APRIL 28, 2015
Considering all the hype and hoopla in the social media , the so-called “Concerned” Sierra Leoneans yesterday pulled a very poor crowd and failed to light up the Dag Hammarskjold Plaza at the UN with their demonstration, as they had planned.
For the past two months, the opposition Sierra Leone People’s Party ( SLPP ) -studded organization, also made up of relatives , associates and hangers-on of the former Vice-President, Alhaji Sam Sumana, had been making a big noise about this demonstration , planned to coincide with the 54th Independence Anniversary of the country.
THIS WAS THE LITTLE CROWD THAT TURNED UP TO DEMONSTRATE AT THE UN
Organizers of different shapes and sizes, led by dissident elements Mustapha Wai, Jesmed Suma, Francis Mattia and Dr. Fuambai Sia Ahmadu , came on Facebook , Whatsapp and online forums to yap that they will embarrass President Ernest Bai Koroma and the ruling All People’s Congress ( APC ) with what they described as a “massive demonstration” that they bragged would draw thousands of Sierra Leoneans from all parts of the Continental United States. There was even talk of buses having been hired to bring in demonstrators from all over the U.S.
The group said they were protesting the dismissal of former Vice-President Samuel Sam Sumana , but recent events had proved that they were mere supporters of the opposition SLPP (who had hijacked the Sumana issue to promote their own power-conscious ends) and relatives and acolytes of Mr. Sumana .
Then came the day, April 27, 2015. Everybody looked forward to a grand and fiery demonstration. The day instead witnessed one of the most poorly-attended demonstrations ever at the Hammarskjold Plaza. The so-called massive demonstration that the group had bragged about turned out to be nothing more than a gathering of a motely crowd of fewer than 30 people, with a bullhorn and a musical set booming Sierra Leonean music and a few dozen people that danced around the plaza with placards , accompanied by their characteristic noise. As they carried out their poor show, passers-by and traffic could be seen going by, paying no heed to them.
Usually, when there are huge and successful demonstrations at the UN of the scale planned by the SLPP , diplomats and UN workers and personnel and foreign journalists are easily attracted and they stand around to view the demonstration and listen to speeches made by spokespeople of the rallies. This demonstration, with its scanty participants , went unnoticed, like the other two demonstrations they held at the White House park and the World Bank. They had fooled the public that they pulled a sizable crowd at the White House, but what in fact they had done on that instance was that they mixed themselves with another different crowd of demonstrators from the Gambia , which swelled their numbers.
One reason that the demonstration failed to hit appreciable heights was that within Sierra Leoneans themselves, the group had failed to convince many people that they were fighting a national cause and that they had an agenda larger than the blind ambition for power of the opposition SLPP. Secondly, the SLPP had gone and shot itself in the foot last week by doing the same thing for which they are protesting against the APC–They fired one of their top-ranking presidential aspirants , Ambassador Allie Essah Bangura , in what Sierra Leoneans perceived as tribalism and disrespect for the due process of the law .This also quickly drew accusations from Sierra Leoneans that the SLPP were full of hypocrisy and double standards and their demonstration should not be taken seriously.
The Spokesman of the so-called Concerned Sierra Leoneans group, Mr. Alpha Saidu Bangura, who had become noted for his advocacy on behalf of the group, was the first to withdraw, accusing the group of hypocrisy and calling for a boycott of the demonstration . Mr. Bangura , in audios released on the social media, said his conscience could not permit him to continue to participate in demonstrations against the APC for Sam Sumana’s dismissal when the SLPP was guilty of doing the same. His views definitely resonated with other Sierra Leoneans who already had their doubts about the group and so their demonstration at the UN flopped .
It is not known what the group planned next, but their series of failed demonstrations had failed to yield any dividend. On the day they demonstrated at the World Bank, the international financial institution approved millions of dollars for Sierra Leone to help finish off her Ebola fight. The group had advocated that ebola funds to Sierra Leone be cut.
Pro- President Ernest Koroma supporters and Sierra Leoneans who are propagating the ideals of good governance , peace and the Rule of Law in Sierra Leone, will be staging their own demonstration at the same sight tomorrow. They will be demonstrating to prove to the world that the self-styled Concerned Sierra Leoneans did not represent the views of the generality of citizens of Sierra Leone.