Sunday, January 5, 2014

The Balogun Koroma/David Tam-Baryoh Saga Continues: Enter Omotunde Blyden

State House Freetown
Some days ago while on a trip to Kono with Sierra Leone Vice President Sam Sumana and some members of the Vice President's family, Sierra Leone radio journalist David Tam-Baryoh was reportedly contacted by a lady friend of current Transport and Aviation Minister and former Minister in the Office of the Vice President, Leonard Balogun Koroma (Logus). The lady in question informed David Tam-Baryoh that there were plans afoot to "deal with him" conceived by none other than Logus himself. The reason for this planned perpetration of harm by Logus, according to the mysterious lady, stemmed from the fact that David Tam-Baryoh interviewed more opposition Sierra Leone Peoples Party (SLPP) members on his popular radio program than he did members of the All Peoples Congress (APC) and in fact Tam Baryoh was a pretender.
Defiant DavidTam-Baryoh

Upon hearing this information from the grapevine, David Tam-Baryoh, instead of calling Logus to clarify the veracity of the rumor proceeded to write a text message to Logus telling him that he had heard the rumor and letting him know as he put it that "walls had ears."

In the text message, which has now been made available on Social media, Tam-Baryoh informed Minister Balogun that he heard that he was claiming that he was SLPP and a pretender. In the text message, he further stated that he had knowledge of machinations by few people in high places in Sierra Leone to burn down his radio station and the latest threat was coming at a time when he was privy to rumors of many threats against his person. Tam-Baryoh expressed outrage at the current rumors and stated that though he was helpless he was not without information on the many evil plans against him. Tam-Baryoh promised Minister Logus that he was going to let their mutual friend President Koroma know about the threats as he trusted his security to the President and was therefore sending him a copy of the text.
Koroma' Right Hand Logus

When Balogun Koroma first got the text, he was unaware that David Tam-Baryoh was in Kono in the company of the Vice President. He immediately sent a reply in response to David's text, expressing surprise at the journalist's allegations which he found completely preposterous and without merit. According to Logus, apart from the fact that he and David Tam-Baryoh were "Kono brothers," the journalist had been very instrumental to him when he was chair of the President's reelection campaign and had loyally interviewed him from every corner of Sierra Leone and given him air time on his radio program whenever he needed it. He also expected Tam-Baryoh to provide the same services to him in 2017/2018 and therefore wondered why he would have anything against him when he was so instrumental. Logus assured David that the information was totally false and asked him to reveal the identity of this mysterious lady. He implored David to remain professional and assured him that they will continue to remain to be brothers and friends. He also sent copies of his text to their mutual friend, President Ernest Bai Koroma.
Sumana's Right Hand David

The first friendly reply by Balogun was before he learnt that David Tam-Baryoh had sent the text to him while in the company of Vice President Sam Sumana in Kono. When news got to Logus that the journalist was in fact with the VP in Kono, the dynamics of current APC politics got into play, and the text message took on a different meaning.

Logus then proceeded to send David Tam Baryoh another text message now that he knew that the text had come while he was in the company of a man now viewed as not in the good graces of his boss the President. The second text is reproduced below Verbatim:

"My brother David, as indicated in my earlier text message, I wanted to call and have a one on one meeting with you with a view to understanding where you are coming from by associating me with people you claim are planning to "burn your radio station".
However, I understand you are with the Hon. Vice President in Kono, and on your return, taking into consideration the seriousness of your allegation, I want you to corroborate it by calling forward the so called Lady friend of mine who told you that; I am sure she is alive and you can bring her name forward.
You have always been a professional journalist and I am sure you want to maintain that position; except if you have an agenda against me by making such wild allegations.
Logus Koroma"

It was after these exchanges that somebody informed David Tam-Baryoh that there were plans to have him taken into custody for libel. When he got wind of the information that there was a police manhunt for him, he made it to the country's Criminal Investigation Department (CID) where he was interrogated for 4 hours, and kept in detention for 7 hours,  released only on a bail of one hundred million Leones and two sureties.

David Tam-Baryoh is a lucky fellow, as his close relationship with the President, who he likes to publicly refer to as his friend, might just have enabled him to be bailed out after only 7 hours in detention. Charles Margai the leader of the Peoples Movement for Democratic Change, once a close ally of the President and some journalist who have recently fallen in the cross hairs of the Koroma clan have not been so lucky. The poor politician and journalists were held for several days and refused bail because they had offended the gods of Sierra Leone.
Perennial Trouble Maker Blyden

It seems that David Tam-Baryoh's troubles are just beginning, as his arch-nemesis, the Presidents Special Executive Assistant Sylvia Omotunde Blyden has jumped into the mix, putting petrol into the already burning flames.

Immediately after the detention the loquacious Blyden got into action. She went on social media and wrote that as it were, only Balogun can now decide to "forgive" Tam-Baryoh, her present arch nemesis.

Sylvia who knows more about the libel laws of Sierra Leone that the framers of the Sierra Leone constitution had this to say in reference to the current controversy. "Only Logus Koroma can decide to forgive David Tam Baryoh and move on from this matter but with the defiance stance of Tam Baryoh to extent of writing that inane press release demanding an apology when he, Tam Baryoh, is the perpetrator and Logus the victim, I do not know oh if Logus will have the heart to forgive such continued recalcitrance... Truthfully speaking, ALL the elements for a successful prosecution for defamatory AND seditious libel are included in this case. Tam baryoh forgets he sent the libelous text to a 3rd party, President Koroma!! And since President Koroma is the immediate boss of Logus Koroma, by telling the President that Logus is so violent that he plans to deal with Tam Baryoh and so Tam Baryoh needs the protection of the President, Tam Baryoh has seriously defamed Logus Koroma to his employer which even has a possibility of costing Logus his job and his reputation to his boss. This is a TEXTBOOK CASE of criminal libel. I hope David Tam Baryoh quickly apologises and begs his Kono brother Logus Koroma, to forgive him his trespasses.(Blyden, 2014)
Journalistic Gladiators

Now that Sierra leone's beauty queen is in the mix, things can only get better. There are already calls for the investigation of David Tam-Baryoh's academic credentials. According to the Segbwema Blog correspondent in Juba, Freetown, speculation is rife in Freetown that David Tam-Baryoh has no PhD as he claims. Some are stating that attempts to verify his academic qualifications have so far proved to be futile and that he is the latest in the long line of bogus PhDs in the country. Tam-Baryoh's defenders are however stating that the fellow is a true intellectual and all his qualifications are real. It is reported that some of his supporters are even now saying that even the doctorate credential of Sylvia Blyden should be investigated as there are rumors that she was kicked out of COMAHS in Sierra Leone. Only time will verify these credentials and put all these rumors to rest. The position of the Segbwema Blog is that all doctorates are assumed valid, except proven otherwise.

As the saga continues, the blog correspondent in Western Freetown will be very busy these few days trying to filter the truth out of the propaganda.

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