LOCAL NEWS-Culled from 2005 awareness Times
Sierra Leone's former Ambassador John Leigh goes insane overseas
By Sayoh Kamara
Sep 19, 2005, 19:21
Seven Years Of Frustration Without Medication
Disgraced aspirant for the SLPP leadership in the just concluded national delegates convention in Makeni, John Ernest Leigh, has fled to the United States of America with his tail between his legs, brooding over the thousands of US Dollars he wasted in his failed bid to influence delegates to vote for him as party leader and flagbearer for the ruling SLPP. From his Massachussets home in the United States, Mr. Leigh seems to have gone completely insane as evidenced by his writings on the Internet.
Leigh is giving the impression to the outside world that he was cheated during the convention, when he woefully failed to secure none of the delegates to even nominate him, not to talk about having someone to second his candidature.
He is even denying the true pictures of events as dramatised by himself, his Campaign Manager, Rev. Hindolo S.B. Butcher and a lady, Ms. Susan French, who claimed to be his niece as she loudly wailed. Leigh now disowns Susan French completely and he wrote on the Internet that he has absolutely no connection with Ms. French either by ‘blood’ or by ‘marriage’. Leigh writes like he does not even know who she is or why she was wailing on that day her accusations about how much money, the failed aspirant wasted.
Mr. Leigh is also giving the impression that the press especially the print media are all against him and that all reports on the print media including that of the Awareness Times, were all ‘rubbish’.
In an e-mail sent to Sierra Leoneans living abroad in answer to one Ahmed Koroma on 15/9/05, Mr. Leigh insinuated that newspaper reports on the outcome of his humiliation and the shameful scenery he created as he was helped out of the convention centre by security personnel, were mere fabrications.
Ahmed Koroma had written on the Internet that, "If this report (of Awareness Times online) is true, then there is something really hilarious about Salone politics."
Mr. John Leigh immediately responded to Ahmed Koroma by stating that he was no longer in Sierra Leone but safely inside his house in Massachusetts, USA.Continuing his confused writing, Mr. Leigh stated that Susan was not the only one who wailed as a result of his horrible public disgrace but according to Leigh, "Dozens shed tears out of concern for what the future holds for Sierra Leone given the illegalities brazenly committed in Makeni during the nomination process."
Crying Ever Since
Mr. Leigh started appearing on the Internet shortly after the Makeni Convention and all his writings clearly revealed a very confused and distraught person. He gathered a few hanger-ons who rallied around him and tried to coax him. However, instead of becoming more composed, Mr. Leigh has increasingly become even more confused as his emails and Internet writings reveal. In light of the true picture of events since Leigh started disgracing himself over FM 98.1 with his lack of command over the Krio language, it is difficult to understand clearly what he is trying to pass across to unwitting Internetters and the outside world.
What is however clear and what came out on that Mr. Leigh’s fateful day is that his non-nomination was first greated with silence and when the nominations were closed, it was greeted with an outburst of laughter and then comments filled with disdain for John Leigh, such as, "Wo dat go vote for dis kind man" and "Leh ee go learn for talk Krio first"
Nobody in the form of supporters, followed the dejected Mr. Leigh out of the hall. He was by himself except for Ms. French who was wailing above the loudspeakers the following words: ‘Wose kind disgrace dis? Na Butcher dem all plan dis. Butcher wan kill me uncle. Ee wan kill me uncle."
At this stage journalists had flooded around Leigh as he sweated profusely in his black coat and his throat tied with a red tie like a goat bound for sacrifice. It was Alhaji I.B. Kargbo, the President of the Sierra Leone Association of Journalists, who intervened later by asking his colleagues to give him chance…"allow him to get air." At the insistence of journalists, John Leigh accepted to make a statement. He started off by being his usual vulgar and rude self. He even verbally attacked one delegate calling the person a "bastard" for what reason, no-one knew.
Indeed, John Leigh made the headlines again in Freetown that week. Awareness Times is reproducing some of the headlines and comments from the various newspapers which covered John Leigh at the convention.
*Concord Times, September 5, 2005: "John Leigh almost went into coma."
*New Vision, September 5, 2005 ‘Berewa wins landslide." It commented: "The legal minded strongman and former Ambassador to the United States of America John Leigh together with Dr. Lansana Nyallay of Tegloma fame were left in the cold during nomination period for the position as leader and flagbearer of the SLPP…"
*Independent Observer: September 5, 2005 commented "Former Sierra Leone Ambassador to the United States of America, John Leigh and Amerca based Lansana Nyallay did not contest since they were not nominated during the convention. Leigh later addressed the press that he was cheated."
The Exclusive, September 5, 2005: "Berewa’s brooms sweeps clean." It wrote "… He was said to have summoned an immediate press conference during which he disclosed to press men that he spent fifty thousand dollars ($50,000) on the campaign for the party’s leadership."
The Awoko newspaper, September 5, 2005: "Solo B in clean sweep victory." It wrote: "Mr. John Leigh one of the six contestants for the position of party leader and presidential aspirant was sighted crying like a baby after he was not nominated."
The Focus newspaper, September 5, 2005: "Clean sweep victory for Solo B." It wrote "…. all the contestants unanimously accepted the results of the election. Earlier during nomination time Mr. John Leigh one of the six contestants for the position of party leader and presidential aspirant was sighted crying like a baby after he was not nominated."
The New Tempo newspaper, September 7, 2005: "Butcher Butchers John Leigh." It wrote.
"The biggest casualty of this year’s SLPP convention is leadership aspirant, John Leigh… campaign manager for the Leigh camp, Hindolo S.B Butcher, said the people who were supposed to nominate Mr. Leigh "failed to do so despite assurances up to the eleventh hour of the convention…. It was alleged that Mr. Leigh, through Butcher, paid two delegates from Gbangbatoke constituency about $5000 to get him nominated and seconded…However, a niece of Leigh, Susan French, accused Butcher of conspiracy with the others to pocket the money… Susan burst into tears and cried throughout the conference."
Salone Times newspaper, September, 8, 2005: "John Leigh in bad mood." A picture story with the following caption: "Presidential aspirant and former Ambassador to US, John Leigh leaving the Makeni polytechnic campus, accompanied by police and journalists, after the close of nomination… Mr. Leigh who failed to be nominated left the convention hall in a despondent mood and was later whisked from the scene into a police vehicle which drove away."
Can John Leigh deny all these factual reportages to mean all Sierra Leonean newspapers are ‘rubbish’?
Observers are already commenting that John Leigh ate his cake before it was baked and that prior to the convention, he had already bitten more than what he could chew. In an exclusive interview with this press about two weeks to the Makeni convention, John Leigh had urged delegates to "Eat their money and vote their conscience," insinuating therein that his rivals were bribing the delegates money. An observer at the Makeni convention commented on this, "well he has been paid in own coin. Who will tell me that someone will go into politics without spending money? perhaps, Mr.Leigh was doing his own discreetly so therefore he gained nothing out of it."
Awareness Times gave John Leigh extensive coverage during his campaign period. We covered him every time he called on us to give him coverage. We gave all his silly comments prominence. His silly comments wherein he attacked other decent people with names like "Swegbehs" were all carried by Awareness Times in our stated bid to give full coverage to all the candidates seeing that we are an independent newspaper.
John Leigh was so grateful to Awareness Times after one interview we did for him, that he called us up to say thanks with the following words:
"Thank you Awareness Times. Thank you so much for all what you have done and have been doing to give me such coverage. I truly appreciate your wonderful newspaper. My wife, children and friends call me all the time from America to say that they have been reading your news reports about me. You have never taken a single penny from me nor have you ever asked me for any money. I am truly indebted to you people. You are professionals of the highest order unlike some of your colleagues who always want money for any little coverage."
Now, that John Leigh has been shamed and disgraced and independent newspapers covered his national shame and his national disgrace, he has turned around to say that newspapers are writing "rubbish".
As one email to Awareness Times stated, "John Leigh has lost his mind. It is important that people know that his writings are from a mentally unbalanced person."