Friday, January 11, 2013

Sierra Leone Political Updates: The Snake Charmer from Hell

Snake Charmer in Kenema
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 when I grew up, I would like to also be a snake charmer. My uncle quickly took me to the side and quietly and firmly told me to never  even think about that again, let alone say it. Boy he said ,"snakes and men are never suppose to be friends. Snake charmers, mysterious and fearful as the may seem, are always killed by their own snakes."

"Look Under You Foot"
Just a few weeks after my uncle discouraged me from my dream as a snake charmer, news came to Segbwema that the wonderful snake charmer that came to town had died somewhere around Gandorhun in Kono district. He had been bitten by his favorite cobra.

When Brigadier Julius Maada Bio was elected as the flagbearer of the Sierra Leone Peoples Party, Sylvia Blyden who had tried very unsuccessfully to block his election to the position, quickly decided to shift her loyalties from the opposition to the ruling All Peoples Congress party. Sierra Leone's Communication Minister Alhaji Ibrahim Ben Kargbo was one of those who were ecstatic with euphoria at Sylvia's switch of loyalty, as her attacks on President Koroma in the past had given her paper notoriety and boosted her circulation and sales.
As soon as she shifted her allegiance, Sylvia, understanding the regional dynamics of Sierra Leone politics, with APC popular in the north and SLPP popular in the southeast, quickly started to launch insane attacks on people from the southeast of Sierra Leone, accusing them of willingly bringing the rebels to Sierra Leone and inciting anti southeastern sentiments among people from the north, bringing up historical animosities. By November 2012 the politics of Sierra Leone had been transformed from an SLPP-APC rivalry to a north-southeast rivalry due to a campaign of disinformation and outright tribalism and regionalism mostly fueled by journalists in the country who decided to forgo news reporting for the dissemination of political propaganda.
"Satan Company Dem A Sniper"
Joseph Hills-Culture

Communications Minister Ibrahim Ben Kargbo suddenly and unwittingly became a very close friend and ally of Sylvia Blyden and suddenly he became  her "Uncle IB" in her Awareness Times tabloid. Ben Kargbo took Sylvia's bait hook, line and sinker and even had some APC  operatives arrange an award show in which Sylvia was given an dubious award that was personally handed to her by none other than IB Kargbo himself. The fact that this same Sylvia had been very close to the opposition SLPP, even calling veteran Sierra Leone politician and political commentator Dr. Sama Banya "Uncle Sama" in the past before crucifying him in public,  did not at register to I B Kargbo as he warmly embraced Sylvia like a long lost prodigal daughter from hell.

Well as my uncle once said, snake charmers are always killed by their favorite snakes. As soon as Sylvia gained a modicum of APC acceptability, she gradually and steadily began to undermine the communications team of the president. She started accusing them of letting the opposition control propaganda and labeling them as a "mumu team. "Mumu" meaning dumb in the local Sierra Leone Krio dialect. Over the past months her attacks on the country's communication team grew and she started to become the unofficial spokesman of the President Ernest Bai Koroma, with whom she has now developed a very strong personal rapport.
Brand New Buddies

The extent of human treachery can be seen from the response of Sylvia Blyden to the firing of Alhaji Ben Kargbo after the new cabinet reshuffle in the country to make way for a new administration. In an article called "Uncle IB, cold you heart now sir," Sylvia writes as if the firing of the veteran journalist turned information minister was a retribution for things he had done to her in the past, such as turning off his cellphone when her paper was suspended by the Independent Media Commission. She is also now claiming that the former information minister was complicit in the Aljazeera scandal that destroyed the reputation of the country's scandal ridden Vice President. She is now accusing her uncle IB of paying journalists to scandalize people in the government, thus deepening the old man's misery.

Given the degree of gloating and self congratulation of Blyden on Ibrahim Ben Kargbo's political demise, I can now understand why many years ago my uncle told me that human beings should never form close friends with snake, as one day they will bite, when the opportune time comes, as that is what they are known to do best. One can only imagine the degree of malice and callousness that abides in this lady's heart when she gives her uncle the following parting shot, "Cold you heart sir, we yone heart done cold since"

As the President's men start to fall by the political wayside those who are rejoicing should remember these words of the great Joseph Hills of Culture "when you dig a grave for your brother, remember to always dig two"
Segbwema Blogger


Anonymous said...

woe to the devil

Anonymous said...

3 cheers for sweet revenge!