Friday, October 12, 2012

The Thriving Business of Crowd Swelling in Sierra Leone

Professional Crowd Sweller
The All Peoples Congress party in Sierra Leone may not have the best legacy of government. In fact it is under successive APC governments that the nation has experienced the worst geometric economic declines in its 51 year history of independence. In spite of this sorry legacy, the party is extremely adept at concocting mechanisms for survival and all other parties may want to learn a bit from APC's ingenuity for presenting their dirty linen in public and simultaneously convincing people that it were silk and velvet.

The presidential and legislative elections in Sierra Leone is less than a month away and every party is busy creating the impression that it has enormous support in the country. Smaller parties mask their small crowds and lack of support by engaging drummers and beating up these drums as loud and fantastic possible to attract onlookers who they will then say are possible. More creative types like Mohamed Bangura of the PMDC breakaway UDM give outrageous press conferences to journalists attacking their opponents, thus increasing their visibility and an appearance of political relevance. This fellow is so creative that he was able to somehow able to piggyback on one of President Ernest Koroma's large UN General Assembly trips to New York to promote and created the fable that he had sponsored himself as a delegate. Unfortunately in the era of electronic records he was soon found out to have traveled at the Sierra Leone taxpayers expense as a reward for poking his finger in Charle's Margai's over ambitious eye.
Crowd Swelling Pioneer and Entrepreneur
Retired Minister Logus Kaoroma

PMDC is usually anxious to arrange their events around Mighty Blackpool events to benefit from the color similarity with the Tiss Tass boys and give the semblance that it was Margai himself who had "baranta'd".

The Moving Forest
SLPP with its traditional green forest color will mask the size of their crowd by the green leaves and palm fronds everywhere, as if they were a forest on the move in JRR. Tolkien's "Lord of The Rings: The Two Towers". Movie buffs will know what I man is talking about.

Creativity at creating an illusion of support is however won hands down by the party founded by Bandalay himself, APC.

The New APC publicity organ has under the leadership of the former minister turned propagandist Balogun Logus Koroma developed and perfected the new and thriving business in Sierra Leone known as "Crowd Swelling.

 Crowd swelling is the practice of either busing in or travelling with trucks of youths to a locality to create the crowd effect and strategically photograph the crowd giving the semblance of massive support in the area. The phenomenon is particularly useful in areas where the local population does not even want to see your party's ugly face, let alone support you.
Expert Certificated Crowd Sweller

Crowd swellers are usually perennially unemployed youths and stragglers who will be grateful for even a meal a day and if you promise them some Leones, some Pegapak and some blessed herbs, they will even attend your grandmother's funeral.

Such is the extent of unemployment, poverty and deprivation in Sierra Leone that crowd swelling is easily becoming the highest employment industry in the country. Not all crowd swellers are equal. While beginner or amateur crowd swellers will be satisfied with wearing the party's T-shirts, professional crowd swellers will volunteer to have even their whole body, with the exception of their eyeballs, painted in party colors. Crowd swelling which owes its genesis to football supporters painting themselves in team colors and could be trademarked by Fifa, but the creative government in Sierra Leone has added a new dimension.

Crowd swelling pay depends on appearance and pay, as Alpha Kamara, a professional crowd sweller who has been in the business for four years now told the Segbwema Blog correspondent in Segbwema. The correspondent who was born and bred in Segbwema was surprised that on the day Honorable Fallay was presented in the town as the new APC turncoat, he could not recognize most of the Segbwema APC supporters in the crowd and almost all could neither speak the local Mende or spoke Mende with a Waterloo accent.
Bin Ladin Terrorist Crowd sweller

The Segbwema blog correspondent's opportunity arose when one of these Segbwema citizens approached him and asked him where he could buy the local pamwine "poyo". Though surprised that anybody born in Segbwema would not know where palmwine is sold, he obliged the "Segbwema" APC supporter and led him to the palmwine corner on the Daru Road.

As my Latin teacher in Bo School Mr. Pendema used to say, 'in vino veritas', there is truth in wine. As soon as the palmwine had hit the mouth loosening the talkative part of this supporter's brain, he confessed that he was Alpha Kamara from Kissy in Freetown and had been doing the lucrative crowd swelling business for four years now. It was beneficial he said. You get free food, drinks, money and women, -the fool's paradise.

Korean APC?
He asked the Segbwema Blog correspondent if he would like him to introduce him to his boss, but the correspondent declined rather vigorously. The pretend Segbwema citizen even said that there had been some plans to bring in crowd swellers from North Korea, but Kim Jong Il had refused before he died. How APC would have been able to convince people that it had korean voters is a mystry we will never fully understand with the death of Kim Jong IL

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