BY CORNELIUS HAMELBERG
May the Almighty protect Charles Margai & Ernest Bai Koroma from evil.
All is sadness.
Why should retired army man turned thug Tom Nyuma, with his unenviable track record, lastly deported from the USA – and now known to have been stalking APC leader of the opposition Hon. Ernest Bai Koroma, be suddenly and most mysteriously lodging in the same hotel as Hon Ernest Bai Koroma, and to have been found loitering around Hon. Ernest Bai Koroma’s room, armed with an automatic pistol?
It’s not too difficult for even the most innocent mind to put two and two together and arrive at a reasonable conclusion: he was not there to protect Hon. Ernest Bai Koroma.
“But for the intervention of the APC leader, Nyuma would have joined his ancestors from the hands of the APC security forces.”
Now what has happened to him – and it could eventually send him to the peace of the grave – is not so strange. It’s a form of spontaneous street JUSTICE and it seems that he was looking for it – like that European tourist paedophile that was beaten to death in Ghana when people found him in a room, in action on a little Ghanaian boy. They were not more reasonable in the heat of that moment.
It is the duty of the police to protect the lives (bodies and limbs) and property of all Sierra Leoneans – and the duty of the military to also protect our borders.
If the Sierra Leone police cannot provide people protection, then people will have to provide themselves with their own protection from whoever wants to harm them. Wouldn’t you?
We cannot have a situation in which there are marauding gangs of party loyalists some of them former warlords not very different from some ex-soldiers loyal to Kabbah/Berewa or lieutenants to other parties to the civil war going around as bodyguards in each and every entourage that surrounds the various politicians on the road, sometimes in “Enemy territory” / others’ political party strongholds which can be intolerant) but which are on their campaign trail as they take their message to every part of the country – as they should be entitled to. Yes Ernest Bai Koroma is entitled to carry on his peaceful campaign in BO and in the South, just as the SLPP is doing unmolested in the North. It’s his country. All of it.
Things are bound to get out of hand in the heat – the emotional heat which goes up a few degrees Fahrenheit every time there is a confrontation – and now they (all sides) will be armed and prepared for confrontation and for the unexpected.
Anything, even the worst can happen. And then what?
On the morning of the Nigerian Election of 1983, I was on the island of Bakana (in the Delta) – no problem – I was under the protection of the Amachree and family – the King of Kalabari. Levy Braide (NPN) was the minister of Agriculture and a permanent resident of that island. ( Professor Tam David-West of Buguma – is also a Kalabari man).On the morning of the election, the representative of the NPP ( Igbo party so to speak) was dragged down from the top floor of his dwelling and beaten…… there is no problem or tribal rivalry between Igbos and Kalabaris – in fact many Kalabari men are married to Igbo women…….point : no ethnic tension but only political rivalry , which even in Bakana which was 95% NPN) resulted in that little act of unprecedented violence by the very peaceable and most peaceful Kalabari people ( I don’t know with any certainty the ethnicity or identity of the thugs who did the beating —- it surely did not add to or diminish the number of votes cast for the NPN on that island and voting was over early in the day and the celebrations of “NPN Magic” were underway before evening……..
It is in disputed territory that violence tends to erupt…………in Sierra Leone too, and not in safe havens.
The idea of attempts on the lives of the two very popular opposition leaders, Hon. Charles Francis Margai and Hon. Ernest Bai Koroma are reprehensible – and mean, and no matter the degree to which these reports are absolutely true – and undeniable – it’s certain that some demon is trying to foment trouble. Worst case scenario: the army steps in on Election Day declares a state of emergency and martial law, cancels the election results in some areas (marred by violence) and asks all – including all Yayas – to stay indoors after curfew hours.
When would re-elections or bye-Elections take place? After the trial and sentencing of those prosecuted as trouble makers?
The advantage here is that the ruling SLPP could have succeeded in painting a picture of opposition violence to the outside world that must mainly depend on the Sierra Leone media – and whatever access people like BBC’s Mark Doyle and Allan Little have of footage and impression…..
There are also the handful of EU and other observers – who may observe violence without being able to fathom the cause or direction that it takes. They will also observe the army/ police doing their best……
The SLPP media (e.g. Awareness Times whose editor Miss Sylvia was recently decorated by president Kabbah for services rendered) is already trying to give the impression that all the hooligans are in the opposition. This of course is far from true. Most of the hooligans are in the SLPP, and some of them feel that they have a right to be protected hooligans and are entitled to practice hooliganism with impunity, because the SLPP is in POWER and the SLPP presidential candidate, vice- president Berewa , after all is the Chairman of the Police Council and as happens with most incumbent African governments at election time is reportedly using state owned media and government vehicles as part of his campaign machinery – and some others say he is also dipping into state funds and so on as part of his campaign funding. True, Mr. Berewa, or false?
Even today there are complaints of the UN radio station being used to do campaigning on behalf of the SLPP government. Not to mention the harassment of journalists that has taken place recently, all because Philip Neville reported that some of the donations that Colonel Muammar al-Qadhafi had made (how many shipments of rice?) had not been properly reported to the people of Sierra Leone. All it would have taken would have been for any of the journalists to have asked Mr. Qadhafi for a confirmation or denial of this – but the only confirmation we could get was that Mr. Neville’s newspaper office had been vandalised ( as usual) by Mr. Kabbah’s policemen , Mr. Neville had been arrested and Mr. Neville had been detained and finally given bail – set at a very high sum of money – but only after much protest about his arrest from many organisations such as Human Rights Watch, Amnesty International and Reporters without Borders among many others who are still protesting in and outside of Sierra Leone……about some of the actions of our primitive men , or as Mark Steyn has coined the phrase, “reprimitivized man” in particular.
Is it so that every time a journalist writes something that is disputed by Mr. Kabbah, the journalist should be arrested, and jailed? If he had written it in the New York Times, then what? Colonel Qadhafi himself obviously knew what he was doing when he made the generous food donations. So why did MR. Kabbah sell the rice etc? To get their fingers on some money? Do they also plan to sell the tractors and buses and other equipment – for cash or to only put them to more personal use? These are reasonable question. Muammar al –Qadhafi the generous, has also made numerous heavy cash donations – which did not start with the period of the Kabbah government and so the SLPP should not think that Mr. Qadhafi was no friend of the APC…..
Indeed Mr Kabbah is only known as a toothless Chimpanzee when it comes to fighting corruption – but when it comes to taking journalists to task, he can shake his mane and roar like King Lion.
(My Yoruba professor says, “It’s not just because monkey can eat with knife and fork, that he should be admitted into the human clan…”
My Yoruba professor is wicked.
I know how the 1983 Nigeria elections were reported throughout the world. Dagens Nyheter declared that it was a “Triumph for Democracy” as if the formula of “Democracy = let’s arrange an election” had been fulfilled in all its details of free and fairness. I do not have to name the state in which more votes were allegedly cast and registered than there were inhabitants ( like Mobutu paying salaries to Ghost soldiers)
Now if it had indeed been a triumph for democracy, Muhammadu Buhari and Tunde Idiagbon’s coup of 31st December 1983 (like J.J. Rawlings’ coup of 31st December 1981) would not have been welcome by masses of people who had still not been paid up to six months salary by some Federal and State Governments ……. But coup times are over……….although there is the possibility of this is one (outlined above by which the SLPP could try to salvage themselves from defeat, if the people decide against them…and it’s true that SLPP votes will be eaten up by PMDC…. And that the more the violence escalates the more the lines that divide will be re-drawn and the greater likelihood of violence spreading to more uncontrollable and more disputed areas outside of any “ethnic havens”……
Sheikh Tunis, the last (and first time) I talked to you on the phone (I was in Stockholm and you were in New York) you detailed how sad the situation was on the home turf and even disheartened us (you and me) by recounting the horrors of child prostitution.
Why is there child prostitution? APC and PMDC would also like to remedy that situation, address the causes and to take the children off the street. And now you want multi-party democracy to capitulate?
Please don’t go around giving defeatist advice of this type to anybody:
“boycott the election now…if you think there is not enough time to
campaign boycott the election now if you think the field is not level boycott
the election now if you believe SLPP is going rig it…don’t wait until
I know the field is not level///I know everything is at SLPP advantage,
I know Berewa will win the election by all MEANS…so why join any
political party? I will not vote nor will I ask anyone to.”
“There are legal or better means of forcing SLPP to free and fair”
Would you or someone else like to spell these out for us?
Don’t you understand that if we follow your advice, it means that there would be no real elections and that the SLPP would have won, unchallenged?
There is a real danger that many people will be forced to stay away, because of intimidation, which can even come from the law enforcement quarters, if they are not even-handed and if they side with the government side and look upon the APC and PMDC as opposition to the hand that is “feeding” them, appointing them, promoting them and decorating them.
The struggle must go on and the people must decide, by casting their ballots.
Don’t think that you won’t be tested. The above was brief and very incomplete
And here is a test par excellence, which I return to reading, presently:
Pray for us all.