When crusading journalists are themselves guilty of the crimes they condemn others for : The saga of Victor Sylver

Dear readers ,

Whenever I  find people  desperate to tarnish the good names of dignitaries, and I   investigate whether they are living up to the standards to which they are holding up  dignitaries and you discover that they are not , it is very disappointing. There is nothing wrong with journalists uncovering misfeasance and malfeasance in government. After all, government officials are not supposed to be engaged in corruption. But when the journalists who bring these government officials to account are themselves criminals  one is left wondering who to trust–These criminal journalists or the politicians.


The  journalist I want to  question here  is one of President Ernest Koroma’s critics on the internet.  He pretends to be an exponent of corruption or human rights violations, but a close look at his articles shows that he always has somebody he focuses all his attacks on. . Every article even when attacking government ultimately ends in a bashing orgy on one of these men.  Read Victor Sylver’s articles  and see whether what I am saying is not true.It is always gossip about one journalist or the other.  It was this that attracted me to him. I became interested in knowing who this man was whose journalism is devoted only to harassment of fellow journalists. I wanted to know what makes him what he is . That was when the facts about Victor Sylver started coming out.

Those who do not know him well will think he is a serious journalist when they consider that he was  a one-time producer at the then Sierra Leone Broadcasting Service (SLBS) , and  is used as a stringer once in a while by the BBC , though among Sierra Leoneans in London know him to be a   bus driver. I am in no way teasing him for doing a menial job because I believe in the dignity of labour. What I cannot stomach however are people who are guilty of the very things they criticise.

Victor Sylver has gone wild on the internet since the Sorious Samura documentary that exposed illegal dealings with the banned timber trade in Sierra Leone. His paws are all over the internet, with over a dozen monikers in anti-government forums and in his blog, defaming President Koroma and the government for corruption. But then this is the  same fellow who  was fired from his job by the bus company because of theft . He used to convert passengers fares to his own use. A hidden camera, I learnt the last time I was in London,  found out that he was  doing more than driving the bus. He was lining his pockets with fares being paid by the passengers.  He was stealing the bus company’s money to help feed his excessive boozing and diamba-smoking habits. Readers, how do we reconcile such a journalist’s fervour with condemning corruption and this fact of he  himself  being a thief   ?

Victor Sylver also writes interesting articles in which he condemns human rights abuses and seems to be advocating women’s rights. I myself used to admire him for these articles until I came to know that apart from being a thief, Victor Sylver  is also a human rights abuser. I was very disappointed the day I was given the heads-up on the nasty beating  Victor Sylver is giving to his wife. I could not reconcile myself to understand how somebody will be so outspoken about human rights abuses and women’s rights and he himself is so mean and abusive to his own wife and children. Readers would think I am trying to interfere in Mr. Sylver’s private life or what he has left of his marriage to a respectable woman from a very respectable family who does not deserve the merciless maltreatment she is enduring from her monster-husband.  However, where human rights , especially of women and vulnerable members of society are concerned, it is everybody’s business. There is no privacy with human rights abuses and wife-beating. We Sierra Leoneans know how much our communities have been shocked whenever a fellow Sierra Leonean  killed his wife. We had felt very guilty and we had wondered whether we could have done something to prevent the calamity. Well, it is our culture of silence that is responsible at times for these disasters. When we see an abusive husband mistreating his wife and we do not speak out and tomorrow we learn that he has killed his wife, we are bound to experience the guilt we often feel.

But back to the topic. Sierra Leone will not be a better place ever if the journalists who condemn evil are themselves guilty of these evils.

Solomon Sesay .

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