Sierra Leone Telegraph: 6 July 2012
The mother of the president of Sierra Leone – Mrs. Alice Koroma, sadly passed away last night, in her northern home town of Makeni. She was 80 years old and there have been no reports of any long illness.
But there are unconfirmed reports that Mrs. Alice Koroma died peacefully at home, after suffering a heart attack.
Mrs. Alice Koroma was heard on the BBC World Service in 2009, telling a reporter in an interview of her dedicated support for her son, in his capacity as president of Sierra Leone.
She spoke of the advice that she regularly gave to the president on matters of state.
Observers say that she will be very much missed by her family, especially the president who according to her BBC interview – consulted her on important and difficult issues.
With general and presidential elections taking place in November, this sad loss will come as a major blow to the president’s campaign programme. Mrs. Alice Koroma was a highly popular resident of Makeni and a staunch member of the ruling APC party.
But analysts say that her passing may well help to galvanise support for the president in the Northern constituencies, where the party is expecting to do well at the polls.
Condolences from across the political divide have been sent to the president and members of the Koroma family.
Dr. Sama Banya – the opposition SLPP’s veteran politician, recalls his fondest memories of Mrs. Alice Koroma. This is what he says:
Thinking that I was still out there on my morning walk, my nephew – Kai, sent me an SMS message: “Your nephew’s mother Madam Alice has passed away in Makeni. It is said that she went home after collecting her voter card and then passed away.”
As a medical doctor and not having heard of a previous illness, the only conclusion that I came to was that she had had a ‘heart attack’.
I felt sad over the news, because although I hadn’t seen her for many years – that is even before her son became President of Sierra Leone, I could always imagine how proud she must be to have found herself in such an enviable position – the mother of the President of Sierra Leone.
When I first knew Alice Koroma, in the mid 1960s, she was the charming wife of the headmaster of a Primary school in Makeni, and at the same time the Chairman of Makeni Town Council, now Makeni City, where I had been transferred.
Her quiet spoken husband and I soon developed a close relationship, as the medical officer in charge of the Makeni government hospital.
By virtue of my official position, I became an ex-officio member of the council and of its health committee.
Apart from being the ‘first lady’ of the town, the late Mrs. Koroma was also a very regular church goer and one of the ladies who formed the backbone of the Rogbane Road Wesleyan church in Makeni, where her husband was a Lay Preacher.
In those days, there were a number of other women who were quite active in the church, and I often stayed behind for a few minutes after Sunday service to exchange banters with them.
I recall a particularly hilarious story of a new arrival in the township, who did not understand the Temne language; the poor man had visited a house at night and in response to his knock at the door, someone inside asked “KENEH WINIE?” meaning “who is it?”
The poor man, thinking he was being addressed by another name, replied in krio, “ii nor be kene wini; ii be porson.” (This is not Kenewini, this is somebody).
From that time to this day every one of those friendly women and I addressed each other as Kene wini.
A number of them have reportedly since passed away, and now Alice has gone to join them and her husband Sylvanus.
I have referred to the late woman as a charming hostess and so it was.
Every so often when I dropped by for a brief visit to late Sylvanus and his wife, even before taking a seat, Alice would ask one of the young Koroma boys to run down to mammy K’s (late Mammy Kiester) to get me a soft drink.
This must be a sad loss to him and to the entire family, a sadness shared by all who knew Alice and her late husband Sylvanus.
To Ernest, Admire and the entire Sylvanus Koroma family, I offer my deep condolences and pray that God would grant her eternal rest, and that “Light Perpetual would Shine on her.
May her Soul Rest in Perfect peace.