Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Blyden's Hero Charles Taylor Jailed for 50 years

Charles Taylor Shown Who was the Boss

Judges at the United Nations backed special court for Sierra Leone have handed down a stiff sentence of fifty years behind bars to former National Patriotic Front of Liberia rebel strongman turned president Charles Ghankay Taylor in a landmark case that makes Taylor the first president to be forced from office and tried for crimes against humanity in a neighboring country, in a conflict that he remotely controlled first from his bases in the jungles of Liberia and later from the country's Executive Mansion.

Taylor who was early last month found guilty of 11 counts of war crimes including; acts of terrorism, murder, violence to life, rape, sexual slavery and violence, outrages upon personal dignity, violence to life-in particular cruel treatment, other in humane against humanity, use of child soldiers, enslavement, and pillage was sentenced today in The Hague and will be serving his lengthy sentence from the cold confines of a British jail. He was tried and will be jailed in Europe, as his trial in Sierra Leone was considered an enormous security risk, due to his extensive criminal history and support from thousands of former Liberian and Sierra Leone rebel fighters.
Taylor's Partners AFRC

Sierra Leone tabloid journalist Sylvia Olayinke Blyden who last month almost went into mourning on hearing that her former hero Charles Taylor was found guilty on eleven counts will be shell shocked at such a stiff sentence that will practically ensure that her man is kept locked up for life or until he is so old that the only food he will be able to eat will be rice pudding. Sylvia famously refused to print any news item in her Newspaper when Charles Taylor was convicted and now she will practically be bawling her eyes out that he is locked away for good.
The Unreasonable Blyden
Even where mountains of evidence against Taylor were presented at the war crimes tribunal supporting his involvement in the conflict in Sierra Leone for financial and strategic reasons, Sylvia Blyden maintained that he was just a convenient scapegoat and that it was the people of the southeast who bore the brunt of the civil war that were really to be blamed as they had opened their villages to let the RUF in. Even the fact that most town in the southeast were viciously attacked by a combination of Revolutionary United Front (RUF) and NPFL rebels leading to the loss of thousands of lives in the region meant little to this excuse of a human being parading as a journalist. Recently she is engaged in a war of words with veteran octogenarian politician Sama Banya who was appalled at Sylvia Blyden's insane accusations against the people of southeast Sierra Leone.

In recent times Sylvia Blyden who used to call the current president of Sierra Leone, Ernest Koroma, a womanizer, accusing him of promoting his girlfriend a so called Arabella Foray above his wife Sia Koroma, has now thrown his support behind the president and is busy writing incendiary articles that pit the people of southeast Sierra Leone against those of the north. Sylvia Blyden's purpose of publicly fanning the flames of tribalism in Sierra Leone is yet to be determined, but as history can attest, it was the words of so called journalists, inciting Hutus against Tutsis, that led to the genocide in Rwanda that claimed close to a million lives in less than a month. Sierra Leones who just came out of ten years of brutal civil war should be wary of some of these former rebels who having failed in the bush, are now using other nefarious means of sowing conflict and discord in the country in furtherance of their aims.
Blyden's Nemesis Arabella Foray

In sentencing the 64 year old former warlord, Judge Richard  Lussick described his crimes as being very serious serious both in terms od the scale of the crimes and their brutality. The Segbwema blog correspondent in the Hague states that it is hoped that Taylor's stiff sentence will be a lesson to other leaders that the days of treating their citizens like scum were over. It is hoped that president Assad of Syria who is busy massacring his people will learn from this. 
APC Interior Minister Tarawally-Promising Murder in November
This sentence may also act as a deterrent to those in the APC government and SLPP opposition who may be planning violence ahead of the elections in November. The country's interior minister Musa Tarawally famously  went on BBC claiming that the cash strapped government which cannot even afford to supply money to banks to pay their customers,  bought millions of dollars of arms and ammunition for the OSDs to control the Sierra Leone opposition during the elections. Days after receiving the arms the police went on a killing spree in the strategic energy town of Bumbuna.

Tegloma Organization Promoting Sierra Leone Women

Ms. Rebecca Johnson Tegloma Vice Chairman-administration

Tegloma Federation International Inc, the largest Sierra Leone organization in the diaspora with 24 chapters in USA, Canada, UK and the Gambia is becoming a model organization for training Sierra Leone women in assuming the responsibilities of leadership in a formal setting. 

Each Tegloma Chapter is geographically located at least two hundred miles from the other. In the United States of America, Tegloma is typically located in states and cities with huge Sierra Leone populations such as the Washington DC/Maryland/Virginia metro area, New England, Delaware Valley, Reading, Chicago, Houston and Dallas Texas, Indiana, Southern and Northern California, Minnesota, Atlanta, New York, New Jersey, Ohio, The Carolinas, Wisconsin, Arizona and Missouri. In Canada there are two chapters in Manitoba and and Ontario and a chapter in the United Kingdom, The Gambia and two chapters in Freetown and Bo Sierra Leone, though the Bo Chapter is currently dormant.
Ms. Jeneba Bangura Tegloma Secretary General-Administration

Every Tegloma Chapter is an autonomous entity with its own constitution and bylaws. All chapters are however subsidiaries of the Tegloma International Federation which is managed by the administration currently headed by Alfred Moi Jamiru of Tegloma Indiana and the federation board of directors headed by Abu Bhonapha of Tegloma Northern California. The majority of the members of Tegloma originate from southeastern Sierra Leone, though every area of Sierra Leone has members in the organization and the organization has metamorphosed to encourage membership from any individual interested in the culture of Sierra Leone and philanthropy.
Ms. Alice Hawa Kallon-Tegloma Vice Chair-board

The unique quality that Tegloma has, as opposed to other Sierra Leone organizations, is the enormous role that women play in the leadership and day to day administration of the organization at both the federal and chapter levels. Women and men play an equal role in Tegloma and many of the chapters have either been headed or are being headed by strong, intelligent, sophisticated and very educated Sierra Leone women. Almost all the major chapters in terms of population size are headed by women.
Ms. Nyambe Miatta Smith Tegloma Admin Treasurer

Tegloma New York/ New Jersey is headed by Ms. Julia Hawa Conteh and Tegloma Garden State by Ms. Martina Kabba. Tegloma Chicago is Headed by Ms. Francess Turay and Tegloma Houston by Ms. Kadie Kaikai. Tegloma Wisconsin is headed by Ms. Betty  Brewah, succeeding Ms. Bridgette Saidu and Tegloma Dallas By. Ms. Josephine Ladipo. Tegloma Carolinas is headed by Rev. Judith Banya and Tegloma Delaware Valley by Ms. Jane Saidu.Tegloma Minnesota was headed for four years by Ms. Elizabeth Saidu Momoh and Tegloma Arizona headed by Ms. Helen Kuyembeh who is going to Sierra Leone this year to contest as a member of that country's parliament.
Ms. Julia Hawa Conteh President Tegloma New York/New Jersey

At the federation level women are also in formidable positions. The current Vice chairman of the administration is Ms. Rebecca Johnson of Tegloma Minnesota and the Vice chair of the Board of directors is Ms. Alice Hawa Kallon of Tegloma New England. The federation Secretary General is Ms. Jeneba Bangura and the administration treasurer is Mrs. Miatta Nyambe Smith of Tegloma Atlanta.
Ms. Elizabeth Jattu Bransah President Tegloma Ontario

Of course Tegloma did not always have so many women in leadership positions Under the paternalistic leadership of former long serving Tegloma administration chairman and current Sierra Leone deputy education minister Dr. Lansana Nyallay, the Tegloma administration was essentially a boy's club. Things started to change under the leadership of the progressive thinking chairman Aloysius Foh, alias 'Bandami' who drew his support from the female leadership of Tegloma and made it easy for them to occupy prominent positions in the organization's leadership. Under current chairman Alfred Moi Jamiru, women are essentially dislocating the men from Tegloma leadership and there is an 80% probability that the next Tegloma administration chairman would be a chairwoman. 
Ms. Josephine Ladipo President Tegloma Dallas

Any government of Sierra Leone should learn a thing or two from Tegloma. Major political parties in that country should start having women either as flagbearers or running mates.  Women are largely underutilized in Africa, though in leadership positions they prove to be equally effective as their male counterparts. From Madeleine Albright to Condoleezza Rice to Hillary Clinton, to Meg Whitman of EBay and Ellen Johnson Sirleaf of Liberia, women have proved time and again that they can be formidable leaders  and visionaries, but some societies still remain bound to male dominated cultures that undermine their role and keep them only in domestic positions.
Ontario President and Federation Vice Chair

Even in Sierra Leone, prominent female leaders like Madam Yoko, Ella Koblo Gulama, Mamawa Benya, Sallay Satta Gendemeh, have historically demonstrated that the African woman is very formidable at leadership and nothing would give us progressive Sierra Leoneans greater joy than for President Koroma to come down from his male dominated culture and appoint a formidable woman as flagbearer in the upcoming national elections, effectively ensuring that no matter who wins, our vice president would be a woman.
Ms. Francess Turay President Tegloma Chicago

The Sierra Leone woman is a great manager. With very little money they feed their families, cloth and send their children to school, take care of the home while the husband is away pretending to be the big man and essentially run the society at the community level. Women are considerate and fair and can be firm when the need arises, as former British Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher effectively demonstrated. It is time for Sierra Leone men to get off their high horses and give our women folk the place they deserve in society.
Ex Arizona President Helen Kuyembeh headed to contest in Sierra Leone

By Sheku Sheriff Segbwema Blogger 

Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Abu Bhonopha becomes Tegloma Board Chair

Newly Elected Tegloma Board Chair Abu Bhonapha
On Friday May 25, 2012 the Tegloma Federation International Inc, the umbrella organization for all the Tegloma chapters all over the world conducted the organization's  board elections in Newark, New Jersey. Many board members from Tegloma chapters in USA and Canada, came together in New York to elect a new board executive for the federation.. This year, board members from London, Gambia and Sierra Leone were unable to come for the elections. The Tegloma board is responsible for setting out the broad policies of the organization and is the custodian of the organization's constitution and finances.

The Tegloma Board executive consists consists of the chairman and vice, the secretary general and assistant secretary general and the treasurer.

This year the position of board chairmanship pitted two veteran board members Mr. Mustapha Sheriff of Tegloma Chicago and Mr. Abu Bhonapha of Tegloma northern California against each other. Both candidates arrived on Thursday and spent the night campaining for the most senior position in the Tegloma federation, the umbrella organization of the 24 Tegloma chapters in America, Canada, Europe and Africa.

Mustapha Sheriff campaigned on the basis of his experience in Tegloma, having spent many years rising through the ranks of Tegloma Chicago and ultimately becoming chapter president. He was also the ex president of the The Tegloma Midwest Coalition, a position currently held by Mr. Joshua Joshua Murray. The coalition consists of the Midwestern Tegloma Chapters of Minnesota, Chicago, Wisconsin, Mannitoba, Ohio, and Indiana. Mr Sheriff also went on to become the vice chairman of the federation board for four years.

Mr. Abu Bhonopha rose through the ranks of Tegloma Northern California, ultimately becoming the long term chairman of that chapter's board. He campaigned on the basis of not having been on the past board executive and never having been a member of the federation executive. He said that his election would ensure an influx of new ideas and a change of the usual approach. Both men have been in Tegloma for many years.

In a tense election conducted by an electoral commission led by madam Margaret Tagoe of Tegloma New York, Mr. Abu Bhonapha prevailed and won by a margin of five votes, with the results accepted by both parties as being very free and fair. 
Mr. Bhonapha in Tegloma Chair Robe after Election
After the election Mr. Bhonapha pledged to work hastily to review the constitution to cut down on the uncontrolled expenditure that was hampering the progress of the noble organization and also ensure that an audit is conducted as soon as possible. He pledged to work with the Tegloma Federation administration to further the philanthropic aims and objectives of the organization. Mr. Bhonapha said he would soon launch a massive fundraising drive to strengthen the coffers of Tegloma. He put a temporary freeze on all federation expenditures.
Sheku Sheriff New Board Secretary General
Other new Board executive members elected including Mr. Sheku Sheriff (Segbwema Blogger) of Tegloma Minnesota as secretary general and Mr. Henry Gegbe of Tegloma Dallas as treasurer, both unopposed. Madam Alice Hawa Kallon will be the vice chairman. She was unable to attend the mini-convention due to the loss of a younger sister in Sierra Leone.
Rev. John Loum Pouring Libations
The Main 2012 Tegloma convention will be held in Washington DC in September on the labor day weekend and delegates are expected from Sierra Leone, Canada, Gambia, UK, and all over the United Stares of America.

Saturday, May 26, 2012

Outgoing Tegloma Board Chairman's Report



Honorable board members, Administration Chairman Alfred Moi Jamiru, members of Tegloma, distinguished guests, ladies and gentlemen. On behalf of my wife Madam Rose Mustapha, my family and my board executive, I want to thank you all from the bottom of my heart for giving me this great privilege to serve as your federation board chairman, the most senior job in the federation these past four years. 

These past four years have been both challenging and rewarding and though we have had some tough times, I have not regretted one minute of it. If I had the opportunity to be board chairman, I will do it all over again.

During my term of office as Chairman of the Tegloma Federation Board we encountered many problems and had to deal with many issues.  However I am proud to report that my four years as chairman of the board of directors of this great organization, which we all love, has been very successful.

When I took up the responsibility of chairman the first task we set ourselves was to resuscitate some of our struggling chapters. One of the first chapters we tried to bring back into the federation was the Toronto chapter that had been missing from many of our important occasions. We identified the leaders of the chapter and worked with them to bring them back on board the federation. Today we are proud to report that Tegloma Toronto chapter, is one of the greatest  and most active chapters in the federation. Together with the administration chairman Alfred Moi Jamiru we have been able to revive the Freetown chapter of Tegloma, which was very dormant for close to ten years. Today the Freetown chapter has a brand new executive and will be our eyes and ears on the ground in Sierra Leone.

I am also proud to report that we have worked with the administration to bring in two more new and vibrant chapters into the federation. The Missouri Chapter headed by Chief Mbriwa was inaugurated two years ago in Saint Louis, Missouri and is today a major chapter in the federation that has been able to participate in all federation activities. Our newest Chapter Tegloma Gambia, was inaugurated in West Africa by myself and Chief Jamiru, in Serekunda, the Gambia in the early part of this year. The gambia Chapter is very strong and has spread the name of Tegloma to another African country, besides Sierra Leone.

One of my greatest achievements as chairman of the board was helping to find a resolution to the problems in Tegloma Dallas that almost split the chapter apart. Members of the Dallas chapter had two major conflicts which involved the hosting of the federation convention and the election of the chapter president. Regarding the convention, there were two camps, those in favor of hosting the convention and those against it. The administration tried to solve the problem but were unable and brought it to the board. The board worked with the administration to allow the chapter to host the convention, but the decision did not go down well with some members. However, the Dallas convention was able to go on successfully with the full support of the federation. After the convention the chapter was supposed to have executive elections, but there was a major problem between supporters of the two candidates for chapter president. The problem got so bad that meetings were ending in quarrels and physical confrontation. The federation board was able to work with the administration and send peacemakers to help set guidelines for the election and also sent election monitors to help ensure that the election was held peacefully, and the results were free and fair, and acceptable to all the two parties. We are pleased to report that today Tegloma Dallas has a new president Madam Josephine Ladipo and the chapter is united behind her.

For years we have all heard about the Tegloma land in Bo, but almost every year a new problem came up with regard to the real ownership of the land. I am pleased to report that under my leadership, the ownership of the land has been finally settled, and it now belongs wholly and solely to Tegloma 100%! We were able to work with the former vice president of Sierra Leone, Dr. Joe Demby to get all the proper papers and documents confirming our ownership of the land and also get the original owners of the land to give us full ownership and blessing without any condition. The only problem that any future board chairman will have is deciding what to do with the land. However, the land is situated in a prime spot and we need to maintain the land by brushing it regularly and having a caretaker look after it, so that nobody encroaches on the land.  

During my term I was able  to personally visit all the chapters in USA and Canada to lend them support during inaugurations and other important activities and was also able to attend every single convention of Tegloma. I also made it easy for the board to meet regularly by arranging for meetings to be held by teleconference. This enabled us to address important issues without necessarily waiting for annual conventions.  Going forward I will recommend the federation to use more technology to communicate with members in order to reduce the cost of travel and save the federation money.

Ladies and gentlemen, we all know that Tegloma is now a 501 (C) (3) organization. This means that we no longer just promote our culture, but most importantly we help those who are in need or who are less privileged than us. Over the years I have been chairman, we have continued giving scholarships to needy students in Sierra Leone and am proud to report that just this year, we were able to award 41 full scholarships to every region of the country. This year with the help of the Indiana chapter, we were also able to ship a 40 ft container worth of valuable medical supplies and I personally distributed them to Moyamba and Kenema hospitals in Sierra Leone.

We did not also forget that Tegloma is a cultural organization. We supported the decision of chief Jamiru to make official staffs for every chief in the federation and also made a new federation staff to replace the old one that was almost falling apart.

Today I am proud to report that the Tegloma I am leaving as chairman has more chapters and is a more united organization than the one I inherited.

However, in spite of all our successes there is still work to be done. Though we have tried our level best, the Wisconsin, Reading, Manitoba and London chapters are not very active in the federation. We have started moves to reactivate these chapters and I plead with the incoming chairman not to give up at all, as these are chapters with great potential in the federation. We also set up a committee of very knowledgeable people to review our constitution and the committee is still working on the task and I will ask the incoming board executive to work with them and speedily review the constitution to address the loopholes and gray areas in this very important guiding document. We also set up an audit committee in Atlanta, but I had to leave for Sierra Leone and my secretaries were both not active at the time for personal reasons and were unable to work with the committee. I will encourage the incoming executive to work with the audit committee to do an audit of the organization as soon as possible.

I would not have  achieved all these successes that I have outlined, without the help of many people. On behalf of my executive and myself, I would like to thank the land committee for helping us acquire the land. Special thanks to Chairman Aloysius Foh and Chairman Sandy for starting the land process. We also thank Dr. Joe Demby for a marvelous job in helping us finally get the full rights to the land.

I would also like to thank the current administration chairman Alfred Moi Jamiru for working closely with me to do the work of Tegloma over the past years.

I am grateful to all the members of my board executive for their patience and support and promise them that we would always remain to be family and friends.

Finally I would like to take this opportunity to thank from the bottom of my heart my partner and lifelong friend, Mrs Rose Mustapha, without whose endless love, encouragement and support, I would not have been able to serve this federation as faithfully as I did.

I thank you all for your love of Tegloma and family and urge everyone here to do all they can to make this great organization better.

Long Live Tegloma
Long Live Sierra Leone

Alhaji Alieu Mustapha
Chairman BOD
Tegloma Federation International

Thursday, May 24, 2012

Of Lokos and Hutus: The Garbage Of Tribal Politics

The flagbearer of the main opposition party in Sierra Leone, Julius Maada Bio, who will be the presidential candidate for the Sierra Leone Peoples Party (SLPP) in the November 2012 elections has had everything thrown at him. Leading APC blog outfits masquerading as news outlets; Cocorioko, Torch and Awarenesstimes have thrown every conceivable garbage at the ex-leader of the country who initiated the first contacts with the rebel Revolutionary United Front (RUF) that ended the horrible crimes against humanity that were being perpetrated in the country under the guise of a civil war.
Julius Maada Bio

When Maada Bio was elected flagbearer of the SLPP, most APC diaspora commentators like Kabbs Kanu, Joseph Sherman, and the grammatically challenged pseudo-intellectual Essa Thaim Kurugba and a bevy of other uninfluential forum party loyalists were ecstatic as they thought that with his NPRC association, Sierra Leoneans would easily reject Maada Bio in favor of the current president Ernest Bai Koroma, if he could be portrayed as an evil person. Unfortunately, most of these fellows never witnessed the war in Sierra Leone to appreciate that by seeking a diplomatic solution to the war, Maada had endeared himself to hundreds of thousands of Sierra Leoneans.

APC agents were joined in the anti-Maada crusade by the garrulous Charles Taylor sympathiser, Sylvia Blyden, a journalist wanna be with the charm of a cobra and the mentality of a wounded Donkey. Sylvia Blyden is nastiness personified; a vendetta writer with an attraction for tabloid sensationalism, she uses her paper to destroy the reputation of those she hate and staunchly defend those she supports, while at the same time trying to convince all that listen to her that she is telling the truth. Of course, everybody's version of he truth is different.
Stoking The fire of Tribalism 
Maada's reputation took some heavy beating when he was announced to be the flagbearer of SLPP and short of a gun being used against his person, APC  seems to have just started their campaign of defamation against him, in a deliberate attempt to take people's mind away from four years of disastrous policies that have reduced the value of the national currency by almost 50% and eroded the relatively stable security climate that existed immediately prior to Ernest Koroma's ascension to the presidency.

Maada Bio was portrayed as a vicious murderer and violator of human rights. He was described as a crook and a fraud and portrayed as unpatriotic and opportunistic. Though Maada Bio only came to prominence after Soloman Anthony J. Musa, the then 22 year old NPRC vice president was kicked out of the NPRC, Maada is now being accused of the human rights violations committed when Valentine Strasser and SAJ Musa were in charge. The paradox here is that NPRC heavy hitters like Karifa Kargbo, Tom Nyuma, Idriss Kamara and Kindama Kargbo, who were all in NPRC at the time of these incidents, are now APC stalwarts and not regarded as civil right violators. So those who want to condemn Maada lost the moral argument by embracing those who were at the same rank with him when these same incidents occurred.
President Koroma Hutu, Loko, Temne-Who Cares?
APC agents do not realize that their main problem is not Maada Bio, but the poor judgment of the current party leader and nation's president Ernest Bai Koroma. Bai Koroma is typically a product of his generation, a man of 60s and 70s Sierra Leone when the fight between Siaka Steven and Albert Margai for national leadership was reduced to an inter tribal rivalry that the country has still not recovered. Albert Margai, seeing the popularity of Siaka Stevens in the north, after the Marginalization of Karefa Smart, decided to appeal to the southeastern part of the country while Siaka Stevens appealed to the northwestern region. Ultimately, Albert Margai's disagreeable nature cause SLPPers like Brewah and Kaisamba to run as independendents and effectively hand over leadership to APC.

Ernest Koroma took up office on a wave of personal popularity and disenchantment with the relative slow pace of development under President Kabba. An internal SLPP rebellion led to the creation of PMDC as Charles Margai felt that he should have been anointed leader of SLPP instead of Solomon Berewa. When there was no outright winner in the first round of the presidential elections, Margai threw his weight and support behind the candidacy of Ernest Koroma, hoping to promote inter regional integration. Ernest Koroma however proved to be a leader whose mentality was stuck in the politics of the 70s, the politics of tribal and regional identity. 

One of the first acts that Koroma did, an harbinger of things to come,was to create the least ethnically diverse cabinet in the history of Sierra Leone, with over 70 %of the ministers coming from the north of the country. APC supporters defended the practice by stating that the president appointed people he was comfortable working with and those he trusted. Most skeptical observers were however of the opinion that if the president could only work with or only trust people from the north of the country, then there must be something fundamentally wrong with his world view. Ernest Koroma in the first year of his leadership engaged in recklessly removing seasoned civil servants who had years of experience and on the job training and replaced them with party loyalists, the majority of whom had dubious qualifications or were graduates from American universities with questionable credentials. 
Kabbah-Not a fan of Tribal Politics
EBK as he is popularly known has promoted tribal and divisive politics to insane proportions. The argument currently in Freetown, being fueled in Machiavellian fashion by his supporters to deepen ethnic fissures is whether the president is Loko or Temne or a combination of both. Most people in Sierra Leone know president Koroma's family. His brothers are awarded lucrative contracts all over the place. He is a relatively young man so his playmates and school mates must be alive. If people really care to know the presidents tribe, why not ask his family members? All this talk about the president's tribes takes away valuable time talking about his failed policies which have led to the disapperance of the Sierra Leone middle class and the creation of a society in which there are now only the very rich (associates of the president) and the very poor (the majority of the people). I was at a party last week in which an APC friend asked me if I knew the president's tribe. "Hutu" I replied,  "but there are no Hutus in Sierra Leone," he said. 
"Well the rate at which tribalism is being promoted in Sierra Leone, we will soon degenerate into a Hutu and Tutsi situation reminiscent of Rwanda"
Crying Tribalism on Flagbearer Loss
Krio from Komende Leigh
President Koroma could be from Mars for all I care. If a Temne is going to provide good leadership for Sierra Leone, then any well meaning Sierra Leonean should pray for that Temne man or woman to rule Sierra Leone. What we need in that country is leadership that would save that country from the nightmare of hunger and abject poverty the majority of the people have descended into. President Koroma could be Gola or Bambara and that is of very little importance. What we need is an administration that would not just be mortgaging the country's future in the name of foreign investment.

Whoever becomes the next president of Sierra Leone should not follow this insane path of blatant tribalism masquerading as governance in Sierra Leone today. Some months ago residents of the town of Makeni rebelled against the Catholic church for appointing a church leader of southeastern origin. The people of Makeni's action was just a manifestation of the toxic tribal environment existing in Sierra Leone today. Jesus Christ was neither Temne nor Mende, but a Jew. If the people of Sierra Leone are prepared to have a Jew from the middle east as a savior, why should anyone have a problem accepting a fellow Sierra Leonean as a messenger of God. 
Maada Bio-Could Be Zulu
The greatest nation on earth, the USA shows what happens when people put aside ethnic, religious and regional differences and work together for the betterment of their society. Asians, African American, Europeans, Native and Caucasian American all work together to build a society that is working towards equality for all and progress for the human race. Americans value their differences but do not let such differences become obstacles to national progress and Sierra Leoneans should learn from that.
Segbwema Blogger-Madingo of Bambara, Mende and Konyanka Heritage
Could be Chinese

Wednesday, May 23, 2012

Battle of Tegloma Titans

This weekend, Tegloma International Federation Inc, the largest Sierra Leonean non governmental organization in the diaspora will be having its annual mini-convention in New York/New Jersey. The highlight of this year's mini-convention will be the election of a new board executive who will be charged with the responsibility of charting the course of the massive organization and streamlining its practices and ideas to reflect its nonprofit focus and bring them in tune with the 21st century. Tegloma consists of 24 chapter organizations mostly in the United States of America, with two chapters in Canada and a chapter each in UK, Gambia and Sierra Leone respectively. The newest members of the Tegloma Federation are Tegloma Missouri and Tegloma Gambia.
Alhaji Alieu Mustapha
Outgoing Board Chairman

Tegloma was originally founded as a regional organization promoting southeastern Sierra Leone culture and values and countering the discrimination faced by people from this region in the 70s by Sierra Leone embassy staff in the diaspora. Over the years Tegloma has evolved into an organization that is now open to all, with members that are Kenyan, Sierra Leonean, Gambian, American, French and so on. Tegloma also now has members from every area in Sierra Leone.

Tegloma Federation is now a registered Nonprofit organization with the United States Government and was awarded in 2010 by the US Census bureau for actively engaging in the publicizing and conducting the census. Each Tegloma chapter operates autonomously, but all are under the authority of the International federation. Some Tegloma chapters provide life insurance, job search assistance, immigration assistance and other crucial benefits for their members. Each chapter is run by the executive headed by the chief and board of directors. The largest chapters in Tegloma are the Dallas, Washington DC, Chicago and Houston chapters.
Steady Bongo's yearly Tegloma Performance

The Tegloma Federation is managed by a board of directors who frame policy and an administration task with the day to day affairs of the organization. The Tegloma administration is headed by Chairman Alfred Moi Jamiru and the Tegloma Board is headed by Alhaji Alieu Mustapha.

On Friday May 25, 2012 Alhaji Mustapha's tenure as board chairman comes to an end after 4 year at the helm. A new board will be elected Friday in New Jersey and the contest to replace Alhaji has really heated up as two formidable candidates have been approved by the Federation Electoral Commission to run for the Federation board Chairmanship.

The battle  to replace Alhaji as the senior most member of Tegloma is between the current Vice Chairman of the Federation board Mr. Mustapha Sheriff and the chairman of the Northern California chapter board Mr. Abu Bhonopha
Board Chair Candidate
Mustapha Sheriff

Board Chair candidate Abu Bhonopha
and Mrs Angela Bhonapha
Both candidates bring valuable experience to the position as both are veteran members of the organization with solid skills in management and conflict resolution. In talking to the Segbwema blogger, both men promised to make Tegloma more visible in Sierra Leone by undertaking more charitable projects in the country and helping with more education scholarships. Tegloma currently provides 41 full scholarships for students from all over the country. Tegloma also recently donated millions of Leones worth of medical supplies to some hospitals in rural Sierra Leone.
New York and Ontario Chiefs Hawa Conteh
and Elizabeth Samai with Sheriff

The segbwema blogger Sheku Sheriff is a board member of Tegloma Minnesota and is contesting as board secretary general.
Abu in board meeting

Monday, May 21, 2012

Nigerian 419 Scammers Getting Stupid

We have all had that junk mail claiming to be someone who was either the daughter, son or banker of the late Nigerian Dictator General Sanni Abacha, claiming to have access to a secret stash of money, a clandestine fortune  stored in some obscure bank in Switzerland, running in the millions of dollars, and all they want is someone like you, a honest and extremely reliable person to help them transfer this great cash reserve to a bank in your country in return for a substantial percentage of the late head of state's massive secret fortune. They only need your bank account number, your name and other particulars and a small fee to help with the transfer sent via Western Union. If you pay, the fees keep on building up.

General Sanni Abacha
Another variant of these scams is that your email address was randomly drawn in a lottery and you have just been declared the winner of a massive lottery draw by some obscure London Lottery agency and all that you needed to do was send some money for processing and your bank particulars for the funds to be deposited into.

Dead African leaders or those that have been overthrown are the prominent subjects of most of the 419 letters. The term 419 refers to the section of the Nigerian Criminal Code which deals with a type of fraud known as a Nigerian “Advance Fee Fraud.”  In these schemes, someone pretending to be a Nigerian official or business-person asks ordinary individuals and companies to help move millions of dollars out of Nigeria in exchange for high, hassle-free profits. The fraudsters solicit investors through mass mailings, faxes, phone calls, and e-mails.

In another example an individual claiming to be a twenty something year old claims to have seen your picture on Facebook and knew there and then that you were meant to be with them for life. They then ask you for money to buy clothes, take pictures and send to you. 
Nigerian Sweetheart 
These 419 mail solicitations are usually deleted as mere annoyances by many and most computer software recognize them as phishing scams and send them automatically to junk mail. In many cases however, many people have fallen prey to these get rich easily schemes and it is actually surprising that thousands of gullible and trusting people all over the world fall for these scams.

Of course some of these scams are very elaborate. The letters are carefully crafted, the grammar impeccable and constructed in such legal language that the mind that is not skeptical easily believes they are genuine letters. My first exposure to these type of scams occurred when a friend of mine at the Gamtel post office in the Gambian city of Janjangbureh called me one day and said he got a letter claiming his name was randomly selected in a drawing and he had won a million pounds. My friend used to apply for those dubious correspondence courses from unaccredited british colleges and they probably would have just sold his address to their fellow scammers. But as it was in the Gambia in those days and the isolated island of Janjangbureh for that matter, none of us had heard about these scams then. Janjangbureh people are not even aware of most of the things that happen in the capital Banjul half of the time. My friend called me, very excited and showed me the letter claiming he had won a million British pounds an he just needed to pay 50 pounds for processing and he was wondering where he was going to get the 50 pounds from. "Sabally" (I believe that was his name) I said, always the skeptical Sierra Leonean, "why not reply and tell them to take that 50 pounds out of your million, and probably take ten thousand pounds for themselves and send you the rest?" Sabally looked at me for long and said "Sheku these people would have got me, I never thought about that. If they have that much money for me, why can't they just take out the 50 pounds and send the rest?" "Exactly!" I said, and that was my introduction to mail scams.
Professional 419er
Though these scams are now known as Nigerian 419 scams, they most probably did not originate in that country. Nigeria only became renowned for these scams when a large population of unemployed youths with access to Internet cafes decided to make the sending of these letters or mails a full time profession. The success of the early scammers who convinced many unsuspecting people in America and Europe to mail millions of dollars to the country, convinced others to join them in these easy money schemes and soon Nigeria added this title to her already sullied reputation, not because most Nigerians were involved, but because a sizable number of greedy people would destroy the reputation of their country country in a bid for easy riches.

Just as piracy has become an established way of life in some Somali communities, 419 has become a way of life for many youths in Nigeria. There are also people in countries all over the world engaged in these deceptive practices who do not even know where Nigeria, but they are all known now as 419ers. So somehow, the country us getting a bum rap as many of these schemes do not originate in Nigeria. But if you are known as a rapist the first person people think about when a rape occurs is bound to be you and Nigeria sure has a sizable bunch of questionable characters.
419er paid in his own coin
Over the years, many people have tried their hand at these scams and as too many people are now sending out these mailings, they have grown from elaborate plots to simple ideas  to even downright stupid schemes and letters. Last month, I  received a letter from a guy claiming to be Ban Ki Moon, the Secretary General of the United Nations who claimed that UN had some funds for me! Another claimed that my father hid some secret money in a bank in Switzerland which they discovered and then proceeded to ask me which country I was from. My father may not even know where Switzerland is and if you know my father who had never left Africa, how come you would not know where I am from?Some of the grammar used in the letters would be so horrible that you do wonder how the Nigerian government would have made the writer the governor of the central bank of that great country. I have even received a scam letter from Goodluck Jonathan, the president of Nigeria!

Of course many people have fought back against these scammers. Major TV networks in USA such as NBC and ABC have done investigative reports of these scams. Microsoft and other email systems now automatically detect these letters as scam and send them to junk mail folders. Even ordinary people have joined in the fight against these 419ers and some people have also gone to elaborate lengths to scam the scammers themselves. A valuable web resource on how people are fighting back against 419ers is

The website is pretty exciting and hilarious and one of the most enjoyable sites on the Internet in my weird opinion.
Scammer picture
419 scammers are smart people who are not really clever. I have met a lot of honest, hardworking Nigerians who are very successful people through honest endeavors. Most people today look at you differently however, when you tell them you are from Nigeria. Even those of us who have met honest Nigerians, unconsciously become immediately skeptical to engage in transactions with anyone saying they are from Nigeria and these scammers should realize that though they may be getting immediate temporary benefits at the end of the day their country is losing millions in foreign investment because of skepticism about doing business their. Nigerians may think they are smarter than most people, but they are winning battles and losing the war. One bitten twice shy, and many people are shying away from Nigeria. The leadership of that country should really put their foot down against these guys and not glorify them them as is done in most nollywood movies.
Scammer scammed

Friday, May 18, 2012

Shekito's Ignorance Displayed

Deputy Information Minister Shekito
When I was a student at Fourah Bay, there were three aspiring student journalists whose writings I really admired. To contextualize, I was a social science student at the time who had made the academic transition from biology and chemistry in 6th form at Sierra Leone Grammar School to Economics at Fourah. I was accepted to read economics at Fourah bay the same year that I was accepted to read biological sciences at Njala University. But the vision of the color of the semolina blended wheat I had met my brothers eating at Njala convinced me that my days of rural education were over and from then on I will only be educated in an urban environment. I love organic potato, but four years of existing primarily on that stuff was a challenge I was not willing to undertake and I never set eyes on Njala again.

To come back from my meandering, there were three budding journalists  whose articles I really looked forward to on the walls of either the student cafeteria or "third world," (aureolites would no what I mean). The three were Idriss Conteh (Atomic Pen, Sheka Tarawallie (Shekito) and Lans Gberie (Gberie). Gberie and Atomic Pen's articles were more fluid and intellectually stimulating, but Shekito's were witty, sharp, sarcastic and occasionally cynical. One article that Shekito wrote that I will always remember, was an admonition to students to be skeptical of the new National Provisional Revolutioary Council (NPRC) government. At the moment when the euphoria over the end of 23 years of APC misrule was palpable, I found it particularly gutsy and in hindsight foolhardy for Shekito to take the stand he did, but at the time I developed some new found respect for him, though I did not then share in his pessimism, as for me at the time, even a dressed up orangutan would have been better than the buffoonish clown that we had for President, Joseph Saidu Momoh. It was only years later that I realized that Shekito's stance had been purely for self interest.
Youth and Employment Dealth With?
Shekito's writings as a government minister these days tell a different story. It is almost as if the man is in academic decline. Now to be fair to him, I am a far more educated person than I was in 1992 and probably more analytical. When we were also in college, Shekito and I were almost always on the same side in student politics so maybe I could have then read his articles from a more subjective and welcoming angle, as opposed to objectivity. However, Shekito's writings and world view these day are simply put, pathetic. From his mediocre tribal attacks on political opponents to his lack of knowledge of contemporary economic issues, Shekito's writings are a shadow of the wit and brilliance that once flowed from his pen. I discussed my observation with a close friend of mine who was a classmate and friend of Shekito's at FBC. The friend said the problem with Shekito was that in spite of his brilliance when he was at Fourah Bay, Shekito had always been very tribalistic and opportunistic and that had limited his intellectual maturity. From his writings over the past few years, the friend seems to have hit the nail right on the head.

Shekito current article in his Torchlight News sheet titled "President Koroma has already dealt with the Youth and Economy," is not only a gross manifestion of ignorance by someone educated at the once great Fourah Bay, but is a painful journey into economic naïveté and self delusion. Even the title is laughable. Shekito's arguments in the article are so childish that when I showed the article to a friend and told him that it was written by a government minister in my country, he had only one thing to say, " God save your country!"

Shekito started his article with the disclaimer that the opinions stated by him were his own about the opposition SLPP and their presidential candidate Julius Maada Bio and not an official position. As a government minister, how in hell can you write against the leader of the opposition party in your country and accuse him of extrajudicial killings, describe him as rat-like, accuse him of shallow and narrow mindedness, accuse him of bonding with homosexual foreign MPs of a friendly nation, and then have the stupidity and audacity to state that you are not writing in an official position? Does Shekito not know that as a government minister, your public pronouncements or actions cannot be taken as private opinions or actions. If you want to make a private opinion why not take some friend into a corner and tell them, are you that naive?

Let us take a look at even the title of the article, "President Koroma has dealt has already dealt with the youth and the economy" Can we ask ourselves how the president has already dealt with the youth and economy? Is there any country in the world, even the most advance nations that can claim to have already dealt with youth and economic issues? Sierra Leone and President Koroma must have a magic formula or the deputy information minister must not have the foggiest idea about what he is talking. I will advise the minister against writing an article of such seriousness in the middle of the night when he is drunk. When a man is drunk, he can find the solution to any problem, including world peace. It is only a drunk or a fool that can claim a solution to youth and economic problems. And when such claims are being made in Sierra Leone of all countries, by a government minister, you can just wonder in awe at the destiny of the country today. It is a sorry case of the blind leading the lame, while telling stories to the deaf. Shekito when you taste some of that ministerial whiskey my advice to you is simply to go to bed. In a country where the youth unemployment is over 70% the claim to have "dealt" with youth problems is almost criminal.r
Maada Bio SLPP Flagbearer
Shekito goes on to talk about economic problems in France, Spain, America and bank closures in America and states that Maada Bio should not be talking about these problem in Sierra Leone when they are happening all over the world. Wow! The people of Sierra Leone must now go to bed hungry, confident in the fact that in France there are people are hungry too, what a consolation! It is almost like an economics class for dummies taught by a professor who is an idiot. If the poverty in Sierra Leone was not so horrible, the scenario would be almost comical. Does Shekito not know that to sleep on a full stomach is now being thought of as a fundamental human right? These are the guys that are the close advisers to our president. May God save Sierra Leone.

One area of Shekito's ignorance of simple economics is to somehow assume that president Koroma has given wage increases to nurses, teachers, and so on and therefore they should be better off than they were in the past under president Kabba. What Shekito does not realize is that the real value of money is what money can buy. If a man is paid one hundred and fifty thousand leones and a bag of rice is one hundred and fifty thousand leones then the man's real wage is one bag of rice, because that is what he can buy with his monthly income. If you increase the man's salary to 200 thousand and the price of rice increases to 400 thousand, the man can now only buy half a bag of rice, even though you are claiming to have given him a salary increase! Mr. Minister the rate of inflation over the last four years has been over 100%. You guys met rice at sixty thousand and it is now at almost 200 thousand leones. So what the hell are you talking about your half percent salary increases. Wake up and smell the crap, the electricity you are shouting about will only help the poor man to look inside his pot under a very bright light and realize that he has no food, nada!

And this talk of foreign investment is one thing we should be careful about. Those who are aware of neocolonialism and predatory investing would tell you guys that in your enthusiasm to claim investment success so as to fool people to vote for your abysmal  misgovernance, you are mortgaging the future of that country to unscrupulous investors and pseudo investors. We all saw the Aljazeera documentary in which some of your close allies were only to willing to sign shady deals for kickbacks. The documentary exposes the haphazard nature of the criminal enterprise being run under your government in the name of foreign investment. You are leasing thousand of acres of land for hundred of years to shady investors, who are doing nothing to add value to what we have, but are essentially taking our own resources and giving us chicken feed while those of you getting the kickbacks and bribes are buying houses all over Europe. Even UN is becoming concerned at the foreign land grab in Sierra Leone under the APC.

And this promise of 24 hour hours electricity by November 2012, was it not supposed to be December 2007? It it déjà vu all over again. We were promised that there would be light in 90 days turned into years. The country was supposed to be run like a business and we are just praying for this business not to file for bankruptcy. Investment to the economists represent value added not just exploitation of a country's resources. If greed allows us I mine every mineral we see in the country, what are we going to leave for the next generation. If those who came before us had decided to open the country to a floodgate of mining firms, what would we have been left with? How are our children going to survive or are we just going to say that they will figure it out when their time comes? The pronouncements of Shekito are things you would expect from AFRC, as it was a rebel government, not APC, but maybe it is a case of birds of the same feather.  

I think I have to stop here, reading more of the long senseless rant by a guy I once considered smart is given me a terrible headache. I will take some Tylenol and maybe continue reading the dull, uninspiring, misleading and terribly mediocre article that tells us we have found solution to youth and employment problems. Let us sit now and wait for the Nobel prize.

Wednesday, May 16, 2012

APC Hero Mansaray Timbergate Talks to Cocorioko

Alex Timbergate Mansaray

Charismatic politician, Mr. Alex Mansaray, one of the few men of guts who sacrificed everything under the most daunting odds to form the All People’s Congress (APC) North America Branch at a time when  many people did not want to even hear about the party, arrived in the United States last weekend to spend some time with his family . Mr.Mansaray , who lives in Sierra Leone where he is a lucrative businessman, has also undergone his regular physical examination and has been given a clean bill of health by his doctors.

Mr. Mansaray ,who is also one of the administrators of your popular COCORIOKO  newspaper, was in bouyant and excited mood when this newspaper caught up with him this afternoon, at Somerset, New Jersey. He was in very high spirits and said he was delighted that after he and a few veterans of the APC established the party’s North American Branch, other stalwarts had taken over the running of the branch and were doing well to concretize the party’s presence in the Continental United States. He said though he did not know many of the  members now running the branch he was gratified to know that they were going on with the work of the branch. He advised the members to continue to pull together and eschew all forms of disunity . He said that the detractors of the party were outside the branch and members should concentrate their efforts in defeating them .”When we were there, our fight was with outsiders”, he went on. He commended officials dedicated to the ideals of promoting peace in the branch. He thanked the Minister Plenipotentiary to the United Nations, Hon. Leeroy Wilfred Kabs-Kanu, along with Messrs Ajibu Tejan-Jalloh and Bangalie Sesay for their weekend peace initiatives within the party . He said that was the spirit expected of the party members by the APC leadership  and President Ernest Bai Koroma in Freetown.

Mr. Mansaray recalled the formative years of the APC-NA when he ,  Messrs Alimamy Kargbo , Raymond Kabia and few others decided to establish the branch in America.  ”At that time, the coup had taken place in Sierra Leone in 1992 and the NPRC Military junta had muddied the name of the party. Because of the propaganda mounted against the APC  by its enemies, including the SLPP,  many people did not even want to hear the name APC. We had a very difficult time establishing the branch .People kept telling us that we were fighting a losing battle because we will not get members. Some of our people had left us and joined the SLPP. But we decided that nothing on this earth will force us to abandon the party and join the SLPP ” , he explained.

Alex Mansaray further stated that he and the others fought hard and were finally able to establish a branch of the APC in the United States. He spoke about dauntless efforts made by detractors of the APC to discourage them but they continued to work hard until they had a breakthrough. He stated that during their time they did not receive support here because nobody was certain that the APC will ever return to limelight. “However, despite all the problems we encountered we continued to hope for the best. We continued fighting hard and we respected authority and those holding responsible positions in society . The only way  to succeed in politics is to listen to the advice of the wise men and wise women of the party .You can never succeed if you do not respect authority or listen to the wisdom of the wise ones “, he asserted.

Mr .Mansaray also advised that the first thing a member who wants to do well should do is to study the laws and the bylaws in the constitution of the party , which provide guidance about the way to conduct oneself and  organize the branch and chapters efficiently and competently. Problems, he postulated , come when the laws and bylaws are not being respected.

Mansaray's Role Model- Birds of the same feather?

About 2012, Mr. Mansaray predicted a landslide victory for President Ernest Bai Koroma. He said that the President has performed above expectation and the people of Sierra Leone will express their gratitude by giving President Koroma his deserved second term. “In fact, this year, President Koroma declared that this is not the year of intent but implementation. This is the year of implementation of the many projects undertaken by government since it came to power ” ,Mansaray continued .He outlined the government’s achievements in restoring electricity and water supply , agriculture , education and infrastructural developments, especially roads. “And the amazing thing is that these developments are not concentrated in one area but spread throughout the country, even the remote areas “, he affirmed. He lauded the President for his efforts to unite the country. “Recently, we went all over the country with President Koroma to  present to the people in Pujehun, Kenema, Kono , Kailahun and Bo their sons and daughters who had been appointed as ministers in the government. ” President Koroma , he emphasized, is talking unity, not divisions. “We must all emulate him by promoting tolerance , understanding and unity. We are appealing to members of the branch to be patient with each other and to collaborate with Freetown and President Koroma .”‘

Hon. Alex Mansaray said he can recommend President Koroma to even be the first President of the United States of Africa because he had the ability to rule the whole continent.

Criminal Representing Sierra Leone Abroad

About the 50th Independence Anniversary, Hon. Mansaray said he was inviting both Sierra Leoneans and foreign friends and well-wishers to travel to Sierra Leone and join them in the celebrations. “It will be one of the proudest moments of our country and I want to assure you that you will not regret it. The country is safe and we now have light, water , good roads and nice hotels.”

About the future of the country after 50 years of Independence, Mr. Mansaray said that he was confident that the future will be bright. “We have made mistakes during the first 50 years but I am confident that we have learnt our lessons and we will do our best to make the next 50 years more proftable. Though many of us will not be alive to celebrate the 100th Anniversary, our children and grandchildren who will be around will acknowledge that we did well for our country.” He called on all Sierra Leoneans not to underrate the potentials of their country. He said not everybody will receive government appointments and he advised members that they can still make a difference wherever they find themselves. “We must put the love of our party, government and country above our own ”

APC Prosperity- "EBK Should lead Africa?"

“We have a President who is ready to work hard and listen to people. We must cooperate with him and work hard and We will surely achieve our goals”, he concluded optimistically.

APC Sec Gen: Model of Honesty


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