BY KABS KANU
A man never short of colorful expressions, the former Spokesman of the Sierra Leone Civil Defence Force ( CDF ) and one-time outspoken stalwart of the opposition Sierra Leone People’s Party , Rev. Alfred Sam Foray, has broken his long silence . He is speaking once again.
In telling words replete with Mende proverbs , biblical quotations and idiomatic expressions , characteristic of him, Mr. Foray has written an open letter to embattled SLPP Presidential Flagbearer aspirant , Dr. Foday Yumkella , advising him “to seize the day and the moment” , bid farewell to the SLPP and “Let the dead bury their dead”.
SamForay broke ranks with the SLPP when heavily-armed Police officers representing the Special Court of Sierra Leone stormed the office of the Internal Affairs Minister cum- Commander of the CDF , the late Chief Hinga Norman, sealed off his office and the whole Liverpool Street, handcuffed him and indicted him for war crimes on March 7, 2003 under the watchful eyes of the SLPP Government (led by the late President Ahmad Tejan Kabbah), which the CDF had protected and defended with extraordinary zeal and valor during the apocalyptic war with the murderous and limb-hacking Revolutionary United Front ( RUF ).
Foray fought a long and sustained battle of words and wits with the Kabbah Government and the Special Court and Chief Norman died a prisoner while seeking treatment in Senegal on February 22, 2007.Even after the SLPP lost power in the same year, Rev. Samforay remained very vocal but in recent years he seemed to have lost his fervor and he went silent. However, his letter to Kandeh Yumkella shows where Mr. Samforay stands in the unending SLPP fiasco . The letter also shows that even die-hard SLPP fanatics have lost patience with the ugly mess going on in the SLPP , characterized by deadly infighting and court cases .
Open Letter to Alhaji Dr. Kandeh Kolleh Yumkella
by Rev. Alfred Munda SamForay
My Dearest Brother,
As you well know a letter such as this would have been relayed to you in private with the full assurance of confidentiality, but time and circumstance have a way of dictating matters outside our normal channels. As the Wise King Solomon well observed in his much recited treatise in the Book of Ecclesiastes, “There is a time for everything, and a season for every activity under the heavens:
a time to embrace and a time to refrain from embracing,
a time to search and a time to give up,
a time to keep and a time to throw away,
a time to tear and a time to mend,
a time to be silent and a time to speak.”
And if I may humbly add to King Solomon’s wisdom, there is time to ponder thoughts – to borrow from our dear Pastor Andrew Keili – and a time to decide. This is the time to refrain, to give up, to throw away, to tear apart and to speak. The time for embracing imaginary friends is over. The time to search for non-existent unity within the Sierra Leone Peoples Party is over. The time to keep what Milton Margai, Albert Margai, Kandeh Bureh, Ella Koblo Gulama and Bai Shebro Yumkella sought to have and to hold, to love and to cherish until death do us part is over. It is time for a new beginning; the dawn of a new era. “The night is long that never finds the day”. In short, it is time to move on. To seize the day and the moment – or as you CKC boys would say, Carpe Diem. And if I may be as bold (and cold) as Jesus Christ Himself, “Let the dead bury their dead”.
There is a Mende proverb that says Nimi nimi a lo kalei maloh bi kula. Roughly translated, you must quit sucking on the bone while there is still some sweetness left in it rather than wait for the bitterness that follows. This has been a long journey on what we call in America a cul-de-sac. Literally, the bottom of the sack. A dead end street with only one way in one way out meant primarily to keep outsiders (those foreign to the area, call them kenyemui sia), those who do not belong there from driving through the neighborhood. It is the city version of the Trump wall.
We are all painfully aware of several instances where you would have crashed face first into this Trump wall, but for the grace of Almighty God. There was the much ado about nothing concerning you not being a registered member of the SLPP. Or not having ever voted in Sierra Leone. Then there was that dreadful day when an honorable woman, Hadja Bintu Yumkella (your mother), was physically assaulted at the party office in Freetown, spat upon and her hijab rudely removed from her head by thugs later identified as belonging to Brig.-Gen. (Retd) Julius Maada Bio. And then lately, there were, as we later found out, plans under way to expel you and your supporters from the party had the recent Appeals Court ruling gone against you. And speaking of the court ruling itself, the Sierra Leone Court of Appeals only asked that votes in 39 disputed constituencies be recounted. The court never said anything about lower level elections. But true to their calling (mis-calling), the illegally constituted National Executive Council comprising of the former Deputy Chairman of the party, Dr. Prince Harding, decided to begin the re-count at sectional, chiefdom and District levels contrary to the court’s instructions.
It is such flagrant and reckless disregard for the judiciary of our country and the blatant violations of the SLPP constitution that has brought the once noble and admirable party of Sir Milton Margai and others to a marginal Opposition party and a laughing stock of our national body-politic. That’s why so many of us are saying, enough is enough. Quit while you are still ahead of the game. Even Jesus saw fit to warn His disciples:
“I am sending you out like lambs among wolves. When you enter a house, first say, ‘Peace to this house.’ If someone who promotes peace is there, your peace will rest on them; if not, it will return to you. Stay there, eating and drinking whatever they give you…But when you enter a town and are not welcomed, go into its streets and remove even the dust off your feet as a warning to them that treacherous days are ahead..”
It is time to bid fare well Unity House with malice towards no one. It is time to seek peace elsewhere with people of like mind for the betterment of the nation. Much work needs to be done between now and the proposed elections time in March 2018. In the past few days, we have heard about serious physical confrontations between supporters of the two main contenders for the chairmanship of the SLPP, Mr. Manyeh and Dr. Harding. There is very little precious time left to be wasted on such intra-party squabbles that seem to have no end. The energy of those who have invested in your “Hope, Opportunity and Transformation” – in your plans to transform Sierra Leone from a beggar nation to a more prosperous one – cannot be squandered on endless battles within the SLPP.
Again, King Solomon and Andrew Keili:
There is a time to plant and a time to uproot, a time build and a time to tear down,
a time to love and a time to hate, a time for war and a time for peace.
Please “ponder my thoughts”.