Thursday, August 16, 2012

President Ernest Koroma's Dilemma

President Koroma Not Happy
Sierra Leone's President Ernest Bai Koroma is not a happy man these days. For a man who came to power promising to reduce poverty and improve the fortunes of the majority of the people, his government has been an unmitigated disaster for the livelihood of the common man. Rice the country's staple food was 60 thousand leones when the president took over in 2007, it is now 200 thousand,  while the average office messenger is paid 150 thousand leones. In essence, Sierra Leone in addition to its many distinctions can now also boast of having the poorest office messengers in the world, thanks to APC.

In 2007, Ernest Koroma capitalized on the high illiteracy rate in the country to run a fairy tale campaign completely devoid of reality. In an era of rising world food prices, Ernest Koroma promised to reduce the price of a bag of rice from 60 thousand leones to 20 thousand leones, knowing full well that the country imported most of its rice from other countries and the APC had no plan to radically increase domestic rice production. He promised to electrify the city in 90 days and the entire country in less than a year. He promised universal education and health. In essence President Koroma promised Utopia in Sierra Leone while minimizing all the effort that President Tejan Kabbah had made to drag the economy from a war torn disaster into one that stood on the threshold of economic revival.
Ex President Tejan  Kabba 

For most Sierra leoneans, it is this acceleration into abject poverty under the new APC that has become so disheartening. Alpha Kamara, a local petty trader in Freetown who was a strong supporter of president Koroma stated that he voted for the president not because they were from the same district or even because he hated Solomon Berewa, but simply because things were bad under President Kabba and as a businessman they had hoped that Koroma would make things better in the country because of his experience. Mr. Kamara stated that he does not care about tribe because hunger to the Mende man is same as hunger to the Temne man. He said that though there were a lot of people who thought that this year northerners would blindly follow Ernest Koroma, most villages and towns in the north were suffering as much as people in the other areas of the country. He said that he even considered it an insult for people to think that northerner will just vote for Ernest Koroma because he is from the north. He said that most of the loud supporters of the current government were irresponsible people who did not have families to feed. He stated that any serious Sierra Leonean with a family to feed daily were tired of this government and their stealing and fraud and corruption.
APC's Neglect of Freetown

Saidu Kallon a farmer in Kenema said that they were quiet and were just waiting for November to vote out this useless government. He said that APC thought that Sierra Leoneans were fools who would be convinced by propaganda and lies to vote for them again. He said that while all the people who write praises about the government ride about in big trucks or cars, or live overseas, they have to see their children go to bed every night hungry. He said that anybody who will want this type of hardship to continue must have no blessing, as they go to church everyday and pray to God to deliver them from evil, and he believed that this government was pure evil, full of liars, thieves and crooks.

Alice Sesay a 25 year old unemployed single mother stated that they are praying for a woman like Kadi Sesay who know the hardship women suffer to become vice president and develop programs and hope for women like her. She said that APC has no respect for women emphasizing that just recently, the minister of Sports Paul Kamara had publicly stated that "Sierra Leone women were cheaper than chickens". She said the minister should realize that his own mother and wife were also Sierra Leone women and that it was the fact that women like her had no hope that some were turning to prostitution, just to survive.
Sports Minister Paul Kamara
"Sierra Leone Women Cheaper than Chickens"

A civil servant who appealed to the Segbwema blog correspondent for anonymity stated that this government was not only a failure, but a real disgrace. He said that most of the political appointees who had come from the diaspora did not know anything and were just engaged in scams to enrich themselves and run away to America and Europe should things go wrong. "Look at Karamoh Kabba," he said. "That fellow came to this country claiming to be a writer who had authored two books, only for the world to know that he cannot even write a simple article. Sam Sumana the vice president claimed he had important jobs in America, only to be exposed as a parking lot attendant in USA. In order not to face the current allegations, he has run away to Mecca, contaminating that holy land with his corrupt and unholy presence."

In the midst of this dark situation, the president has a real dilemma. Is he to run with his corrupt and scandalous vice president who even the international community now regards as nothing but a cheap crook, or is he to replace him and risk the event of Sam Sumana exposing deals that the government would not want the people to know about. If President Koroma replaces Sumana Timber, he risks being seen as having capitulated to opposition pressure and the tenacity of investigative opposition journalists. If he decides to keep Sam Sumana, he risks the prospect of the already bad reputation of the government being dragged deeper into the mud. The president is in a no win situation and the only hope he has now is that Sam Sumana comes back from Mecca and somehow miraculously manages to leave all that garbage behind in Saudi Arabia. While Sam Sumana will spend the next few days contaminating the Holy City of Mecca, Ernest Koroma will be sitting in his palace, cradling a bottle of cold beer while contemplating his dilemma.
Sumana Timber "Alhaji Yuki Yuki"


Tuesday, August 14, 2012

National Electoral Commission Becoming A Barrier to Sierra Leone Democracy.

Electoral Commissioner Christiana Thorpe
The great democratic strides that have been achieved in post conflict Sierra Leone are currently on the verge of being seriously undermined not by political parties, lawless entities or thugs, but apparently by the very institution which has as its mandate the promotion of democratic ideals and representative government, the National Electoral Commission ( NEC).

When in 2007 the Sierra Leone Peoples Party (SLPP) which was the ruling party at the time pled no contest to the nullification of thousands of votes in its electoral strongholds that effectively handed over power to the opposition APC, the whole world heaved a collective sigh of relief to see a peaceful transfer of power from the government to the opposition All Peoples Congress party. Though there was a lot of discontent amongst the rank of SLPP supporters, president Ahmed Tejan Kabba decided to abide by the ruling of the NEC in order to avoid post electoral conflict and ensure respect for the mandate of the electoral commission by future political entities and individuals.
APC's Sanitation Policy
Get the Pigs Out

There was therefore a feeling in 2007 that Sierra Leone and by extension Africa was now truly on the path of real democracy, where the leaders of the society would be chosen by the people in contests that were not only free and fair, but also encouraged the active participation of all; the poor, the rich, women, youths and the disabled. There was an assurance that the voice of the majority would no longer be drowned out by the machinations of the powerful minority.
If however current trends in Sierra Leone are any indication of the fate of democracy in the country, then Sierra Leone is presently on the threshold of reversing each and every democratic gain that has been made since 1996, and the NEC is happy to go along for the ride to ensure that this happens, as the agents and proponents of Sierra Leone's one party dictatorship, the APC, are at the helm of power once again.
A land of Indescribable Beauty

Adding to the many threats to democracy that is already being institutionalized by the APC;  the importation of arms by foreign diamond businessmen for the government, the legalization of arms in the hands of civilians and groups that are approved by the government, the threat of armed intimidation of the opposition by the interior minister, the introduction of the cash for good news policy that is now the bedrock of the country's journalism, and so on, the NEC has stepped into the mix and muddied the waters by a series of strange behaviors since the electoral commissioner began receiving lavish praise from APC propaganda outlets, and was given a take home pay that was equivalent to comparable pay scales anywhere in the world, including developed western economies.
Killing Democracy

The first sign of trouble at the NEC occurred immediately after the elections in 2007 when electoral commissioners that were viewed unfavorably by the new government of Ernest Koroma were hounded out of office for alleged loyalties and ties to the opposition.

Sometime early this year, an article appeared in the online unofficial APC propaganda outlet Cocorioko in which a smiling Kabbs Kanu, the leading APC paid diaspora propagandist and the electoral Commissioner Christiana Thorpe were pictured with the caption that he has met his hero, a woman he ridiculed, demeaned and condemned when his APC government was still in opposition.
Angels and Demons

Immediately after this it was announced that the biometric voter registration process in the country had not only been deeply flawed, but there were problems with missing registration information, under registration in opposition strongholds and many other technical defects and foreigners were bused into the country to register, inflating the vote in the north, the stronghold of APC.

Then it was suddenly announced that the electoral commissioner's pay had  received a massive boost, effectively making her one of the highest paid individuals on the African continent, in a country in which the average citizen subsists on less than a dollar a day.

Just a few weeks after the pay increase which put the electoral commissioner amongst the ranks of African royalty, the NEC came out with candidate fees for the general elections that effectively barred over 80% of people in the country from ever being able to vie for elected office in the country, by requiring candidates to fork over millions of leones or thousands of dollars to the NEC as candidate fees in a country where majority of the people only see dollars in Hollywood films. The lame excuse given was that NEC had to come up with money to conduct the elections.
Preparing for Hague

After much outrage by civil groups, political parties and individuals who wondered at the timing of the announcement so close to the elections, the NEC climbed down a little, but independent observers are already complaining that even the existing fee modifications are discriminatory against the less privileged and are calling for a further reduction of the draconian fees and consultation with civil groups before such controversial moves are made by the NEC in the future.

Regardless of what happens, the NEC has now found itself in an unfortunate position of being viewed by many as a major threat to the country's nascent democracy as it has shown wanton disregard for the earning capabilities of important political entities like teachers, the youths, women and the handicapped. In essence NEC is now viewed along with the APC as the main agents of democratic reversal in the country.

The only thing for the opposition to do at this moment is to keep their eyes on the APC and the electoral commission very closely. APC has failed the people miserably with hunger in the streets and poverty hitting the people like a category 5 hurricane. The people are hungry and urgent for change. They are tired of the shame and scandal brought on by a fraudulent vice president who will scam people in the dry season and then go to Mecca in the rainy season pretending he is a good Muslim. The people desire change and every effort should be made to ensure that the desire of the people is respected. 

Sierra Leone Politics: The Rise of The Clowns

Sierra Leone Political Appointments: The Rise of The Morons

Kabba The Clown
I grew up with a serious regard for civil servants and political appointees in the Sierra Leone of the past. Say what you may about the past civilian governments of Milton Margai, Albert Margai, Siaka Stevens, Joseph Momoh and Tejan Kabba. They could have to varying degrees been corrupt, self serving and incompetent, but at least they had the moral decency to appoint people of substance to sensitive political and civil service positions.

Even Joseph Saidu Momoh who is unarguably the worst president Sierra Leone has ever had, did at one time attempt to put together a government of technocrats when his government was at the edge of an economic precipice. Siaka Stevens ensured that young academics were given jobs as a way of suppressing dissent and forestalling a challenge to the status quo. Tejan Kabba relied on the help of internal and external expertise in running the government machinery and he promoted the intellectual development of both the civil service and state security/law enforcement agents. 

When the NPRC coup of 1992 removed the one party APC dictatorship of Joseph Saidu Momoh, the young military leaders embarked on a shuffle of the senior brass of the military and law enforcement agencies, but left the civil service almost intact. The NPRC also ensured that the public face of their revolution was well presented to both their internal and external audiences. Karifa Kargo, the young NPRC spokesman at the time was simply a joy to listen to and it was from one of his interviews that I first heard the term penultimate. I still have a great affection for that fellow.

Late Sumanguru Hindolo Trye

Shift to today, and the story is sadly and pathetically different. It is as if the current government of Ernest Bai Koroma has embarked on a full scale exercise of the glorification of morons. While there are some serious political heavyweights in the current adminstration, they have either been largely silent or have been relegated to the background, while glorified nonentities have been pushed to the fore. The exercise could almost be described as the deliberate "dumbification" of government. Up til the time of his death, radical student political heavyweight turned minister Hindolo Sumanguru Trye was a mere face in the APC. Under withering attacks by Sylvia Blyden and other tabloid journalists who parodied his health issues, Hindolo retreated into his shell and became a shadow of his former self. Let me go straight to the matter at hand.

I woke up this morning, listened to Sierra Leone news on Star Radio and tried to read some opinions about current events. It was during this morning online news perusal that I came across the letter written by Karamoh Kabba the Director of Public and Political Affairs for the Minister of Public and Political Affairs, accusing Dr. Patrick Kagbeni Muana and the opposition SLPP of the use of a LISTSERV for political discussion and somehow implying that it was in contravention of some obscure act that prevented the use of foreign contributions or donations in  local Sierra Leone politics. The fellow even accused Dr. Muana, a young Sierra Leonean  associate professor at Texas A &M, one of the foremost universities in the USA, of stealing a listserv.

Karamoh Kabba, whose title is the same name as the ministry in which he works did not only limit this gross display of ignorance to the local papers,  he had the audacity to copy this nonsense to important state organs and diplomatic missions in the country. The tragedy about this laughable comedic exercise is that this guy purportedly holds an important post in the country, if his title is to be believed, and about two weeks ago I heard him spew the same nonsense on the popular radio program "Monologue" which I occasionally listen to on star radio. When I listened to the radio program, I was sure that somebody in Sierra Leone or the government was going to tell him about the proliferation of free international communication groups, but apparently they did not, and have allowed him to expose his mediocrity and ignorance to the whole world, a bloody shame.

What next is Karamoh Kabba going to target next, yahoo for allowing the use of yahoo groups or google for allowing the use of google groups to host communication groups? These are also foreign to Sierra Leone. Why not include hotmail, yahoo mail and gmail. People use these foreign email services that are American based to communicate Sierra Leone political messages all over the world, they can also be described as foreign entities donating to local campaigns. Karamoh should write to Bill Gates to report the use of hotmail.

Why not just report the father of them all, Facebook? There are so many Sierra Leone closed and open political groups on Facebook that I stopped counting long ago. Karamoh needs to write to President Obama and report Mark Zuckerberg for allowing Sylvia Blyden and other Facebookers from using foreign resources to interfere in  Sierra Leone politics, in direct contravention of the sacred laws of the nonentity promoting West African enclave of Sierra Leone.

Dr. Patrick K. Muana
Patrick Muana will be somewhere reading this hoopla and laughing like a hyena.  Some weeks ago I told Karamoh Kabba about the advice my teacher Mr. J. B. Fobay  once gave me. I will repeat it again and hope that someday, somebody will print it and hand it over for him to read. Uncle Karamoh " It is better to look like a fool than to open your mouth and confirm it."  

Why minister Alpha Khan would have this clown as a political director in his ministry is a question that I cannot answer easily. Does the guy hail from Kono and have access to diamonds? Is he a brother in law? With all the young APC supporters that were my college mates at Fourah Bay College, or even young APC guys from Milton Margai or Njala, why this fellow. Does the minister want somebody less smart than him, only the minister knows the answer, but this fellow is a disgrace to his position. He is a whack job who just needs to shut up and stop disgracing his party and country, he can go pick a peck or do something else.

Sunday, August 12, 2012

Sierra Leone Woman Stands Up for her Civil Rights and Wins


 By MADISON GRAY | @madisonjgray | August 12, 2012 |
Jestina Clayton

Jestina Clayton, a refugee from her native Sierra Leone, moved to Centreville, Utah when she was 22 and began braiding hair at home while a student at Weber State University. At the time, she was told by state regulators that she didn’t need a cosmetology license if she wasn’t cutting hair or using chemicals, which her style of braiding does not require.

 But in 2009, the state told her that she had to get a cosmetology license to continue her business, which requires 2,000 hours of school and about 18,000 in tuition, plus an exam, although Utah cosmetology schools don’t teach anything about African hair braiding. She protested to the state’s cosmetology board, saying that cosmetology, a vocation that involves chemical treatments and handling of skin and hair, was completely different than African hair braiding, an art that stretches back thousands of years. But her complaint was rejected and no legislator would amend the statute.

So Clayton took her case to the Virginia-based Institute for Justice, which litigates civil liberties cases like hers and filed suit to fight against what the group called “the state’s anti-competitive cosmetology regulations.” Still lobbyist groups like the Professional Beauty Association drew a line in the sand, insisting that Clayton be forced to comply with state law. “We encourage regulation,” Brad Masterson, a PBA spokesman, told the New York Times. “Why should everyone else who’s doing hair have to conform to requirements and not her?” The state argued that classes that speak to sterilization and diseases of the skin and scalp and sanitary issues were germane to what she was doing, plus regulations are good for everybody and help insure the public good.

But U.S. District Court Judge David Sam wasn’t buying it, citing a 1915 Supreme Court ruling that defends her right to make an income while working from home. He said that the state was squeezing two different occupations into one mold. (MORE: Facebook and the ACLU Say Clicking ‘Like’ Is Free Speech) “Most of the cosmetology curriculum is irrelevant to hair braiding. Even the relevant parts are at best, minimally relevant,” Sam said in his decision. He said that she wasn’t trying to change the state’s regulatory laws, but rather questioning their relation to her skill, which she learned as a child in Africa. “I am so grateful. It has been a long time that I’ve been fighting with Utah just so that I could braid hair. I am relieved that the judge saw the facts of my situation and protected the right to earn a living when the other branches of government did not,” Clayton said in a statement. “I am looking forward to getting back to work and to my clients who had been so who had been so supportive of my fight.”

Read more: http://newsfeed.time.com/2012/08/12/utah-hair-braider-cuts-back-in-case-against-state-regulators/#ixzz23Okey2BS

Thursday, August 9, 2012

Tegloma Acting As Cultural Ambassadors For Sierra Leone



Tegloma Dallas Chief Josephine Ladipo
Tegloma Federation International Inc, is the largest Sierra Leone organization in the diaspora. Formed in 1975 in Washington DC to help Sierra Leoneans of southeastern origin in the diaspora who faced overt discrimination meted out by the Sierra Leone Embassy in Washington at the time due to their perceived political antipathy for Siaka Steven's government, Tegloma has metamorphosed during the last 37 years from a reactionary organization into a philanthropic nonprofit and an ambassador of Sierra Leone culture in the diaspora.

Tegloma Dallas Members Actings as Cultural Ambassadors
Tegloma is now a federation of 24 autonomous chapters in USA, Canada, UK, Gambia and Sierra Leone and plans are underway to launch brand new chapters in Australia and Holland, two countries with growing Sierra Leonean populations. Tegloma has also over the years developed an open door policy to anybody interested in or originating from Sierra Leone, though the majority of its members are from the southern and eastern regions of Sierra Leone.

Tegloma Dallas Chapter
Tegloma joins Ebilleh, Kono Descendants Union, Fula Progressive Union and many other regional Sierra Leone organizations that promote the culture of Sierra Leone in the diaspora and foster unity and kinship amongst their members.

M
Teaching Culture to the Young
The largest Tegloma Chapters are Tegloma Dallas and Tegloma Washington DC. Several days ago Tegloma Dallas held a cultural extravaganza in the Texas metropolis in which the Sierra Leone culture was on prominent display.

Loving The Sierra Leone Culture
Tegloma International Federation under the leadership of Board Chairman Abu Bonapha of  Northern California and Adminstration Chairman Alfred Moi Jamiru of Indiana will be holding the Annual International Convention in Washington DC from August 31-September 2, 2012. The main host of the convention will be Chief Victor Tarmoh of Tegloma Washington DC metro, which covers Washington DC, Maryland and Virginia

The Secretary General of the board of directors of Tegloma is Sheku Mohamed Mustapha Sheriff of Tegloma Minnesota and the adminstration Secretary General is Jeneba Bangura of Tegloma New York. 

Wednesday, August 8, 2012

Wesley Old Students Association Announcement


   Kalilu Lavalie Foday (Save Me Oh God)
The late Kalilu Lavalie Foday ( SMOG), the Segbwema born teacher and economist was a valuable and prominent member of Wesley Old Students Association (WOSA), the alumni association of his alma mater Wesley Secondary School, Kailahun District, Sierra Leone. WOSA members will therefore be playing a very prominent role in the funeral ceremonies for their distinguished colleague.

Kalilu Foday departed this world on Monday August 6, 2012 at the 34 Military Hospital, Wilberforce, Freetown Sierra Leone after a period of illness. Funeral arrangements are simultaneously being held in Freetown, Kenema and Segbwema. The remains of the dear brother will be transported to Segbwema on Saturday August 11 for interment in the home of his forefathers on Sunday August 12, 2012.

The Wesley Old Students Association (WOSA) will be be convening an emergency meeting at the funeral home located at 3 Regent Road, Lumley Freetown on Thursday August 9, 2012,  at exactly 5pm local time (GMT). All WOSA members and other interested persons are encouraged and requested to attend this important meeting.

WOSA members are also urged to contribute in any way conceivable; morally, physically and financially to help give Kalilu a fitting farewell to a young man who meant so many things to so many people.

May God forgive his sins and grant him eternal comfort.

Tuesday, August 7, 2012

Kalilu Lavalie Foday: Death of An Ally



                     Kalilu Lavalie Foday (SMOG)

It was with the utmost shock that I learnt yesterday of the death of my brother, ally and friend, Mr. Kalilu Lavalie Foday, alias SMOG. 

Kalilu was born in the early 60s in Segbwema to the late Mamie Jajua and Njaluahun Chiefdom Speaker Chief Foday. He was born into a family of chiefs on both his maternal and paternal side.

I came to know SMOG when I went to back to Segbwema to complete secondary school and we both became school mates at Wesley Secondary School. Though SMOG was my senior, we soon became close friends as both of our mothers were life long friends and I developed a fascination for SMOG's radicalism and unconventional ways. In a society bound by customs and traditions, SMOG was the perfect radical. Even as a student he was fiercely independent and nonconformist. During the holidays he will buy used books from other students for resale and each holiday he will have a thriving black market business for used books by the old railway station. 

In many ways, SMOG cultivated in me my life long love for reading and books. On slow days when we were not selling much, I will lie in the shade and read from the many books he had to sell. If I saw a really interesting book, I would convince him not to sell it and since I help him pack his books at the end of each day, he always let me keep those books I wanted that were not in high demand. Those days people only bought textbooks. Segbwema did not have a culture where people bought books that were not prescribed reading.

When I was promoted to form five, SMOG decided to retake his GCE 'O' Levels and we formed a study group and moved into the room of another brother John Baimba, alias Johnny Bianda. Each morning we will walk up the long Kabalun hill to Wesley school for the school day and in the evening we either went to play bingo, hang out at Bockarie Ansumana's store to help him with his insurance business paperwork or I will go to Konotown to join Alex Mansaray and Vanni Bockarie practice for our local discorama group where I used to mime Michael Jackson songs as a hobby. At night we would take out the long table and study till 12 midnight, ready to repeat the same sequence of events the following day.

Some weekends John Baimba and I would join SMOG to walk the three or four mile distance to Njaluahun girls secondary school at DarunJunctiom to visit his fiancée Alice Jimmy who was a student school at the time. We would all dress in our Sunday best to impress the girls.

During our fifth form at Wesley, we were lucky to have some excellent teachers; Senesie Samai (Late)-Biology, Adonis Kanneh-Chemistry, Alex Dauda Coker-Economics, John T. Jusu(Late)-Mathematics, Ansumana Jorwulor Gbonnoh-Agriculture/Chemistry, Mohamed  "Rasta" Mustapha (Late)-Statistics, Jusu Lahai-Physic/Additional Maths. Almost all our teachers were Wesley Alumni most of whom had just graduated from university and as a result the 'O' level results that year were excellent.

When we graduated from Wesley, I went to Freetown to do sixth form at the Sierra Leone Grammar school and SMOG moved with our mentor Mohamed Rasta to Kenema to teach. I completed sixth form and moved to Fourah Bay College. In my honors 1 year at Fourah Bay I prevailed on SMOG to give up teaching and go get his university degree. He applied and was accepted to do a honors degree in Economics at Fourah Bay College at the height of the war in the country. He went to FBC in my senior year and was our illegal roommate "gorilla" that year. SMOG persevered and was able to graduate from Fourah Bay College, following in the footsteps of his elder brother, the late Honorable Ibrahim Kalilu Foday, alias IK, three time MP for our constituency.

When I left Sierra Leone I lost contact with SMOG until I came to USA and tracked his cellphone number. I was glad to learn that he had joined the civil service and was doing extremely well before the APC purge of southeasterners which ultimately led him to lose his job and sustenance.

Kalilu Lavalie Foday was a radical, a teacher, an inspiration, an example and a friend and it is a real tragedy that he had to leave this world so soon, as he still had so much to offer. He was a treasure and a real blessing from God to us. Segbwema descendants will miss SMOG and his death has made me realize that I need to get in touch with friends and talk to them more often, as you never know what tomorrow may bring. All my close friends who read this and would like me to call them up for some old time talk should email me with their names and numbers. My email is segbwema@gmail.com

My Sympathies to OG's wife Yama and the rest of the Foday and Jajua families.

Monday, August 6, 2012

Sam Sumana Is Embarrassing Sierra Leone







Sumana Timber
 The most Scandal plagued Vice President in the history of Sierra Leone Chief Sam Sumana, aka. Sumana Timber seems to be virtually unstoppable in his quest to be the richest Vice President in the history of the small West African country, through dishonest means. All Peoples Congress officials who had been quietly stating all through the past years that Sam Sumana, a relative political unknown before he became the occupier of the second seat in the land, had bought the position with cold hard cash seem to have been completely vindicated.

The vice president, whose record of brazen scam tactics has made the country a disgrace in the subregion seems to outdo even himself with each waking day. When it was revealed that the vice president had scammed a group of Minnesota investors led by Dave Kloeber of Unique Thrift stores, the vice president and his supporters concocted a story blaming his detractors in the opposition Sierra Leone People's Party (SLPP)and twisted the allegation of a million dollar fraud as a witch hunt against the Kono people of Sierra Leone, a people who unlike the president are known for their uprightness and honesty.

David Tam Baryoh in his popular monologue program and Karamoh Kabba, the shallow minded APC spokesman postulated that the numerous scandals the VP faced were an elaborate conspiracy against the Kono people. The monologue anchor even went as far as to speculate that not only SLPP members, but APC top brass were also complicit in the plot to bring down the VP. The fact that the numerous allegations against the Vice President originated from a variety of sources most of who bore no relationship to each other was hastily dismissed. Instead of genuinely discussing the character flaws of the vice president that made him unfit to be a leader of the country, the whole discussion was reduced to primitive tribalism, as is always the case in modern day Sierra Leone.

As has been proved time and again, crooks always end up making mistakes. Sam Sumana in his scam dealings has made a very serious mistake and miscalculation. He has now scammed a group of American investors with international clout who are now on the verge of bringing the full force of international and American law to bear on his head. What Sam Sumana failed to consider is that the American economy relies very heavily on international investments. American investors engaged in foreign business are given the full protection and backing of their government as long as they are engaged in legitimate international trade, as they form a substantial portion of the bedrock of the country's economy. By assuming that he could use his position as vice president of a heavily aid dependent nation to scam legitimate American investors, Sam Sumana has wallowed into waters that may swallow him if he does not find a quick way to swim out rapidly.

The main problem with Sierra Leone, as is the case with most African nations is the fact that wealth is highly celebrated without concern for its origin. When Sam Sumana who had been struggling to make ends meet in the Sierra Leone community here in Minnesota disappeared from the scene and suddenly emerged as the second man on a winning presidential ticket, only very few people questioned how a relatively unknown person with no known political involvement had achieved this near miraculous feat. Many people in Sierra Leone assumed that Sam was one of those men who had come to America and made it big, which he of course did, only that he did it with other people's money. In Minnesota on the other hand, stories were peddled as to how Sam whose father had been a chief had gone back home and struck it rich in diamonds. The fact that he was the country representative for a group of investors who had made him a custodian of their honest investments, somehow never made it into the VP's numerous fairy tales. But as they usually say "if it is too good to be true, it probably is."

Sam Sumana represents all that is not only wrong with Sierra Leone, but with Africa as a whole. We have societies tethering on the brink of economic disaster. We have investors willing to venture into foreign lands to invest and improve the lot of the people. Then we have sharks like Sam Sumana whose only concern is their own welfare and immediate gratification. They sell brilliant investment ideas and get people to commit to these ideas and then treat them as if they were fools. As the investment face of the APC delegation that has led trade trips as far away as Israel, Sam Sumana's conduct is not only a problem for the APC led government of President Ernest Bai Koroma, but it is an unmitigated disaster for the future of foreign investment in the country.

Freetown Floating in Filth
After a decade of civil war and some period of relative stability, the primary thing now is for the country to attract investment, both domestic and foreign. Given the low level of domestic investment, the only hope for an acceleration in economic growth and ultimately economic development is through a massive infusion of foreign capital that will kick start the economy and create jobs. What evil agents like Sam Sumana are doing is tantamount to a crime against the nation as they are discouraging potential foreign investment and perpetuating the poverty and despair that has come to characterize the once proud nation. Sam Sumana has no business being the vice president of Sierra Leoneor or even a basket case like Somalia. Sierra Leone has produced too many fine human beings to have a common crook as vice president and president Koroma if he really wanted to prove he was not complicit in any of these disgraceful occurrences will either ask for his immediate resignation or bring him nowhere the presidency ever again.

Now some new set of investors unrelated to the Kloeber affair are threatening to not only take legal action against the vice president for fraud both in Sierra Leone and USA, but are seeking the help of their congressional representatives to retrieve their monies. An original copy of a letter to Sam Sumana by the President of Taakor is shown by following the link below
http://thenewpeople.com/images/demandfromtaakor.pdf
A prominent Sierra Leonean who saw the documents stated that all politics aside the conduct of the vice president is very troubling. The world waits with patience to hear what the spin doctors at Cocorioko, The Daily Mail and Awareness Times who have emerged as the prime defenders of corruption in Sierra Leone, will say to defend an increasingly indefensible conduct.


Friday, August 3, 2012

Sam Sumana's Conspiracy Baloney Does Not Make Sense.


Stop The Baloney
If there is one thing the ruling All People's Congress party of Sierra Leone is good at, it is their capacity to look at every single issue through the tribal lens. If you talk against the current ineptitude of APC, you must not like northerners. If you talk against the corruption plagued Vice President Sam Sumana, you have a grand plan against the Kono people. In essence, the only thing you can do is keep very quiet, while your poor people back home wallow in poverty and despair. Some parochial minds even say that those of us in the diaspora should not talk about things going back home in Sierra Leone, disregarding the fact that our daily trips to Western Union and Moneygram are directly related to the fact that folks back home are growing increasingly dependent or in some cases totally dependent on those of us here who care for families back home, as the Sierra Leone economy is now a basket case.
Where is My Money Mr. VP?
When I read Titus Boye-Thompson's article on Facebook yesterday, insinuating that Vice President Sam Sumana's current predicament was a grand conspiratorial design against Konos, I could have laughed if the matter was not so serious. One problem most of these western area intellectuals have is their serious lack of understanding of the social relationships between the people of areas beyond Freetown. I attended primary school in Freetown and was always surprised at the number of my classmates who had never even stepped their feet beyond Wellington, let alone know what Waterloo looks like. Titus' long piece was just one example of knowing all that you know about your fellow Sierra Leoneans either through history books or through hearsay. 
Titus Boye-Thompson of Ethnic Mutual
If Titus Boye-Thompson thinks that the relationship between SLPP and people from Kono was dependent on ex-NDMC head Abu Aiah Koroma, then this guy has some serious history class to take. I know Titus worked at one time with the first lady until they had a falling out over some visa manipulation issues or some sort of corruption reminiscent of the time police in London broke into his apartment when they were diverting funds from Ethnic Mutual to a group they set up, but I will come to that at a later date.
Conspiracy Pick A Peck (Empty Suit)
Titus Boye-Thompson will benefit some if he took some time out to visit old man Sama Banya for some history of the Kono-SLPP relationship or get some proper sociological prospective of the relations between the peoples of southeastern Sierra Leone. If he does he will know that Abu Aiah Koroma the father of the first lady and former president of OBBA, may God bless him, was a very late comer into Sierra Leone politics, having spent most of his time at NDMC away from party politics even during the 80s. The old got into politics as a retirement past time and to think that SLPP-Kono relationship depended on him is an extreme manifestation of ignorance by someone writing as if they had even a faint idea of the geopolitical history of Sierra Leone.

I just want Boye to know that the relationships between peoples from Southeast, predate party politics and is hinged upon a commonality of culture, customs and traditions that have allowed the diverse Kono, Mende, Madingo, Kissi, and Konyanka(Komende) to exist peacefully for centuries. It was because the old APC could never penetrate this cultural barrier that made Siaka Steven rely on northern Sierra Leone as the backbone of his new APC, giving rise to the regional party affiliations that have become so magnified and exploited by the presidency of Ernest Koroma.

Boye-Thompson would also benefit from knowing that Kono district is not a homogeneous society, but a heterogeneous melting pot. So any desire to introduce the politics of tribalism into Kono by APC as a way to gain loyalty as they are doing in the north, will be disastrous for the district, as the different tribes in Kono district have assimilated and coexisted for centuries. If as APC preaches that SLPP is Mende, then the proponents of this particular ideology should realize that there is no tribe that shares a more similar culture with Mendes than Konos. Though Mendes and Lokos share almost the same Language, Kono and Mende culture is sociologically identical.
Is it Really a Conspiracy?
The truth of the matter is that Sam Sumana should not hide behind his being Kono to justify his legacy of fraudulent practices that has diminished the office of the vice presidency in the country. The American investors that are accusing the vice president of swindling do not know Mende from Temne or Loko from Limba. All they know is that they met this ambitious fellow who told them that there were opportunities to be had in mining diamonds in Sierra Leone. The Americans did some research and realized that the country had great potential. The war had ended, there was no major dominant mining company in the country at the time and it therefore made good business sense to go in. They invested in heavy equipment and put Sam Sumana in charge.

Sam Sumana took the people's money, went to Sierra Leone and stopped communicating with them. He represented himself in Sierra Leone as if the business was his and used the proceeds to buy the vice presidential ticket. SLPP had no knowledge of these people in America who Sam conned and now that the people want their money, it is suddenly an SLPP conspiracy against the Konos. Anybody who believes this load of baloney about conspiracy against the Konos, need to have their head examined or better yet need to be on some serious psychotropic medications.

Was is SLPP that was also responsible for the Al Jazeera timber scandal, or the vice president's lies that he came to attend Obama's inauguration while he was thousand of miles away from Washington in Florida meeting with questionable business characters. Was it SLPP that maneuvered a cocaine load of plane in the middle of the night into the country's main airport? This is such a load of crap.

What APC supporters should realize is that the only thing that is true about Sam Sumana is that he is the vice president of Sierra Leone, a positioned he indirectly gained through misrepresentation and improper vetting. Every other thing about our VP is unfortunately false and accusing people of targeting Konos is not going to change that, When in the 80s Victor Foh was accused of embezzlement he was made to pay for his crime and nobody cried that it was a conspiracy against the Mendes. The truth of the matter is that there is no smoke without fire. When an American and an Arab( Al Jazeera) agree that somebody is a crook, walahi, bilahi, talahi, they are a crook. Americans and Arabs never agree but on Sam Sumana, they have an agreement and SLPP has nothing to do with it.

What has APC ever done from Kono? Successive APC leaders have robbed that country blind. Where is the star of Sierra Leone? Let us stop hearing about this conspiratorial bull crap. 

Thursday, August 2, 2012

NEC Discriminates Against the Poor in Sierra Leone

Mohamed Bangura "Double the Fees"
The late Reggae legend Bob Marley once sang that the destruction of the poor lies in their poverty. I am guessing Bob must have gotten that line straight out of the  Holy Bible. Well the National Electoral Commission in Sierra Leone, headed by Commissioner Christiana Thorpe has decided that Bob Marley's words should be taken a step further. The NEC has imposed a set of fees that would effectively bar any poor man from even dreaming about running for parliament in the small but troubled West African state, let alone actually doing so. By imposing a a parliamentary candidate fee of approximately $5500.00 in a country where approximately 75% of the people have only seen $5000.00 in bank robbery movies or Nigerian films, the electoral commission has effectively barred all ordinary civil servants, teachers, small scale farmers, and the ordinary man from ever being able to run for parliament without outside help or without digging themselves into massive debt.
Thorpe "Sticking it to the Poor Guy"
The only recourse left to those aspiring to be parliamentarians would be to appeal to their parties to help them with the payment, but given the fact that only the ruling APC and main opposition SLPP can boast of strong sources of finance, parliamentary candidates of broke parties like Mohamed Bangura's UDM would face the prospect of being insulted by their party leader if they even suggested such an idea.
PMDC's Margai will stop laughing
In a classic case of cutting your nose to spite your face, the UDM leader Mohamed Bangura who it is strongly rumored is on government payroll reported urged the electoral commission to double the fees. In the last election in 2007 the ruling party leadership turned to a group of businessmen in Minnesota to bankroll their campaign, leading to some embarrassing revelations of backhand shady deals that still continue to dog the nations Vice President Sam Sumana, who has a talent for jumping from one scandal to the next.
The Diasporan Political Class-Shady Backgrounds
Sierra Leone's political class had always come from among the rank of teachers and civil servants. The magnitude of these fees implies that most probably Sierra Leoneans with shady backgrounds from the diaspora who have access to lines of credit in Western nation will be the ones that will be able to afford seats in parliament. Given the hopeless performance of the present crop of disporans in the ruling APC, all the Segbwema blog can say is "may God have mercy on Sierra Leone"

The only thing that will prevent this war against the poor is that sitting parliamentarians of all parties may decide to come together in their own interest to block the fees from being imposed. If however the ruling APC is conniving to bank roll their own MPs, we could see a reintroduction of one party rule by effectively impoverishing the opposition, preventing them from fielding candidates. 

Wednesday, August 1, 2012

APC Parliamentarians Set The Stage for Violence in Sierra Leone

Does Sierra Leone Need This Again?
In a completely unreasonable and diabolical move, ruling party parliamentarians in the West African state of Sierra Leone have set the stage for armed conflict and possibly state sanctioned civil homicide by approving and legalizing the possession of small arms by individuals and groups for so called "security purposes".

Sierra Leone spent the better part of ten years engaged in a dangerous, atrocious, brutal and bloody armed civil conflict that led to massive proliferation of arms and ammunition in the country. This proliferation of weapons resulted in a state of near anarchy with armed groups and civil militias practically running the country; leading to lawlessness, decapitations, amputations, rape, and armed robbery by groups of youths fueled by drugs and negative ideology.
Armed Civilians

Peace and some semblance of normalcy was only reintroduced into the country after the forceful intervention of the regional West African force ECOMOG and the United Nations which sent the largest peacekeeping force in the world into the country at the time.

One of the main actions taken by the international community to maintain and sustain peace in the country at the time was to embark on a full scale national disarmament program, aimed at removing arms and ammunition from lawless groups, allowing the peacekeeping forces and ultimately the country's military and police forces to regain control over security and law and order in the country once again. The international community spent millions of dollars convincing elements of the Revolutionary United Front, the pro government "Kamajor" and "Tamaboro" militias and the anarchist "West Side Boys" to bring their weapons to collection points for destruction in a bid to reduce the number of arms in the hands of dangerous characters in the country.
Sankoh's Symbolic Disarmament

So for the parliament of the country to once again legislate and sanction the proliferation of arms into the hands of the civil society in a security situation that is still fragile at best, is an action that can only be described as unreasonably insane. In the face of vehement opposition by opposition party members, the majority APC parliamentarians whose leader was just given a massive pay increase surpassing even that of the president, went against all reasonable arguments and set the stage for the resumption of conflict and possibly genocide in the country once again.
UN Disarmament in Segbwema

In preparing for the upcoming parliamentary and presidential elections, the ruling APC party, surprised by the growing support of  country's opposition amongst the people, has been spending millions of dollars on the purchase of arms and ammunition to arm the government paramilitary unit known as the OSDs. Sanctioning the legal possession of arms and ammunition by so called "civil groups" is seen as just another ruse by a jittery ruling party determined to hang on to power with the use of blunt force, even if the people decide that they have had enough of the massive increase in poverty and decline in living standards that has seen the value of the local currency decline by more than 100% since the current government came to power.
RUF Leader Issa Sesay Disarming

The disheartening thing about the current trend in Sierra Leone is that the immediate ex-president, Ahmed Tejan Kabba who handed over to the current president Ernest Koroma, invested years trying to rid the country of arms that were or could fall in the wrong arms. He encouraged the strengthening of civilian democratic institutions and undertook a whole scale reformation of the police, bringing in expatriates to make the force a respectable and responsible force that was committed to the maintenance of law and order.

The current government has in a short period reversed all the positive steps that were instituted to make the police a model in West Africa and has resorted to using the police as an agent of democratic suppression and harassment of opposition supporters.
Michael Von Schulenburg

The outgone Executive representative of the United Nations Secretary General to Sierra Leone, Michael Von Schulenburg, became so alarmed at the negative trends in the country that he openly voiced his opposition to the developments. The government not only requested his removal from the country, but had pro government journalist such as the notorious Sylvia Blyden vilify and write so much trash about the poor diplomat, that they practically ran him out of the country.
RUF Intellectuals Happy

The parliament's decision to have weapons in civil hands is probably predicated on the fact that the government will have control over ian individual or group is allowed to gets weapons. But given the porous state of the country's borders, the proliferation of weapons in neighboring Liberia, Guinea and Ivory Coast and the number of youths in the country who spent years using firearms to commit heinous crimes,the decision by the parliamentarian is not only irresponsible, but it is a clear manifestation of why Sierra Leone remains at the bottom of every conceivable index of human progress in spite of the massive natural wealth and relatively sophisticated human capital compared to its neighbors. Sierra Leone is like a country that has been personally cursed by God himself. The people are resilient and patient, but the selfish culture of the country has always been a breeding ground that yielded leaders who promise heaven while they are in opposition, only to deliver hell when they are in power. On hearing this law, Satan and Foday Sankoh will this week thow a major party in hell