|Coachie, some men will be idiots|
|Balogun Koroma |
Still to account for Independence funds
Leonard Balogun Koroma the APC National campaign coordinator who presided over the massively corrupt Sierra Leone 50th Anniversary independence celebrations, categorically came out decrying the statement and dissociating himself from the APC party stalwart Coachie's insult by saying that " President Koroma and all "northerners" highly respect the Mendes and and take them as their brothers and sisters" How Balogun Koroma was able to know that all northerners respect Mendes, only he can tell, as he did not provide any empirical data. Balogun Koroma then went on to add salt to the wound by stating that Coachie Mansaray, an adult who had decided to leave a party because someone from another tribe became leader, was to be forgiven for his demeaning statement, as it was not done "intentionally." What can be more more intentional than a fully grown and politically active adult male, standing in front of thousands of people and making such a stupid statement, only Balogun can tell as his intended audience has already been described as stupid people.
|Sankoh-Shekito's Half Mende|
Alhough I will urge any sane Mende person that cares not to even pay any attention to this statement by an unfortunately myopic political operative, his entire statement is totally emblematic of the entire APC political machinery and I do not make this statement lightly and will back it up with cogent facts.
Before Kabbs Kanu the APC's US based minister plenipotentiary was promoted to the present position, he ran a very popular online political forum called Cocorioko that has now metamorphosed into the leading APC propaganda mouthpiece. This forum was frequented by APC intellectuals who wrote statements more demeaning than the light hearted statement of a moronic party enthusiast. Mendes were not only derided as stupid, tribalists and bigots on Cocorioko forum, but in addition to that, all of them were decribed as frog and snake eating cannibals. For this and other efforts, President Koroma used his good offices to promote Kabs Kanu from an elementrary school teacher into a minister representing the views of Sierra leone in the United Nations and tasked him to rebrand Sierra Leone.
Those who think that Coachie's statement was just an incongruous sentiment expressed by an over enthusiastic party supporter need to just follow the link and read what the current deputy minister of information Shaka Tarawallie says about Mendes on a regular basis in his Torchlight newspaper http://www.thetorchlight.com/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=2107:they-are-all-mendes&catid=39:politics-&Itemid=53 Shekito describes Foday Sankoh and Tejan Kabbah as "half blooded Mendes" and John Benjamin as "half Mende, half German" all the people described above are Sierra leoneans, but APC agents like Shekito would strip off the nationality to get at the tribe.
|Sierra Leone is all that Matters|
What is more insulting, telling someone that he is stupid or telling them that they are "half-blooded"? Why not just describe all these people as Sierra Leoneans who happen to disagree with Shekito's political philosophy and ideology. Take any pro-APC newspaper and look at the names and caricature of John Benjamin, the SLPP party chairman who was born, bred and educated in Sierra leone and has never in his life, lived or worked any place else but in Sierra Leone. This man, born in the city of Segbwema, must have one of the thickest skins of any man alive as the only description APC tribalists have not launched at him is to call him a crocodile, and we are still waiting for that.
|Shekito and his "Half people"|
Even at the very top, these are sentiments that are famously expressed. President Ahmed Tejan Kabbah may have his detractors. He however, never went around Sierra Leone arranging Loko, Temne and Mende gatherings, but went around the country talking to the "people" of Sierra Leone, and not once in his presidency was he caught in any "I am Loko I am Temne" moment. President Koroma is one of the few modern day leaders that go around the country, focusing less on national and more on tribal identity. But when you read the writing of Ministers like Shekito and Kabbs Kanu, the only thing that comes to mind when thinking of president Koroma is the phrase "birds of one feather' or as we scientists like to describe it, "neornithes of inter-morphological plumage converge in close proximity"
As I keep saying, this whole tribalism dialogue emanating from Sierra Leone is terribly disheartening. Those that do not learn from the mistakes of history are bound to repeat them. Tribalism is a vice that must be contained in Sierra Leone. When we were growing up, we had all our problems, but tribalism was not one of them. When I was at Fourah Bay College, my room mate for all the years was Lawyer Abdulai Masiyanday Bangura, who will always be nothing but a brother to me. Shekito will call this man an Eastern Temne. When I left Sierra Leone, one of my best friends was Moses Sesay, now Mayor of Makeni. Moses is a model human being and I do not think i will ever find a better friend than him and I wish him all the luck in his position. Tribalism is a social malaise that limits your interaction with people who may be instrumental in making your life better. Tribalism is what led to the disastrous genocides in Rwanda, and Sierra Leoneans should take a step back from this precipice, pause, and reflect on forming a country that will be truly national both in politics and in character.
Sometimes I think that the haphazardly drawn boundaries of African countries are amongst the greatest crimes of colonialism. The national boundaries in many countries were drawn without any regard to the cultural differences of the people living in these countries. Nigerians fought the Biafran war and still have conflict today because millions of people who had no cultural affinity or cross cultural understanding were forced to exist together as one nation and it has been social chaos ever since. Even in Sierra leone, the people of Kailahun district have more cultural interrelationship with the people of Lofa County in Liberia than they do with the people of Koinadugu and that may be politically unwise to say, but it is just a fact and I am not a politician.
|Biafran General Ojukwu|
In spite of these cultural differences, Sierra Leoneans are a product of their history and as we are bound to stay together, people should start to understand each other more. Instead of discouraging inter tribal marriage, we should promote it. Instead of referring to each other as Mendes or Temnes, we should learn to refer to each other as Sierra Leoneans. Every Mende should have a close Temne friend. APC and SLPP should have programs of inter tribal outreach and any future leader of that country should ensure that they appoint a cabinet that is truly reflective of Sierra Leone. Anybody can say what they want about Valentine Esegrabo Melvin Strasser, but he will always go down in history as the president that gave Sierra leone the best cabinet ever in terms of tribal composition.
We should not give any more thought to Coachie, as idiots come in many sizes. we should however change our national dialogue and this has to come from the top of the APC and SLPP leadership. Instead of president Koroma saying I am a Loko why can he not say I am a Sieera leonean.? Instead of SLPP saying "one Temne, One Mende, " why not say "one Sierra leonean"