Tuesday, June 18, 2013

State House Communications Team Puts Blyden in Her Place

Jarrah Kawusu-Konte
State House Communications Manager
The State House Communications Team in Sierra Leone has come out to forcefully denounce the uncoordinated and problematic messages the the Special Assistant to the President Sylvia O. Blyden has been issuing to the public without consulting other members of the government's communications unit in Freetown. 

It can be recalled that over the past few weeks, Sylvia Blyden, the former editor of the Sensational gossip tabloid Awareness Times, who was recently appointed to assist the President as a Special Adviser has been making a lot of random and chaotic statements that do not befit the dignity of the presidency and  have the tendency of creating unrest in the small West African country.

Using mainly her Awareness Times tabloid paper and the social media network Facebook as her primary communication tools thereby bypassing  official government communication channels, the Special Assistant to the President has in recent weeks advocated for the arrest and imprisonment of Julius Maada Bio the main opposition party flagbearer in the  2012 elections in the country , has called for the arrest of the leader of the Peoples Movement for Democratic Change, Lawyer Charles Margai, has threatened the current and immediate past presidents of the Sierra Leone Association of Journalists with incarceration under the seditious libel laws of the country which most people want to be repealed, and has publicly claimed that she will say what she wants to say, because she told the president before her appointment that she cannot be controlled and he had promised her that she could write what she pleased.
Sylvia Blyden

In the past two weeks however, Sylvia, instead of projecting positive views of the presidency seems to have become the major subject of the news in Sierra Leone, an attention she always craves with unbridled passion. There is now absolutely no talk of the President's second term agenda or even talk of the supreme court decision to throw out the court election case of the opposition SLPP, as the President's special assistant has made herself the front and center special news item in the country.

In the past week, after threatening journalists in the country with jail terms and writing that they will be "sanitized," the Deputy Minister of Information Theo Nicol came out against some of her statements in a late bid to exert some control over the message coming out of State House. Instead of exercising caution, the President's Special assistant put the minister in check by writing that her own position of SEA was of cabinet rank. Theo Nicol as a deputy minister was not of cabinet rank and consequently had no authority to tell her what to do. The only person that could directly control her was the president and he had said he was not going to control her.
SLAJ President
Kelvin Lewis

When Sylvia however contradicted the State House Communications team about the amount of money donated by the Visiting Saudi Prince to Sierra Leone Prince Alwaleed Bin Talal Bin Abdulaziz Alsaud , stating that it was $2 million instead of $1 million for health and youth activities, the State House communications Unit came out requesting for her to clear the air on the statement, apologize to the president and apologize to the communications team. 

Jarrah Kawusu Konte of the State House Communication Manager who has been the main communications man in State House over the past five years did nor mince words when he told Sylvia that she should be more responsible in the statements she puts out to the public. He accused her of over zealousness and a bid to usurp the functions of the communications team, a function they had been doing effectively over the past few years. Jarrah reminded the Special assistant that it was the Communications team that was the official organ for reporting on the presidents activities, but unfortunately the Special Assistant had started to believe this was her function and had waded into rough and unknown waters, causing the present uncoordinated and problematic flow of communication from State House.
John Baimba Sesay

In a less direct statement, The Sierra Leone Press Attache to China John Baimba Sesay wrote that the President has done many great things and that it will be "painfully disastrous and unacceptable for anyone to directly or indirectly undermine such great works and whoever attempts such should be asked to wait for a while" 

Feeling the heat from the President's circle, Sylvia Blyden this morning took as usual to Facebook quoting the book of Judges and stating that Gideon was also tested several times in the Bible. She stated that over the past few days starting from Friday June 7th to Monday June 17th she had had to run several political tests on her life. The results of the tests she claims indicate that she did not need to be at State House working for President Koroma in order to serve what she claims is "God's purpose in my political life." The use of God's name by Blyden. She says it has been great working for the President, but it was now time to read the meaning of her signs.

Many Facebook forum members condemned Sylvia Blyden's blasphemous use of God's name, remembering that this was the same woman who had publicly come out to reject the indictment of Liberian mass murderer Charles Taylor for crimes against humanity in Sierra Leone. Others stated that it was just a ploy for the President to ask her to stay, thus adding to her air of self importance, as she did not intend to go anywhere. Other APC members are publicly hoping she will go, as she is seen as a negative influence around State House, always posing for pictures with visiting dignitaries to feed her monumental ego and spreading gossip about other party members. Sylvia's incendiary language and caustic manner has caused her to be kicked out of many Facebook forums.

As we continue to wait Sylvia's decision my conclusion is that her statements are just a halfhearted bluff to gain sympathy. To write about politicians is one thing, but to be in politics, you have to watch what you say, and this may be an important lesson for an individual who feels she is too proud to learn.

1 comment:

Ibrahim Dumbuya said...

Well written article. I hope the President will see sense and get rid of her. Otherwise, she will derail all his achievements. Why did he appoint her in the first place?