Monday, December 24, 2012

A Merry Segbwema Christmas

The Nativity
A merry Christmas to the readership of the Segbwema Blog.

To all Sierra Leoneans at home and in the diaspora may God help you enjoy the Christmas and may the New Year bring love, joy and unity to our beloved country.

As we go about our festivities, let us remember that overindulgence is a vice and gluttony is one of the seven deadly sins. Unbridled hedonism has never been the foundation of development of any advance society and though it is a time to be merry, let us do so with some element of seriousness.
Use In Moderation

Not A Bright Idea
For those who may want to have some alcoholic high this Christmas, remember a glass or two of wine or beer may lift your spirit and bring on festive cheer, but too much alcohol is bad for your health. It can cloud your reasoning and destroy your liver, leading to alcoholic hepatitis and cirrhosis of the liver. Too much booze increases your blood pressure causing hypertension or in the worst case scenario, a stroke. And those in the diaspora if you drink, please do not drive.


Let us remember that Christmas was a day on which God decided to send  his beloved son Jesus Christ to come to the world and lay the foundation for the salvation of all mankind. Let us all take this moment to pay attention to his central message of love. Love your neighbor as you love yourself. Though it may be difficult, show love this Christmas to even those you may consider your enemies, for only God knows who your true enemy is; it could be the person you consider your best friend. Remember, love has tamed lions and can also tame your foes. Love those who look and think like you and those who do not look and think like you. In spite off all our differences, we are all Children of God, all made from dust and no matter how high we ascend or how low we descend, at the end of the day, to dust we shall all return.

This Christmas let us learn to tolerate each other. Let us remember that God created all of us very similar but also very different, each in his own way. Remember that everybody; the homeless, the destitute and even the common criminal was made by the Creator as a unique entity with a role to play in the grand scheme of things. Let us therefore learn to respect our differences and be tolerant of each other. For though bees and insects are small it is only through their act of pollination that we are able to enjoy of the fruit of trees.
Deer  Behind My House-Safe

To our politicians in Sierra Leone, may 2013 be the year for the promotion of human rights and the celebration of human life. In Minneapolis where I live, squirrels and rabbits pass around my neighborhood, bouncing on the grass or climbing up the trees. Deer roam behind my Highland Park home. If you take a stone and hit them or kill them, you could go to court and even face jail time for animal cruelty. The people here realized long ago that every life is important, even if it is just the life of a rodent. It is also time for Sierra Leoneans to start respecting the sanctity of life. Instead of buying guns for police to control riots, please buy riot gear. You may beat up a man and even scratch his face, but at least you have given him the opportunity to continue living his life and take care of his children. Each man has a role to play and everybody must be given the chance to play that role. Let us therefore have a greater respect for human life and dignity in 2013.

May God give our children the wisdom and vision to stay in school and acquire good education. With education you could be born in the smallest village in Sierra Leone and still grow up to be somebody. Remember kids, Barack Obama was born in Hawaii to a young mother and abandoned by his father. He lost both his mother and father at an early age, but decided to stay in school and get a great education.Today he is a twice elected President of the United States and the most popular living politician in the world.

Have yourself a merry Christmas.

Friday, December 21, 2012

Sierra Leone Political Update: President Koroma in A Pickle.

Obai in A Pickle
President Ernest Bai Koroma of Sierra Leone is in a pickle. In a country renowned for support for reward, many ambitious individuals threw their weight behind the president in the just concluded national elections in the country and they are all sitting now with bated breath, anxiously waiting for their own individual share of the national pie.  Some busy hurrying to Juju men, Guinea Marabouts and local 419 con men in a bid to use mystical means to get poor EBK's mind so confused, that at anytime he sees them all he thinks about will be, "what a great minister this will be!"

The Djelliba wing of the journalistic brigade is in a frenzy, Gibril Gbanabom Koroma in Canada has all but practically begged for the president's recognition, using his Patriotic Vanguard online blog to even go as far as explaining his uninspiring autobiography. How he was a wayward truant as a child running round society bushes in his village of Yonibana. He was lucky to have had his butt dragged to Freetown and had wanted to attend the President's school at Magburaka Boys but his headmaster had made him attend Albert Academy. He was now advocating for the president to reject Kabbs Kanu's rebranding in favor of his own journalistic political "lay belleh"philosophy. Kabbs Kanu though is definitely not one to sit down quietly and let somebody threaten his gravy train. In a Cocorioko classic dubbed the "Fable of the Palace Dogs" or some other title, Kabbs Kanu wrote that that they had been and were Ernest Koroma's palace dogs who had loyallly protected their master by barking continuously and loudest thoughout. Gbanabome was an outside dog who had not been a consistent barker and now wants the master to forsake the palace dogs for him. In essence Kabbs Kanu was sure the King was not going to reject the palace dogs for an Okuru dog.
PV's Gbanabom koroma
Who let the Dogs out?

Valley of The shadow of Death
Not to be outdone, the same week, Sylvia Blyden declared for the APC and has now become Ernest Koroma's self appointed publicity secretary, working overtime to outdo Kabba Kanu, Kawusu Conteh's son of the fountain of honor lines and Mohamed "one drop" Sankoh of the Rwandan style journalism fame. Poor Ernest John Leigh wakes up each day checking if he had a missed call from Victor Foh, before he kneels down to pray with a pillow of Ernest Bai Koroma in his bible, in the pages of the Book of Psalms, near Psalm 23, "though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death", APC edition.

All these traditional APC loyalists, SLPP-APC converts, Journalists turned politicians, Okurus trying to be palace dogs, former opposition presidential flag-bearers turned Bai Koroma griots, have one thing in common. They all want some post for their support. There is just one problem; "too many DJs, not enough Microphones"

Many of these influential men and women, some of who had presidential ambitions of their own, have egos so big, that the post of a deputy minister would seem like an insult to them and an ambassadorial post to Cambodia would seem like an outright affront to their pride and dignity. Everybody wants to be a cardinal, nobody wants to be a deacon. President Koroma is now caught between the rock and the hard place, in a jam, in a pickle.

With not enough ministries to go around, some people are surely going to be disappointed. Some marabouts are definitely going to be asked for refunds and some chickens are going to be slaughtered for naught.

Since EBK cannot satisfy all his ambitious men and women, here is a list of suggestions that could save our poor president some headache:
1. Tell some of these folks that they will be first in line after a future cabinet reshuffle.
2. Change your cellphone number and do not give it out to some of these folks
3. Put all the names in a box and draw them out at random or have them draw it themselves
4. Give some of them scholarships to go for further studies
5. Remind some of these folks about the nasty things they used to say and write about you and tell them to write a 500 page letter apologizing.
6. Put them in charge of campaign committees for 2017
7. Tell them to wait for the next Mayan Apocalypse.

Mayan Apocalypse: The World Ends Today

Mayan Apocalypse
Today is Friday December 21, 2012 which is the last day in the 5125 year "Long Count" Mayan Calender. According to believers of Mayan traditions, the world will end today in some sort of apocalypse.

In country after country around the world, those who believe in the Mayan Apocalypse myth have been preparing furiously to prepare for this day.

Luckily, my people in the eastern Sierra Leone city of Segbwema are not mixed up in this craze, as they are currently very busy preparing for notable activities this Christmas. 

The people of Robin Fallay and the Segbwema bloggers village of Pendembu Njeigbla are preparing to unveil a Multipurpose Community Center building project on December 26th at 10:00am local time. The occasion will be followed by a football Gala between the Pendembu Njeigbla Descendants Association Kenema Branch and that of the Pendembu Njeigbla Branch. The day will  climax with  a "Ngoboi" cultural extravaganza followed by a Disco Jam later in the night and the Segbwema Blog wishes the people of Pendembu Njeigbla a happy boxing day.
Mary and Julius

On the same day December 26th in the main city of Segbwema, the Foday and Gbetuwa families will be celebrating the traditional wedding rites of their children Julius I. K. Foday and Mary Nguanya Gbetuwa, both descendants of the most prominent ruling families of Njaluahun Chiefdom and all Njaluahun Chiefdom descendants are invited to the auspicious occasion.

However, today December 21, candles are reported to have almost run out in countries like Mexico, Russia and China due to panic buying, as people intend to hold vigils and observe other religious rites as they await the end of the world.
Waiting for the Apocalyse in Mexico

In USA believers of Mayan tradition and those who believe in the world ending today have been buying survival shelters and stocking up on essential supplies hoping that somehow they will survive the apocalypse.Who knows, it is never a bad idea to be prepared.

In Russia the level of panic has reached such high a crescendo that the Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev had to come out publicly and assert disbelief in the Mayan apocalypse,  to knock some sense into people who are giving away all they have to prepare for the end of the world today or are busy stocking up on  bottles of Vodka, to at least be merry on the way to eternity.

In Mexico where the Mayan Civilization once thrived, the government has exploited the belief in Mayan folklore to promote it as a money making tourist event and thousands of Mayan civilization enthusiasts and apocalypse believers from all over the world have been flocking to specially arranged Mayan apocalypse events. A brisk business in celebrating the end of the world is truly going on in Mexico!
Australian PM Julia Gillard on the Apocalypse

In Australia, the Prime Minister Julia Gillard released above spoof video of the Mayan apocalypse that has gone viral on YouTube, stating that the Mayan Calendar was true and assuring her compatriots that she will always fight for the Australian people until the end, even though she was happy that she won't be taking questions and answers anymore. Some of her political opponents are complaining, but the Segbwema blog loves her humor.

Harold Camping: "No More Predictions"
End of the world predictions are common in human history. Christian preachers always talk about the "end times", basing their facts on the Book of Revelations and TV preachers like Pat Robertson use these predictions to raise millions of dollars from their believers. Last year believers of preacher Harold Camping,  a 91 year old talk radio preacher predicted to his believers that the world will definitely end. Some of his ardent believers in USA and Canada sold everything they had to prepare for a world's end that never came. He has since promised not to make such predictions anymore. Too late for some folks in his church!
When The Two Sevens Clash: Nibiru and Earth

The exact nature of how the world will end today is a matter of serious debate among Mayan apocalypse enthusiasts. Some believe that our planet earth will collide with a mysterious planet called Nibiru. Others believe some sort of gigantic earthquake will unleash a tsunami of horrendous proportions causing the oceans to cover the entire land mass and my capital Freetown is so near the Atlantic.

Sill, others believe that today there will be a giant storm on the surface of the sun that will generate heat so intense that all the poor inhabitants of planet earth will be baked in an instant or boiled if it meets them swimming in a pool or river, or even the ocean.

No matter what people believe, I wish my friends and family a happy Christmas and prosperous new year,  if we live to see them. If we don't, I will meet those who are going to heaven in Paradise. For those who are bound for hell, don't forget that the fire drill will not work as the fire there cannot be extinguished. Also there are no first responders so don't even think about dialing 911 as there are no first responders in Satan's realm. The up side is that Visa and Mastercard may not be harassing you tomorrow.

Merry Christmas to my fellow Sierra Leoneans and Americans all over the world. 
Segbwema Blogger
Sheku Sheriff




Wednesday, December 19, 2012

Sierra Leone Does Not Need a Unity Government.

Last week media reports from Sierra Leone indicated that President Ernest Bai Koroma was not open to the formation of a so called "unity government" which some commentators have been asking for as a solution to bridging the political divide in the small but troubled West African country.
I do not usually agree with President Koroma on issues, but on this particular issue, I totally and completely agree with him, without any reservation. Unity goverments are common in parliamentary democracies where coalitions are needed to form governments and in the majority of cases, they arise strictly out of political necessity. In such instances, the party with the largest percentage of seats in a parliament may not comstitutionally have the required number of seats necessary to form a government and may have to engage other parties to muster enough parliamentary support or seats to form a government.
In the Sierra Leone case however, the All Peoples Congress Party  (APC) has a clear Parliamentary majority and hence there is no pressing or apparent need to form a unity government.
If there had been a run off election for the presidency, APC may have needed the support of a smaller party or parties in the second round of the elections for the party leader to have garnered the necessary votes to become president, as was the case in the 2007 APC-PMDC marriage. However this time round, regardless of whether one considers the results free and fair, President Koroma was announced to have won with over 58% of the votes, giving him the mandate to form a government outright and he also has sufficient votes in parliament to get his ministerial nominees confirmed. Given the prevailing set of circumstances, the president this time round has no need to form a coalition government or government of national unity with anybody or any political party.
As the new APC mouth piece and Ernest Koroma's self appointed new press secretary Sylvia Blyden sarcastically stated in her Awareness Times rag, the opposition party members who won local government positions are already in government and hence according to her convoluted and invariably malicious logic, they cannot claim to not be part of the government. Of course Sylvia as usual is only making this statement for self serving reasons, as an attempt by Ernest Koroma to bring in opposition members will mimimize the chances of post elections APC converts like herself who are now busy heralding their APCness from attaining their not so secret political aspirations. If there is a coalition government, Sylvia and her ilk may be passed over by a president who is exremely gullible to propaganda and sycophancy.
I do not buy the idea of a unity goverment purely for philosophical reasons. I strongly believe unity governments ultimately undermine young democracies and weak parties, perpetuating the status quo. What Sierra Leone needs is an electoral commission that is completely independent of the influence of any governing party and a commission that is capable of conducting completely free and fair elections. Unity governments in nascent democracies like Sierra Leone usually leads to the major party in the coalition undermining the cohesion and viability of its smaller coalition partners. The Peoples Movement for Democratic Change (PMDC) was a major political force in 2007 when it went into a unity arrangement with APC. Forward to today, PMDC is a political vegetable with not a single seat in parliament and has completely disappeared from the political landscape, existing now only in name. APC was able to effectively use the lure of political positions to undermine the loyalty of PMDC members to their leadership, a process that was facilitated by the intolerant nature of the PMDC leader Charles Margai.
In the current case in Sierra Leone any talk of a coalition government between the ruling APC and the main opposition Sierra Leone Peoples Party (SLPP) should be discouraged. Though SLPP did not win the presidency, it remains a formidable opposition party in the country and was able to take back almost all the seats won by PMDC in 2007. For a democracy to thrive, there must be a check on the misuse of power by the government. This check can only provided in country like Sierra Leone by the presence of a formidable opposition party like the SLPP. A coalition or government of national unity usually puts the government in bed with the opposition, undermining effective opposition.
Effective opposition creates political competition which is a recipe for development, as it encourages the ruling party to take concrete steps to better the lives of the people, if only to undermine support for the opposition. The lack of effective political opposition created by a unity government in a country like Sierra Leone will have the opposite effect. The opposition will become part of the ruling machinery losing their effectiveness. They may end up becoming mere tools of the ruling party as individuals become corrupted by power.
Some commentators are of the opinion that a unity government will minimize tribalism in Sierra Leone and I respectfully beg to differ, as this view is completely superficial. All Ernest Koroma needs to do to attain regional and tribal balance in his government is to appoint individuals reflecting the diverse nature of ethnic groups in the country. There are APC members from every tribe in Sierra Leone and the President can appoint a purely APC government that is completely representative of the ethnic mix in the country.
The problem with regionalism in politics usually arises when a leader decides to appoint most of his government members from a particular region, just because the party gets most of its votes from that region. Such short term thinking will be popular with those who view politics as a game of tribal and regional domination, but in the long term such actions lead to an erosion of national unity and cohesiveness, leads to the feelimg of national alienation by a sunstantial fraction of the populace, and becomes a recipe for potential future pandemonium and chaos and a solidification of parochial superficiality.
What Sierra Leone needs is not a unity government, but a government that is truly representative of the ethnic diversity with which the country is blessed.

Tegloma Minnesota To Host International Convention in 2013.

Minneapolis Minnesota
The membership of Tegloma Minnesota Chapter under the leadership of Chapter President Hassan H. Kamara is proud to announce to the whole world that Minnesota will be hosting the 2013 Tegloma International Convention in the beautiful city of Minneapolis on Labor Day weekend 2013, from Friday August 30th to Sunday September 1st 2013.
Minnesota Celebrating Convention Bid win

Every member of Tegloma Federation all over the world, from Sierra Leone, USA, Canada, UK, Gambia and Australia is invited to attend this convention and partake in the great Minnesota hospitality.

Minnesota is a very prosperous, cold and beautiful state bordering Canada, Wisconsin, Iowa and the Dakotas. The state is three times the size of Sierra Leone and slightly over 400 miles long with a population of approximately 5 million. Minnesota has approximately 11,842 lakes and is known as the Land of Ten Thousand Lakes.
Tegloma Minnesota Founder
Chief Abdul Songa

Minnesota is home to the Mall of America, one of the largest shopping malls in the world and is also home to the Mayo Clinic which is arguably the best cancer treatment center in the world and ranks among the best health care institutions in the world. Minnesota's hospitals and universities rank among the best in the world and the people are very welcoming, hence the nickname "Minnesota Nice".

Tegloma Minnesota Barbecue
Tegloma Minnesota chapter is one of the 24 chapters in the Tegloma Federation and is a very active member of the federation. The Tegloma Federation Vice Chair Ms. Rebecca Johnson, the Federation Board Secretary General Mr. Sheku Sheriff, The Tegloma Midwest Coalition President Mr. Joshua Joshua Murray are all members of Tegloma Minnesota chapter.
Tegloma Minnesota Barbecue

Though the Tegloma International Convention is a time for serious discussions, Tegloma Minnesota plans to showcase the 2013 convention as a celebration of Sierra Leone culture and heritage. Members and other individuals intending to attend this convention should  fly to the Minneapolis-Saint Paul International airport.
Tegloma Minnesota Fundraising show

The 2013 conventions will coincide with the election of a new federation executive and Minnesota members will ensure that the elections are conducted in a truly democratic manner. Hotels and other accommodations will be transmitted in due course. All Tegloma members flying from Africa will be lodged by chapter members.

WELCOME TO MINNESOTA!

Tuesday, December 11, 2012

Long Nights in Sierra Leone

Leigh Joins The Marabout Parade
Now that the elections in Sierra Leone are over and APC's President Ernest Bai Koroma has been reelected to a second term, we move to the next phase of the unending drama and tactical calisthenics that is Sierra Leone politics; the jockeying for high level positions in the Koroma II administration.

From Ministers, to deputies, to Ambassadors, the president and his close allies have to scour through the names of party loyalists, cross party defectors and turncoat journalists to determine who goes where and who gets what. And amongst the political class in the country, there is much worrying as the cutthroat competition for political appointments goes ahead full steam, much like victors in biblical times used to fight over the spoils of war, but in this case, only the underground marabouts and herbalists are smiling, as their period of bountiful harvest is now.
Sierra Leone Juju King Mohamed
The World's Happiest

The most worried right now are the current crop of APC ministers, especially those who are not in the most intimate of EBK's circles, the expendables, those that can be easily sacrificed without much collateral damage, especially those whose constituencies were won by the opposition and those who owe their positions to PMDC, a party that was practically wiped out in the past elections. Until the new appointments are announced, the nights of these uncertain ministers will be long, occasionally punctuated by cold sweat and the nightmare of spending the next five years without the trappings of power. If the trips to fake marabouts were frequent before the elections, these trips will now be at frenetic paces and of course the marabouts, considering this their period of great harvest, will now be requesting cows in place of chickens and rice bags in place of Kola nuts.

Robin Fallay Resident Minister East?

Following very closely in the worried column would be those civil servants or government employees who were ambivalent about the president's campaign and did not put much effort and heart into it. They would now be secretly regretting their lackluster efforts, wishing that they had done more. They will now compensate by having the president's pictures proudly and strategically displayed in prime locations in their offices for all the world to see and their Sim Cards be in constant touch with the president's circle of intimates, calling them everyday, to seek reassurance. They would spend the coming weeks with their cellphones glued to their ears at night, lest they should sleep and miss a call. Each phone call would sound as loud as a church bell sending their hearts into their mouths, pounding like a catfish out of water.

Then would follow the defectors, those who forsook old alliances and gambled on new political destinies. They would have outdone each other over the past few months trying convince the Pa that their betrayal was thorough, complete and deep and  that they had cut their roots with finality, vowing never to look back. Their fear would be the fear of all traitors since Judas sold the Holy Galilean for 30 wretched pieces of silver. The fear that they would not be totally accepted in their new political homes and the fear that should they go back they would find no hiding place down there, from whence they had come. Until their temporary fate is fulfilled, these are men that would be sleeping with one eye open.
Logus A Comback

The next in the circle of fear would be the Ambassadors in faraway lands, whose positions are easy prey for cross party defectors and abrasive loquacious journalists of the sycophantic breed. Nobody loves traitors and some of the party defectors are slimy characters with dubious background. What better way to satisfy them and send them away than a post to Cuba, North Korea or Pakistan. Or better still why not send them as ambassadors to Afghanistan, Mali or Somalia and hope that if they fall into the hand of the Taliban or Al Shabaab, they would at least be shown some mercy.

These are long nights in Sierra Leone, as men and women await their political fates, with names being added to and subtracted from the Pa's lists and those of a certain political class are left wondering if the brand New Toyota Landcruiser will be replaced by the crusty old 1979 Toyota Corolla that allows you the view of the muddy streets of Kissy right under the driver's feet.

Friday, December 7, 2012

Sierra Leone People Party Finally Concedes

Harmony
This week we finally heard from the top brass of the Sierra Leone Peoples Party (SLPP). They had slowly, but finally accepted the victory of President Ernest Bai Koroma in the recently concluded November 2012 presidential elections by tacitly stating that the president's position "was not in contention". This of course is a roundabout way of saying they accepted that APC and the EB Koroma cabal won and the status quo continues, unabated.

Many members of the SLPP have taken to the Internet and social media to express disappointment at this development and what they view as a premature concession and  the blame game and finger pointing has already begun and will continue to do so for a while. In their opinion the party should not have conceded until all their various complaints had been investigated, which would have realistically been just a prolongation of the agony.
The Perennial Footballer

Brigadier
In the coming weeks SLPP members will experience the gamut of emotions, from disbelief, anger, disappointment, the feeling of betrayal, frustration, resignation and finally acceptance. Acceptance that in spite of considerable effort, Koroma won and Bio did not. This feeling of loss will become develop greater intensity as they see the joy on the faces of party defectors like John Ernest Leigh, running along the streets of Freetown singing Kumbaya and screaming "I told you so".

As is typically Sierra Leonean and generally human, a lot of SLPP members will give their own views as to what they would have done differently, had they been in the shoes of Maada Bio, Kadi Sesay and John Benjamin. That is, had they been flagbearers or the party chairman.

When I was doing sixth form in Sierra Leone Grammar School, a hobby I developed was going to the national stadium at least once a month on a weekend to watch a soccer match between our local teams at immense financial sacrifice to myself. If my team the Mighty Blackpool played, it was even more interesting, as we would all enthusiastically join in the rendition of the popular informal team anthem in those days, "Tiss Tass Blackpool don Baranta!"
Rubbish

At the football stadium I would be as equally fascinated by the game play as I would by the stated opinions of the fans around me. Each football fan always carries the belief that in any given tactical position they would have done far better, if only they had been the player on the field. In any strategic position they would have devised a better game plan and executed it more competently than the current coach of the team. Americans euphemistically label this phenomenon "armchair quarterbacking"

If a player misses a shot, you would hear, "rubbish, even me pikin nor go miss dat" meaning even my son would not have missed that shot. You would see a 47 year old man whose health had been severely compromised by several years of drinking "Omole" still somehow assuming and stating that he would have done far better on the field than Saidu Tibati Kanu, even though he could hardly muster enough energy to run fast from his bedroom to his backyard toilet, when he was faced with a case of raging diarrhea and almost always there would be some sort of embarrassing accident on the way.


But sitting safely in the comfort of the stadium stands, most spectators solidified their belief in the notion that they were far better players than the fellow on the football pitch and this belief started to sound even more realistic if there was a cold bottle of Star beer cradled between the knees, just at arm's length.

The above scenario is analogous to the currently raging debate against the opposition leaders in Sierra Leone by enthusiastic party supporters on social networks, especially the supporters of the opposition SLPP, as the supporters of the other parties did not stand a fighting chance. The reality of the situation confronting the SLPP leadership was however,  far more complex than any Monday morning quarterback imagined and that is just the plain old truth.

Winning an election against a relatively popular President Koroma in his first term was always going to be a tough task and though victory eluded the SLPP, the party should be proud of the fact that the leaders and membership presented a formidable opposition to the president and genuinely had him scared, as manifested by the billions of Leones that was lavished on his campaign. The party and leadership also kept Koroma on his toes during the last five years and have proven to be a formidable party, both in government and in opposition.

One good thing that came out of this election, it is that multiparty democracy, though still deeply flawed in the country, is at least alive and well and just needs some tough medications to make it stronger, as it appears that whichever party is in power, has considerable leverage and influence over the electoral commission. This is a situation that will have to change if election results are to truly represent the wishes of the people who vote in the country, otherwise it will always be a sham.

Those who are blaming the opposition leadership should realize that at the end of the day, the confluence of factors governing the conduct of the elections stacked the cards badly against the opposition, especially the SLPP. In the first place though the election process was largely compromised, the fact that it had been conducted in a relatively peaceful atmosphere had convinced the international community and observers that whatever results came out would be reflective of the wishes of the people.

Secondly the electoral commission had even before announcing the results of the election told all parties who had complaints about the conduct of the polls to go to the police and in Sierra Leone that is the last place to go for anyone seeking true justice. If institutional corruption was to be rewarded, the Sierra Leone police will win an Oscar, every single year.

Thirdly President Ernest Koroma was announced the winner an hastily sworn in by the chief justice, like robbers sharing their loot in the night, conferring on him constitutional immunity. So in essence his mandate was hastily, but constitutionally extended for the next five years and given that he was already being congratulated by the major international donors, the die was cast.

Sierra Leone's legion of corrupt vuvuzela journalists had already painted Maada Bio as a violent person even before the first vote had been cast and given the country's recent history, most people did not want to see another slide into chaos and anarchy, over elections that were conducted in a relatively peaceful atmosphere. Any hint of violent resistance would have played right into the hands of the trouble mongers within the country's fourth estate. People like Sylvia Blyden and Philip Neville who thrive on conflict and acrimony and use their readership to spread their hatred and malice, would have had a field day propagating their vile agenda and the current position of the Bio team though appearing to be meek, was the better one, given the current situation and the set of circumstances

In spite of the current disappointment, the opposition in Sierra Leone must remain united and formidable, if only to force the government to institute the infrastructural changes that will develop the country. Many people at this time will be disillusioned and will just want to raise their hands in the air and say we give up, but if this is done, the agents of corruption and tyranny would have won and this should not even be an option at all. Sierra Leoneans must remember that President Joseph Saidu Momoh had no opposition and that is probably why there is nothing in Sierra Leone you will look at today and say Momoh built that. Without an effective opposition, democracy dies, to be replaced by autocracy.

At the end of the day the opposition had to accept the current situation not for the sake of peace, but for the sake of harmony. Maybe in the near future true peace will return to Sierra Leone, if the people and leadership take acts that will bring peace. In the absence of equal opportunities, rights and justice, Sierra Leone may be a calm place, but definitely not a peaceful place.

Many so called journalists and some respectable commentators are of the opinion that a rejection of the results would have been a rejection of peace. I truly beg to differ. Harmony is not peace. The presence of calmness does not signify the presence of peace. Peace is not the absence of violence. The absence of conflict does not signify the presence of peace. Peace is more complex, more multidimensional. It is a state of mind, a sate of calmness that arises from within.  A hungry man may be calm but has no peace within. What is happening in Sierra Leone today is the promotion of harmony, everybody learning to get along, while  hating each other. To promote peace in the country, the nation's leaders should start addressing the real problems in the country; poverty, hunger, corruption, tribalism, nepotism and regionalism. A ticking bomb is peaceful until it explodes.