ernest Bai Koroma are reprehensible – and mean, and no matter the degree to which these reports are absolutely true – and undeniable – it’s certain that some demon is trying to foment trouble. Worst case scenario: the army steps in on Election Day declares a state of emergency and martial law, cancels the election results in some areas (marred by violence) and asks all – including all Yayas – to stay indoors after curfew hours.

When would re-elections or bye-Elections take place? After the trial and sentencing of those prosecuted as trouble makers?

The advantage here is that the ruling SLPP could have succeeded in painting a picture of opposition violence to the outside world that must mainly depend on the Sierra Leone media – and whatever access people like BBC’s Mark Doyle and Allan Little have of footage and impression…..

There are also the handful of EU and other observers – who may observe violence without being able to fathom the cause or direction that it takes. They will also observe the army/ police doing their best……

The SLPP media (e.g. Awareness Times whose editor Miss Sylvia was recently decorated by president Kabbah for services rendered) is already trying to give the impression that all the hooligans are in the opposition. This of course is far from true. Most of the hooligans are in the SLPP, and some of them feel that they have a right to be protected hooligans and are entitled to practice hooliganism with impunity, because the SLPP is in POWER and the SLPP presidential candidate, vice- president Berewa , after all is the Chairman of the Police Council and as happens with most incumbent African governments at election time is reportedly using state owned media and government vehicles as part of his campaign machinery – and some others say he is also dipping into state funds and so on as part of his campaign funding. True, Mr. Berewa, or false?

Even today there are complaints of the UN radio station being used to do campaigning on behalf of the SLPP government. Not to mention the harassment of journalists that has taken place recently, all because Philip Neville reported that some of the donations that Colonel Muammar al-Qadhafi had made (how many shipments of rice?) had not been properly reported to the people of Sierra Leone. All it would have taken would have been for any of the journalists to have asked Mr. Qadhafi for a confirmation or denial of this – but the only confirmation we could get was that Mr. Neville’s newspaper office had been vandalised ( as usual) by Mr. Kabbah’s policemen , Mr. Neville had been arrested and Mr. Neville had been detained and finally given bail – set at a very high sum of money – but only after much protest about his arrest from many organisations such as Human Rights Watch, Amnesty International and Reporters without Borders among many others who are still protesting in and outside of Sierra Leone……about some of the actions of our primitive men , or as Mark Steyn has coined the phrase, “reprimitivized man” in particular.

Is it so that every time a journalist writes something that is disputed by Mr. Kabbah, the journalist should be arrested, and jailed? If he had written it in the New York Times, then what? Colonel Qadhafi himself obviously knew what he was doing when he made the generous food donations. So why did MR. Kabbah sell the rice etc? To get their fingers on some money? Do they also plan to sell the tractors and buses and other equipment – for cash or to only put them to more personal use? These are reasonable question. Muammar al –Qadhafi the generous, has also made numerous heavy cash donations – which did not start with the period of the Kabbah government and so the SLPP should not think that Mr. Qadhafi was no friend of the APC…..

Indeed Mr Kabbah is only known as a toothless Chimpanzee when it comes to fighting corruption – but when it comes to taking journalists to task, he can shake his mane and roar like King Lion.

(My Yoruba professor says, “It’s not just because monkey can eat with knife and fork, that he should be admitted into the human clan…”

My Yoruba professor is wicked.

I know how the 1983 Nigeria elections were reported throughout the world. Dagens Nyheter declared that it was a “Triumph for Democracy” as if the formula of “Democracy = let’s arrange an election” had been fulfilled in all its details of free and fairness. I do not have to name the state in which more votes were allegedly cast and registered than there were inhabitants ( like Mobutu paying salaries to Ghost soldiers)

Now if it had indeed been a triumph for democracy, Muhammadu Buhari and Tunde Idiagbon’s coup of 31st December 1983 (like J.J. Rawlings’ coup of 31st December 1981) would not have been welcome by masses of people who had still not been paid up to six months salary by some Federal and State Governments ……. But coup times are over……….although there is the possibility of this is one (outlined above by which the SLPP could try to salvage themselves from defeat, if the people decide against them…and it’s true that SLPP votes will be eaten up by PMDC…. And that the more the violence escalates the more the lines that divide will be re-drawn and the greater likelihood of violence spreading to more uncontrollable and more disputed areas outside of any “ethnic havens”……

Sheikh Tunis, the last (and first time) I talked to you on the phone (I was in Stockholm and you were in New York) you detailed how sad the situation was on the home turf and even disheartened us (you and me) by recounting the horrors of child prostitution.

Why is there child prostitution? APC and PMDC would also like to remedy that situation, address the causes and to take the children off the street. And now you want multi-party democracy to capitulate?

Please don’t go around giving defeatist advice of this type to anybody:

“boycott the election now…if you think there is not enough time to
campaign boycott the election now if you think the field is not level boycott
the election now if you believe SLPP is going rig it…don’t wait until
after election…
I know the field is not level///I know everything is at SLPP advantage,
I know Berewa will win the election by all MEANS…so why join any
political party? I will not vote nor will I ask anyone to.”

“There are legal or better means of forcing SLPP to free and fair”

Would you or someone else like to spell these out for us?

Don’t you understand that if we follow your advice, it means that there would be no real elections and that the SLPP would have won, unchallenged?

There is a real danger that many people will be forced to stay away, because of intimidation, which can even come from the law enforcement quarters, if they are not even-handed and if they side with the government side and look upon the APC and PMDC as opposition to the hand that is “feeding” them, appointing them, promoting them and decorating them.

The struggle must go on and the people must decide, by casting their ballots.

Don’t think that you won’t be tested. The above was brief and very incomplete

And here is a test par excellence, which I return to reading, presently:

http://www.chabad.org/library/article.asp?AID=15772

Pray for us all.

NYUMA ARRESTED AND HOSPITALIZED IN BO

Tuesday, July 24th, 2007

NYUMA ARRESTED AND HOSPITALIZED IN BO

TOMNYUMA2 (600 x 494)

TOM NYUMA

We now have confirmed reports from independent sources in Bo that former NPRC strongman and born-again SLPP enforcer, Thomas Nyuma, was beaten and seriously wounded and is presently admitted to Dr. Yilla’ s hospital in Bo Latest information from PMDC sources is that Nyuma sustained a fractured skull and cannot be transferred to Freetown on advice of physician. Nyuma is also under police custody for unlawful possession of firearms and trespassing on a hotel occupied by APC presidential aspirant, Ernest Bai Koroma. Bai Koroma and his APC entourage are presently campaigning in the Southern capital in an effort to gain some grounds in the previously out-of-bounds SLPP stronghold in the South-Eastern Region.

 

samforayfull

REV. ALFRED SAMFORAY

Last weekend, Nyuma and his former boss, Julius Marda Bio along with Sierra Leones ambassador to Liberia, Patrick Foyah, were cited in Kailahun where the leader of the People’s Movement for Democratic Change (PMDC), Charles Francis Margai, and his campaign team were canvassing in the Eastern Region. In that incident, Foyah is reported to have fired a gun at Margai. Police arrived and intervened in time before PMDC supporters sent Ambassador Foyah on his final diplomatic mission to the Court of St. Peter. The SLPP regional office building in Kailahun is said to be non-existent after last weekend’s engagement between SLPP and PMDC supporters. President Tejan Kabbah is said to have wept after viewing the carnage in the township AT the birthplace of Sierra Leone’s eleven-year civil war.

In the characteristically no-nonsense town of Bo, Nyuma and his team were much less fortunate. But for the intervention of the APC leader, Nyuma would have joined his ancestors from the hands of the APC security forces. Nyuma is reported to have entered the hotel with an automatic pistol. The opposition has recently made known to the UN that the ruling SLPP has made available weapons to its supporters such as Nyuma and Ambassador Foyah who were using them for political intimidation.

Our leaders in Sierra Leone are well advised that the 2007 general and presidential elections slated for August 11 must be won by the ballot and not by the bullet. The introduction of firearms, if true, is a serious drawback to the efforts by the international community to rid the country of arms and ammunition. Nyuma and his bosses must also keep in mind that the people of Sierra Leone are not to be intimidated by thugs and hooligans. Those who fail to realize the present resolve of our people have only themselves to blame. Hopefully, Col. Nyuma will have enough time in hospital to dwell on this current reality in the country. After being recently deported from the US apparently for domestic violence but more correctly for his participation in unlawful killings during the early days of the NPRC, Nyuma should have learned his lessons.

If not, he will learn it the hard way – in the hospital, in prison or in the grave.

Alfred SamForay,
Chair, PMDC Indiana.

COCORIOKO SCOOP : TOM NYUMA SPEAKS TO COCORIOKO FROM HOSPITAL BED IN BO …DENIES ALLEGATIONS……EXONERATES APC LEADER ERNEST KOROMA

Tuesday, July 24th, 2007

COCORIOKO SCOOP : 9 : 30 am Eastern Standard Time : Tuesday July 24, 2007
TOM NYUMA SPEAKS TO COCORIOKO FROM HOSPITAL BED IN BO …DENIES ALLEGATIONS……EXONERATES APC LEADER ERNEST KOROMA

By Wilfred Leeroy Kabs-Kanu

Ex-Army Lt. Col Tom Nyuma has given his first interview to the press ( To COCORIOKO ) since he recovered from his coma last night .Speaking calmly and assuredly and without any vengence in the tone of his voice, Nyuma this morning took his time to explain what happened yesterday morning at the Country Side Hotel in Bo where he was badly beaten up and seriously injured by people accusing him of attempting to assassinate the leader of the All People’s Congress ( APC) , Mr. Ernest Bai Koroma.

TOM NYUMA ATTACKED 2

THE INJURED TOM NYUMA

Mr. Nyuma denied all allegations against him and blamed the hotel staff for their big mistake in accomodating him and the APC Leader in rooms

Col. Nyuma also took his time to exonerate the APC Leader , Mr. Ernest Bai Koroma , from all blame for what happened to him. Infact, from his explanation, had it not been for the APC Chief, and the Police he could have been beaten to death by his assailants.

At dawn today, Tom Nyuma’s wife, Mrs. Elsie Nyuma , called COCORIOKO and said Col. Nyuma was on the line from his hospital bed in Bo and wanted to talk to this newspaper about what happened to him yesterday morning. .The interview could not go on because the line went dead .But two hours later, Mr. Nyuma came on again and this time the line was clear and he explained his own side of this dramatic and sordid saga that has Sierra Leone on the edge of crisis in the midst of electioneering campaign for the all-important General Elections on August 11, 2007.

Mr. Nyuma told COCORIOKO that he was much improved now, though he still suffered from nagging pains in the head. He said that he was still admitted at the Dr. Yilla Clinic in Bo .He said he could have been taken to Freetown today, but the Bo Police are asking him to stay so that they can get statements from him about what happened yesterday morning at the Countryside Hotel.

Cocorioko’s first question to Col.Nyuma was what he was doing at the hotel at that time, knowing fully well that the APC Leader was lodged there and that his presence would cause suspicions and problems. Nyuma swore on everything that was sacred to him that he never went to the hotel with knowledge of the APC Leader being lodged there. He said it later came to him as a huge surprise that the hotel authorities had gone and provided accomodation to him and Mr. Ernest Bai Koroma and party not only in the same hotel, but in rooms close to each other.

Tom told COCORIOKO that he booked in at the hotel at about 10: pm on Sunday night. He said that he had gone to Koindu, where he hailed from and parts of Kailahun to visit relatives and friends he had not seen since he returned from the U.S. He stated that the Sierra Leone People’s Party ( SLPP) Presidential running mate, Mr. Momodu Koroma, rented a Toyota Hilux Pick-up truck for him which he used for the trip, but the vehicle was giving a lot of problems.

Mr. Nyuma said that on his way back to Freetown, the vehicle developed mechanical problems at Mano Junction. He said he contacted Mr. John Benjamin, who was also travelling to Freetown that night and was due to spend the night in Bo. Mr. Benjamin, he narrated, told him to go to the Country side Hotel in Bo and wait for him there so that he would pick him up for the final part of the trip to Freetown on Monday.
COCORIOKO : What vehicle was Mr. Benjamin using ?
NYUMA : I think he was using his official car.

Tom said he booked in at the Country side Hotel at around 10: pm. He explained that John Benjamin booked in after 11 pm. Nyuma said he knew nothing about whether the APC Leader was there or planning to come to stay there for the night.” I was in my room with Mr. Philip George , keeping company hours later when my bodyguards came to knock at the door ..They came to inform me that the APC Leader had been given a room next to mine. I was surprised but then told my bodyguards not to mind because I believe in the philosophy that your political opponent is not your enemy. ” Tom further explained.

Mr.Nyuma said that after a long while, they heard footsteps and people knocking at the door again. This time, it was not his bodyguards but people with strange voices. He said that Mr. Philip George asked him not to open the door , but he said he repeated what he had told his bodyguards that his political opponents were not his enemies and he went and opened the door.

Mr. Nyuma said that when he opened the door, a group of men , who were armed, entered the room and started to interrogate him about reasons for his presence at the hotel. He said the situation resulted in a scuffle and the men pounced on him and Mr. George and started beating and kicking them.He said he was mercilessly beaten , thrown on the floor and tied up.

COCORIOKO : Did they stab you as reported yesterday ?
NYUMA : No. .They did not stab me. Though they had weapons, they only beat me physically and kept kicking me on my face , head and other parts of the body as I lay on the floor..Well, I have a cut on my head and may be that was caused by a weapon.
COCORIOKO :Why did the interrogation turn into a scuffle ? Did you guys exchange words ?
NYUMA : I don’t know. All I can say is that these men were desperate and they just attacked me.They started to search me,; they undressed me and then started beating me and when I fell on the floor, they started kicking me all over my body.

Nyuma said that as his attackers kept kicking him on the floor, the leader of the APC , Mr. Ernest Bai Koroma, came out of his room .”You could see that he was very surprised at what was going on and he started screaming :’ What is going on, gentlemen ? What are you doing ? Why all this ? ? Why are you doing this ? Stop it ! ! Stop it ! ! !’ ”

Mr. Nyuma said that Mr. Koroma was shocked to see him . “I know Ernest Bai Koroma well. He is a gentleman. I don’t think he supported this violence. His intervention and that of the Police made them stop kicking and beating me. I was bleeding and was immediately taken for treatment…I am not trying to exonerate him , but I don’t think Ernest sent them because he defended me when he came out and he was surprised at everything he saw. ”

COCORIOKO : During all this beating, were they accusing you of anything ?
NYUMA : They just wanted to know what I was doing in the hotel when the APC Leader was lodging there. But frankly, Reverend, these men were armed and could have killed me if they wanted to.I think their main purpose was to loot, because they stole my wallet and took away my digital camera, laptop , briefcase and other personal belongings. May be, they wanted to kill me too .But my understanding is that they were bent more on looting than killing me. .”
Asked why he did not heed his bodyguard’s advice not to open the door, Mr. Nyuma said he never thought that they had come to attack him. “I am an old military officer. Do you think that if I had known that they were going to attack me, I would not have found a way to escape ? ”
COCORIOKO : Did you indentify any of your assailants ?
NYUMA: Yes, I did. Their leader was Idriss Kamara, commonly known as Leather Boots . The other was my former personal bodyguard, Soriba. I was surprised .When I returned from the U.S, I saw Leatherboots at the Ministerial Building and hugged him enthusiastically and I told him we were brothers and that though we may not be on the same side anymore, we must remain brothers .He too hugged me and we spoke nicely. As for Soriba, I had been trying to reach him, but he is ashamed to come close to me because he went and became a senior bodyguard to Foday Sankoh.

COCORIOKO : Where were you taken after you were saved ?
NYUMA : I went into a coma and did not know anything until I woke up and found myself in this hospital.

COCORIOKO : Col. Nyuma, you have done a good job by speaking to this newspaper. Your explanation is going to go a long way to cool down tensions in the country and the diaspora. I want to assure you that the whole world is going to hear your own side of the story within hours .Yesterday , we published your wife and your mother’s version. As you can see, we are an independent newspaper and we thrive on providing all sides of the issue;
NYUMA : I know.That is why I called you.
COCORIOKO : Do you have any message for the Sierra Leonean people ? The tension is high out there. What you say may help to cool down the tensions.
NYUMA : I want the people of Sierra Leone to know that we are all one, despite our political affliations. I want tell them that we must all be united and work to develop our country. I returned from the U.S with no evil intentions. We are all free to affiliate with any party of our choice but that should not make us enemies. Your political opponent is not your enemy.

COCORIOKO ; Thank you ever so much for contacting us . Please feel free to talk to us at any time you have any more important information to pass on to the Sierra Leonean people.
NYUMA : God bless you for your hard work
COCORIOKO : God bless you too.May He give you a speedy recovery.

Web site


Subject: Tom Nyuma side : God bless Cocorioko
From: Patriotic Sierra Leonean
To: All
Date Posted: 10:19:54 07/24/07 ()
Email Address:
Entered From: at 208.115.227.171

Message:
COCORIOKO SCOOP : 9 : 30 am Eastern Standard Time : Tuesday July 24, 2007
TOM NYUMA SPEAKS TO COCORIOKO FROM HOSPITAL BED IN BO …DENIES ALLEGATIONS……EXONERATES APC LEADER ERNEST KOROMA

By Wilfred Leeroy Kabs-Kanu

Ex-Army Lt. Col Tom Nyuma has given his first interview to the press ( To COCORIOKO ) since he recovered from his coma last night .Speaking calmly and assuredly and without any vengence in the tone of his voice, Nyuma this morning took his time to explain what happened yesterday morning at the Country Side Hotel in Bo where he was badly beaten up and seriously injured by people accusing him of attempting to assassinate the leader of the All People’s Congress ( APC) , Mr. Ernest Bai Koroma.

Mr. Nyuma denied all allegations against him and blamed the hotel staff for their big mistake in accomodating him and the APC Leader in rooms

Col. Nyuma also took his time to exonerate the APC Leader , Mr. Ernest Bai Koroma , from all blame for what happened to him. Infact, from his explanation, had it not been for the APC Chief, and the Police he could have been beaten to death by his assailants.

At dawn today, Tom Nyuma’s wife, Mrs. Elsie Nyuma , called COCORIOKO and said Col. Nyuma was on the line from his hospital bed in Bo and wanted to talk to this newspaper about what happened to him yesterday morning. .The interview could not go on because the line went dead .But two hours later, Mr. Nyuma came on again and this time the line was clear and he explained his own side of this dramatic and sordid saga that has Sierra Leone on the edge of crisis in the midst of electioneering campaign for the all-important General Elections on August 11, 2007.

Mr. Nyuma told COCORIOKO that he was much improved now, though he still suffered from nagging pains in the head. He said that he was still admitted at the Dr. Yilla Clinic in Bo .He said he could have been taken to Freetown today, but the Bo Police are asking him to stay so that they can get statements from him about what happened yesterday morning at the Countryside Hotel.

Cocorioko’s first question to Col.Nyuma was what he was doing at the hotel at that time, knowing fully well that the APC Leader was lodged there and that his presence would cause suspicions and problems. Nyuma swore on everything that was sacred to him that he never went to the hotel with knowledge of the APC Leader being lodged there. He said it later came to him as a huge surprise that the hotel authorities had gone and provided accomodation to him and Mr. Ernest Bai Koroma and party not only in the same hotel, but in rooms close to each other.

Tom told COCORIOKO that he booked in at the hotel at about 10: pm on Sunday night. He said that he had gone to Koindu, where he hailed from and parts of Kailahun to visit relatives and friends he had not seen since he returned from the U.S. He stated that the Sierra Leone People’s Party ( SLPP) Presidential running mate, Mr. Momodu Koroma, rented a Toyota Hilux Pick-up truck for him which he used for the trip, but the vehicle was giving a lot of problems.

Mr. Nyuma said that on his way back to Freetown, the vehicle developed mechanical problems at Mano Junction. He said he contacted Mr. John Benjamin, who was also travelling to Freetown that night and was due to spend the night in Bo. Mr. Benjamin, he narrated, told him to go to the Country side Hotel in Bo and wait for him there so that he would pick him up for the final part of the trip to Freetown on Monday.
COCORIOKO : What vehicle was Mr. Benjamin using ?
NYUMA : I think he was using his official car.

Tom said he booked in at the Country side Hotel at around 10: pm. He explained that John Benjamin booked in after 11 pm. Nyuma said he knew nothing about whether the APC Leader was there or planning to come to stay there for the night.” I was in my room with Mr. Philip George , keeping company hours later when my bodyguards came to knock at the door ..They came to inform me that the APC Leader had been given a room next to mine. I was surprised but then told my bodyguards not to mind because I believe in the philosophy that your political opponent is not your enemy. ” Tom further explained.

Mr.Nyuma said that after a long while, they heard footsteps and people knocking at the door again. This time, it was not his bodyguards but people with strange voices. He said that Mr. Philip George asked him not to open the door , but he said he repeated what he had told his bodyguards that his political opponents were not his enemies and he went and opened the door.

Mr. Nyuma said that when he opened the door, a group of men , who were armed, entered the room and started to interrogate him about reasons for his presence at the hotel. He said the situation resulted in a scuffle and the men pounced on him and Mr. George and started beating and kicking them.He said he was mercilessly beaten , thrown on the floor and tied up.

COCORIOKO : Did they stab you as reported yesterday ?
NYUMA : No. .They did not stab me. Though they had weapons, they only beat me physically and kept kicking me on my face , head and other parts of the body as I lay on the floor..Well, I have a cut on my head and may be that was caused by a weapon.
COCORIOKO :Why did the interrogation turn into a scuffle ? Did you guys exchange words ?
NYUMA : I don’t know. All I can say is that these men were desperate and they just attacked me.They started to search me,; they undressed me and then started beating me and when I fell on the floor, they started kicking me all over my body.

Nyuma said that as his attackers kept kicking him on the floor, the leader of the APC , Mr. Ernest Bai Koroma, came out of his room .”You could see that he was very surprised at what was going on and he started screaming :’ What is going on, gentlemen ? What are you doing ? Why all this ? ? Why are you doing this ? Stop it ! ! Stop it ! ! !’ ”

Mr. Nyuma said that Mr. Koroma was shocked to see him . “I know Ernest Bai Koroma well. He is a gentleman. I don’t think he supported this violence. His intervention and that of the Police made them stop kicking and beating me. I was bleeding and was immediately taken for treatment…I am not trying to exonerate him , but I don’t think Ernest sent them because he defended me when he came out and he was surprised at everything he saw. ”

COCORIOKO : During all this beating, were they accusing you of anything ?
NYUMA : They just wanted to know what I was doing in the hotel when the APC Leader was lodging there. But frankly, Reverend, these men were armed and could have killed me if they wanted to.I think their main purpose was to loot, because they stole my wallet and took away my digital camera, laptop , briefcase and other personal belongings. May be, they wanted to kill me too .But my understanding is that they were bent more on looting than killing me. .”
Asked why he did not heed his bodyguard’s advice not to open the door, Mr. Nyuma said he never thought that they had come to attack him. “I am an old military officer. Do you think that if I had known that they were going to attack me, I would not have found a way to escape ? ”
COCORIOKO : Did you indentify any of your assailants ?
NYUMA: Yes, I did. Their leader was Idriss Kamara, commonly known as Leather Boots . The other was my former personal bodyguard, Soriba. I was surprised .When I returned from the U.S, I saw Leatherboots at the Ministerial Building and hugged him enthusiastically and I told him we were brothers and that though we may not be on the same side anymore, we must remain brothers .He too hugged me and we spoke nicely. As for Soriba, I had been trying to reach him, but he is ashamed to come close to me because he went and became a senior bodyguard to Foday Sankoh.

COCORIOKO : Where were you taken after you were saved ?
NYUMA : I went into a coma and did not know anything until I woke up and found myself in this hospital.

COCORIOKO : Col. Nyuma, you have done a good job by speaking to this newspaper. Your explanation is going to go a long way to cool down tensions in the country and the diaspora. I want to assure you that the whole world is going to hear your own side of the story within hours .Yesterday , we published your wife and your mother’s version. As you can see, we are an independent newspaper and we thrive on providing all sides of the issue;
NYUMA : I know.That is why I called you.
COCORIOKO : Do you have any message for the Sierra Leonean people ? The tension is high out there. What you say may help to cool down the tensions.
NYUMA : I want the people of Sierra Leone to know that we are all one, despite our political affliations. I want tell them that we must all be united and work to develop our country. I returned from the U.S with no evil intentions. We are all free to affiliate with any party of our choice but that should not make us enemies. Your political opponent is not your enemy.

COCORIOKO ; Thank you ever so much for contacting us . Please feel free to talk to us at any time you have any more important information to pass on to the Sierra Leonean people.
NYUMA : God bless you for your hard work
COCORIOKO : God bless you too.May He give you a speedy recovery.

Web site designed & hosted by Leeroy Wilfred Kabs-Kanu © 2007 at Homestead™


Subject: Re: Tom Nyuma side : God bless Cocorioko
From: MUSA KAMARA
To: All
Date Posted: 10:42:16 07/24/07 ()
Email Address:
Entered From: luna.hypair.net at 194.50.180.4

Message:
Thanks Cocorioko especially to the Rev.K Kanu for your diligent work.We have heard from Tom.N but their doubts to the authencity of his side of the story,unless we get the side of the hotel staff,then we may get a clue of what actually happened in the hotel.

Press statement by the APC on the attempt on the APC Leader Hon. Ernest Koroma’s life

Monday, July 23rd, 2007

alpha_kanu

ALPHA KANU

– Monday 23 July 2007.
Press Statement byy the All People Congress on the Attempt on the APC Leader Hon. Ernest Bai Koroma’s Life.


At the conclusion of his Campaign Tour of parts of the Southern Province which included Moyamba and Bonthe, the APC Party Leader checked into the Country Inn Hotel in Bo for a night’s rest yesterday 22nd July, 2007.

His schedule was to participate in an APC supporter’s rally in Bo this morning before leaving for Pujehun in the evening.

Our Leader, Hon Ernest Bai Koroma’s sleep was rudely interrupted by a commotion outside his hotel room.

He advised himself to stay indoors and when the fracas subsided, he came out to be informed that some armed men had attempted to prise open his door with the intention of assassinating him.

The culprits, headed by one Tom Nyuma, were arrested later by police who had come to the scene.

IMPLICATIONS:
Hon. Ernest Bai Koroma is the flag bearer of the APC on whom all Sierra Leoneans have pinned their hopes of salavation for a brighter and more prosperous future after August 11.

The mere thought of the conspiracy to assassinate him by those who know that the voters of Sierra Leone have decided on voting him as president of Sierra Leone is calculated to disrupt the election process in order to perpetuate the rule of the failed SLPP in Sierra Leone.

POLICE STATEMENT:
The initial statement of the Inspector General on the radio this morning is that the police are investigating the alligation, as always. We believe in the police and believe in the impartiality of the police force. Our Only hope is that they remain impartial in this particular investigation and not to play the devil’s advocate.

The theory that Tom Nyuma and his cohorts may have been guests at the Country Inn Hotel is neither credible nor plausible. Hon. Ernest Koroma or any member of the APC will not check into a hotel where they know Tom Nyuma and any other member of his group are staying.

We would like to make it known that this explanation is unacceptable. The question the police need to have answered is: What was Tom Nyuma doing outside Honourable Ernest Bai Koroma’s hotel room door at 4a.m on the morning of Monday 23rd July, 2007?

This is especially important since Tom Nyuma’s comrade in arms, Brigadier (Rtd) Julius Maada Bio is reported to have declared on one Radio Democracy Salone Tiday programme, when he was vying for the Leadership of the SLPP last year, that should the APC come to power, he would overthrow that Government once again by force of arms.

The APC believes that if the police did not treat this utterance seriously then, today’s early morning event’s in Bo should be a wake up call. It is common and open knowledge that both Maada Bio and Tom Nyuma, major players in the military coup that overthrew the APC Government in 1992, have taken positions in the SLPP Presidential Candidate’s Campaign team.

The APC would like to remind Sierra Leoneans that the outgoing President and his outgoing Vice president were key advisers to the NPRC Government of which Maada Bio was head of State and Tom Nyuma, Secretary of State for the Eastern Province.

The connection started long ago and it seems set to be perpetuated through these alliances and actions. The APC believes that the people of Sierra Leone know what is being overstated by these people and will answer them accordingly in the ballot box on August 11, 2007.

APPEAL:
In the interest of the maintenance of sustainable democracy in Sierra Leone, a democracy for which the people of Sierra Leone paid dearly in blood, sweat and tears, the All Peoples Congress is calling upon all its members, supporters and sympathizers, to remain calm in the circumstances and to continue to respect the rule of law as the basis for our democracy.

Signed.
Hon. Alhaji Alpha Kanu
Presidential Candidate’s Spokesman.
23rd July, 2007.

IGNORANCE AS A BANE IN NATIONAL DEVELOPMENT: ON JOHN LEIGH

Friday, July 20th, 2007

Subject: IGNORANCE AS A BANE IN NATIONAL DEVELOPMENT: ON JOHN LEIGH
From: Dr. AL. N-W
To: All
Date Posted: 11:16:59 07/20/06 ()
Email Address:
Entered From: ool-4570f446.dyn.optonline.net at 69.112.244.70

Message:
“I say to one and all, you can take the savage out of the jungle and baptize him; but it might not be possible to take the savagery out of an apparently superficial Christianized stinking barbarian and flunky worshiper who is hell-bent on tribal hegemony.” John Leigh, former Ambassador of Sierra Leone to the United States of America, July 13, 2006.

 

 

As a man who has the utmost respect for John Leigh, I must admit that I am totally disappointment with his many negative and pejorative utterances on this forum. The above quoted words come from no less a man than John Ernest Leigh who has not only been Sierra Leone’s Ambassador to the United States but also a contestant to the leadership of the governing Sierra Leone’s People’s Party. They are a response to a query directed to Leigh by a young forumite using the moniker Albert Moinina. As is characteristic of Mr. Leigh, and as evident in the achives of this forum, monikers engaging him with provincial (kontri) last names are summarily dismissed in a fury of derogatory tribalistic and regionalistic diatribes. In other words, to paraphrase veteran forumite, Mohamed Jalloh, Leigh succumbs to his natural instinct – tribalism, whenever he has to deal with issues raised by the Moininas, the Kamaras, the Banguras, the Sesays and the Contehs of Sierra Leone. Yet this is the same man who has repeatedly denied using ethnic slurs against Limbas on American television when young forumite, Ishmael once accused him of doing so.

 

Leigh’s quoted words above have their origins in global racist systems which proceeded from centuries of slavery. Slavery as a mode of production predates racism in that through its institutionalized brutality of Blacks by Whites, it conferred a misplaced feeling of biological superiority on Whites. Colonial systems that developed in Africa after slavery was abolished pursued the legacy of slavery – racism, often in its most blatant forms. Consequently, Western colonialists viewed Africans as savages who had a lot to benefit from Christianity.


In Sierra Leone, the entrenchment of the policy of Divide and Rule in the heydays of colonialism created the broad ethnic dichotomy of Creole and Kontri. However, despite the racist policies extended toward all Blacks, since Creoles were descendants of freed slaves, the colonialists viewed them as a westernized people who were less susceptible to the “savage” tendencies of their largely non-Christianized brethren in the protectorate. This colonial mentality was unfortunately carefully but rigorously inculcated into the psyches of Africans. To this day, the utterances and other modes of behavior of many Africans show that they simply cannot free themselves of this mental slavery. Leigh in his frequent outbursts on this forum has shown that despite his impressive academic credentials, he qualifies as one of those Africans who have failed to transcend the racist stereotypes of Western slave and colonial masters.


Leigh was born in Bo Town of a Creole father and a Mende mother but grew up in Freetown with his father. Like any other Sierra Leonean, the environment in which Leigh grew up shaped his cultural views. This does not in any way indict all Creoles for tribalism or vindicate all descendants of the provinces of this social vice. It is a fact that both progressive Creoles and non-Creoles have at various times used our nation’s cultural diversity to support and promote policies that are progressive to nation building.

 

Given that cultural diversity is a historical and social reality of African states, one cannot expect political, social and economic development in Africa’s emerging states to be divorced from their human and cultural context. Unfortunately, however, some of us Africans have all too often compromised national development through our arrogant refusal to broaden our frontiers of knowledge through cross-cultural understanding. We are the same Africans who especially within national boundaries have impeded development by using the cultural diversities of our respective nations as basis for animosity towards people that we conceive to be different than us. This is precisely the impairment that Leigh continues to succumb to.
Leigh seriously suffers from the sickness of colonial mentality. This ailment, among other things, has often evoked Leigh’s inner penchant for ridiculing Sierra Leone’s relative underdevelopment both in verbal and written pronouncements in whatever capacity he has found himself. A typical example of such pronouncements is the following pejorative onslaught in his continued crude dismissal of the moniker Albert Moinina:

 

“Mr. Moinina’s stink utterance… conjures up images of his highly primitive village with no paper, no pencil, no eraser, no pen, no books, no desk, no water-well, no electricity, no pipe-born water and worst of all, absolutely not a single latrine.
So, he is used to defecating all over his backyard to feed flies and unthinkingly spread typhoid and other infectious diseases. Hence the stink, the flies on his brother’s food; not to mention the frequent sickness and very short life span of his own very people and with no immediate solution in sight for their painful plight…”

 


Interestingly, Leigh makes the above remarks without any consideration of the possibility that Albert Moinina could either have been born or raised in Freetown or that it is a Creole forumite using the moniker Albert Moinina, a name with origins in the Southern and Eastern provinces of Sierra Leone. But this is typical Leigh –shoot from the lip and think later. To Leigh, Albert Moinina, by the very nature of the name, hails from a village in the provinces where it is usual for people to behave in a manner that fits his quoted words above.

Perhaps an even more interesting aspect of Leigh’s shallowness and apparent ignorance lies in the fact that in his all too often characteristic rage especially as they relate to the social status of Sierra Leoneans, he ignores the fact that like many in the higher echelons of his party – the SLPP, his newly-found “best friend” Solomon Berewa had a very humble upbringing. Berewa was born and raised in a village called Yengema, which is three miles from Serabu in the Bo district. And to even hit closer to home, chances are that Leigh’s mother who lives in Bo may have relatives living in some of the villages near Bo. But to Leigh who lives in luxury in Boston, Massachussetts, there is nothing wrong with ridiculing the poverty of a segment of Sierra Leone’s population even if such an exercise has the appearance of tribal or regional prejudice.

To conclude, suffice it to say that Sierra Leone does not need the John Leighs of the world. Leigh is a divisive man with serious character flaws. Such a man cannot be an effective leader. And if Leigh believes that I belong to the PMDC (Leigh believes that all his critics are PMDC members), he is dead wrong because I hail from an SLPP family in Freetown. However, my allegiance to the state of Sierra Leone transcends any party loyalty that I may have. I believe that Sierra Leone’s underdevelopment lies in the fact that for the better part of its history, leaders that are totally bankrupt in ideas have suffocated the country’s political space. Leigh has neither ideas nor a vision that can move Sierra Leone forward. The prudent thing for him to do is to gracefully exit Sierra Leone’s political space.

AND JOHN LEIGH RESPONDS

Dear Mr. The Truth:

Whoever you are or may be, I want to let you know that I am very grateful for your coming to my defence in this matter. When I find the time, I will deal with the rubbish attack written by whomsoever is calling himself Dr. Al N-W – whoever that bozo might be.

In the meantime, I’ll like to make a few additions to your excellent defence of my debating position.

The decision to send me to Washington, DC in 1996 was President Kabbah’s alone and his alone.

The vast majority of the SLPP top leadership then – all provincials from Rev Dumber down – wanted me in Freetown as Finance Minister, not because of my financial contributions, but because of my professional background and international business orientation.

No one was more disappointed with my dispatch to Washington than my old friend, now late, of Panguma, Kenema District, Mr. Juma Sei.

As for me, I was not disappointed with President Kabbah’s decision at all because I recognized the absolute right of the President to pick the team he wants to work with and assign their respective positions.

As it were, things turned out ok for all concerned.

If I had been assigned in F’town during the AFRC coup, I might not have had the opportunity to help bring peace to our country and to contribute in effecting a key change in the worlwide practice of diplomatic norms.

Finally, the only personal complaint I have against the Kabbah government is their holding my money, $90,000 since before my recall, with part of that debt going as far back as 1997.

This unfair hold-up has nothing to do with tribalism. Its just regular Afro politrics. -JL

Doing business in Sierra Leone is fraught with problems

Thursday, July 19th, 2007

Subject: Sahid Kanus article is interesting
From: M. Alieu Iscandari Esq
To: All
Date Posted: 11:54:32 06/19/07 ()
Email Address:
Entered From: cache-ntc-ad04.proxy.aol.com at 207.200.116.198

Message:
Posted by Sahid on June 18, 2007 at 11:12:41:

In an attempt to test the waters, to see if Sierra Leone is a place one can invest in and receive a rate of return, I decided to enter a business that I thought was relatively simple, namely the Podapoda business, I sent 4 Podapoda, and arranged a business structure that was simple, namely Podapoda runs for 6 days. The driver is allocated 1 day’s earnings, manager gets 1 day’s earnings, 1 day’s earning retained for repairs and 3 day’s earnings for me. Simple and straight forward. What I had not accounted for was the lack of fully skilled mechanics, the declining exchange rate, the exorbitant money transfer fees, and the poor telecommunications even via mobiles, the bureaucratic process of licensing and insuring a vehicle. In addition to these problems, I had not accounted for the dishonest nature, short sighted and lethargic attitude of some sierra Leonean. No one seems to tell the truth, and the lethargy of the average Sierra Leone means that the simplest repair takes a week even after the part has been located, no one ever has receipts. The poor roads, the lack of respect shown by Sierra Leones for the rules of the road, has meant several accidents.

I have sacked two managers so far and have now given up and parked the vehicles at my father in laws place to rot. The money I was going to use to open up a construction business, is now to be used trading spot forex, on the international money markets, high risk but less risky when compared to investing in sierra Leone. I have advised that group of friends that were willing to invest in the construction business, to forget Sierra Leone and consider Ghana. In a small way this business has shown me all that is wrong with sierra Leone, sierra Leonean blame the government for all their troubles, but when presented with opportunities only think of the short term, now 4 drivers, 4 apprentices, 4 standby drivers and a manager are all out of work due to their own short sightedness. In addition the failure of the government to provide basics infrastructures such as roads, electricity, decent telecommunications and a stable exchange rate means that Sierra Leone is not a place for long term sustainable investment. It would be better to play roulette over the internet that invest in sierra Leone, as the odds are better that you will see some return on your investment. So now I can forget Sierra Leone for now and see if I should go long on GPB/USD.

Beware of wolves in sheep’s clothing

Wednesday, July 18th, 2007

Beware of wolves in sheep’s clothing

By Alfred M. SamForay

Chairman PMDC Indiana

Before the SLPP became the Sierra Leone People’s Problem, it was a beacon light, of hope, for Sierra Leoneans of all ethnic and regional persuasions.

Founded by Lamina Sankoh, a Westerner and embraced by Easterners, Northerners and Southerners alike, the SLPP has over the years under the stewardship of President Ahmad Tejan Kabbah and his overly ambitious and perpetually drowsy Vice President, Solomon Berewa, become the primary sanctuary of bootlickers and political sycophants of the baser sort.

samforayfull

ALFRED SAMFORAY

Added to endemic corruption, incompetence and ingratitude, is the ruling party’s newly found propensity to migrate from smaller scandals to larger ones. Here is some evidence: the unlawful sale of our High Commission in London, the diplomatic cocaine incident, the beating and killing of a journalist, the misuse of the seditious libel laws to silence journalists, the recent crash of an unfit helicopter that killed foreign guests to our country.

And then there is the unlawful conversion of rice and other donations from the State of Libya for personal and political purposes at the expense of the people of Sierra Leone.

Now in an effort to win the upcoming presidential and general elections by any means necessary, the SLPP has resorted to hooliganism.

It is rather unfortunate that after millions of dollars were expended on Sierra Leone for post-war recovery, the country shows no significant progress commensurate with the expectations of the donor nations. So Sierra Leoneans who have suffered so extensively from both the civil war as well as the inability or unwillingness of the ruling SLPP to rebuild their country, must reject the callous nature with which the government has misused the goodwill of the international community and the patience of the people of Sierra Leone for a more secure and prosperous life.

The use of thugs must be rejected in its entirety. In that regard, let me address a few of the names that have surfaced recently in connection with incidents against the leader of the Peoples Movement for Democratic Change (PMDC), Charles Francis Margai.

We are not unaware of the attempt a few weeks ago at or around Bo or Taiama by SLPP hooligans to ambush Mr. Margai and his entourage. We are also aware of house burnings in the PMDC stronghold of Pujehun and then on the evening of July 7 there was an incident, which ultimately resulted in the use of riot police to disperse SLPP hooligans from the National Headquarters of the PMDC at Hannah Benka Caulker Street in Freetown.

Now comes word over the last few days of high level SLPP members including the mercurial John Benjamin, Ambassador Patrick Foyah and NPRC strongman, Thomas Nyuma to intimidate or at worst, assassinate Mr. Margai during a tour of Kailahun District in the Eastern Region. First, a word of advice to these wolves in sheep’s clothing.

Mr. Benjamin must be fully aware of the fact that his home District of Kailahun was the gateway to the bloody civil war, which ravaged our country for eleven years. History will not forgive him if Kailahun once again becomes the threshold of instability in our country.

Ambassador Foyah’s involvement in this recent incident is especially troubling. With his wife as the SLPP candidate for Kailahun Central and his life-time companion, Elizabeth Lavalie, the SLPP parliamentary candidate for my own home constituency of Lugb/Bagbo, Foyah must be especially careful not to confuse his domestic activities with our national politics. Both Foyah his friend, Elizabeth Lavalie, widow of the Late Kamajor founder, Dr. Apha Lavalie, must be personally held responsible for upholding the principles of freedom and human dignity for which Dr. Lavallie was viciously killed by soldiers turned rebels previously under the command of Tom Nyuma.

Speaking of Nyuma, the former NPRC freedom fighter recently expelled from the US for his alleged involvement in atrocities under the NPRC and his former boss, Julius Marda Bio, also being mentioned with respect to these activities, a word of caution to the people of Sierra Leone.

During the interregnum, Nyuma was recruited by Tejan Kabbah with the assistance of Kabbah’s friend and former Electoral Commissioner and Ambassador to the UN, James O.C. Jonah, in a bogus attempt to replace Chief Hinga Norman as head of the CDF. Kabbah’s plan then was to use Nyuma to take Kamajors to the North in an attempt to remove the AFRC from Freetown.

Norman had refused to use Kamajors outside the South-East as he had refused to use Donsos outside Kono and Tamaboros, Kapras and Gbethis outside the North. Kabbah’s response was to try to replace Norman with Nyuma. Unfortunately for Kabbah, Nyuma’s patriotic zeal had by then waned and he wanted money to the tune of fifty thousand dollars and the extrication of his mother from Freetown before accepting the plan. Kabbah balked at Nyuma’s audacity and Nyuma subsequently returned to Houston and then Ohio from where he was recently given a one-way ticket to Freetown by the US Homeland Security Department. Hinga Norman, on his part, was tipped off by the CDF support group, SLAM, and Kabbah’s nefarious plan collapsed.

It is absolutely essential for Sierra Leoneans at home and abroad to be careful with these wolves in sheep’s clothing. They are like the biblical whited sepulcher. They are clean on the outside but in the inside, they are full of dead men’s bones. Never again should a handful of people be allowed to sabotage our hard-worn liberty. The election next month must be won by the ballot, not by the bullet. Those who are unable or unwilling to accommodate the wishes of the people are best advised not to short-circuit the right of the people to freely assemble and associate themselves with people of like mind to bring about positive change to Sierra Leone.

SOLOMON EKUMA BEREWA IS NOT FIT TO BE PRESIDENT OF SIERRA LEONE BECAUSE OF HIS ABYSMAL HUMAN RIGHTS RECORDS

Thursday, July 12th, 2007
SOLOMON EKUMA BEREWA IS NOT FIT TO BE PRESIDENT OF SIERRA LEONE BECAUSE OF HIS ABYSMAL HUMAN RIGHTS RECORDS………THURSDAY JULY 12, 2007
THE CHARISMATIC AND DYNAMIC APC SECRETARY GENERAL, VICTOR FOH
By Victor Bockarie Foh Culled from the files of the TRC
The Role of the Attorney General (Mr. Solomon Ekuma Berewa) and the Use of the Word ‘Collaborator’
915. Public Notice No. 4 of 1998 diluted the rules of criminal procedure and evidence in relation to trials in which the subject matter of which was connected to the AFRC and where the alleged offence took place between 25 May 1997 and 13 February 1998.  The relaxing of these procedural and evidential protections also applied to trials of AFRC “collaborators”.  The rules did away with the need for juries to reach unanimous verdicts.  A two thirds verdict was deemed to be the verdict of the whole jury.
287. An “AFRC collaborator” was generally understood to be someone who supported or sustained the junta in power.  Accusations of “collaboration” often became a premise upon which human rights abuses were carried out.
288. The then Attorney general and Minister of Justice, Solomon Berewa, set out the policy of the Government towards collaborators in a letter entitled “Present Position relating to the Collaborators of the AFRC Junta” on 13, March 1998.
The use of language in this letter was dangerously ambiguous.  It was open to wide interpretation and consequently led to abuses and violations on the ground.  Mr. Berewa criminalized acts of “collaboration” with the AFRC and sought to have all persons falling into the category of “collaborators” detained in the custody of the state.  This new category was not codified in law but it led to the detention of thousands of Sierra Leoneans.
916. A collaborator of the AFRC was generally understood to be someone who supported or sustained the junta in power.  The notion of ‘collaboration’ was often applied subjectively and arbitrarily by those who used it.  It spread fear and suspicion.  ‘Collaboration’ often became a premise upon which violations and abuses were carried out.
917. On 13 March, just three days after the formal restoration of the Government of President Kabbah, the then Attorney general and Minister of Justice, Solomon Berewa, circulated a letter to Officers-in-Change at District level, bearing his signature and the official stamp of the Attorney General’s Office.  It was entitled ‘Present Position relating to the Collaborators of the AFRC Junta’.  The letter set out the policy of the Government towards collaborators in the following terms:
“Take note that all persons who have evidence that any individual collaborated with the AFRC Junta should report should report that information to the nearest Police Station or to any member of the ECOMOG Forces whose responsibility is to take appropriate action including arresting such individuals…
918. The use of language in this letter was ambiguous.  It was open to misinterpretation by its recipients.  The letter made no attempt to define who “the collaborators” actually were, whereas the phrase was highly prejudicial in legal terms.
919. The Attorney General’s (Solomon Berewa) instruction that the infliction of punishment on ‘such suspected collaborators’ should be left to “the law enforcement agencies” made no reference to the due process of law and presumed the guilt of persons in question.  There was no requirement for interrogation of the ‘evidence’ that a member of the public might put forward before punishment could be inflicted.
920. There was also no clear definition of who “the law enforcement agencies” actually were.  Members of the Civil Defence Forces could have construed themselves as fitting into both the category of  “members of the public” and the category of “law enforcement agencies”, in which case they could mete out punishment.  They could also have construed themselves as acting on the instructions of the Attorney-General (Solomon Berewa) since they were instructed, through their District Officers, to ‘comply with what is stated’ in his letter.
921. The letter was open to wide interpretation and consequently may have led to abuse on the ground.  The Attorney-General (Solomon Berewa) appeared to have created a new category of criminal known as a ‘collaborator’ and sought to have all persons falling into that category detained in the custody of the state.  This new category was not codified in law but it served to ‘criminalize’ thousands of Sierra Leoneans.
289. The Commission finds that the arrests, detentions, prosecutions and
trials that followed the establishment of this Government policy were politically motivated and culminated in numerous human rights violations and abuses.  The Commission finds that the departure from recognized legal and constitutional standards was the result of deliberate planning and authorization by the Government of Sierra Leone.  While the Government’s objective – to reassert its political ascendancy and send out a strong message that coup plotters would not be tolerated – was just, the means used were not.  The Commission finds that the means employed were unconstitutional and resulted in human rights violations and abuses.
291.      The Commission finds that the mob justice prevalent during the
transitional period between the ECOMOG intervention of 12, February 1998 and the restoration of President kabbah on 10, march 1998 was not sufficiently quelled or controlled.  Many civilians were executed arbitrarily on allegations of so-called “collaboration” while many others were beaten up, harassed or molested on similar grounds.  A clear message or other assertion of control by the Government or ECOMOG may have prevented such violations.
Conditions of Detention at Pademba Road Prison
930. Prison conditions were deplorable.  Initially built to house a capacity of about three hundred inmates, the number in detention during this period was about three thousand by some estimates, like Donald Smith, five thousand) resulting in overcrowding of cells, and poor living conditions of detainees.
292.     The Commission finds that conditions of detention at Pademba Road
prison in the period between February 1998 and 6, January 1999 were deplorable and in breach of multiple provisions of both the Sierra Leone Constitution and applicable human rights instruments, including the African Charter on Human and peoples’ Rights and the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights.  These prison conditions have not changed at the time of writing this report and need the urgent attention of the Government.
293      The Commission received testimony of substantial allegations of
torture being practiced against inmates of Pademba Road prison, in flagrant breach of the Constitution, even under a regime of Emergency Powers.  These testimonies came from multiple witnesses whose periods in detention were distinct and for separate reasons.  They lead the Commission to find that the Government of Sierra Leone has systematically violated the Sierra Leone constitution and human rights instruments including the African Charter on Human and Peoples’ Rights and the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights.
291.       At the very least, the Government has failed repeatedly to discharge
Its legal obligation to conduct rigorous investigations into all     allegations of torture against agents of the State to ascertain the veracity of such allegations.
931. According to Hilton Fyle, who was one of those detained:
“Each of the sixty-eight cells on each block had been built to accommodate two people; but now six or seven people were crowding into each one.  On the left hand corner was the bucket into which you would empty your bladder or our bowels at night… the ground was bare, and up on the wall there was a large air vent with thick iron bars.  There was no chair, no bench, and no mattresses.  Prisoners were not allowed to sing, to whistle, to have pen or paper, to read newspaper, t write or receive letters, or be in possession of any instrument with which to communicate (like plain paper or writing book).
932. A similar description was provided to the Commission in the testimony of Victor Foh:
“(The conditions were) abysmal, awful, hopeless, useless, degrading, wretched, oppressive, abhorrent and all such vices most inhumane.  I and many others were selectively tortured.  Pademba road prisons were designed for about four hundred inmates.  The period following the restoration of the Kabba government in 1998 saw an unprecedented large number of children of all ages stuffed into very untidy cells at Pademba Road.  Whilst I and many others were charged for treason, the bulk of our unfortunate compatriots were dying by the hour in the cells at Pademba Road prisons.  Our human rights were grossly abused.”
933. Another inmate, Philip Sankoh, was particularly critical of the attention paid to the detainees’ health:
“The food was almost without sauce.  I never saw a piece of fish or meat in any food during the first six months of imprisonment.  No salt and just  thin spread of oil at the top of the rice.  The quantity was very small.  Ration was once a day.  They started preparing special diet for us after the treason trials commenced.  During the six months I saw so many people die or fall ill because of the poor quality and quantity of food.  We slept on the floor.  One blanket on which to lie and the other to cover, no mattress, no pillow.  We were eight in my cell.”
934. The conditions of detention at Pademba Road Prison in the period between February 1998 and 6th January 1999 were deplorable and in breach of multiple provisions of both the Sierra Leone Constitution and applicable human rights instruments including the ACHPR and the ICCPR.  These conditions had existed right from the APC regime and had changed little during the intervening years.
937. The then Attorney-General and Minister of Justice and current Vice president, Solomon Berewa, in responding to questions at the Commission’s public hearings, gave the following description of the steps he took to instigate the legal process:
“It was the absolute discretion of the Attorney General to decide who to prosecute and who not to… We set up mechanism for investigating those cases.  It was necessary for an early action.  I decided to concentrate on the cases of civilians in the first.  I set up a large team of investigators.  I relegated my powers to this committee.  Because of the sensitivity of the matter I brought in all the groups that were very considerate – persons who were very objective in their assessment of facts (students, lecturers, members of the CCSL).  Vast majority of them were not to be charged.  We proffered those charges and look civilians to court.”
943. According to Victor Foh, first accused in the first treason court, by promulgation of this notice and the rule of evidence, ‘our human rights were grossly abused and those of us charged to court were robbed of our constitutional right of fair hearing.  According to Abdulai Conteh, such fundamental change regarding the unanimity rule of the jury’s verdict, must be brought about by an Act of parliament and not ‘emergency regulations and their exigencies.’  Rules four, five and six of this notice unfairly prejudiced the trials of the accused persons by robbing them of their rights to fair hearing.
944. The Public Notice could not easily be reconciled with some important provisions of the constitution, which guarantee the fundamental human right to a fair hearing.  Moreover, this Notice offended the provisions of the Constitution that grant the president power to make emergence regulations and rules.
292.     Commission finds that the erstwhile Attorney General and Minister
of Justice, Solomon Berewa, played a particularly conspicuous role in the conduct of both the civilian and military trials of 1998.  As Attorney General, Mr. Berewa exercised his discretionary power of prosecution in an arbitrary fashion.  Furthermore, Mr. Berewa sat on the mercy Committee whose role it was to advise the President on the issuance of pardons for the 34 condemned soldiers.  The Commission finds that Mr. Berewa held an inappropriate amount of power in deciding the fate of the persons he had himself selected for trial.
All well meaning Sierra Leoneans believe that Mr. Solomon Ekuma Berewa is not a fit and proper person to be President of Sierra Leone.
Because of Mr. Solomon Berewa’s human rights abuses, he (Solomon Berewa) should be tried for human rights abuses by the UN Special Court of Sierra Leone or the International Court of Justice for the sufferings and death of many Sierra Leoneans he perceived as his  political opponents.
Find below, names of the 24(twenty-four) unfortunate Soldiers Mr. Solomon Ekuma Berewa, the SLPP Presidential candidate for the August 11, 2007 Presidential elections rushed them to their graves:-
1. SLA 18164384 Cpl. Tamba Gborie
2. SLA 18163273 Sgt. Alfred Abu Sankoh
3. SLA 200  Brig. Hassan Conteh
4. SLA 301  Col. James Max Kanga
5. SLA 207  Col. Abdul karim Sesay
6. SLA 448  Sgn. Ldr. Victor L. King
7. SLA 144  Col. Daniel Kobina Anderson
8. SLA 204  Col. Samuel F.Y. Koroma
9. SLA 405  Lt. Cmdr. Samuel Gilbert
10. SLA 223  Lt. Col. David Boisy Palmer
11. SLA 220  Col. John Amadu S. Conteh
12. SLA 339  Maj. Kula Samba
13. SLA 465  Maj. Augustine F. Koroma
14. SLA 495  Maj. Bayoh Conteh
15. SLA 462  Capt. Albert Jonny Moore
16. SLA 674  Capt. Abu Bakarr Kamara
17. SLA 501  Capt. Simbo Sankoh
18. SLA 439  Capt. Idrissa Keitta Khemolai
19. SLA 650  Lt. Jim Kelly Jalloh
20. SLA 434  Capt. Josiah Boisy Pratt
21. SLA 531  Lt. Marouff Sesay
22. SLA 272  Col. P.F. Fode
23. SLA 415  Lt. Cmdr. L.D. Howard
24. SLA 412  Lt. Cmdr. Abdul Aziz Dumbuya
May their souls rest in perfect peace
Fellow Sierra Leoneans, Solomon Ekuma Berewa, S.L.P.P. Presidential Candidate is guilty of gross Human Rights violations and accordingly falls among those who bear the greatest responsibility.
By:  Victor Bockarie Foh

Sierra Leone: The Election Opportunity

Wednesday, July 11th, 2007

Africa Report N°12912 Jul 2007

 EXECUTIVE SUMMARY AND RECOMMENDATIONS

Sierra Leone holds presidential and legislative elections in August 2007. President Ahmed Tejan Kabbah, who won a landslide victory in 2002 at the end of the civil war, split the ruling Sierra Leone People’s Party (SLPP) by anointing a successor, Vice-President Solomon Berewa. When Charles Margai formed the People’s Movement for Democratic Change (PMDC), the break-up rejuvenated politics but also heightened tension in SLPP strongholds. The All People’s Congress (APC), which gained in 2004 local elections, may be able to exploit this division. Return to a constituency-based voting system for parliament has reinforced the leverage of traditional chiefs in national politics and produced potentially vicious competition. Sierra Leone is still a fragile state in which peace will not be consolidated until two things happen. The elections must be violence-free and fair for results to be respected. Then the new authorities must deal with sources of discontent such as corruption, chiefs’ abuse of power and youth unemployment, lest they threaten stability.

SIERRALEONEMAP

The completely new National Electoral Commission (NEC) has started well and broadly inspires confidence. It has completed voter registration and has one month after nominations close to produce and distribute ballot papers. The choice of 11 August, the height of the rainy season, as polling day will not make the task any easier. National and international observers have a critical responsibility but it is also essential that allegations of fraud or malpractice be adjudicated promptly and fairly.

An escalating spate of house burnings, which started in Pujehun District in January, indicated tension between the SLPP and the breakaway PMDC. No one has claimed responsibility or been convicted, a lack of clarity which is reminiscent of the war years and undermines confidence in the re-establishment of rule of law. Although the police seem to have calmed the situation, more accountability is essential if recourse to violence is to become less attractive.

All parties are vying for the youth vote. Reconstruction efforts have done little to address the marginalisation of young people, and the next government must find a new approach to boosting economic growth and increasing income-generating opportunities. A robust attack on economic mismanagement is needed to rescue Sierra Leone’s reputation as a poor place for investment, but each of the major presidential candidates is burdened by history. Vice-President Berewa is fully implicated in the current system. Margai was part of the administration until 2005. Ernest Koroma of the APC has not held office himself but his party’s long-serving president, Siaka Stevens, was an autocrat who introduced a one-party state.

If the elections go smoothly and the new administration starts with a strong reform program, Sierra Leone can profit from remaining international goodwill, exemplified by the commitment of the UN Peacebuilding Commission as well as of the UK and other partners, to achieve its potential. If not, a return to conflict would again be a real possibility. In any event, the population’s tolerance of bad governance and lack of economic development is unlikely to last much longer.

RECOMMENDATIONS

To All Political Parties:

1.  Respect the voluntary Code of Conduct and, in particular, instruct all officials and supporters that violence, or calls to violence, will be swiftly investigated and punished in accordance with law.

2.  Deploy witnesses to voting stations all over the country to strengthen transparency of the polls.

3.  Commit to a comprehensive post-election reform program to tackle the popular discontent generated by corruption, chiefs’ abuse of their powers and politicisation of the security forces and judiciary.

To the National Electoral Commission (NEC):

4.  Develop a proactive communication strategy on shortcomings in administration of the elections and challenge the government to maintain a free, secure and fair environment throughout the electoral period.

5.  Establish decentralised coordination with the national police designed to produce quick reaction to security incidents.

6.  Support civil society in conducting a dialogue to sensitise chiefs on the need for them to act impartially throughout the electoral process.

To the Government of Sierra Leone:

7.  Take all necessary steps, including approaches to Paramount Chiefs and security officials, to ensure even-handed policing and a level field for all parties and candidates during the campaign.

8.  Ensure that government funds are not misused to support the ruling party’s campaign and that state-run media cover the election impartially.

To Donors:

9.  Maintain oversight and offer technical and logistical support during the election period with the overriding aim of minimising risk of conflict.

10.  Immediately engage with the new administration to make clear that a break with past failure to tackle corruption is a prerequisite for long-term support.

11.  Supplement the funds given through the UN’s Peacebuilding Fund so as to ensure sustained support for projects to create youth employment, good governance, justice and a capable public service.

To the United Nations Peacebuilding Commission:

12.  Strengthen local outreach strategies to emphasise the independent and apolitical nature of its funding under the Peacebuilding Fund.

Dakar/Brussels, 12 July 2007