Charles Margai did not know he was talking with Cocorioko Editor

Tuesday April 11, 2006

People’s Movement For Democratic Change  ( PMDC ) leader , Charles Margai, has told officials of the party that he did not know that he was talking to the Editor-In-Chief of  COCORIOKO  on Sunday night when he overeacted to questions about a newspaper report that he handed contracts to his “wives , family and proxies” while he was Minister of Internal Affairs. “He did  not even know that he was talking to a journalist” , concerned officials informed this newspaper yesterday. 

Margai , questioned on the contracts  by the COCORIOKO Editor , who introduced himself but could not tell whether Margai heard him well, lost his temper and brawled : “My friend, I don’t have time for this kind of nonsense ” and hung up.

Top PMDC  officials Dr. Sorie Kamara , Agnes Kumba Macauley , Karamoh Kabba and Abdul Daboh all contacted Editor , Rev. Wilfred Leeroy Kabs-Kanu on reading about the incident , to inform him that Mr. Margai had received lots of calls, “some of them nuisance calls” (According to Kabba ) , after the unfortunate newspaper report about contracts alleged to have been awarded by their leader when he was Interior Minister .  Officials also complained that Margai had also received heckling calls from political opponents determined to dampen his mood before today’s great event when the PMDC  will receive their final resgistration .

The officials asked the Editor to picture the situation in Sierra Leone presently where certain politicians were doing everything to harass and trouble Mr. Margai. They said that , under such circumstances , it was possible for Margai to react the way he did, thinking that the caller was a heckler.

Some of the  PMDC  officials praised Mr. Margai that he loved to talk to the press and had always been courteous to journalists and there was no reason for him to behave with hostility to COCORIOKO  especially, which is considered  one of the best non-partisan and objective Sierra Leone newspapers. 

“I told Mr. Margai about  the the efforts being made by COCORIOKO  to provide reliable information to readers in the diaspora, and he assured me that he never knew he was even talking to a journalist “, said Karamoh Kabba. “He was stressed , my brother , and  thought he was responding to somebody just trying to create mischief. “

Rev. Kabs-Kanu said he was highly impressed by the attitudes of the officials and it showed that they were determined to make their party a model of democracy in Sierra Leone .”That you all have shown such concern is a manifestation of your commitment to Freedom of the Press .The matter is finished and we will continue to cover the activities of the PMDC  as we have been doing to the SLPP  and APC. “, the Editor assured the officials.

Rev. Kabs-Kanu told Kabba that he did not want any preferential treatment from people but his concern was that pressmen be  treated with respect , especially when they spend their own money to call politicians to interview them for articles that turn out to benefit the politicians .The Editor also assured Kabbah that the incident did not stop him from publishing the rather positive report sent by Reporter , Chernor Ojuku Sesay , about how the public denounced the allegations against Margai. 

 ” These things do happen  . Misunderstandings will always come. They are part of life , and you have done a reat job to diffuse this one “. the Editor added.

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