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Archive for April, 2009

APC-NA Conflict Resolved: “Forward Ever, Backward Never”

Monday, April 20th, 2009

APC-NA Conflict Resolved: “Forward Ever, Backward Never” thumbnail

It was a rainy Saturday and despite treacherous driving conditions, a cross section of the members of the APC–NA  from Boston, North Carolina, New Jersey, Pennsylvania among other states made their way to Lanham, Maryland to clear the dark clouds that hung over their branch. (Photo: Osman Conteh addresses peace summit)

There was a mixture of apprehension as some wondered whether the main players would show up. As they came one by one and sometimes in groups, the feeling of happiness (if any) was subdued partly because no one was certain about the outcome of the meeting. The uncertainty was evident as two members from the opposing factions began confronting each other but for the quick response offered by other members, what could have turned out to be an ugly scene was averted.

Ambassador Stevens and the Turays

As calm and normalcy returned and as representatives of the seven suspended chapters, Ambassador Stevens and few members of the interim executive made their way around offering handshakes, it was clear all had come together with only one motive; for the sake of the party, peace must be established so that together, they can work as a united team with the party secretariat in Freetown to meet the aims and objectives of the party and work earnestly towards the development agenda that has been set forth by the current governing party headed by President Ernest Bai Koroma of the All peoples Congress.

Realizing that during his last trip to New York to attend the 64th Plenary Session of the United Nations General Assembly, President Koroma did not only express his outright disgust as events unfolded in the APC-NA branch and did not meet with those he would normally see, it was clear members understood his simple message that “”If your goal is to see the party flourish and you have no hidden agenda, then you must work for unity in the party.” And work for unity they did until the desired outcome of reconciliation and forging a way forward to confront the agenda that must be accomplished for the people of Sierra Leone was arrived at.

Alhaji Dumbuya - Host and Peacemaker

Converging at his Lanham, Maryland residence, host and peacemaker Alhaji Al Hajj Serray Dumbuya, had only one intention, he wanted all members to heed President Koroma’s call for party unity and for the party’s interest to be put above all else.  That was why quiet and unassuming as he is, through his persistent calls and conversations with each side voicing their strongly held opinions and conditions for peace, he stepped in, worked behind the scenes to bring all involved to the table even when it means putting his money where his mouth is. Without a doubt, with the co-operation of the two factions, his efforts paid off with the resolution of the crisis that had threatened to destroy the North American arm of the APC.

In an effort to hear the various views that led to the crisis, members made their remarks passionately defending their positions, amidst thunderous applause and at times deafening silence. Thanks to Sekou Dauda Bangura of New Jersey who used his moderating skills to not only conduct a fair and balanced meeting but held every participant to task when the guidelines were not adhered to. Despite his best efforts he was still labelled as unfair. That the atmosphere was punctuated with laughter from both sides when it seemed impossible a few weeks ago underscored party comrades desire to see the issues that had divided them a thing of the past.

Having had the opportunity to share their opinions and grievances, the opposing parties acknowledged that they all seek the interest of the party and would work with each other in a transparent and respectful manner to advance the agenda that has been set forth. This includes the following:

  1. Adhere to the APC-NA byelaws and the party’s constitution
  2. Respect for different opinions and a pledge to respect the various constituents that make up the APC-NA branch
  3. Reinstate the seven suspended chapters effective immediately
  4. The interim executive must work with all so that modalities are put in place for the conduct of free and fair elections taking into consideration the directives issued by president Koroma.
  5. Elect an executive that is truly representative of North America and finalized plans for the location of the pending convention.
  6. Submit records that validate Georgia’s right to hosting the next convention
  7. Every chapter submit what is required of them for the smooth conduct of the convention where applicable
  8. Party issues must always be settled internally

The common message that ran through the various presentations was that, no one harboured any grudge against any party comrade. In fact, if anything it was a blessing that they have gather under the auspices of Alhaji Dumbuya and therefore supported his initiative for bringing all parties to the negotiating table. The time for party fighting is over and all should go back to their respective chapters to work harder and do the things that will enable the APC party to be electable in 2012.

Osman Conteh, Amb Stevens and Mohamed  Fornah

Notwithstanding the civility and peace that had been achieved, Ambassador Bockarie readily informed all that it was important for party comrades know that all his actions were the result of written directives from the party secretariat in Freetown. That is why “I don’t take any directives instructed via phone calls because I want to be able to show proof for my actions;” he stressed. Having spent 42 years as a member of the APC, he proudly shared with all that” he was born APC, will die as an APC member and is an APC Ambassador” calling on the press to quote him verbatim.

For Brima Turay, despite all the party’s troubles and name calling that he has endured, his message was simple and straight forward: “I am not a rebel and I am not arrogant. I stand for what I believe is right for the APC, the common folks and what is right for the people of Sierra Leone. I stand for fair play and respect for rules and regulations’” he strongly mentioned.

In his capacity as interim chairman of the suspended chapters, Alhassan Aziz Turay reiterated how important it is for party members to trust each other and work for that which truly matters because in the end it is about the APC. Whilst outlining the various violations committed by the interim executive, he was hopeful that oneness had come back to the party.

Patrick Ojong, Amb Stevens & Ibrahim S Conteh

As Patrick Ojong and Kadie Sesay made their remarks, the call for unity was overwhelmingly clear. Members were clearly impressed with the various experiences shared by party comrades who have seen the APC evolved over the years. Party comrades also expressed gratitude for the words of wisdom that Deputy US Ambassador. He implored all to respect each other and learn to disagree without being divisive. Osman Conteh, ex-chairman acknowledged the presence of a former member of the APC-NA branch as he made his remarks to all present.

As they “live forever” and have seen their “struggles” play out in the public domain and settled t internally, with the successful peace summit, they pledged as children of APC to “stand firm” shine and always move forward in “their aims and dreams and in the struggles of their party, APC. Oh yes, they proclaimed! Oh yes, they embraced and affirmed their belief in the party and in the leadership of President Koroma! They believe that there is indeed “victory” for them and the people of Sierra Leone.

Anthony Abdul Karim Kamara, Jnr.,

 

Dr. Kadi Sesay is Unpatriotic and a Disgrace to Intellectualism

Thursday, April 9th, 2009

Written by Joseph S. Sherman, Editor-in-Chief, The New Rising Sun, USA

Thursday, 09 April 2009

After reading the Press release of the SLPP of April 9, 2009 edition of The Patriotic Vanguard, captioned “Partiality and Unprofessional Conduct of the Inspector General,” signed by the newly elected Vice Chairman, Dr Kadi Sesay, it begs the question as to what moral basis and professional conduct is she making such frivolous statements

The IG, Mr. Brima Acha Kamara once served the SLPP government in which so many atrocities like rape, mutilation, and lynching, burning alive and killing of journalists were committed. Where was Dr. Kadi Sesay in condemning these atrocities? A member of the then SLPP who in parliament master-minded the beating and killing in cold blood of journalist Harry Yansaneh, did you question the government in which you serve as minister (SLPP) as to why justice was denied to the poor family of the victim?

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Rationality and moral integrity is what is required of every so-called intellectual or educated person, devoid of these virtues you are a disgrace to intellectualism and ultimately and unpatriotic to your country. In spite of our individual differences politically, we are bound as intellectuals to be the moral conscience of society and to ensure that the underprivileged are treated with respect and dignity but if we use our intellectualism to the detriment of society posterity will never forgive us.

The recent communiqué signed by the two political parties (APC and SLPP) to show restrain and conduct themselves accordingly is a welcoming move but condemning the IG investigations of the rape allegations is instigating partisans of the SLPP to delve into activities that might bring chaos and confusion into the country. If you are not politically mature, then relinquish the vice chairmanship to a well-seasoned politician, who understands the rudiments of modern day politics.

I appraise the politics of tolerance which President Ernest B. Koroma is practicing which was not common in your former SLPP government. Political tolerance is the oil of democratic politics. Learning to put up with one’s political enemies is essential to effective democratic government and more important in Sierra Leone at this time which is undergoing the transition from relatively self-conceited regime to a more democratic regime. Therefore, with the present trend of events in the country, harmony, peace and development of people should be our utmost concern rather than igniting and instigating the people into chaos and anarchy.

Peaceful co-existence is an active and positive attitude, inspired by the recognition of respect for the rights and freedom of others. It means that concern for others must prevail over callousness and contempt, and that an effort to know the other takes the place of blind prejudice and discrimination. More than a moral virtue, it is a reasoned exercise through which we can define together through dialogue, exchanges and acceptance of differences, the value we wish to base our existence.

In the spirit of unity and reconciliation, let us avoid inflaming a situation which is already volatile; let us try to be always open to others, in heart mind. Let us put into action what we have learnt for the good of our country and let us put into action what we preach which will help us to build a safer and more peaceful Sierra Leone towards which all aspire

 

SLPP has a history of fighting the verdict of the people

Monday, April 6th, 2009

Written by Mohamed Aziz Nabe

Monday, 13 April 2009
SLPP will forever continue to fight no matter what you do to teach them to accept the verdict of the ballot boxes. You know, these people are bitter, and are apt to do anything to derail the APC government as they are prone to have been doing over the years. There has never been anytime in the contemporary political history of Sierra Leone wherein the APC party leaders were found wanting in fighting to overthrow an SLPP government other than a legitimate general election.

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AZIZ NABE

But at anytime the APC Party is in Power – never mind the olive branches given to the members of the SLPP – they will always fight to take power, none the less. The SLPP has a dubious history of political malpractice. I will endeavor in this article to give few examples to prove my point.

In the 1962 elections, the APC did extremely, considering the fact that it was a new party. The party had made significant inroads in the SLPP strongholds in the Northern Province, Kono and Freetown. The elections were so close to call; but they (SLPP) used the 12 Paramount Chief Representatives to maintain a convenient majority and thus stole the elections. Even Dr. John Karefa Smart had to lose his seat in Parliament and his Foreign Affairs Ministry, when he was petitioned by Pa Amadu Hassan of Magburaka whom he had only won through rigging. The court overturned the results through a petition filed by Pa Hassan, only to be compromised through the help of my Uncle Alhaji Mohamed Foday Sanusi Nabe of Masimu who had hired the Train to take people from all over Tonkolili District to go to Freetown to plead to Sir Milton Margai to overturn the Court’s decision. They refunded all the expenses of Pa Amadu Hassan, the only APC Candidate that was able to defeat the Popular Karefa Smart in 1962 elections in the Tonkolili South Constituency.

The results of the 1967 elections are an open discourse in Sierra Leone’s political history. That was the beginning of the end of democracy and the commencement of political retrogression in Sierra Leone. The sore losers, an enigma of political correctness, brought in the military, in their frenzied desire to retain power by all means necessary. This is where I will forever remember Chief Hinga Norman in the abstract for being the harbinger of political strife in Sierra Leone. If that miscalculation by Sir Albert Margai, through the insistence of Madam Ella Koblo Gulama the iron lady of the SLPP of that time, to misuse the Chief of the Army David Lansana and his surrogate Hinga Norman to thwart the swearing of Siaka Stevens Prime Minister had not taken place, Sierra Leone would have been a better country today in terms of democratic principles and state governance. At that time the Rule of Law was strictly adhered to. More so, the indecision by Sir Albert to use his astute intellect to accept the results of the elections betrayed the trust so many of us, though young at that time, had in him. He was a political firebrand and a capable orator equaled only to Sekou Toure of Guinea and Kwame Nkruma of Ghana. The international press called him Albert Margai of Africa. That fateful mistake lured by greed and arrogance of power gave birth to all the miseries endured by the people, and the retrogression of the country.

 

On his assumption of his duties as Prime Minister in 1968, Siaka Stevens created a government of national unity with the hope of curing the ills sustained by the intervention of the Military in the political process caused by them – the SLPP. Instead of cooperating with the APC leader in good faith and for the sake of the people and the country, they (SLPP) engaged in frantic irrational subterranean endeavors to create panic and insecurity in the country. So he had to get rid of them from the coalition.

The 1996 elections were a joke. The political machinery was a mess. The population was fraught with disgust and wanted to forget the war and gave a try to Pa. Tejan Kabbah, a renowned international figure to bring sanity in the lives of the people. He only succeeded to breed a cesspool of avaricious political vampires whose only desire was to wallop the country’s meager resources and cap in hand handouts from donors to satisfy their filthy and avaricious appetites.

The 2002 elections, known as the Wutehteh elections, were a sham. The SLPP took advantage of the war knowing fully well that there was no way the APC could venture into the South and East for fear of the dreaded Kamajors (civil defense force). The SLPP leaders also capitalized on the lack of cohesive political machinery by the APC Party. So their proportional representation was a ploy to entrench themselves in power. The international observers had to beg the APC flag bearer Dr. Ernest Koroma to accept the results as they were for the sake of peace and social well being of the downtrodden people. For the sake of peace, he wholeheartedly accepted and spoke to his supporters to accept and keep the peace. He became a very vibrant and articulate opposition leader. The only thing the SLPP can now boast to have done during their eleven years in government is bringing peace in the country. But is that true? The answer is a resounding No! The SLPP never brought peace to Sierra Leone; peace was imposed on them by the international community. Hon. Ernest Bai Koroma, former Minority Leader in the House of Parliament at that time brought a semblance of peace in the country by not fighting over time to disrupt the SLPP administrative agenda like they are now doing.

With all these reasons and advantages in their favor, they became complacent, avaricious, arrogant, deaf, dumb and blind to reality. Now they are making anger an enemy of reason; Rape a mere political platitude to galvanize international euphoria against the decent and legitimate government of the APC party.

And now the erudite Dr. Kadie Sesay, so subsumed in political incorrectness, has invented a new word in the Queen’s Language, “vandalisation” just to make a point. Like Madam Ella Koblo Gulama, she would soon ask John Benjamin to give her his pants and take her lappa in critical decision making if John is seen to cooperate with the President. She seemed to be angry at the Inspector General of Police who is an authority and head of civil security in the country. She is still using the buzzzzz word “alleged rape” to still convince the inconsolable women folk who by dint of hearing the word “RAPE” even if used in mendacious ploy to create discord and rancor in the communities, will spew fear in them. Even when it is an allegation, which could not be substantiated or proven beyond a reasonable doubt, Dr. Kadie Sesay of all people, whom much is expected from, is still angry at the Police Chief who had been a loyal Servant serving their government with all their whims and caprices, to the best of his ability. Because he is now showing the same commitment to his duties and saying the truth as it was found by investigative sources, the venerable Doctor is crying foul and singing Kumbaya, threatening to fight to kill to convince the people about the inconceivable lies spewed by their surrogates to besmear and tarnish the good name of the President and his government. The fact that they could not produce real pictures like the ones they had distributed on the night of March 13th. that depicted the morose faces of Lansana Fadika and others is indicative that the stigmatized word “alleged rape” is a mere political platitude to score points and tarnish the image of the country both at home and abroad. This, to me, is an assault on reason.

I would like to advice Aunty Kadie not to be fretful of the truth for bogus political reasons. She should not go the way Madam Ella Koblo Gulama used to go wherein she lost all her good reputation due to her forwardness in critical political settings. I would like to see her maintain her reputation of being the only functional Minister in their dysfunctional government that ditched the country into the abyss the APC is fighting to lift it from.

Just as truth exalts itself and exhorts those that say it, it is equally true that the love of power can overwhelm reason. The use of fear against reason always breeds incalculable loss of lives and property when pursued for irrational political ambitions. Equally true is the use of fear and hate to disseminate slanderous epithets against individuals or a group thereof, only breed contempt and rancor for each other, no matter one’s social status or political trimmings. By spewing mendacious propaganda against their fellow citizens by mischaracterized publications – both in print and online – leaves much to be desired. We should avoid making hate and lust for power the enemy of peace and progress in the country. After all is said and done, Sierra Leone belongs to all Sierra Leoneans. We are One Country and One People with One Destiny under GOD. The best amongst us in the sight of GOD are those that enjoined GOOD and forbid EVIL.

Let me conclude with these words of wisdom by Maya Angelou:

“History, despite its wrenching pain, cannot be unlived, and if faced with courage; need not be lived again.”