|Why all the fuss over F.M. Minah ?|
|Written by Sekou Dauda Bangura|
|Sunday, 10 February 2008|
During his heydays, he was arguably the most powerful south-easterner. He was second vice president and acted as first vice president on numerous occasions. He came very close to becoming president, but his insatiable thirst for power destroyed him in the end just like the Cockroach that craves for palm-oil and decides to go into the palm-oil bottle, only to seal its own fate.
Francis Misech Minah, like many other prominent south-easterners, was SLPP to the core before he joined the APC under Siaka Stevens’ one-party regime. Aside from being one of Stevens most trusted lieutenant, Minah was related to the late founder and leader of the APC, Siaka Stevens, maternally. Siaka Stevens mother was from Pujehun. With the blessing of Siaka Stevens, Minah became a political force to reckon with not only in the south-east but in the whole country. Political sources even have it that it was Minah that Stevens wanted as a successor. The fear of a strong opposition from northerners made him to handpick Momoh, who according to Stevens’ plan, will handover power to Minah.
Constitutionally, the first vice-president Sorie Ibrahim Koroma should succeed as president when the president passes away or when he becomes incapacitated. Since Stevens was not comfortable with S I becoming his successor, he decided to amend the constitution. Minah was the brain behind the constitutional amendment to politically marginalize and sideline the man who was pivotal to the longevity of the APC. S. I. Koroma fought back tears in parliament when Minah took center-stage to tamper with the constitution to make way for Momoh.
Alhaji Musa Kabia, a northerner and a political opportunist, tabled the motion for amendment. As a pay-off for betraying his own northern brother, he was catapulted from ordinary MP to Deputy Minister of Finance. For objecting to the constitutional amendment, Abdulai Conteh was stripped of his ministerial position; A. B. Kamara and Abass Bundu were demoted for expressing concern over the move to water-down the position of first vice president.
Considering his loyalty to Siaka Stevens and the role he played in ensuring the survival of the party, S. I. was taken aback by the unfolding political saga. He was virtually placed under house arrest following his return from the OAU conference in Addis Ababa. Not happy with the way he was treated, S. I. Koroma reminded both Minah and Musa Kabia, that “those who take delight in working for the devil fan the embers of self-destruction.”
Indeed, Minah and Musa Kabia dug their own graves by seeking to destroy S.I. Koroma. While Minah’s life ended in the gallows, Musa Kabia was publicly lynched by SLPP fanatics; he was burnt to death in the wake of the restoration of Tejan Kabba for collaborating with the RUF/AFRC junta.
It was Francis Misech Minah who supported Demby against political maverick Mana Kpaka. In the aftermath of the election – way back in the early 80s – in which Demby emerged as the winner – a pogrom was carried out against supporters of Mana Kpaka. Many were harassed, molested, humiliated, brutalized and even killed.
A young and promising high school teacher, Mustapha Kemokai, had hinted at running against the veteran politician Mana Kpaka. Realizing that he did not have the money and connection to get the APC symbol, he decided to give his support to Demby, who did not only have more money to throw around, but also the full political backing of Minah.
When supporters of Demby embarked on a crusade against supporters and sympathizers of Mana Kpaka, Kemokai vehemently objected, pointing out that “there is no need to harass, humiliate and brutalize our own people.” Demby and Minah, did not like the way Kemokai reacted; they were afraid that he would become a key witness in the election petition mounted by Mana Kpaka. They saw Kemokai not only as an impediment to their political dream, but a serious political threat that should be eliminated
And so, on the orders of Minah, Mustapha Kemokai was attacked in broad-day light. Even the police officers, supposed to protect lives and properties of citizens, could not save Kemokai from the ire of Minah. Political thugs and hirelings of Minah and Demby chased Kemokai to the police station where he ran for refuge. He was dragged out of the police station, mercilessly beaten until he urinated and defecated. He was then crucified; nails were drilled into his head until he died. What a monstrous way of getting rid of a perceived political opponent!
In the wake of the brutal killing of Kemokai that sent shockwaves throughout the country, the press descended on Minah. All accusing fingers were pointed at Minah for the killing of Mustapha Kemokai. Siaka Stevens did not like the way the press reacted. He was so enraged that he went over the national radio, chastising the press for what he described as “the acme of irresponsibility.” To insulate Minah from any murder charge and to make sure that the petition against Demby is thrown out of court, Stevens appointed Minah as Attorney General and Minister of Justice.
The victims of Mina and Demby came to realize that they cannot seek justice. Fighting against Demby in a court of law was like throwing a pebble against a granite mountain. This explains why they went into the bush and started the infamous Ndorgbowusu that claimed the lives of many in Pujehun. Whole towns and villages were burnt and destroyed; many people maimed and killed – all because of Minah.
Little wonder that Minah came to be hated by many south-easterners. He was seen as the one who brought misery, horror and all the diabolical atrocities in Pujehun because of his greed for power. Many hated him so much that they prayed for his down fall. He reahed his Waterloo when he decided to wish for that which was not meant for him – the position of President of Sierra Leone. Minah was implicated in a coup plot to overthrow the Government of Joseph Saidu Momoh. Like others who had been found guilty of planning and endeavoring to overthrow the Government of Sierra Leone, the penalty was death; the ultimate penalty for all the havoc he wreaked on Pujehun; for the heinous crimes he committed against innocent people; for the gruesome death of Mustapha Kemokai!
|Last Updated ( Tuesday, 12 February 2008 )|