By Mohamed Sankoh (One Drop)
Those SLPPers who fought very hard to bring back the Sierra Leone People’s Party (SLPP) to political power but still didn’t make it in the final list of appointees to Sierra Leone’s diplomatic missions are those I will now One Drop-nize as the SLPP’s ‘Monkeyers’. And those who have been appointed either because they are Mendes or belong to the “cabal” from Britain, but were passive players or nonchalant supporters of that tribalised party, are those I will now refer to as the SLPP’s ‘Babooners’.
And President Julius Maada Bio’s appointments, so far, have not only operationalize the Krio adage of “Monkey Wok; Babu Eat” but are showing that some SLPPers were only useful during the campaign periods but useless after the elections. I could still recall how some of my journalist colleagues were breast-beating themselves that after their SLPP would have won the 2018 Presidential Election, they would be the SLPP’s would-be Information and Communications Minister or Deputy. But today, they are still hoping to be just Press Attachés! And their would-be political appointments are still just a matter of May Be.
But what concerns a vulture with an Afro comb? What concerns Mohamed ‘One Drop’ Sankoh with SLPP’s business? Nothing! I’m not gloating over some of my colleague journalists’ trepidations of being totally left out of the final list of presidential appointees. It just that it beats my imagination why should Mohamed Rado Swaray, who has never been a practising journalist in his entire fortysomething-years on earth, not even in his dream or the figment of his imagination being a quack journalist, be appointed Minister of Information and Communications but those trained and qualified SLPP-leaning journalists left out in the cold? Again, why should Solomon Jamiru a practising lawyer, who has never been even a quack contributor to the “Buffalo Press” at Fourah Bay College (FBC), be appointed Deputy Minister of Information and Communications but those accomplished SLPP-leaning journalists considered not fit for purpose?
Or is President Maada Bio trying to copycat the erstwhile APC government by creating his own “Mohamed Bangura” at the Information and Communications Ministry? I know of five young SLPP-leaning journalists who could have done, and still could have been doing, much better than Mohamed Rado Swaray and Solomon Jamiru in that Ministry. Yet, they are still waiting for the lowly Press Attaché appointments! Even some of those who are still wet behind the ears could do better than the duo now running that Ministry. I don’t want to name names. But had it been the All People’s Congress (APC), some of those SLPP-leaning journalists would have been given the option of choosing the Ministry they want to head, considering the role they played to bring back the SLPP to power.
Even Yusuf Keketoma Sandi, who has never darkened any school of journalism or has never practised journalism in his entire thirty-six years on earth, is the current Press Secretary to the President. It is common knowledge that sober-minded governments, the world over, select Minister and Deputy Minister of Information and Communications or Presidential Press Secretary from the reservoir of their journalistic friends. I need not elaborate how effective former British Prime Minister Tony Blair’s Director of Communications, Alistair Campbell, was. Mr Campbell was a practising journalist of repute, which was why he was able to meander his way with ease in the labyrinth of Political Communication.
But the Bio-administration seems to be developing the knack of giving a welder’s job to a carpenter (hope you get my metaphor here). That is why the entire media apparatus of the SLPP government is, at present, shambolic. The State House Communications Unit appears to be an oasis of silly mistakes with their Press Releases and Statements being specimens of how not to write them. And whenever the current Minister of Information and Communications speaks, one hears the APC’s Mohamed Bangura’s speaking-before-thinking echoes.
But that is the “New [or should I say: Wrong] Direction” for you! Nothing surprises me anymore of the SLPP’s New Direction of President Julius Maada Bio. If Dr Prince Harding, the current Leader and Chairman of the SLPP, could be subtly insulted by making him to be taking instructions from the Minister of Information and Communications as NATCOM (National Telecommunications Commission) chairman; then Fatmata Sawaneh, the SLPP’s Women’s Leader, should accept her lot that she was one of those that were used as tools for the advancement of others.
Several of the appointments of some SLPP top goons were afterthoughts. It is now being alleged that some of those who finally made it into the list of appointees to the country’s foreign missions had to beg; some allegedly issued clouded threats, and some even behaved like newly-minted orphans before they were reluctantly considered like Oliver Twist after asking for more.
But History, the world over, has repeatedly proven that those who always start struggles—be they political or otherwise—are not always reapers of those struggles. Most of those who were in the trenches, so to speak (sorry, write) to aid their SLPP to regain political power are now begging for jobs as the Sierra Leone People’s Party seems to have been hijacked by a powerful “cabal” from Britain. But that is the “new normal” (to borrow the phraseology of the American media) of the Bio-administration: Regarding “the trenchers” only as useful tools during campaigning periods but deadwood now that the SLPP has attained political power!
And it is on that note that I will end today’s One Dropian dropping with a quote from George Barnard Shaw’s “Caesar and Cleopatra” that, “He who has never hoped can never despair”. But even in their current despairs, some of my journalist colleagues are still hopeful that the promised appointment will soon be a fait accompli. But for now, they are the Monkeyers waiting to be transformed to the Babooners.