By Hon. John Ernest Leigh

Friday June 9, 2006

The piece under the names IBRAHIM SESAY and IBRAHIM SHERIFF and titled: Ibrahim Sesay Chides John Leigh and President Kabbah and posted in Cocorioko a couple of days ago, is full of allegations lacking any factual or logical foundation.

The only correct statement Mr. Sheriff made about me is his claim that at the time of the RUF/AFRC junta, I was SL ambassador in Washington. As I read his poorly written piece, I see ?REMEDIAL’ written all over Mr. Sheriff’s face. I hope I am wrong.

First, I never claimed at any time, any where and by any means that “the Federal government of the United States had dispatched four U.S. Marine ships to flush the RUF/AFRC rebels out of Freetown.”

Your claim is pure lie-lie, invented by an individual who appears to me from his writing as someone that is not sophisticated even though he has lived in the West for years. Mr. Sheriff ought to try and get his facts and timelines right before unjustly attacking others.


Second, the S.S. Keoserg arrived in Freetown on or about early June 1997 – and not after the 1999 January invasion. This American vessel arrived in Freetown in response to RUF/AFRC persistent and wanton atrocities and hooliganism and, apparently, only after the British, Nigerian, Ghanaian and US Ambassadors/High Commissioners (all friends of Sierra Leonean democracy) had concluded that the AFRC coup was not the usual military coup but a criminalized junta violently molesting ordinary civilians and hell bent to keep power for criminal purposes no matter what.

Sierra Leoneans as well as our resident international visitors including Americans were all victims. I had no prior information that any American vessel was heading to Sierra Leone except when I heard media reports at the time when the S.S. Keoserg was already in Sierra Leone waters to evacuate Americans.


After I received this news, the embassy quickly linked up with a Sierra Leonean-led movement to restore democracy in SL, Amnesty International and others to stage a demonstration across the street in front of the US State Department, condemning the violence (looting, raping, beatings, killings, maiming, arson, thieving, illegal burying of killed victims, brutal arrests and illegal detentions, etc.), and the attitude (pa-O-pa we will take and keep power by force) of the RUF/AFRC junta. We used the occasion to ask for American help to rescue our people from this RUF/AFRC’s horrible bondage.

There were half a dozen speakers, including myself, that participated in the demo in front of State.

After the demo, I followed up on a prior arrangement to officially present our request for liberation to the State Department. My request for immediate help was refused. Following that meeting with US authorities, I held a press conference – this time directly at the State Department entrance that was again carried by the same media. I repeated both my request to include vulnerable Sierra Leoneans in the Keoserg evacuations and the eviction of the coupligans. I then returned to the office. The whole affair was a huge success.


CNN, VOA, BBC, South African Radio and Radio France, etc. carried the demo at State live around the world. Mr. Sheriff should ask VOA for the tape he relied on for his bogus accusation. He will definitely get a copy for a small fee.

Also, a PMDC high official who tried to recruit me years ago but to no avail, Mr. Bami Thompson, once informed me proudly that he has all my TV/radio tapes. Ask him to help you with your research. You will be disappointed with the result if you are looking for dirt.


Contrary to your claim, my TV/radio appearances brought dignity and respect to Sierra Leone and put the fear of the Lord in Ghadaffi, Campoare and Charles Taylor. This helped drive the rebels and coupligans to Lome.

A few good came out of that meeting at State. I concluded from all available indications arising out of that meeting that the US will support genuine democracy in SL and that if the exile government retains popular support at home, it will continue to retain diplomatic recognition of our elected government. The demo also set in motion coalition building in the US to help free our people from the RUF/AFRC bondage.

Lastly, CNN carried the news and photos of the demo and press conference worldwide.


A few minutes upon returning to the embassy that day, I received an international telephone call from Abuja, Nigeria. On the other end of the line was Alhaji (Dr.) Hassan Adamu, then Nigerian Ambassador to the US who was home on consultations and with whom a genuine friendship had quickly developed because of my prior association with Nigeria as well as my easy style in dealing with people.

Ambassador Adamu said he had a message for me from General Sani Abacha, the then Nigerian Military Head of State.

The Nigerian Ambassador said that the entire Nigerian Cabinet had interrupted their meeting to view the CNN report about our demo and my press conference at the State Department and that they all saw me speaking fire. We laughed.


Dr. Adamu then said something most poignant about SL and Nigeria, namely, that Gen. Abacha wants me to know that all decent Sierra Leoneans should be rest assured that Nigeria will not sit idle by and see decent folks butchered by violent thugs; that Nigeria owes Sierra Leone a deep debt of gratitude for helping to open up their country to British influence and for educating several earlier generations of Nigerians at Fourah Bay College.

{Like I have preached in this Forum: Good education of our entire population is the key to our salvation. We need well educated leaders who respect their teachers if we are to pull off such a thing. Leadership grounded on flunkies, remedials, drops outs, etc. are a big danger to a struggling society that must strive for success.}


At this point I thanked him very much and informed him that the rebel leaders, Mr. Foday Sankoh, who had been arrested months ago for arms trafficking in Lagos international airport and detained in Abuja, had just had a message broadcasted over SLBS-TV/Radio backing the coup and authorizing his RUF lieutenants to join Johnny Paul’s brutal junta. I said this Sankoh’s message had terrified the population. Not only that, but that Mr. Sankoh was in constant telephone contact with his co-rebels and Johnny Paul’s people.

Ambassador Adamu expressed great credulity at this bombshell news.

I then asked the ambassador to have his government confiscate Sankoh’s communications gear and hold him incommunicado until the coup is reversed. He promised me there and then that Sierra Leoneans will not hear a word from Sankoh again until further notice. And true to this pledge, not a word was ever heard from Sankoh until the preliminaries to Lome had been agreed to and when he was freed to take part in peace negotiations in Lome.

Therefore, Mr. Sheriff, during my entire tenure in Washington I did nothing to worsen the plight of Sierra Leoneans any where, any time. If any thing, my work helped to cleanse our country of the coupligans and terminate your sufferings.

Your ungratefulness is common within a certain flunky political grouping.


You complained that President Kabbah fled to safety in Guinea and left people like you after the January 1999 overrun of Freetown by a combined force of RUF/AFRC.

What did you think he should have done then? Stayed behind like you?

First, several of your allegations are wrong. President Kabbah did not flee to Guinea in January 1998 or 1999. He escaped to Lungi in January 1999 to free you and bring peace. He escaped to Guinea in late May 1997. The RUF invaded Freetown in January 1999, not 1998. The RUF was invited by Johnny Paul shortly after his May 25, 1997 violent coup to join his brutes to govern and bring “peace” to our country. The AFRC idea of peace is to rape and kill people and put fellow RUF rapists and killers to help keep their victims in bondage.

For your information, escaping to a safe haven, if at all possible, is the most sensible decision a besieged leader must take. By escaping, our besieged president placed himself in a superior position to work to free you eventually from the RUF/AFRC bondage and put permanent peace in place. Today we enjoy genuine peace nationwide. This peace was earned under the leadership of the SLPP President of Sierra Leone and if he had stayed behind under notions of false heroism, you might still be in punishing bondage.

As for leaving you and others behind, you cannot compare your anonymous status with that of your country’s president. You are NOT in the same league. And power-hungry brutes are guaranteed to deal with him far differently than they would deal with a non-sophisticated, partially educated someone like yourself.

President Kabbah was a prominent target for killing by the coupligans. You were not even known to them. In fact, none of them knew you from Lucifer or Angel Gabriel. If the President had foolishly stayed behind as you immaturely seems to argue like a dunce remedial graduate, he would have most certainly be tortured and killed by RUF/AFRC brutes. Under those circumstances, restoring legitimate democracy to Sierra Leone would have been exceedingly far more complicated than actually happened, if at all.

Simply put, had Mr. Kabbah not escaped, you and the rest of our people would have suffered much more, much longer. UNDERSTAND?


You said you attended a meeting in New York where Berewa spoke in 2003 and Ambassadors present. I cannot speak for him as I wasn’t there. But you claimed you were then the SLPP Young Generation Leader. If so, you must have belonged to the rubbish Nallo faction that conducted a fake Makeni-style convention in Philadelphia years earlier to secure influence within the party in Sierra Leone. When I sought to explain at the 2002 SLPP Convention in Bo that Mr. Nallo was not the genuine leader of SLPP North America, some people yelled at me in bad faith and said other nasty things. But I never retreated.

{One of the few people who rescued me that day, is the fellow who first persuaded me {after Makeni to take an objective look at the Berewa program.}

Nallo went on to become a proud SLPP Member of Parliament. What good has he done since for his people in Sumbuya? What good has he done for the SLPP? What good has he done for Sierra Leone?

Do you think VP Berewa wants his endorsement? No. Do you think PMDC wants his endorsement? I doubt. Do you think the people of Sumbuya ever want to see him as their parliamentarian? I doubt it. Those do-nothing MPs are the ones that damaged the good name of SLPP that I had help to forge during President Kabbah’s first term.

So, Mr. Sheriff please do not complain about selfish, manipulative, deceitful, do-nothing representatives of the people. You are one of them. Now that my message of reform has resonated through several party echelons, party members are questioning the likes of Nallo and yourself.


People like you have no clue as to how to hardness development funding from our abundant natural resources for genuine national development because people like you collaborate with and help the Nallos of SLPP. After serving the Kalo Kalo Philadelphia group as Young Generation Leader, you have no right to now complain about poor leadership in your country because people like you aided and abetted their climb to power over the heads of your own very suffering people who are in a mood to throw out all those rascals SLPP MPs. Henceforth, SLPP candidates for Parliament will be selected by the grassroots.

I hear your Leader has promised to give his party’s partly falamakata banga symbol to over 1,000 supporters already, many in North America. Clearly, your falamakata party is a case of one dictator making all the decisions himself alone.


Former SLPP members like yourself who have disappointed your own very people are the very ones fleeing to PMDC to pursue flunky tribal agendas. I am thoroughly familiar with the primitive tribal mentality of your type. PMDC is most certainly the child of PNP (Pikin Nah Pikin).

I may reply to your follow up rebuttal provided it makes sense. If, however, it is another factually inaccurate piece that relies on flunky, dunce and remedial argumentation, please take this as my final goodbye to your remedial politics. *JL*




By John E. Leigh

I have said that if people feel I am too hard on certain political flunkies and remedials, it is because of the things they actually say or do to me, and not because I do not respect their right to establish their own political party, or rely on non-influential noisemakers like sansan boys and others; or elect whomsoever they want as their party’s officers.

Take the blunder now committed by one Karamoh Kabba in this newspaper and the Simple Simeon conclusions he reached that makes no sense at all.


Mr. Kabba says that I have no moral authority to say certain thing supportive of Mr. Berewa’s candidacy because, as he falsely claimed, I once criticized Berewa to Kabba in the spring of 2001 at the embassy regarding a diamond deal I claimed was criminally corrupt. This claim is not true and the reasoning he relied is foolish.  He must be hallucinating!

First, Mr. Berewa did not become Vice President until after the May 2002 presidential election. Therefore, my learned friend does no know what he is talking about in the spring of 2001.  Then Dr. Joe Demby, not Berewa, was our vice president.

Further, whatever views I held about the policies of the Administration I have published openly for all to see beginning in 2004. Never once did I say something in private on a matter I viewed of public importance that I did not say or write about in public when I had the opportunity. And I did not publicly criticize the government until after I had left office.

My real intention at all times is to promote good governance. I hold no malice to anyone whatsoever. Nor was I ever interested in splitting my party as some oppositionists badly wanted and possibly relied on for no sensible reason.  Party unity, especially at election time, is sacrosanct to someone like me who believes that bad as things are, our party is moving towards genuine democracy and away from tribalism.  Why should I help split my party and allow the opposition pre-war poverty spreaders to waltz into power again?


Second, the hot issue during the spring of 2001 was Oil, not Diamonds. In April 2001, I had written a critique of an agreement entered into the month before by our government with an American company to test for oil and manage our coastal shores. This agreement was negotiated without the Washington DC Embassy’s knowledge and came to our notice only from an internet news report.

I wrote my critique – and carefully reviewed it with my senior staff – to genuinely advise our government as to how the deal would be perceived by leaders of those governments and legislatures that the embassy had succeeded in persuading to stand firmly behind our then overthrown elected government, not only to try to catch Johnny Paul and his brutal crew but also to help us with diplomatic, humanitarian and economic development aid.

The letter was addressed to Mr. President and copied to the two officials involved in the negotiations. A fourth copy was addressed to the then Foreign Minister. The letter was delivered to the addressees by hand on or about April 22.

I was told later by the messenger that the president read my memo right away and was most displeased and very angry – for what I do not know. My memo was published on or about June 6 in the local press to much public criticisms of our government and I was stopped at Lungi Airport from boarding my flight that day. Clearly, oil, not diamonds, was what was important in the spring of 2001.


Third, I remember once on or about 2004 of been asked by Editor Mr. Sahr Yamba Musa of The Concord Times to comment on the Koidu Holdings Kimberlite agreement. Since I did not know enough about the deal, I respectfully declined and told him so. Later on during my very brief campaign for SLPP Leader when I was more knowledgeable about this issue, I took a position contrary to that of the government but not personally against Mr. Berewa.

Fourth, I believe that my quiet recall as ambassador was on account of that oil memo and not the fictitious diamond conversation Kabba has invented about a man who was not yet Vice President in the spring of 2001.  Mr. Kabba seems to me as a most reckless liar inventing trash, probably because he is upset with the result of my research about a Form Four Flunky Drop Out who wants to be president in a land where education has to be the essential instrument for liberating the masses of san-san boys from profound poverty.


We clearly need national leaders respectful of our suffering teachers. We need national leaders that would inspire pupils to take their schooling seriously. We need a well educated population that is respected worldwide.  And we need a president intellectually equipped to address our seemingly intractable economic and social problems.  This particularly high school flunky presidential candidate cannot be expected to be up to such demanding tasks.

I sincerely believe that a high school drop out who becomes president would send the wrong message to the world, to our teachers and our pupils that we can disrespect teachers fiti fata, flunk out, drop out with no school certificate and then use family’s political clout to gain the upper hand.  Such an individual is unlikely to be intellectually equipped to fight successfully for us in this highly competitive world.


Mr. Kabba’s illogical conclusion that because I criticized the administration, I have no moral authority to endorse my party’s candidate for president is not surprising. Mr. Kabba is out of his league if he thinks he can sit in judgment of who does or does not have moral authority to participate in one’s party affairs. Let the party’s membership and the public decide, not the likes of party hacks as Mr. Kabba.  Where did he get his authority to make pronouncement on moral issues?  Offensive arrogance has now permeated through the PMDC ranks.

I have already explained my reasons for supporting the SLPP and Mr. Berewa and I need not repeat them here. Suffice it to say that:

(i) Intelligent people will not find it a problem to accept the fact that merely because one criticizes another does not automatically mean the critic cannot ever endorse the criticized.

Only childish types would conclude that once a critic always an everlasting opponent.

Since my criticisms are always based on facts and logic; are wholly lacking in malice; and because my views have resonated within party echelons; it was not difficult at all for me, after carefully touring the whole country several times after Makeni, to endorse Mr. Berewa, especially when party heartlanders would rather swallow the bitter pill of Makeni than allow the opposition to waltz into power via a party split.

Did not Senator John McCain criticize President Bush? Did not Gov. Howard Dean criticize Senator John Kerry? Did anyone of those party opponents rush to form his own new party or interrupt their former high schools’ graduation ceremonies with loud, threatening thugs dressed for the occasion in bright falamakata party colors and engaged in boisterous yells? Did he ever graduate from his alma mater? Such arrogant immaturity!

(ii) Merely because one advocates views critical of his party’s government does not mean that he or she must resign from his usual party and join another, especially one where immaturity, flunkies and remedials flourish.


(iii) Merely because a disappointed group of disgruntled opportunists and political harlots believe that an effective government critic logically belongs to their group does not mean that the said critic has any interest in associating with, let alone belonging to, any such group; Nor may he be interested in abandoning those who helped him in his first serious bid for his party’s leadership, howbeit unsuccessfully.


Kabba and his crew must accept the simple truth that they misplaced too much hope on my joining them and/or supporting then, even in light of the available contrary evidence. For far too long – a few days after Makeni – I had long announced that I am not leaving my party.  Also, I never rushed to support Berewa. Only after I became comfortable in working with him and only after repeated consultations with voters did I endorse him.

I have also told numerous PMDC recruiters over several months that I am not interested in becoming a member of their party.  But they keep on bombarding me with unwanted invitations.  Do you think I have any interest in wasting my time with a Form Four High School flunky who spent two years in Form Four but who did not complete high school; an arrogant man who has no school certificate, no “O” Level certificate, no “A” Level Certificate, no English Bar, no college – just lowly Irish Bar and yet wants to lead?

Now that I have released my statement endorsing my choice for president, PMDCers are in a quandary and in terrible disarray because of my decision to endorse Mr. Berewa and remain in SLPP.   Again, my preference is to seek reforms from within my party rather than behave like our usual political harlots, jumping from one party to the other simply for pecuniary benefits but with no long term commitments.

I confirm that out of the three presidential rivals, Mr. Berewa is my first choice. Guess who is my last choice?

Again, I have no interest in associating with Mr. Karamoh Kabba’s PMDC flunky, lie-lie, drop out remedial group. Thank you very much. -JL


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