Beware of wolves in sheep’s clothing
By Alfred M. SamForay
Chairman PMDC Indiana
Before the SLPP became the Sierra Leone People’s Problem, it was a beacon light, of hope, for Sierra Leoneans of all ethnic and regional persuasions.
Founded by Lamina Sankoh, a Westerner and embraced by Easterners, Northerners and Southerners alike, the SLPP has over the years under the stewardship of President Ahmad Tejan Kabbah and his overly ambitious and perpetually drowsy Vice President, Solomon Berewa, become the primary sanctuary of bootlickers and political sycophants of the baser sort.
Added to endemic corruption, incompetence and ingratitude, is the ruling party’s newly found propensity to migrate from smaller scandals to larger ones. Here is some evidence: the unlawful sale of our High Commission in London, the diplomatic cocaine incident, the beating and killing of a journalist, the misuse of the seditious libel laws to silence journalists, the recent crash of an unfit helicopter that killed foreign guests to our country.
And then there is the unlawful conversion of rice and other donations from the State of Libya for personal and political purposes at the expense of the people of Sierra Leone.
Now in an effort to win the upcoming presidential and general elections by any means necessary, the SLPP has resorted to hooliganism.
It is rather unfortunate that after millions of dollars were expended on Sierra Leone for post-war recovery, the country shows no significant progress commensurate with the expectations of the donor nations. So Sierra Leoneans who have suffered so extensively from both the civil war as well as the inability or unwillingness of the ruling SLPP to rebuild their country, must reject the callous nature with which the government has misused the goodwill of the international community and the patience of the people of Sierra Leone for a more secure and prosperous life.
The use of thugs must be rejected in its entirety. In that regard, let me address a few of the names that have surfaced recently in connection with incidents against the leader of the Peoples Movement for Democratic Change (PMDC), Charles Francis Margai.
We are not unaware of the attempt a few weeks ago at or around Bo or Taiama by SLPP hooligans to ambush Mr. Margai and his entourage. We are also aware of house burnings in the PMDC stronghold of Pujehun and then on the evening of July 7 there was an incident, which ultimately resulted in the use of riot police to disperse SLPP hooligans from the National Headquarters of the PMDC at Hannah Benka Caulker Street in Freetown.
Now comes word over the last few days of high level SLPP members including the mercurial John Benjamin, Ambassador Patrick Foyah and NPRC strongman, Thomas Nyuma to intimidate or at worst, assassinate Mr. Margai during a tour of Kailahun District in the Eastern Region. First, a word of advice to these wolves in sheep’s clothing.
Mr. Benjamin must be fully aware of the fact that his home District of Kailahun was the gateway to the bloody civil war, which ravaged our country for eleven years. History will not forgive him if Kailahun once again becomes the threshold of instability in our country.
Ambassador Foyah’s involvement in this recent incident is especially troubling. With his wife as the SLPP candidate for Kailahun Central and his life-time companion, Elizabeth Lavalie, the SLPP parliamentary candidate for my own home constituency of Lugb/Bagbo, Foyah must be especially careful not to confuse his domestic activities with our national politics. Both Foyah his friend, Elizabeth Lavalie, widow of the Late Kamajor founder, Dr. Apha Lavalie, must be personally held responsible for upholding the principles of freedom and human dignity for which Dr. Lavallie was viciously killed by soldiers turned rebels previously under the command of Tom Nyuma.
Speaking of Nyuma, the former NPRC freedom fighter recently expelled from the US for his alleged involvement in atrocities under the NPRC and his former boss, Julius Marda Bio, also being mentioned with respect to these activities, a word of caution to the people of Sierra Leone.
During the interregnum, Nyuma was recruited by Tejan Kabbah with the assistance of Kabbah’s friend and former Electoral Commissioner and Ambassador to the UN, James O.C. Jonah, in a bogus attempt to replace Chief Hinga Norman as head of the CDF. Kabbah’s plan then was to use Nyuma to take Kamajors to the North in an attempt to remove the AFRC from Freetown.
Norman had refused to use Kamajors outside the South-East as he had refused to use Donsos outside Kono and Tamaboros, Kapras and Gbethis outside the North. Kabbah’s response was to try to replace Norman with Nyuma. Unfortunately for Kabbah, Nyuma’s patriotic zeal had by then waned and he wanted money to the tune of fifty thousand dollars and the extrication of his mother from Freetown before accepting the plan. Kabbah balked at Nyuma’s audacity and Nyuma subsequently returned to Houston and then Ohio from where he was recently given a one-way ticket to Freetown by the US Homeland Security Department. Hinga Norman, on his part, was tipped off by the CDF support group, SLAM, and Kabbah’s nefarious plan collapsed.
It is absolutely essential for Sierra Leoneans at home and abroad to be careful with these wolves in sheep’s clothing. They are like the biblical whited sepulcher. They are clean on the outside but in the inside, they are full of dead men’s bones. Never again should a handful of people be allowed to sabotage our hard-worn liberty. The election next month must be won by the ballot, not by the bullet. Those who are unable or unwilling to accommodate the wishes of the people are best advised not to short-circuit the right of the people to freely assemble and associate themselves with people of like mind to bring about positive change to Sierra Leone.