Showing posts from January, 2013

Sierra Leone Political Updates: The SLPP Wahala

Even before the first vote was cast in the November 17, 2012 presidential and parliamentary elections in Sierra Leone, there was a growing disquiet and uneasiness among rank and file members of the Sierra Leone Peoples Party (SLPP) over reports of a lack of unity of purpose between the leaders of the party at the highest levels of hierarchy. Quiet whispers seeping slowly through the grapevine indicated that though there was a hundred percent desire by all the top leaders of SLPP for a party victory in the November 2017 elections, Brigadier Julius Maada Bio's candidacy did not have the same universality of genuine support. Paradoxically, it seemed as if  there was a stronger desire among the leadership for the party to emerge victorious in the past in the November 2017 elections, than for Brigadier Bio to assume the mantle of President of Sierra Leone for a variety of reasons, or so it was rumored.

After the election of Brigadier Bio as party flagbearer involving a long, tough, co…

Sierra Leoneans on my mind

By Khadija Mansaray

We have a very beautiful country, fertile soil, abundant rain, rich minerals, natural harbour and more. Our population is about five million yet with all this we are one of the poorest countries in the world.

Why is Sierra Leone poor amid all the riches it has been blessed with? The answer: The people. We are unpatriotic, dishonest and hate each other. The fundamental values, or lack of them, ensure that the country remains poor. Some may say this is a harsh conclusion but the evidence speaks for itself.

Good governance is anathema to us. We continuously elect bad governments and ensure they stay in power for too long. We cry for law and order but detest discipline and make enemies of those who enforce it. We frustrate good people. We fight them, accuse them, humiliate them and if possible physically harm them. The Sierra Leonean sense of right and wrong is completely twisted. We steal from our bosses and think it is ok because they have more than we do, they are w…

Sierra Leone Political Updates: The Tale of Lahai and Kaikai

Today we take another match down the valley of the shadow of comedy that defines Sierra Leone politics and there is much to discuss. If politics in Sierra Leone did not directly affect the living standards of so many people, one would say that the Almighty was playing a practical joke on the people. In the Almighty's defense however, he took a small country, populated it with rivers, minerals and forests and then proceeded to seemingly hand it over to ego maniacal jackals.

The past few days in Freetown has been devoted to ceremonial charades. The President's nominees for ministerial positions  are supposed to parade before a parliamentary committee to determine their fitness for office. With the current parliamentary line up, even Joe Kpana in the village knows that this is a mere formality as the country's parliament is merely a highly paid rubber stamp rubber for the executive and whatever President Koroma wants, President Koroma will get. But as the country's laws …

Sierra Leone Political Updates: The Snake Charmer from Hell

Back when when I was preschooler growing up in my home town of Segbwema, Sierra Leone, we used to always be fascinated by the snake charmers that came to town. These were men who usually traveled with small white bags full of tamed, but very deadly snakes of the cobra and mamba variety. These were potent venomous snakes very common in the tropical jungles of eastern Sierra Leone that could bite and paralyze a fully grown adult before you could say "shokolokobangoshay" two times with your eyes wide open. These enterprising snake charmers would play with these snakes so casually and would even sometimes put the head of a cobra in their mouths, to the amazement and awe of people in the crowd and while they were doing this, you could hear a pin drop, such was the fear of people for the lives of these heroic snake charmers.

My juvenile mind was so impressed by the mystery of these snake charmers and the air and aura of mystic surrounding them that I told an uncle of mine that wh…

Let President Koroma Do What Makes Him Comfortable.

The president of any country on the surface of the earth does not rule alone. No single man can adequately carry out all the tasks that are necessary to ensure the efficient functioning of  a big village, let alone an entity as complex as a country. Each and every president may therefore depend to a large extent on a close group of  advisers or subordinates from whom he either seeks counsel if he is a democratic leader,  or who he depends upon to carry out his desires if he is an autocrat. Sometimes a president may have the best intentions, but if those close to him are more interested in protecting narrow personal interests at the expense of the greater good, then the narrow interests have a way of being presented to the leader as if it is what is best for the greater good. This strategy is Machiavellian, but very effective because of one philosophical truth "wrong is easy and right is hard"
Every president in the history of Sierra Leone came to office promising to develop…

Usu Boie Kamara Faces Baptism by Fire

Former opposition Sierra Leone Peoples Party (SLPP) strong man and flagbearer runner up Usu Boie Kamara, who switched over to the ruling All Peoples Congress Party (APC) after being asked to leave the SLPP just as he was about to bail from the party,  has some very tough challenges ahead in the immediate future.

Usu Boie Kamara was recently nominated by President Ernest Bai Koroma to head the Ministry of Trade in the country's new administration. His approval by the Parliament is a foregone conclusion as though he is relatively new in Sierra Leone politics, he is one of the few politicians in Sierra Leone that has huge followings in both of the two main parties in the country, as he is known to have very deep pockets and also very generous to those with lesser means. In a poor country like Sierra Leone, money and generosity will buy you much love and cross party acceptance.

Usu Boie Kamara is taking up the trade portfolio just at the moment when dire shortages of fuel has hit eve…

The 6-3-4-4 Educational System Debate in Sierra Leone

Sierra Leone is a country in which the journalists are doing a terrible disservice to the citizens. When I was a germ of a school boy attending Samaria Primary School in Freetown, my sister who was my guardian and a teacher at the time used to come home everyday with the Sierra Leone Daily Mail and throw it carelessly on a table or chair. This will always be the high point of my afternoon, as I will take the paper and carefully keep it in a safe place. After the Afternoon chores were done,  I will take the paper and my primary school dictionary, find an isolated corner in the house and immerse myself in the contents of the Daily Mail. In those days I took every thing that was in those pages as gospel truth and developed a deep affection for our President Siaka Probyn Stevens, as nothing bad was said about him in the Daily Mail.

Ironically the good thing then (if you can call one party good) was that we had no multiparty and all the potential political rivals of Stevens at the time; S…

The Quest For Political Appointment in Sierra leone Becomes Sublime

Sometimes we all yearn for things and make an effort to get them. Occasionally people want things so badly that the yearning becomes personal, becomes an ache, a hole in their hearts. Those who are fans of literary master J. R. R. Tolkien's "Lord of The Rings" will know how desire for the fabled the "one ring" consumed the playful hobbit Smeagol, sending him away from hobbit folk into isolation and schizoaffective madness, eventually transforming him into the monstrosity known as Gollum.

In Sierra Leone, President Ernest Koroma is taking his time to choose his team from amongst the many prominent people who played a part in his reelection campaign, with many hoping for prime government appointments. While some of these minister and ambassador wannabes are subtle, working silently in the background, the desperation of a few have become so palpable that it is a phenomenon to behold, particularly now that there are very few ministries remaining.

In Sierra Leone o…

The Rape of Freetown: January 6, 1999

On January 6, 1999,  exactly 14 years to this day, the people of Freetown the capital of Sierra Leone  woke up to the terror of a murderous invasion by elements of the Armed Forces Revolutionary Council (AFRC) and the Revolutionary United Front (RUF).

During the Hague war crimes trial of Liberian War Lord Charles Ghankay Taylor, one of the perpetrators of this infamous atrocity, AFRC combatant Alimamy Bobson Sesay recounted the activities of that day from the view point of the actors.

Below is an extract from the testimony of Alimamy Bobson Sesay as reported in the Sierra Leone Daily Mail of January 8, 2011. This testimony is not for the faint of heart, so if you either cannot stomach stories of human carnage or do not want to remember that particular day, please stop reading.

Please note the following:
1 “Wit” means Witness (Alimamy Bobson Sesay).
2. “Pros” means Prosecutor Shyamala Alagendra
3. Judge Doherty was the presiding judge

Alimamy Bobson Sesay details atrocities in Freetown…