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Peripatetic Puawui March 29th 2012

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It has been quite an interesting week with the APC confirming our criticism that their primary concern is the re-election of their leader the incumbent President Mr. Ernest Bai Koroma. Every other matter appears to be geared towards that objective; nothing else appears to matter to them and they probably remain convinced that they are doing a great job to their own satisfaction. There is a joke about some Americans who had gone on a very important and urgent mission to a ruler in the Middle East.

On arrival at their hotel from the airport they made it clear to the state chief of protocol that they had to catch the evening flight back to Washington. Hours later the protocol returned to inform them that the King’s schedule ruled out their meeting with him that day. They waited the following morning but the protocol’s story was the same. After five more days, when they were almost at the end of their thither, the protocol returned with the good news that they would have audience with his Majesty the following morning. At which one of them quipped, “are you sure about that?” to which the protocol calmly replied, “IN SHA LAL” The now thoroughly frustrated American exclaimed, “after almost a week, do you mean the appointment is still conditional?” We may laugh at this, but the published white paper of this government over the Shears-Moses commission report is hardly different from the story above. After months and months of continuous violence mostly against members of the opposition SLPP, especially in the Soro-Gbeima chiefdom of Pujehun district and on the party headquarters during which women were also reportedly raped by thugs of the APC under the eyes of one of the President’s close security personel by the name of Idriss Kanu alias leather boot.

Under pressure from the international community the President reluctantly set up the Shears-Moses commission of inquiry to look into those matters and report back with recommendations. The commission did its job and submitted its report with its recommendations to the head of state almost three years ago. But because the commission indicted one of his Excellency’s closest associates, he had sat over the report without responding to the repeated requests for him to take action. And that is how matters would remained if a group of bought-over irresponsible individuals including Sylvester Swarray, Mohamed Jabbie and Ken Kamara had not declared that they were responsible for the violence and that they had perpetrated it on the instructions of the opposition SLPP leadership. Any responsible and caring government of its people would have treated these men as criminals and ordered their immediate apprehension for interrogation and further investigation, but not this APC government. Instead the men are being paraded on SLBC television as heroes while Sylvia Blyden is as ever describing their falsehood as reliable evidence and giving the story great prominence in her newspaper. As for the report of the commission itself, the government responds with carefree abandon stating that its most significant recommendation was “NOTED!” The case of the security men is also being referred to the police council. Yes, the government’s reaction is also conditional, like our friends in the Mideast story above. And this same government is sparing no expense to have itself re-elected. David Tam-Baryoh spent more than thirty minutes in an effort to get poor Mr. Mahoi to change his understanding of the word “noted” in the government’s whitepaper.

It was left to Charles Mambu to move the discussion forward by his interpretation of the word noted which was,’ under consideration, being studied etc.’ David Bo lef; your impartiality is becoming glaring! In order to get the people to participate in last Saturday’s planned and much publicised million man march for the President, market women in Lumley, Congo market and other places, were FORCED TO VOLUNTEER not to go to market that day, even if they didn’t march. And how did the six hundred million Leones investment end? All reports confirm that the whole staged managed wasted resources affair was a flop which ended in free entrance by the participants to watch football at the National stadium. That is the APC which is craving for a second term for its leader; they must be joking. The Secretary-General of the ruling APC Victor Foh, the organizing Secretary Aljajie M S Kargbo, the elections coordinator Balogun (Logus) Koroma, were all in Kailahun over the weekend, to among other things present Tom Nyuma their new ‘yawo’ to the people of Kailahun as well as present the district officer a Mr. Alghali who has been in residence for more than six months to the chiefs and people of the district. Both events I am told were flops. But Balogun Koroma boasted to Tam-Baryoh that Kailahun district was now all APC. Good for them! But since when did politicians begin to present civil servants to the people of a region? Except that it is part of the APC President’s agenda for change.

My dear readers, by the time you set eyes on the headline of this column, former Ambassador John Ernest Leigh who resigned from the membership of the SLPP would have declared his membership of the ruling APC. John Leigh was one of NINETEEN aspirants for the flagship of the SLPP. I have in my possession signed copies of application letters to the Leadership of the party in which each aspirant made a voluntary declaration that they would accept the result of the election and support the winner. I recall saying to each aspirant at the interview that the selection panel conducted, “There are 19 of you and only one person is going to emerge winner. What if you were not the chosen one? Before the last words were out of my mouth came the constant reply, “I will remain a member of the party and support the winner.” There was also clear evidence of comradeship among all of them across the country during the long months of campaign which were forced on them. At the polls John Leigh polled only TWO votes including his own. He will be moving with the one other vote, if at all. I listened to his eulogy of the virtues of President Koroma over monologue radio. Here was the man who in the unlikely event of his having won the leadership contest would by now be tearing into the failures and vices of the APC but who was now full of praise for the President. But nar Salone dis, en nar so we dey. Good luck to him

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