An article with the above heading appeared in the Awareness Times newspaper today. The writer, Dr. Sylvia Blyden, was gracious enough to inform me last night that the article will be appearing in the paper this morning. I also informed Sylvia Blyden last night that I will provide a rejoinder to the article . Blyden also posted in the FACEBOOK forum : SIERRA LEONE ISSUES.
I thought there were few things about the article that need to be clarified.
Today, one of the most respected people in life, to me, is Dr. Christiana Thorpe. I respect her because she conducted the best presidential and legislative elections in Sierra Leone and Africa in 2007. I will respect her until my dying day. People all over the world consider those elections even better than recent ones staged in the U.S. I have verbally told Dr.Thorpe that what she did in 2007 even helped to rebrand Sierra Leone and the continent of Africa.
However, when Dr. Thorpe was first appointed by President Ahmed Tejan Kabbah in 2004, I was one of the journalists who thought it was not a fair appointment to the APC . The article I wrote about this is in the old Cocorioko archives. I never made any sexually based allegations. My contention was about conflict of interests since the same Kabbah who was SLPP , had already given Madam Thorpe a national award. My argument then was that it was conflict of interests . It turned out that I was wrong and I stated this in many articles in 2007 in which I proclaimed Dr.Thorpe as my NATIONAL HEROINE after she staged the best elections ever in Africa .
I criticized the appointment of Dr.Thorpe on the principle that because she had been given a national award by President Kabbah, and Kabbah was SLPP and the SLPP would be contesting the elections with the APC, it was conflict of interests for him to have made her electoral commissioner. I found out later that I was wrong. It turned out that many of us who took that stand did not really understand how incorruptible Dr.Thorpe is; She proved to be a woman of integrity , credibility, fairness and fear of God by the fair manner she went on to conduct the elections and I said that when I meet her I will frankly acknowledge to her that I was wrong about her and that she had become my heroine and one of the individuals I will now admire and respect throughout my life .
BELOW IS THE AWARENESS TIMES ARTICLE
Kabbs-Kanu, RUF Lies, APC’s Media Strategy & Final Warning to SLPP
By Sylvia Olayinka Blyden
Jun 21, 2012, 17:18
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Over six years ago, in May 2006, in a fit of rage, Revd Kabs-Kanu of COCORIOKO viciously attacked my person because I defended Dr. Christiana Thorpe against some sexually based allegations he was levying against her. He accused Thorpe of being an SLPP agent and me the same. Kabbs-Kanu was quite vitriolic. However, after series of personal attacks which lasted for many months and which I mostly ignored, Revd Kabbs-Kanu, of his own volition in 2007, issued an unreserved apology to me which he published widely on his website and in email discussion groups.
Revd Kabbs-Kanu’s apology, in which he retracted his vicious words calling me an RUF rebel, is still available on the Internet. He explained to the world, that as a true Christian, his conscience dictated to him to withdraw the false allegations he had written against me. He apologised to me without any prodding from anyone. It was the correct thing to do. He knew what he had written about me was false. That apology was many years ago. Since that time, I have forgiven him and the two of us have moved on past that incident of six years ago.
Now, this week, I see the SLPP and their disgraced History revisionist Lans Gberie, in desperation to demonise me than handle the issues I am raising, are re-hashing those six years old libellous comment of Kabbs-Kanu which the author himself had long since apologised for.
Sierra Leone’s libel laws are very clear. It appears Lans Gberie and some of the SLPP journalists, having succeeded to get persons within the Judiciary to ‘go-slow’ on cases inimical to their party’s interest, believe they are immune from prosecution for criminal libel. I honestly wonder if some of these SLPP journalists have legal advisers!
The truth is that for now, I am way too busy to engage in law courts and IMC theatrics but there might reach a point when I will say Enough is Enough. I am being attacked simply because the reading populace TRUSTS me. My assertions are easily accepted as gospel truths to the majority of the reading public. I have quite a significant following inside and outside of the country.
So, when I criticise the APC, agents within that party will try to reduce the import of my words by alleging I am an SLPP member. Vice versa for when I criticise the SLPP. The fact however is that I am NOT a member of the APC nor am I a member of SLPP. I do have political ambitions but not anytime soon.
SLPP in particular has been going out of its way to publish lies about me. Not once, not twice, they have extended the attacks to my parents especially my dear mother. All the time that APC used to attack me when I was opining on issues which SLPP would benefit from, the APC’s WE YONE newspaper never attacked my parents. No APC Spokesman has ever attacked my parents! Yes, APC has sent police officers to ransack my office and APC invited me to CID of Police for questioning many times. APC even charged me to court but the APC has never attacked my parents! I know I have never insulted Maada Bio’s mother or John Benjamin’s mother or mother of any member of the SLPP hierarchy. Why the SLPP should think Mammy Cuss is the way forward, I do not know. They are making a bitter mistake by involving my parents into their nasty politics; a very bitter mistake!
Infact, as arrogant as I sound, I honestly think one of the best things going for Julius Maada Bio right now, is the fact that Sylvia Blyden is not an APC member. Had I been an APC party member or had I wielded any clout within Ernest Koroma Government, SLPP and Bio would have been singing a different song right now. SLPP and Bio should count themselves lucky that they are dealing with the likes of Alhaji I.B. Kargbo and his crew of ‘Public Relations & Media Specialists’ of which I am NOT a member.
For the record, let me state again that I think the APC led Government is going about its media relations in a wrong way. I, Sylvia Olayinka Blyden, do not have faith in APC’s current 2012 elections media strategy. I have absolutely NOTHING to do with the current APC Media and Communications Strategy nor am I a member of their Media Team. I am a very independent thinker. My independence is well known to all except for those who have an agenda or a score to settle. My scepticism for the way the Koroma regime is handling the media, has been expressed by me several times and on different occasions; the latest in a piece I entitled as “APC & UDM in Big Dance Na Tight Parlour”!
Our President must surely believe that the way the local and international media is being handled at the moment is proper and correct and for that, I will only say to Mr. President that I trust November 2012 will bring him the results he desires in the face of media strategy deployed by his Media and Public Relations Managers. Again, I am stating it for the record, that I have very little faith in ongoing media strategy being applied for Koroma.
However, President Ernest Koroma is an experienced man in politics and he must have his reasons for allowing what the Information Minister Alhaji I.B. Kargbo must surely be the one advising him to allow. I therefore respect his decision to continue to apply the strategy he is applying within the Media. I just do not believe in it. I have no faith in it. I am not a part of it and I do not even see myself joining such a mis-directed media team.
Now that I have spoken on record that I am NOT a part of APC Media & Communications Strategy, I hope the SLPP will hang heads and realise that I am NOT a member of the APC to be targeted or my parents abused for no good reason. I am an independent thinker.
My strong refusal to help SLPP sweep the criminal tendencies of Julius Maada Bio under the carpet, should not be taken to mean I am representing or speaking on behalf of President Koroma’s candidacy. I am a very independent thinker and most observers know this to be so. Thus, if SLPP continues to viciously focus their lens on me to the extent of publishing a demeaning reference of ‘whore’ to me in their official mouthpiece newspaper, I am sure that very few will blame me if I unleash an appropriate reaction on the SLPP. Like Arnold Akibo-Betts, I find the SLPP’s current antics against my person to be very stupid of them. I am not an APC member nor am I a member of the APC’s Media Strategy but if I decide to react against the SLPP, it will be for sure that the APC will be the beneficiary. This will be final warning to the SLPP. Tomorrow is another day.