Wednesday, April 30, 2014
For a musician whose work was received with such universal acclaim, many have wondered why his music could not be purchased on the global digital music stores iTunes or amazon.com. Well that has now changed as the extraordinarily gifted rising musical star has just launched a brand new album on iTunes and many are already wondering when a compilation of his earlier songs would also be made available.
Shady-Baby Shadrak is a talented songwriter in the West African tradition, with fast lyrics mostly delivered in the Sierra Leone national dialect Krio,accompanied by serious percussion and a fusion of afrobeats and pop. Guaranteed to shake up dance halls wherever he goes, Shady-Baby's full length New Album "Prove Dem Wrong" was released on iTunes on Sunday April 27th, 2014 on the day of his country's independence for $9.90, a real bargain, as his songs are instant classics.
Shady has toured extensively in USA and Europe to much success and is an emerging African talent to watch out for. His music is serious, sweet and infectious guaranteed to keep the spirits up and the leg moving. Any serous fan of new African music should have Shady as part of their music collection.
Monday, April 28, 2014
|Campaign for Term Extension|
Sierra Leone, like many African countries that underwent political reform in the lates 80s and 90s decided to impose Presidential term limits to curb the proliferation of dictatorships and bad governance around the continent. Such political reforms became an aid conditionality imposed by international agencies that were fed up with the rampant corruption, diversion of aid and economic mismanagement that characterized a continent saddled by the presence of Presidents or leaders who had been in office for so long that they had either run out of new ideas or became so concerned with the preservation of their rule that the economic interests of their countries became secondary. Most of state resources were diverted towards the boosting of state security agents at the expense of economic progress, with many Sub-Saharan countries sliding deep into dire poverty.
In Sierra Leone for example, former President Siaka Stevens was elected as a very progressive leader who brought a lot of infrastructural reforms in the first twelve years of his rule. A national stadiums was built, banks were built and the capital city modernized. However, after making his country a one party state and outlawing political opposition, he turned from a visionary leader to basically a tyrant overnight, concerned mostly with his ego and his ambition to stay in power. After that the fortunes of the country took a downhill slide as he spent millions to host an OAU convention the country could not afford, jailed and exiled political dissidents, and presided over the systematic degeneration of state institutions. Sierra Leoneans finally had to go to war before multiparty rule was restored with the help of the international community. In order to not have a repeat of the bad lessons of the past, the drafters of the country's post one-party rule constitution decided that the only way this was to be prevented in the future was to have a two term presidential limit, like other progressive countries in the sub-region.
President Koroma also came to power with big ambitions. In his first term he completed a lot of projects that he had met in the country. He has encouraged the influx of foreign investors with huge tax concessions and pursued grants for infrastructural developments around the country. The airport has been rehabilitated and roads around the country are being made. The country's GDP is growing at a fast rate propelled mainly by increased mineral exploitation. However these economic gains has not managed to trickle down to the common people, as the average rural Sierra Leonean still subsists on less than $1.50.00 a day, domestic crime is on the increase, the level of unemployment remains high, wage increases are compromised by rampant inflation and the country has now attained the status of having the highest incidence of reported bribery on the face of the earth. His second term has also been characterized by attacks on journalists and politicization of state institutions. Even the majority of state awards now read like a roster of Who is Who in APC. Huge tax concessions to foreign investors also mean that millions of dollars in needed tax revenue are being lost to international business concerns.
|Cross Section of Protesters|
Over the past year, there has been some rumors that party operatives close to the President are working in clandestine fashion to use the constitutional review process going on in the country to prolong the Presidency of Ernest Bai Koroma or even seek additional terms for him. When the current Aviation Minister Leonard Balogun Koroma took to airwaves a year ago stating that the President is doing a good job and his term needed to be extended, the reaction by civil society was swift and negative, causing State House, the office of the Presidency to issue a press release stating that the President was a true democrat who had no intention in continuing in power after his current mandate and that those who were making such statements were misguided.
However, over the past few weeks, a now prominent APC member who had a year or so defected from the opposition Sierra Leone Peoples Party (SLPP), Robin Farley, went again on radio stating that the President deserved another term. He is now co-chairman of the ruling party's campaigns. Concurrently the Special Assistant to the President, Sylvia Blyden, took to social media claiming that if the German chancellor had more than two terms, Sierra Leone also could do the same. Just in tune, Reverend Kabs Kanu who doubles as the President's primary propaganda agent in the diaspora and Minister Plenipotentiary to the United Nations stated on Social media that President Koroma deserved an extension of his mandate if it was the will of the people, knowing fully well that more than 60% of the people in the country had no working knowledge of the constitution.
In the past weeks, T-Shirts, posters, banners and groups of youths wearing and carrying them stating "After U nar U," some of them expensively manufactured with the pictures of the President has been surfacing all around the country. It has been reported that youths are being paid to wear these T-shirts, to appear to the international community who are still concerned about the political fragility in the country that the call to extend the President;s mandate is popular. To counter these other groups are now going around the country saying, "After U nar Gbagbo," in direct reference to the last Ivorian leader who made such moves causing his country to descend into conflict and is now languishing in a prison in the Hague.
Concerned Sierra Leoneans in USA worried at this negative trend and concerned about peace and securiy in their country therefore decided to descend on the American Embassy event yesterday in Maryland to tell their country's Ambassador Bockari Stevens that the President and his men should not tamper with the constitution to extend his mandate.
Most of the demonstrators were concerned that the government in Sierra Leone would even contemplate such a desperate move barely ten years after the country's brutal civil war. They expressed concern at the turn of events and said they are planning similar events around the world and in Sierra Leone and would continue to alert the United Nations, the State Department, ECOWAS, the AU and other international agencies.
The group are urging the President of Sierra Leone to come out in his own words and tell the people that he has no intention of extending his term, as his current silence on the matter, combined with the public moves by those close to him are in direct opposition to the contents of his earlier press releases. These press releases are now seen as a ploy to placate the people while concrete moves are being made to use the constitutional process to reintroduce one man rule in the country once more.
One of the protest organizers interviewed by this writer said that in addition to the series of planned protest around the world and Sierra Leone, they would call for civil disobedience in the country if President Koroma and his agents continue down this path to dictatorship. They are therefore urging the president in the interest of peace and security to come out against these moves that will only succeed in reintroducing insecurity into the country once again. They are also calling on all patriotic Sierra Leoneans to appeal the President to leave a loving legacy rather than leave with the legacy of the tyrant that those around him want him to be.
I remember one of my first tastes of these attitudes when I came to America. I had gone to target to look for something and was standing in the aisle behind this middle aged white couple. Suddenly the man saw me and quickly whispered something to his wife. That poor woman jumped sharply away from me like Michael Jordan, tightly clutching her purse. I was just shocked and amazed. I had another incident in which there was this Russian lady who was really friendly with me at work. One day I met her at K-Mart and came to her to just say hello, my African manners. However, I was surprised because her body language was so different and she was so cold. It was only when I looked around that I realized that I was the only black person in the big store and this poor woman was very clearly uncomfortable talking to me!
The prime of place goes to a job supervisor of mine at a place I used to work called SimonDelivers.com. When I was accepted into a very competitive health care program at my college, it meant that I could no longer continue in my job as their times conflicted sharply with my classes. I had no other alternative but to either drop out of the program or resign from my job. I decided to do the latter, it was a no brainier.
I happily went up to my supervisor and told her that I had been accepted into a program at my college that would no longer permit me to work. So, I was handing in my two weeks notice. She looked at me very surprised and said, "Oh, my cousin too has been trying to get into that program for some years, but she has not been lucky. I guess as a minority you guys have species privileges." I was really taken aback by this statement. Here was this lady who did not know that I had a perfect GPA of 4.0 and had been an anatomy and physiology tutor at the college for over three Semesters!
Some people let these racist attitudes bother them so much that it affects the way they view society and it affects their own personal and social development. I don't let these attitudes bother me at all. In fact I just shrug them off. The thing is there are millions of white people and people of other races you meet everyday who do not have such attitudes, who see all human beings as one. When my wife was going through a difficult pregnancy, guess who was sleeping with her at the hospital, her white friend. She was with us everyday until that baby was delivered.
Sometimes prejudice is what we tend to see and concentrate on so much that it blinds us to the genuine good that is in all people. I had an Asian friend when I came newly to this country. I can safely say that had it not been for him, I don't know what my life would have been like. There are good people and there are bad people. There are people with racial prejudice, and they are in all races. These are sorry people. They have made their world small and would never enjoy the benefit of an open mind. They don't deserve scorn, what they deserve is pity.
These past few days, racism has been so much in the news because of stupid incidents by stupid men. First one fellow who was a member of the Ku Klux Klan decided to go and kill people at a Jewish Community Center. Compounding the tragedy, the people he killed were not even Jewish but justsome innocent white people who had gone to the center. This person actually thought that only Jews go to Jewish community centers.
Now, why would you let hatred against other people build inside you so much when nobody decides their race? We are all born who we are, black, white or Chinese, purely by accident. You have no role to play in being black or white, it is purely a biological probability. So why hate somebody so much for being something they played no role in becoming?
Then there this Bundy rancher over in Nevada who has been squatting on government land, letting his cattle graze and behaving as if America was still the Wild West. Unfortunately the Fox News Network which has an agenda against any government that is not Republican threw their support behind this idiot, who to them was a symbol of their usual cries against big government. Unfortunately some one gave a megaphone to this new leader of the new anti-government revolution only to learn that he was a racist through and through, with demeaning statements against Latinos and Mexicans and telling us blacks that we were better of as slaves picking cotton. To him, every black in this country is a bum living on government handout. Even the fact that the President of his country is black makes no difference. The fact that most blacks in America work hard like every other American makes no difference, because that is not what he hears on Fox News.
Which brings me to the statements on tape attributed to the owner of the L. A. Clippers, Sterling, a man with a girlfriend of black and Mexican descent, who went on this crazy rant against his girlfriend just because she put a picture of Magic Johnson and herself on Instagram. I mean how crazy can you be, being a leader of an NBA team and making racist statements against blacks? How can you tell somebody not to bring a black person to an NBA fame when almost all the players in the league are black?
The Crazy Audio
Prejudice is just blissful ignorance, most of the time. As President Barack Obama rightly said "When ignorant folks want to advertise their ignorance, you don't really have to do anything, you just let them talk. That's what happened here."
I will just give President Obama the last word on this.
The Crazy Audio
Saturday, April 26, 2014
|MKM and the SEA|
"They will Pretend they love you now"
Having lived in the West he has notions of a fair and open democratic process. Over the last two years he has slowly built his support base in the diaspora and in Obama fashion, has worked on a massive grass roots campaign in Sierra Leone fueled by social media, word of mouth and strategic and tactical dissemination of information about his vision, his mission, his plans, his goals, and his strategies to attain these goals.
He is Mohamed Kamaraimba Mansaray and unfortunately, he just got a rude shock and an education in the basic primitivity of his country's politics. Or to be fair, a taste of the growing benevolent dictatorship that is gradually swallowing his party of choice, the All People Congress, which is slowly becoming a one man party, with a new slogan, "After U nar U."
|"After U nar U"-The Slogan of|
|MKM at Prayers|
Some months ago Mohamed Kamaraimba Mansaray went home to national adulation. Everywhere he went crowds followed him, hoping to catch a glimpse of the young man with a fresh face and a new message. He made the round of villages, towns, schools and talk shows. His support base grew as word about him spread, in a country in which people hunger for an escape from the mundane emptiness of ordinary life. T-shirts with his smiling and charming face proliferated all over the Western Area. He was carried around in a hammock in some localities, a mark of high respect. Respect reserved for chiefs, respect preserved for persons destined to lead.
Unfortunately, Kamaraimba's growing popularity, his surging magnetism, and his increasing name recognition did not sit down well with the local APC politicians. Unlike the opposition Sierra Leone People's Party (SLPP) which has a strong tradition of allowing every new person who is a Sierra Leonean to put their name forward, giving five minutes of fame to people like John Leigh, Sengu Koroma, Kadi Johnson Cole and a group of over 23 others just in the last election, APC has historically guarded the leadership of its party very jealously, as the the over enthusiastic Kamaraimba will soon learn.
Just after landing in Sierra Leone to officially launch his campaign, Mohamed Kamaraimba Mansaray, MKM, as he is known by his supporters received a stern letter from the APC secretariat expressedly forbidding him from using the party's insignia for his campaign. He was strictly warned by the party's secretary general, a man with no constitutional authority other than him being the secretary general of a political party, against using party logos, colors, flags, etc. Though somewhat ruffled and disppointed, MKM dutifully complied, his first major mistake.
|Cease and desist Letter|
MKM it is reported, also denied using the party symbol, even though in the preceding months there had been many of his paraphernalia with the APC logo. He also reportedly stated that he was just making a universal launch of his presidential flagbearer intention by connecting with Sierra Leoneans on a non partisan basis. This was clearly not reflective of literature that he had been putting forward in the past stating his intention to run for the leadership of the APC. Now that he had backtracked his campaign started to lose steam, though his popularity in the rural areas of the country still held steady.
|With the Kids|
Last week the APC local political machinery put the final nails in the coffin of MKM's ambition to run for the APC leadership in 2017/18 national elections. With much fanfare, pomp and pageantry, MKM on Tuesday of this week went to APC headquarters and paid one million, one hundred thousand Leones to pay for his level of membership, claiming to have been a party member for 17 years. The money was duly taken and he was issued a receipt with the promise that his card needed to be signed by the party secretary general and will be issued at a later date. Unfortunately the next communication he got from the secretariat was an order to return the receipt, his membership application had been denied! In a country where even the poorest man in the village has no problem getting a party registration card as long as they pay for it, MKM was now a second class citizen!
The next day groups of irate MKM supporters stormed the party office with chants that their leader had been unfairly treated, but unfortunately APC decided that MKM was persona non grata, unwanted and unwelcome. They were turned away and the party leadership has resolutely refused to treat him as one of their own. His protestations of his rejection given his stated history of service to the party has so far fallen on deaf airs.
The APC Deputy Publicity Secretary Cornelius Devereaux told gathered journalists that contrary to his public statements, MKM has never registered with the party. In order to correct this anomaly he said, MKM had come to the party office in secret to register as a member. After going through his documents, APC refused MKM's registration, as he could not provide a guarantor. He said that in the party's last national convention there had been an agreement that no one will campaign for APC leadership until 2016, an agreement MKM had gone against. He also said the party's 1995 constitution, party members must abide by any decision which is unanimously endorsed. MKM had also violated this provision and for that he was shown the door. He said that even if MKM should now produce a guarantor they would still refuse his membership on the grounds that he had gone against the words of the party.
MKM supporters are hopping mad at this turn of events, their ego deflated like a balloon out of air. The have even called on him to form his own party. Unfortunately, given the control APC now has over every facet of Sierra Leone politics, one wonders what type of stumbling blocks that APC would put in MKM's way, given his popularity in APC's traditional base of support, if he decides to form his own party. Many now question whether he even has the money. To compound the humiliation APC agents have now taken to social media calling him an immoral person and a womanizer, welcome to local Sierra Leone politics.
|MKM Supporters Deflated|
MKM's case is a classic illustration of the complex relationship Sierra Leone domestic politicians have with their Sierra Leone counterparts in the diaspora. After flag-bearer elections, these local politicians, urgent for Dollars, Euros and the Pound sterling to fund their campaigns, embark on foreign trips, making the rounds of America and Europe. They promise change and development, peddling thousands of promises and inviting members of the diaspora to go back home and join in the development of their country.
Their cries are usually, " ladies and gentlemen, we need you, we need your skills, come back home to Sierra Leone and join us to make it a better place, and ooh, don't forget, the donation basket is by the door, we also need your money!"
Sierra Leoneans in the diaspora, many urgent to go back home and escape the rigors of work in the factories of American and Europe and dreaming of comfortable jobs with coat and tie, fall for these calls, and are led like sheep to the slaughter. According to MKM, he was one of these "diasporeans," with years working on APC business. Unfortunately in his case, he has learnt the hard way that most of these calls to go back home are bogus, most of the plenty jobs waiting for Sierra Leoneans back home are mere illusions. When you go back home, as soon as the dollar or pounds run out, they no longer even pick up your call.
Friday, April 25, 2014
|William Juana Smith|
Ever the consummate Sierra Leone politician, I won't be surprised if President Koroma gives the Sierra Leone People Party's (SLPP) embattled parliamentary minority leader Dr. Bernadette Lahai the job, as pressure from her SLPP colleagues to relinquish her party leadership position has been driving her into the courts and deeper into the embrace of the welcoming arms of the APC. That will mean a by-election in her constituency and another fight by the APC to gain another seat in the SLPP dominated Eastern Region. The current APC Parliamentary leader was nominated by no other than Bernadette Lahai herself.
EBK may decide to give the position to an individual from Kono, the home of his wife and Vice President, continuing his tradition of working mainly with people he is close to. He may appoint another Kono adversary of his beleaguered Vice President Sam Sumana, a man who fell out of his favor a year or so ago.
There are also all the Eastern region APC parliamentary candidates, many of who lost to SLPP candidates, with the region being the bastion of the country's oldest indigenous party. President Koroma has many names to choose from and knowing the President as we do, he will take his time, make them wait, make them sweat.
Then there is former US Ambassador John Leigh, a man mortally wounded by his loss of SLPP flagbearer position and whose mother hailed from Komende Station in the Eastern Region, even though he parades as a blue blood Freetown bred Westerner. This position given to John Leigh would be a major platform for the retired old man to continue his endless rants against his former party and its members. How they used juju to cause him to lose the party leadership.
President Koroma may even shake up the area and appoint Sylvia Blyden his Special Executive Assistant as resident minister, a woman whose disdain for people from the area she wears on her sleeve like a badge of honor. This would remove her corrupting presence from State House and return some calmness to the Presidency after a year of high drama. Why not transfer some drama to Kenema?
As of now Robin Farley,a man who just a year ago was exercising his parliamentary responsibilities from a Kenema jail, accused of electoral malpractices, is now the prime contender. Robin's public down crying of his former SLPP allies, his incessant praise of his new benefactor EBK, and his leading of the charge for the people of Sierra Leone to defecate on the country's constitution and give the President another term will put him in strong position, if EBK's past behavior is used as a political barometer.
In typical fashion, EBK will likely take his time while kept sweating, testing the limit of their loyalty. Already the nightly visits to the "World's Best" would have doubled, and the usual " the Pa don sleep." would have tripled.
So Mr. Farley would now redouble his call for a third term, giving reasons why in Sierra Leone today, there is none more intelligent, more capable, more visionary, than the Lord's appointed himself, EBK. Already there are rumors of thousands of t-shirts being printed, to distribute to the poor gullible illiterate masses to wear stating they want a "Third Term" for the Pa. In a country where 60% of the people think the word constitution is part of the national anthem or a history book, the advocates of 1970s "One Man" politics will have a field day.
So, what are the arguments of these people who are advocating for a third term?
The first argument is that Ernest Koroma is doing a lot of things and he needs to complete them. The simple answer to that argument is that the President has a cabinet. If they are not just going to cabinet meetings to listen to what he has to tell them, I believe they discuss plans as a government. So, any intelligent member of the cabinet should be able to continue just where the President stopped. Except in the situation where the President deliberately appointed a cabinet of incapable men, he should have no worry about continuity.
The Second argument is that the time is too short for all the things the President wants to do. This is really the most ridiculous argument. President Koroma knew when he took up office that the most he could serve was ten years. If he can't do what he wants to do in ten years, then his time management skills are poor. Ten years is not ten days, it is ten years! If you need more than ten years to do anything, then you are likely incompetent and even five more years would not help. If development was measured by the number of years leaders are in power, then Africa would be the most developed continent on the face of the earth. America has a new President after every 8 years, is Zimbabwe more developed than America?
Botswana which has consistently been the most well run country in Sub-Saharan Africa is also the only such country that has the longest tradition of true democracy in the region. Their economic management has been exemplary byregional standards. They have a two-term presidency.
The third argument is that President Koroma is doing such a good job that it will be hard to find a replacement. My answer is that the President is doing such a great job at propaganda. However paying journalists thousands to write about you is not leadership, it is deception. In spite of all what people were saying about a President Kabbah when he was alive, most people agreed when he passed away that he was a competent leader. Most of President Koroma's main accomplishments were already in place and financed when he took office, and only those who do not read would think otherwise. President Kabbah would have stayed to consolidate war gains, to finish Bumbuna, to complete the roads he had sought funding for and to reform the military and the police. However, he was a democrat, a diplomat and a gentleman. Though he may still have had many things to do and could have used the excuse of AFRC interruption to continue to stay in power, he followed constitutional mandates and handed over to the same President Koroma who now has so many things to do that he does not want to give up power.
Ernest Koroma wants to behave like the boxer who does not know when to quit. I just hope that all this talk of a third term is just mere fantasy. We were all in Sierra Leone when the same acts by Siaka Stevens and Momoh saw the country slide into ten years of bitter civil war. Why anybody would again want us to go down this road is simply beyond me. For those ministers who want to be ministers for life, you can still support another person and if they win, they can still make you a minister.
There are many APC supporters who may think that the Sierra Leoneans crying against a third term are against APC are against, their party. That is farthest from the truth. APC has all the right to field another candidate. They can even field President Koroma's wife, but trying to keep EBK on the stage even when the music is over is not good for Sierra Leone, a fragile country with high youth unemployment and many people feeling alienated. One wonders why it is always APC that brings about these problems. The last party did not even discuss such an idea even when they had such a respected leader. Is APC a party that loves Sierra Leone? One wonders.
Sunday, April 20, 2014
|Sierra Leone Smartphone App|
The App unlike other types of country apps that are mostly one dimensional provides a touch and go service and convenience for a myriad of resources and links to everything Sierra Leone and beyond.
The founder of Songhai Technologies and developer of the App Mr. Leslie Koroma of Texas USA, a US Citizen born in Sierra Leone is an 18 veteran of the tech industry starting out with his tenure at the former tech giant COMPAQ Computer Corporation which is now a part of Hewlett Packard Corporation. He is also the founder and CEO of African Sports Media Network, the first African media to deploy a digital online magazine to serve Africans around the world in African Sports Monthly Magazine. He also runs a daily Pan African sports news site called African Sports TV where you can get your daily dose of sports news from the motherland and beyond.
|Mr. Leslie Koroma|
Mr. Koroma’s rationale in the makeup of the App is to create a one stop shop center for a variety of needs for Sierra Leones, thereby reducing the need to download multiple apps on a persons phone and clearing a lot of space for other uses. The app has a link for the most comprehensive aggregation of news for Sierra Leone, Africa and beyond that are updated daily, as well as educational tools for students in the country and beyond. It also has an up to date weather link for visitors as well as Sierra Leoneans at home to keep an eye on the weather, courtesy of Accuweather.com. You can also find a variety of entertainment link from Nollywood to Bollywood movies and beyond.
Songhai Technologies will be releasing other Apps for other African nations as well as other regions of the world of the same makeup but with a twist and flavor for each nation as defined in the Sierra Leone App.
Songhai Technologies is currently in talks with potential partners to include an application that will allow users of the app to make free and or cheap phone calls from within the app to Sierra Leone.
Slated for release next will be the Nigeria app which is in the last phase of production and testing.
You can download the Sierra Leone App by visiting www.saloneapp.com or www.songhaitech.com
Friday, April 18, 2014
The beautiful and talented musician with a voice of pure gold hails from the small West African country of Sierra Leone, a country with a growing musical influence in African circles in USA, with the increased popularity of artists like Emmerson, Shady Baby, Kao Denero, K-Man, LAJ, Heyden Adama, the enduring Steady Bongo, Bobby, to name but a few.
Stofresh's style is a delightful fusion of afro-caribbean beats, hip-hop, dance and new age rhythm smoothly delivered in a soulful and powerful voice that will keep your feet moving all day long.
Born "Isatta Magona," Stofresh was marked out for her musical talent at the tender age of 4 when her outstanding performances at her Church and local school landed her appearances on television in the small Sahelian country of Gambia, a country with strong musical roots. Stofresh moved to USA at the age of 15, completed high school and acquired an Associate Degree in Public Relations, A BS in Business Management and is currently working on an MBA while raising her family. Music was however in her blood and in spite of her academic success, she was never able to put the microphone or her dancing shoes down.
The rich American hip-hop, soul, and R&B music scene has become a major influence on her work, as she has successfully combined elements of the different genres to deliver a bold, new, fresh and infectious sound.
According to Reverend Kabs Kanu's simplistic view of Sierra Leone democracy, a country he has not stepped foot in for over 30 years, there is a constitutional review process in place in the country, and since President Koroma has done such a very good job of beautifying the country, the focus of the review should be to remove the two-term limit from the constitution, allowing his friend and international employer Dr. Ernest Bai Koroma another third term and ensuring that while he Kabs Kanu continues to stay in America, he is able to get some more years away from the classroom, living in USA as a diplomat and getting fatter at the Sierra Leone taxpayers expense.
Reverend Kabs Kanu, who came to the attention of Sierra Leoneans when he set up the Cocorioko forum that was to later become the All Peoples Congress (APC) online propaganda outlet Cocorioko dedicated to glorifying Ernest Koroma and his appointees, has a very simple argument. If the people of Sierra Leone think that President koroma deserves a third term, then so let it be. In the opinion of the international diplomat Kabs Kanu, President Ernest Bai Koroma had brought so much socioeconomic and political development and he has so much to offer to the nation. By the reverend's logic, a democratic government is a government of the people, for the people and by the people and if it is the will of the people of the All Peoples Congress for the President to go for a third term, the go ahead, change the constitution. "After all," the political reverend argues, "President Koroma has delivered and the nation stands to gain much more benefits with him at the rein.
What the Reverend Kabs Kanu does not say is that if President Koroma is given a third term, such a blatant display of sycophancy assures him again of a steady paycheck from Sierra Leone, enabling him to live a comfortable lifestyle in the USA for 5 more years, while the Sierra Leone people continue to wallow in their current state of misery and destitution.
While the people of Sierra Leone are waiting for an agenda for prosperity that has only delivered prosperity to those who are close to President Ernest Bai Koroma, he deserves a third term, so that Kabs Kanu will continue to eat prime stake.
To be fair to the ailing Reverend, Kabs Kanu is not the first person to call for a third term for President Koroma. After the election of last year, Leonard Balogun Koroma, who was earlier dismissed as Minister in the Vice President's office and was later brought back to lead the 2012 campaign after convincing the President of his continued personal loyalty, flouted the idea of a possible third term in a radio interview. The Sierra Leone people, many of who sacrificed their lives to reject political tyranny and reestablish the current democratic system of governance the country is benefiting from today were quick to take to the media to voice their rejection of letting anybody serve as President again for more than two terms, fearing a return to the one party APC kleptocracy of Siaka Stevens and Joseph Saidu Momoh that transformed Sierra Leone from a middle class African country into the poorest country on the face of the earth, in the presence of enormous mineral and agricultural wealth. Though State House at the time released a press statement rejecting the idea of a third term, emphatically stating that the President was a democrat and was committed to the country's current constitutional term limits, in a sinister move, Balogun Koroma was promoted to the aviation and transportation ministry and put in charge of future national APC campaigns. This was very significant, as Sierra Leone is a country in which action speaks way louder than words.
Forward to the present. Just a few weeks ago, Robin Fallay, a former ardent critic of President Koroma who defected to APC on the verge of losing the SLPP symbol for constituency 7 which covers Njaluahun chiefdom in the Kailahun district in 2012, also publicly called for a third term for President Koroma. In 2012 Robin Fallay was arrested in Segbwema and locked in jail in Kenema, accused of trying to register underage students in his constituency. His public humiliation raised tempers in the opposition SLPP, but he was on the verge of losing his constituency as the youths had turned against him. Facing determined prosecution from the APC which made his case a high profile one, he defected to APC to save his skin and was immediately given an APC symbol to contest in the same constituency, a manifestation of the craziness of Sierra Leone politics and the reversal in democratic gains that were made under the era of Late President Ahmed Tejan Kabba. Fallay was trounced on the APC ticket by his former campaign person.
It is quietly rumored that Robin Fallay badly wants to replace William Juana Smith as the Resident Minister of the eastern region and taking from Balogun Koroma's play book, he is currently making these public pronouncements to convince the President of his loyalty and continue to protect his current position as a rising star in the current APC. Currently on social media, which is the hub of Sierra Leone political discourse involving those in the country and the diaspora, there are all sort of strange names popping up, all calling for an extension of President Koroma's tenure.
What is however credible about the current call for extension is that Reverend Kabs Kanu is very close to President Koroma and being a very strategic and occasionally devious person, there is no way he will make such a call if the rumors of political manipulations by the APC to pressurize the constitutional review committee to modify the term limit provision in the constitution is not true. Just a month or so ago, a prominent member of the constitutional review committee under Justice Cowan, a close friend of the President, resigned, citing too much government interference in the process.
What is however notable about these calls for a mandate or term limit extension is that there are deep worries among APC members, especially those close to the president that if he leaves power, their political future is uncertain. In a country where politics is about bread and butter and economic sustenance, many friends, cronies and associates of a President Koroma are genuinely worried that were he to hand over power to another APC person, that individual may also have his own trusted circle different from the president's current inner circle. In a country in which politics is about survival, people like Balogun Koroma, Kabs Kanu, Robin Fallay and many others are not currently willing to risk this uncertainty, hence the clamor for another term.
Just last week I was talking to a very close APC friend of mine and asked him why there were these growing calls for Ernest Koroma to stay. After all, I said, there were people in the APC who were far more intelligent and educated than Ernest Bai Koroma, many of whom had a better understanding of economics than the president, so why the call for him to stay? Why don't people want to bring in a new person, a well vetted person who will at least forego this golden age of sycophancy and stop putting the type of square pegs in round holes that are disgracing the country by violently raping school girls and fighting for men in public. My friend's answer was simple, "The devil you know is better than the angel you don't know"
So let us be very clear. All this talk about the extension of the term limit of the president because he has made roads, is bringing in investors to exploit the country's minerals and Sierra Leone is now even starting to produce 5 gallon plastic containers, is just a lot of hogwash, mere whitewash. The main reason why all these people are clamoring for President Koroma to get a third term is not because they care for the people of Sierra Leone, it is all about self preservation. Kabs Kanu, after years of unhealthy living and growing fat is not very well, he needs his position to afford his expensive medications. The people of Sierra Leone be damned, how many times has Kabs gone to Sierra Leone in the last 37 years?
The current crop of APC politicians are getting scared of news names like Mohamed Mansaray, Anti-Corruption boss Joseph Fitzgerald Kamara, Almamy Petito Koroma, and Dr. Kelfala Marah, as they don't know if these fellows will be amenable to the type of shameless sycophancy that has almost derailed President Koroma's second term agenda. Even if some of these new names were to emerge as potential leaders, there is no guarantee that their future appointments will be based on the sycophancy and nepotism that has been the hallmark of Koroma's presidency.
So most of the President's blue eyed boys are not only scared of an opposition takeover with people like Maada Bio, John Benjamin, Kandeh Yumkella, Alpha Timbo or Andrew Keili ruling Sierra Leone, they are afraid of what some of their own APC colleagues will do if they get power. At least in Ernest Koroma they have a pliable leader who they know is easily swayed by gossip, rumor and self serving praise. The prospect of a Sam Sumana Presidency is almost diarrhea inducing for people like Sylvia Blyden and Balogun, hence the calls for an EBK second term.
But what these monofocal individuals are failing to realize is that it was this same type of self serving politics that brought about the last civil war in Sierra Leone. I know that people like Kabs Kanu never witnessed the war in Sierra Leone, and so he may be forgiven for caring only about the affordability of his medications. However, some of these morons were in Sierra Leone throughout the war and saw what devastation and backwardness the same tactics that are now being advocated brought upon the country. Many people who are not close to the Koroma power machine now feel alienated, marginalized and reduced to the status of second class citizens in their own land and to think that they will just sit idly by and while allowing the architects of the country's ruin to continue to tighten their control over everything is a fool's agenda.
President Ahmed Tejan Kabbah could have used the excuse of ending the war and restoring economic and social order to try and extend his presidency. But democrat that he was, he saw that it would be a reversal of all that he had fought so arduously for. To now have a situation in which the country goes back to the past, extend the presidential term and manipulate a referendum to ensure that it is constitutionally provided, for will only be a recipe for chaos. As the President and his men continue to fund ways to bastardize the political process in Sierra Leone, the eyes of the world will be in them, like a laser beam. The opposition parties are also being watched to see how they will react to this gross national demonstration of sycophancy.
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