Saturday, October 19, 2013

State House Palava Continues: Enter Azonto

Mohamed Azonto Kamara
Awareness Times
Using the Awareness Times Newspaper as a cover, President Ernest Bai Koroma of Sierra Leone is now using the mysterious Awareness Times journalist Mohamed Azonto Kamara aka SEA to clear all the obstacles in his path to hand picking a puppet and installing him as leader of the ruling All Peoples Congress (APC) party. A puppet that will be a potential future president of the impoverished and debt plagued West African Country.

Taking a cue from Russian President Vladimir Putin, who got around presidential term limits by appointing a stooge Dmitry Medvedev as a bench warmer President for one term and then coming back as President after the end of the first term, it seems as if all the old APC tactics of the 1970s are back with a vengeance.

Some time after the 2012 elections, some of President Koroma's stooges in the media and the government started to float the idea of a third term. The President's campaign manager Balogun Koroma went on radio and insinuated that having done such a good job it will not be a bad idea for the President to have a third term. Swift condemnation by citizens and independent media groups of the idea of a third term forced the President's handlers to quickly release a statement condemning overzealous people for propagating lies and forcefully stating that the President had absolutely no interest in running for a third term as he respects the constitution. Quietly however, most of the APC people that were publicly calling for a third term saw a change in their fortunes and were suddenly promoted to important positions, with the main idea propagator, Balogun Koroma, promoted to Transportation and Aviation Minister and put in charge of all future APC elections campaigns.

In another remarkable feat of puppeteering, President Koroma ensured that when the time came for election of the executive members of his ruling APC party, only his hand picked agents were selected ans returned unopposed to all the top positions. Credible State House sources state that their potential rivals were quietly ordered to back down, a situation that went unchallenged as all the former formidable rivals of the President had either been co-opted, sidelined or sent out of the country on diplomatic assignments as Ambassadors. Though there were reports of some quiet grumbling in corners, President Koroma's system of patronage and reward for personal loyalty had so weakened his potential rivals, that they all just wrapped their tails and went along quietly. Nobody wanted to lose that official vehicle or board membership of some bank or parastatal. Survival in Freetown today is at the discretion of Koroma deity.

To further exert his dominance over the All Peoples Congress political class, President Koroma firmly warned all those who were thinking of replacing him after the endof his term against making any overt or covert moves and threatened with expulsion from government, any APC politician caught campaigning for presidential office. His excuse was that it was not the time for campaigning, but a time for governing and he expected all his allies to pay 100% attention to running the country. The assumption that a person cannot be campaigning and simultaneously governing, flies in the face of all logic as even the president himself had been campaigning for reelection while running the country. The excuse merely portrayed the APC political class as a bunch of low brained individuals who could lack the ability to do two things at the same time. But of course, who dared to challenged the world's best President and risk the insult of Mohamed Azonto Kamara as women grow balls in Sierra Leone.
VP Sam Sumana

To further unify his control of government, President Koroma purged his government off all non-APC ministers like his Peoples Movement for Democratic Change (PMDC) allies and those he did not see as being 100% loyal to him. PMDC having been totally routed in the 2012 elections were now regarded as a spent force who were no longer relevant in Sierra Leone politics. To prove just how irrelevant the PMDC was, after kicking most of their ministers out of government, the party leader lawyer Charles Margai was arrested locked up in a stinking prison cell for a few days over some careless statements he made about having hunters ready to defend him .Nothing came out of his days in a dirty cell, except his bruised ego and the belittling of the Margai name. Koroma had shown Margai who the boss was, there was a new Sheriff in town.

Currently, as President Koroma's power in Sierra Leone grows more absolute, some very negative developments have started taking place in the country. A couple of months ago the Sierra Leone Peoples Party (SLPP) which is the country's main opposition had elections for their national executive. In the lead up to the elections, police in the country made some brazen raids on the office and residence of the President's main challenger in the 2012 Elections, Rtd. Brigadier Julius Maada Bio, on suspicions that he was harboring some fugitives and reportedly had been stockpiling weapons with an intent to disrupt the SLPP executive elections if his preferred candidate did not win. The raid of course yielded nothing and many saw it as just a ploy to humiliate the ex-military strong man and test the extent of loyalty to him across the country. After effectively annihilating the PMDC, SLPP was now the main target on Sierra Leone's new road to APCdom.
Monologue Trouble

Just around the SLPP elections, there was news of a military mutiny  and some very low ranking military men were arrested together with the Bo mayor who was quickly released. Even though the government claims to have some low rank military men under arrest, the whole case is shrouded in mystery and skepticism and seen by many as a thinly veiled attempt to have gone after Bio if any problem had arisen in Bo, had his preferred candidate lost. Having completely paralyzed internal APC opposition and succeeded in making PMDC completely impotent, pundits believe that President Koroma and his cronies wanted to decapitate the political leadership of the SLPP using their internal party squabbles as an excuse. However, as of now he is content to leave the weakening of SLPP to themselves as the fight for leadership grows more acrimonious.

Currently, President Koroma's attention has turned to his final obstacle in APC, the country's Vice President and former political ally Sam Sumana who is alleged to have defrauded some American business partners between 2006 to 2007 and using the money to bank roll Koroma's ascendancy to to the Presidency, in return for the position of Vice President, an allegation that caused serious embarrassment for President Koroma in 2012, leading to speculations that the Vice President might be replaced on the ruling ticket. President Koroma of course kept Sam Sumana on the Presidential ticket, but immediately after the election, their relationship took a nose dive and there is now apparently no love lost between the two as is now manifested in the open battle between the President's Special Executive Assistant Sylvia Olayinka Blyden and Sam Sumana's ally the host of the popular Monologue radio program David Tam Baryoh.
The Boss and the SEA

Over the past few week's Sylvia Blyden's gossip tabloid, Awareness Times, has been full of derogatory statements against the Vice President, referring to him as scandal plagued and an embarrassment for having his allies saying bad things about the President. Things have gotten so bad that the balsy mysterious journalist called Mohamed Azonto Kamara has now twisted the Vice President's name in order to publicly insult him. Mohamed Azonto who 95% of adult Sierra Leoneans believe isthe President's Special Executive Assistant Blyden, has now created a new acronym for Vice President Sam Sumana, calling  him Vice-President Alhaji Sidique Samsumana (ASS), or (VP ASS), the term ASS being regarded in Sierra Leone as a tremendous insult, especially of a man with the traditional heritage of the almost powerless Vice President.

Sylvia Blyden has of course told everybody who cares to listen that she is not a minister but is of cabinet rank, answers only to the President and has been given the go ahead by the President to write anything she wants.
The Rape of Kono

However, giving the Vice President the very derogatory moniker ASS, with all its negative connotations is not viewed favoribly by many Sierra Leoneans as even if the man is not to be respected, he should be treated with the constitutional respect befitting the second highest office in the land, especially by members of his own government. Having an assistant to the President publicly insulting the Vice President is a new low in Sierra Leone politics and represents the utter small mindedness of the curent leaders of Sierra Leone. Even the president should be ashamed at the current state of affairs. Openly insulting the Vice President in a newspaper shows no respect for even the Presidency and it is a real shame to have somebody of Sylvia's caliber and mentality working in the most important office in the country.

A year ago, when the Al Jazeera Timbergate scandal broke in Sierra Leone, Sylvia was the main person defending the Vice President on Television and going after jornalist Sorious Samoura. She is now the primary tool in the humiliation of the Vice President, a lonely man who never truly learned the intricate workings and the cut throat nature of historic APC politics. He is now being rapidly schooled.
The Forgotten

After Sumana, the next target is the remaining journalists who have not been bought over. Unfortunately for those who intend to muzzle the press, they may also want to start thinking about investing in buying the Internet.

Read Azonto's Insults here

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