Wednesday, November 6, 2019

Debit vs Credit Cards: Which is Better to Use?

A debit card is issued by your financial institution, allowing you to make charges against your deposit. If you have a thousand dollars in your checking account, your debit card allows you to pay for goods and services up to the thousand dollars you have in deposits. Your bank or debit card issuer may allow you to spend more than the thousand dollars deposited and impose overdraft fees. Fortunately, overdraft charges are no longer automatic, individuals have to opt in as a legal requirement.

A credit card on the other hand is issued by lenders and allows the holder to pay for goods and services up to the limit determined by the lender; the credit limit. Credit cards are issued based on the basis of creditworthiness and in most cases have no relationship to the money the card holder has saved, with the exception of secured credit cards. Secured credit cards are issued against your savings in a bank and are issued to help the holder develop a credit history. With a secured credit card you are loaned and pay interest on your own money.

Both debit and credit cards have their advantages and disadvantages.  Different financial advisers may give opposing advice regarding the use of both. Comparing the two, debit cards represent income you own and use. Therefore, you pay no interest and incur no liability when you use a debit card, as the income you are using is yours. With credit cards from companies like Capital One, HSBC, or American Express, they are loans from these financial institutions to the card holder. The card holder has a liability to pay both the amount charged on the card and any monthly interest accruing on unpaid balances. These interests, commonly known as APR, may be very high in the cases of people with bad credit. Some credit card companies not only charge interest on the credit card loans, but users may pay annual fees many other associated fees. One typical example of a really bad credit card is the Continental Finance Mastercard which provides cards to people with bad credit. This card charges a $200.00 finance fee upfront, a $50.00 annual fee, a $12 monthly account fee and a $25.00 fee for credit line increases. Unfortunately, these are some of the options available to people with very bad credit.

So, which is better to use, a debit card or a credit card? As debit cards involve the use of money that is yours, some financial advisers encourage their use and discourage the use of credit cards. Credit card interests, they argue, enrich only the card issuers and the interest paid on these cards by borrowers could be used to invest in something else or saved for a rainy day. For people with poor financial discipline or little understanding of credit use, credit card use can impose huge financial burdens. Many individual bankruptcy filings are related to poor credit card use.

However, the case for debit cards may not be so clear cut and simple. The main disadvantage of debit cards is that they do not provide the user with a credit history. In America, having poor credit or no credit history is very expensive in the long run. People with poor or no credit history are considered high risk financial risks to investors and are typically charged high interest on mortgages, car loans and even insurance. Some employers will even reject applicants with poor credit. People with bad credit who face urgent financial need may have no option but to resort to predatory lenders who typically charge astronomical fees and interest rates.  Having no or poor credit history is expensive.

Some credit cards also have substantial rewards. Some credit cards may give users cash back on purchases, may have car rental discounts, air mile rewards, roadside assistance, car rental insurance, discounts at certain retail outlets, and so on. Some cards from companies like Chase and Capital One offer very attractive rewards. As long as users of these cards pay their outstanding balances on time and use the cards wisely, they can benefit from the rewards without paying much in interests.

Concluding, deciding to use a debit or credit card has no single answer for everybody. There is no on size fits all advice. Whether to use one or the other depends mainly on the individual card holder. For people who are cautious about their finances, pay their balances on time and do not carry huge balances month over month, a credit card may be their best option, as it allows them substantial advantages in rewards, while helping them build a solid credit history. For people who overlook bills, shop compulsively and do not understand the risks associated with credit card use, credit cards can be a debt trap that may cause immense financial and emotional strain. For the latter individuals, debit cards could be their better bet,  until they become more financially literate.

Sheku Sheriff

Thursday, April 18, 2019

Tegloma Washington DC Fulfilling Childhood Dreams

Tegloma Washington DC headed to
Disney World 
For many children of hardworking immigrant parents in America, some with barely enough time for even a short vacation, the thought of making a trip to Disney World often remains just an unfulfilled dream.
On the Road  to Orlando 

This week however, for the children of the members of the  Tegloma Washington DC Chapter, the dream of a trip to Disney World just became a reality,  thanks to tenacity of the very hardworking President and Chief of their chapter, the dynamic Rosaline Bangura. 
Taking a Food Break 

Rosaline is just into her second term as Chief of the Washington DC chapter, having won the chapter election last month unopposed.

In an organization in which there is a struggle to recruit younger members, Rosaline is the youngest leader and also the leader of the first and largest chapter.

Rosaline's "go get it" style has occasionally put her at odds with some of the more traditional minded members of the organization, especially those at the federation level, who are busy trying to sabotage her leadership of the chapter at all cost.
Trip Organizers 

Asked about the reason for this wonderful initiative, Chief Rosaline Bangura said that about a year ago she noticed that Tegloma as an organization was all about adult members who grew up in Sierra Leone, with little attention paid to attracting youths or getting them involved. She noted that the future of any organization depended on its capacity to attract the millennial generation and young children who will become the leaders of tomorrow.
To address the issue of youth involvement, she decided to explore various ways of getting the children of her chapter members excited about Tegloma.

After brainstorming with members of her executive and chapter, they conceived the idea of a weekend trip with the kids to Disney World in Orlando, Florida, the home  Mickey Mouse and Donald Duck.

Chief Rosaline Bangura 

In order to make the plan a reality, Chief Rosaline Bangura launched a massive fundraising campaign among acquaintances and social media, with the goal of raising $5,000.00 for a road trip with the children. The campaign ultimately proved to be successful. 

On Thursday the April 18, Rosaline Bangura, her dynamic executive and some chapter members left Washington DC metro area with a bus load of well over 30 excited children headed for Orlando Florida. This is going to be the trip of a lifetime for most of these children, who will get to see their favorite Disney characters up close.

With such innovation and ideas, many people are starting to note that Rosaline may be an ideal candidate to head Tegloma Federation in the future, in order to bring the organization into a more forward looking era.

Friday, January 25, 2019

The Passing Away of an African Musical Legend: Oliver Mtukudzi

I happened on Oliver "Tuku" Mtukudzi purely by coincidence.

Many years ago, a friend of mine from Togo came over to visit while I was living in Brooklyn Park, Minnesota and met me playing a beautiful Youssou N'dour album I had gotten from the international section of CDs at Best Buy. 

My friend, like the majority of Francophone Africans, was a big fan of Youssou N'dour. The friend was adamant that he must borrow my Youssou N'dour CD for a few days and I could tell by the degree of unadulterated Youssou N'dour fanaticism in his eyes that there was no saying no. So we struck a bargain; give me one African CD and I will let you have my Youssou N'dour CD for a few days. It was one of the best bargains I ever struck, as he handed me a CD entitled "Tuku Music" by a Oliver Mtukudzi, a Zimbabwean musician I'd never  even heard of. The CD just blew me away and up to this day it is one that has never left my collection.

I never asked my friend for my Youssou N'dour album again, opting instead to go back to Best Buy and buy another copy. He also never gave me back my Youssou N'dour album. Those were before the days of iTunes. My friend probably thought that he had outsmarted me, but I will always rest with the assurance that I had the last laugh. 

Oliver Mtukudzi is one of those historic African musicians that never became big in West Africa and I really do not know why. Maybe it was our addiction to Prince Nico, Franco, Samangwana or western pop music. 

Mtukudzi's "Tuku Music" I can safely say is one of the best Albums of indigenous African music ever made. A self taught musician with a deep golden voice and great skills with the guitar, Mtudkuzi is among the unique group of musicians whose music never grows old. They get better with the passing of time.

For a perspective, just like Youssou Ndour was to Senegal, Salif Keita to Mali and Fela Kuti to Nigeria, so was Oliver Mtukudzi to Zimbabwe. He was a national legend, whose music was on the landscape of his country's music scene during the bitter struggle for independence and became a constant voice of hope during the initially hopeful and later turbulent times of Robert Mugabe, one of the giants of post colonial Africa who hang on to power for far too long. 

Oliver Mtukudzi died on Wednesday January 23rd 2019 after a career spanning many decades. I guarantee that he will be one of those musicians who will gain more prominence after his death, as the news and the significance of his music,make more people listen to his unique style. 

Thursday, August 30, 2018

The Planned Demonstrations against President Bio are Pointless

While in government, the All Peoples Congress (APC) party in Sierra Leone brought the country disastrously close to the brink of economic collapse. Now in opposition, the antics of some members is starting to make the party look almost ridiculous.
Kholifa Koroma
Escaped Ex-Immigration

Members of the APC party in USA, instigated by the former Minister Plenipotentiary to the Uniter Nations, Rev. Leeroy Kabs Kanu and some ex government officials fleeing justice in the country, are planning to organize demonstrations against Sierra Leone's new President Julius Maada Bio during his trip to the United States to attend this year's UN General Assembly. 

Rev. Kabbs Kanu, is a notorious sycophant and schoolmate of former president Ernest Bai Koroma who before the elections in 2007 that elected Koroma, set up an online "Cocorioko" forum that was devoted to a campaign of misinformation then President Ahmed Tejan Kabba, while promoting the candidacy of his friend Ernest Bai Koroma.  While an opposition candidate at the time, Koroma leveled unproven charges of incompetence and corruption against President Kabba, condemned his economic and reform programs and promised to use his business skills to make Sierra Leone a paradise in West Africa. He even promised to make Sierra Leone a donor country before the end of his tenure. 
Ex-President Koroma

Koroma raised the people's hope with his smooth talk and would go on to win the 2007 elections. Kabs Kanu, for his effort, was rewarded the position of Minister Plenipotentiary to the United Nations for Sierra Leone, a role he used purely for propaganda purposes.

In seeking to define his ambiguous role, Kabbs Kanu embarked on what he termed a rebranding effort, with the purported aim of changing the negative image that Sierra Leone had in the international community, into a more favorable image of the country. But the whole sham exercise was just an effort to promote the image of Ernest Bai Koroma, portraying him as a formidable leader, while vilifying the country's political opposition and painting them as unpatriotic. 

Rebranding simply came to mean denying the insane levels of corruption and other atrocities perpetrated by the Koroma government, while labeling the opposition members as malcontents and enemies of progress. Ernest Bai Koroma was portrayed as the "World's Best" president, even as millions of hardworking people in Sierra Leone saw no escape from poverty; with mismanagement, a lack of direction and poor governance pushing the educational and healthcare sectors into a precipitous decline. 

The country's main opposition politician at the time, Julius Maada Bio, became the main target of the rebranding vilification. Over the last ten years, Kabs Kanu used his propaganda outlet to paint Maada Bio as clueless, unpatriotic, power hungry and desperate. Even the decision by Maada Bio as a military leader in 1996 to handed over power to a democratically elected civilian government after just three months in office, was painted as bowing to pressure and inevitable. 
RT. Brigadier Julius
Maada Bio
President of Sierra Leone 

However, in spite of the effort of Kabs Kanu and the negative propaganda against Maada Bio by many Koroma appointed press attaches in diplomatic missions abroad, many of whom were mere APC partisan hacks masquerading as journalists,  Rtd. Brigadier Julius Maada Bio was elected President of Sierra Leone in March, much to the consternation and chagrin of these political operatives and some APC members in the diaspora, who had been misled 0that there was no way Maada Bio would ever win an election in Sierra Leone.

All the years of paid propaganda by APC does not hide the fact that the government of President Ernest Bai Koroma would go down in history as one of the most corrupt governments in the history of West Africa. 

In just ten years, the value of the local currency, the Leone fell by over 200%, as central bank reserves were raised to fund the opulent lifestyles of the APC political class. Revenues collected by government agencies were diverted from state coffers into the pockets of Koroma, his cronies and family members. Millions of dollars were spent on overinflated third rate road projects that are already being eroded. Millions more were spent on bogus electricity schemes that never materialized. President Koroma's own brother was recorded during a drunken tirade stating that the only essence of life under APC was personal enjoyment. They did not care that millions didn't have the same privilege of living only for enjoyment. 

During the Ebola crisis in Sierra Leone, millions of dollars in domestic and foreign aid went unaccounted for, while hundreds of workers at the forefront of the crisis were not being paid their entitled wages. Up to this day many nurses and other Ebola workers have not recieved the monies they were promised, despite the deaths of hundreds of their colleagues during the epidemic. Funds meant for Ebola survivors were also squandered. Many renowned doctors in the country died for lack of proper equipment to fight the virus, even as politicians siphoned resources meant to acquire such equipments. 

It was also during the Ebola crisis that a group of President Koroma's cronies who were advocating for him to rule beyond his two term limit,  made bogus charges of anti-party activities against the elected Vice President Sam Sumana. They then claimed to have stripped him of his party membership, paving the way for the president to illegally remove him from office without any due process.  He claimed that as the Vice President did not belong to any political party,  he was disqualified from holding office under the constitution of Sierra Leone.  Unfortunately, the country's Supreme Court, filled with the President's allies, sided with him against the Vice President.  In a judgments that will go down as one of the worst in the judicial history of Sierra Leone, they ruled that the President could remove the Vice President even though the constitution granted him no such powers.

As the excesses of President Koroma's syndicate became even more outrageous the cult of personality around him continued to grow. Many Sierra Leoneans in the diaspora became alarmed at the path towards which the the country was heading. Many saw parallels between Koroma tactics and the same practices that led to the civil war in Sierra Leone in the 90s. Many also saw the squandering of Ebola funds and the illegal removal of the elected Vice President as particularly egregious acts that needed to be strongly condemned. 

A group of concerned Sierra Leones thus coordinated and planned massive demonstrations during the President's visit to the UN General Assembly in USA at the time. Demonstrations against the president also took place in Europe. 

The demonstrations against President Koroma at the time were genuine, had a purpose and represented a concerted response to the real problems of bad governance, corruption and mismanagement in the country.  They were not just an act by political opponents to embarrass him on a foreign trip. Previously, President Koroma had made many trips to America before the Ebola and VP crisis and he was warmly received by a considerable section of the Sierra Leone diaspora. 

Unfortunately, the demonstrations being planned against President Maada Bio by Kabbs Kanu with backing of some of the politicians and political appointees who have left the country to escape corruption charges are purely politically motivated. 

These planned demonstrations have no other purpose but to further the campaign of misinformation that has become the main tool of a shell shocked political party that was ill prepared to leave office when it did in March of this year. 

The negative picture of current situations in Sierra Leone that APC operatives in the USA are trying to paint, simply do not exist. Ordinary Sierra Leoneans are going about their business, opposition Newspapers are continuing to print their attacks on government and independent radio and TV stations continue to give APC a platform to defend their decade long corrupt practices under the Koroma administration. 

When President Bio assumed office after the elections in March,  it soon became clear to all why President Ernest Koroma had insisted to have his own handpicked President and Vice President succeed him. In just ten short years, Koroma and his cronies had practically robbed the country blind. Samura Kamara was to be the willing coverup agent. 

Under Koroma, many political allies and family members had been awarded lucrative government contracts on which they did not deliver.  The government commercial banks were used as personal lines of credited from which unlimited loans were obtained for private use without much in the way of collateral security. Family members and political escorts were given diplomatic passports even when they didn't have any public status. Funds given as Grant's to the government for pilgrimage to Mecca were swindled with intending pilgrims left hanging high and dry. The corruption was unending. 

Corruption, has always been the main impediment to development in Sierra Leone. Under President Koroma corruption was finally blessed and legitimized.  Facing mounting criticism, Koroma famously remarked that his opponents were "flies and he would swat them without even turning his head," to the cheers of many of his gullible supporters. 

Even when the the international corruption watchdog Transparency International had for many years labeled Sierra Leone as one of the most corrupt countries in the world, President Koroma's brigade of propaganda journalists, many from his part of the country, continued to attack those raising the alarm, instead of investigating corruption in the country. 

Earlier in Koroma's Presidency, Sorious Samura, an internationally acclaimed journalist had investigated corruption among the top brass in the country, including the Vice President. Instead of doing follow up investigations, the government encouraged Sylvia Blyden a notorious tabloid journalist, to discredit the investigation and attack the character of the journalists who led the investigation. For the  successful hatchet job, Sylvia Blyden suddenly became one of President Koroma's favorites and was made an assistant to the President and later a minister, until she was fired during the President's President last year on accusations of massive embezzlement by her deputy minister.

President Julius Maada Bio has after the receipt of a government transition report detailing absurd levels of corruption under the past regime decided to set up a judicial commission to investigate and prosecute these acts. He has revitalized an APC compromised Anti Corruption Commission and given it fresh mandate to tackle the country's entrenched corruption. 

Unfortunately, some of the main players in the Koroma criminal exercise have fled the country and are now working with APC operatives to embarrass the President during his visit to New York. After peddling false rumors that the President was unable to come and would be represented by his Chief Minister, APC members are now claiming harassment and political opposition in a country that is largely peaceful. Many desperate claims are being made. 

Earlier in the month APC social media activists came out with news last month that the president was very sick during a trip abroad. A few days later, he landed in Freetown, as vibrant as a brand new penny. Some of the more uncultured APC supporters use social media daily to insult the President and his family.  They continue peddling the same lies about him that they did when he was in opposition. Just a few days ago, someone ordered an old Rolls Royce into Freetown and that suddenly was described as his. 

The APC party, not really sure what to oppose seem to be in complete breakdown on message. Losing an election you are 100% sure of winning is mentality devastating. It is starting to show.

Demonstrations are integral to public expression in a democracy. But the planned demonstrations by Kabbs Kanu's followers can only be described as rabble rousing at its worst. It is like " the boy that cried wolf." 

Maada Bio has consistently stated that everybody should go about their normal activities in Sierra Leone without fear of intimidation. Opposition politicians have just this month held two very large rallies in the country without incident. So the only purpose of these demonstrations is to paint the investigation into corruption in the country as a witchhunt. The question is if acts of corruption at this magnitude are not investigated and prosecuted, then why even have an Anti Corruption Commission?

All well meaning Sierra Leoneans should reject the antics of the APC-NA, Kabbs Kanu and their financiers. If these people are truly patriotic they should be helping locate some of their APC top brass who have fled the country with millions of dollars in stolen public loot. Kabbs Kanu and his cohorts are just poor losers who are not ready to accept the fact that a new direction of true progress is in the air and is not just a mere agenda on paper.

Sunday, June 3, 2018

Sierra Leone Political Updates: APC Parliamentary Vocabulary

President and 1st Lady Bio
Politics in Sierra Leone is now in full swing. Both of the major parties, the Sierra Leone Peoples Party and the All Peoples Congress, have taken turns at being in opposition and government over the past two decades. 

Currently, SLPP, the party that brought Independence to Sierra Leone is back in power after ten years in opposition and APC, the party that brought the one party system that led to the civil war in Sierra Leone is back in opposition, this time through the power of the ballot. 
APC Top Men

Due to a lot of political shenanigans of the last regime,  involving the creation of new districts and constituencies under the immediate past president Ernest Bai Koroma, APC has more seats in Parliament than any other party.  This being the case, many in the country have been expecting a very formidable opposition to the new government, as two new parties, the National Grand Coalition, led by political newcomer Dr. Kandeh K. Yumkella and the coalition for change, led by erstwhile APC Vice President Sam Sumana whose removal is reminiscent of a three hour episode of the Game of Thrones, also has some seats. 

So the hope for many in the opposition was that President Julius Maada Bio would for the first time in the history of Sierra Leone, face a very formidable opposition in Parliament, opposition in both numbers and quality. 

Alas, currently, three things seem to be working in President Bio's favor which effectively dilute the effectiveness of the opposition, particularly opposition from the APC parliamentarians.  

One of the advantages the Sierra Leone Peoples Party is currently benefiting from, which many of us criticized at the time, was the decision, just before the allocation of symbols, by the new SLPP Leader and Chairman Dr. Prince Harding for the party executive to have a large role in deciding who should get parliamentary symbols for the party. Dr. Harding's reasoning was that there had been parliamentarians in the past whose loyalty to the party,  once they entered parliament became questionable, as some became more interested in pursuing parochial personal agendas at the expense of the interest of the party. So Dr. Prince Harding and his team were able to screen the SLPP candidates at the constituency level both for loyalty and excellence. It was not a very popular decision at the time.

The second thing that seems to be working in the favor of the Sierra Leone Peoples Party is the decision by many APC top politicians not to run for Parliament, with the mistaken belief that they were going to win the election anyway and would be considered to be in top position for ministerial, ambassadorial and other top political appointments. So, many of the APC top brass were involved in campaigning and declimed to run for political office. The few that ran were given symbols and won. With the top people deciding to wait for lucrative appointments, President Ernest Bai Koroma decided to award symbols to second level political operatives and fanatical supporters of his chairman for life agenda. These were considered to party political stalwarts and agitators who would just rubber stamp the party agenda without even bothering to read or understand what they were signing in Parliament. However, that decision is proving to be a bad miscalculation, as I will elaborate later.

APC's third mistake was to suddenly decide to enforce the dual citizenship clause in the Sierra Leone constitution which barred Sierra Leoneans with dual citizenship from running for Parliament. The unexpected and sinister move was a strategy to handicap the candidacy of Dr. Kandeh Kandeh Yumkella who was making a lot of political noise at the time and was seen as someone with the capacity to erode support for APC  in the party's strongholds. APC members were convinced that Dr. Yumkella still held US citizenship.

However, Kandeh Yumkella, it was revealed, had renounced his US citizenship prior to the election-maybe he had gotten wind of the plan. Unfortunately, the decision to ban dual citizens boomeranged on many APC parliamentary aspirants in the diaspora who would have been vocal opponents in parliament, as they were automatically disqualified from contention. Dr. Yumkella did not turn out to be the giant killer that many supposed he would be, but the handicap was done.

So, a combination of the decision by Prince Harding to have loyal parliamentarians, the decision by strong APC members not to run for parliament, the decision to stop dual citizens from participating in the process and the propensity of Ernest Koroma to award those who would suppo
Mr. Speaker!
rt his chairman for life agenda rather than those who would become formidable parliamentarians have led to a situation in which the new breed of APC Parliamentarians are quickly becoming the new butt of jokes in Sierra Leone. 

Now that Parliamentarians have started to debate issues of national significance, the poor quality of many of the candidates Ernest Koroma pinned the APC symbol on is quickly becoming apparent and many APC members are not happy. 

A few days ago, a two term APC member of Parliament, spent almost seven minutes trying to simply explain that oil explorations became unattractive in the country after the fall in oil prices. Unfortunately, he spent the whole time shouting "Mr. Speaker," and bumbling so badly that he was told to stop and promised to be given another day and opportunity to explain himself, to a chorus of laughter from other parliamentarians and spectators. It was a national embarrassment. 

Unfortunately for APC, this does not seem to be an isolated case, as the audio recordings of other parliamentarians struggling to articulate their views is now the becoming the trending joke on social media. Parliamentary debates are slowly becoming more of a dictation and comprehension class than the exchange of ideas on crucial issues affecting the lives of so many people. 

People with nothing to do are now starting to go to parliament with the cellphones on record to partake of the country's new national comedy show, parliamentary debates.

What is the real travesty is that there were many young, well educated and highly articulate aspirants for the APC symbol who were refused the party symbol because the former president, a man with a known weakness for sycophancy, wanted to use the party symbol as a goodbye gift to his close admirers. From the Presidential candidate of the APC to the last parliamentary symbol, the process was almost entirely a one man show, with loyalty to President Koroma seen as more important than any other criteria. The effect is that old fellows like IB Kargbo spend their days sleeping in parliament while people like Mohamed Bangura think it is secondary school on a lunch break, while others think it is a place for adult education. 

The effect is that APC opposition is fast becoming a primary school dictation contest and the newest popular attraction in town. 

Tuesday, May 15, 2018

The Sierra Leone Inauguration and Much Ado about Nothing

President Julius Maada Bio 
The Sierra Leone Inauguration went on as planned, on Saturday May 12th 2018. Surrounded by regional leaders, visiting dignitaries and a stadium filled beyond capacity with the people of Sierra Leone, President Julius Maada Bio was inaugurated as the leader of Sierra Leone for the next five years. Though the President had organized the cheapest inauguration in the modern history of Sierra Leone, it was still an amazing spectacle.

However, the inauguration did not however proceed without some significant hiccups and some deliberate hanky panky.  On the day before the inauguration, fire mysteriously broke out at the Presidential Pavilion at Lungi International Airport where foreign leaders and dignitaries were to be received. It was blamed on a Plasma TV and faulty wiring, but many Sierra Leoneans saw it as a deliberate act of sabotage tactically intended to embarrass the new leader in front of his visiting dignitaries.

Tragically on the day of the inauguration, security lapses around the stadium led to a stampede by people to enter and witness the spectacle, leading to the loss of lives and some people sustaining serious and minor injuries. So it was a bitter sweet day.
Passing the Torch 

However, for opposition APC detractors of the new President, the main complaint now in the country and on social media is that the ex-president, Chairman and Leader for Life of the All Peoples Congress,  Dr. Ernest Bai Koroma was not given a chance to make a public handing over statement on the day of the inauguration.

APC members ,who have suddenly found their voices after ten years of obedient compliance, are now all over social media lamenting the travesty of not allowing EBK, their hero to speak at the inauguration of President Julius Maada Bio.
A New President 

Silvia Olayinka Blyden, the fired ex-Social Welfare Minister under President Koroma and the new "Pied Piper of APC," went on TV claiming that she had personally helped the ex-president draft a statement for the inauguration, editing it to reduce the number of pages, and helped him embellish his main achievements. She lamented that the Ex-President Koroma not being allowed to read his more than 20 page speech at the inauguration of President Julius Maada Bio was a travesty.

I think all the furore about EBK not being allowed to speak at Maada Bio's inauguration is simply misguided and much ado about nothing. It is simply making a mountain out of a molehill. Most of the complaints are misleading at best.

An inauguration is about the new President and his message to the People. It is his vision about the future, the problem he wants to tackle, the actions he intends to take to solve these problems and the outcomes he intends to see. During the inauguration, the new President basically lays out a roadmap for the next five years, as is the case of Sierra Leone.

If the ex-president has a speech he wants to make at the end of his presidency, he can print the speech for dissemination or arrange another program with the President to do so and not on the day of the inauguration.

I think Maada Bio and Ernest Koroma have always behaved to each other like gentlemen, in spite of the Al Qaeda mentality of some of their most ardent supporters. But imagine where two candidates have a very bad election and one wins and gives the other  the platform to talk at the inauguration. What if the defeated candidate uses the opportunity to further divide the country?

I listened to the first public interview of Ex-President Robert Mugabe and wondered what would have happened if he had been allowed to give a speech at the inauguration of President Emmerson Mnangagwa.

An inauguration is about the new President, the celebration of his victory and the future of the country. Ernest Bai Koroma had ten years to give speeches and the people of Sierra Leone had ten years to listen to his speeches and decide that this time they were following a new direction. If the Ex-President wants to tell the people of Sierra Leone about his many successes, he can write a book for the historical record. For now Sylvia Blyden and all other agitators need to find something to do or help make the country better. Sierra Leone is for all whether you are with "One People" or "Tolongbo."
They even complain about
Cleaning the City

Monday, May 14, 2018

NGC Strong Man Bayoh comes Back to SLPP in Dramatic Fashion

One of the more memorable social media spectacles of the past election in Sierra Leone was the public defection of Sierra Leone Peoples Party North America (SLPPNA) strongman S. K. Bayoh to the National Grand Coalition (NGC) Just a few months before the election. Mr. S. K. Bayoh, a strong supporter of Dr. Kandeh Kolleh Yumkella at the time felt so angered at Kandeh's inability to clinch the SLPP presidential candidacy that he decided to defect from SLPP in a very public and dramatic fashion.
New Jersey SLPP welcome
A repentant Bayoh

In a now infamous video clip he recorded specifically for the event, a video that could be a very Drserious contender for a dramatic award consideration, Mr Bayoh, in full SLPP regalia, gave his personal history in SLPP and the reasons why he thought the SLPP no longer had his support. He then painstakingly removed every bit of SLPP paraphernalia that he had on him and proceeded to don the ornaments and colors of Kandeh's  Yumbellas NGC party.

Unfortunately, it seems as if Mr. S. K. Bayoh's romance with the NGC was as unfulfilling as it was brief. In a new video he posted this past weekend on social media before heading out to a SLPP celebration event in New Jersey,  Mr. S. K. Bayoh, in full prodigal fashion, has announced resignation from NGC and his return to SLPP, the party he claims he has always belonged to. He promised to make an elaborate video this Monday detailing his reasons for leaving the NGC and coming back home to his beloved  SLPP.

However, at the public SLPP event in New Jersey, S. K. Bayoh gave some hints as to why he thought his short personal sacrifice for NGC had been for nothing, focusing mainly on the ingratitude of Dr. Yumkella.  Mr. Bayoh lamented that from the time he lost the Presidency and became an MP,  Dr. Yumkella had not personally called him to thank him, Mr. Bayoh, for his enormous personal role in NGC campaign. He vowed he had more to say and of course we are eager to listen.

The members of SLPP New Jersey gave Mr. S. K. Bayoh a welcome befitting a repentant member who had lost his way in the midst of the NGC euphoria. 

Opinions within SLPPNA are however split about the rapidity with which S. K. Bayoh has abandoned the NGC ship. Some people state that if NGC had won, S. K. Bayoh may not have quickly abandoned the party even if he had not gotten a personal call from Kandeh, but would have stayed. Others are of the opinion that a lot of then SLPP and now NGC members captivated by the allure of Dr. Yumkella particularly in North America should be welcomed back to the SLPP fold. The party needs more hands on deck to ensure future electoral victories. 

As SLPP eases into the driver's seat in Sierra Leone, there are bound to be more defections from other parties and the return of some past defectors. It is just the Sierra Leone way, some people always want to be near the seat of power. SLPP should accept them, as our people say, "there is no bas forest forest to throw away a bad family member. You just have to accept them for the sake of family and continue sleeping with one eye open.

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