It is with deepest regret that I heard the death of my mentor, Sam Metzger(photo), former editor and managing Director of “We Yone” news paper.
Sorrow fills my heart at this sad moment, a sorrow that is deep and personal. I felt that the news of the untimely death of Sam Metzger came as a great shock especially when I reflected on his role in our noble political party, the All People’s Congress APC. He was much esteemed in the APC party which he belonged to and was generally recognized as one whose acts and deeds were worthy of emulation.
The passing away of Sam Metzger makes it difficult to adequately express my grief. Memory brought me to the 1977 General Elections which we profoundly won. After those victory elections, I was elected as the first Secretary General of the All People’s Congress on the 29 June 1977 in the national delegate’s conference at Mahera, Kafu Bullom Chiefdom. During that period, ‘We Yone’ newspaper became the official media organ of the APC.
Sam Metzger, who has ever been the editor of ‘We Yone’ news paper, wrote a brilliant article informing the nation about me, a 40 year old, Egerton Tamba Kamara, the newly elected Secretary General who was a dyed-in-the wool trade unionist. He acknowledged the fact that I had closely followed the footsteps of the founder and leader of the party, Dr.Siaka Probyn Stevens of blessed memory.
Like Siaka Stevens, I started as a dissenting trade unionist. In 1966, I emerged as the first Secretary General of the Sierra Leone Labor Congress, a federation that today leads the working class movement of the Republic of Sierra Leone. Like my political mentor, I also headed the united mineworkers union in the Northern, Southern, and Eastern Provinces respectively. In 1969, I resigned these positions to study industrial relations in Great Britain.
While serving in this capacity (Secretary General of the APC), I visited with Sam Metzger at one time at his 11A Old Railway Line office to collaborate with him. He gave me a candid piece of advice free of cost and unsolicited; pointing out that no one tribe can rule Sierra Leone. In that meeting, he encouraged me to work hard and diligently in the interest of the party, the people, and the country in general. The APC, he said, is a party for the people, the poor, the handicapped, as well as the disadvantaged.
He went on to say that, tribalism and ethnic politics had no place whatsoever in his thinking as well as vocabulary. During our tete-a-tete, Sam told me how he had worked with Nnamdi Azikwei of Eastern Nigeria in his early days as a journalist. He also worked closely with I.T.A. Wallace Johnson who set up and nourished the West African Youth League during the Africa Independence struggles.
Before the A.P.C came to power under Siaka Stevens, Wallace died in Ghana by road accident. The same time saw the sudden death of P.C. Tamba Mmbriwa whose effort was able to galvanize the Kono people and merged them with Siaka Stevens APC party.
To clinch the historic 1967 general elections that brought the APC to power, Sam Metzger was like a ‘Daniel’ who was not afraid to speak the truth when it mattered most. In those difficult days of the struggles of the APC, he dared to be a Daniel standing alone. He dared to make his purpose firm and dared to make it known. Yes, Sam convinced me that indeed the pen is always mightier than the sword.
When coups were hatched by enemies of the APC, Sam was bold to meet with party leaders at King Harman Road for consultation with the party leaders. He requested that party members should give him strength and words of encouragement to stay the course in the service of the nation. Indeed, the late man committed faithfully.
Alas! We shall surely miss him but, his memory will linger in our minds forever. We believe that the Fourth Estate has grown up to maturity because of Sam Metzger. On behalf of the old guard of the party, the comrades of the Diaspora in the United Kingdom, the United States, I and my entire family both at home and abroad, we send our heartfelt sympathy to the All Peoples Congress, the Sierra Leone Association of Journalists (SLAJ) and to the bereaved family. Sam, you have not labored in vain. May your soul rest in perfect peace and may light perpetual shine upon you.