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The New Year in Sierra Leone has started with great expectations and hopes from the people. While the whole country will be bracing for the independence celebrations, one of the traditional opposition parties, the Sierra Leone Peoples Party (SLPP) will be hosting its maiden convention in March. It is the fervent hope of all patriotic Sierra Leoneans that the convention will be conducted freely and fairly. The SLPP has prominent politicians that are capable of welding any emerging crack within its rank and file. Recently, Dr Abass Bundu gave a synopsis of the national history of the country at a fund raising ceremony in honor of one of the presidential aspirants, Maada Bio. Ironically, whilst Dr. Bundu delivered his national history lesson to party stalwarts in the U.S, a certain local tabloid in Freetown was busy tearing the personality thread of Maada Bio. The paper accused Maada Bio of orchestrating the infamous executions of former Inspector General of Police, James Bambay Kamara and others. This is where the hypocrisy and evil politics of certain writers (not journalists) are practised in Sierra Leone. The old guards of the party are watching this sad episode with laughter and joy. Some may consider the attack on Maada Bio as a nice game forgetting the fact that, Maada Bio is one of the sons of the party. This chapter should not be considered a joyous era but a sad note for the party and democracy in the country. (Photo: Ibrahim Sourie Mansaray, author)
There are certain issues raised in this particular publication that were worrisome for the party and the country as a whole: assuming Maada Bio emerges as the next presidential aspirant at the March convention, how do you expect the international community to recognise and respect Maada Bio’s candidacy when the paper had already accused him of a serious crime? Considering some Sierra Leonean’s gullibility towards politicians, what if the family members of James Bambay Kamara and others decided to avenge the death of their loved ones? Was it not rumored that the former Head of State, Valentine Strasser constantly faced harassment in London at the hands of the family members of the late Bambay and others? Is this fair journalism? Why has Maada Bio emerged as the slaughter sheep? What are the elders of the party doing?
President Ernest Koroma is speedily enjoying international stardom as a result of the democracy practised in the country. The president’s knack for tolerance has started bearing fruit. It is unbelievable that the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) has appointed the president to address the United Nations Security Council on the crisis in Ivory Coast. What an honor and dignity for the country and its people?
The publishers of the newspapers should take a break on Maada Bio and concentrate on the convention and the country. The convention of the SLPP will mark another milestone in furthering the pedigree of the country. The opposition party should be strengthened rather than weakened by some people pretending to be party stalwarts. This is the time the opposition should recover and work on their image. In many cases, parties come out stronger after being in the opposition for a while.
Quite recently, a publisher of a newspaper labelled the Kailahun Town Council Chair, Tom Nyuma of being a village idiot. For God’s sake, how can you brand someone as an idiot only because he supported the president’s work? This is crazy journalism. The party of the SLPP should be addressing such issues within the shortest possible time. The same paper accused Tom Nyuma of killing James Bambay Kamara and others. Why continue to impose heinous crimes on the heads of people? Is the government not planning to institute an inquest into the death of those killed? The SLPP should not wave their right hand at such accusations at their sons with joy, even though Tom Nyuma is allegedly not in the good books with his own party. No matter what must have transpired between this publisher and Tom Nyuma, he is a son of the SLPP. It is said in our language that “when a madman nakeds himself in public, it is his kinsmen who feel the shame.” The sons of the party should not be castigated openly, only because they are not on good terms with the Chairman of the Party.
As the New Year has started, the people of Sierra Leone look forward with great hope for stronger opposition and prosperity for the country as a whole.
May God bless Sierra Leone.
By Ibrahim Sourie Mansaray, Stockton,California
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