Is Yenga really free from illegal Guinean control?

Dr. Sama Banya

20 August 2012

The editor of the Independent Observer quite rightly echoes the sentiments of veteran journalist Clarence Roy-Macaulay, over the Yenga issue.

Their concern is understandable, considering the hypocritical jubilation by the APC operatives and the likes of Sahr Mokuwa and Balogun Koroma that the APC has liberated Yenga.

Just last week, the Awareness Times newspaper carried a front page headline, quoting the APC election manager – Balogun Koroma, in which he listed the achievements of this government.

Yenga was included in that list, as well as another of those boastful statements that the man knew was false and only meant to deceive the public – to wit; that the APC had brought back the railway.

I could understand such a claim coming from one of our ignorant and illiterate brothers. But when it comes from the election campaign manager of the ruling party, I can’t help but describe it as moral dishonesty.

Even allowing for the propaganda excesses of the APC, how could anyone deliberately deceive their own people by referring to the rehabilitation and construction of an additional rail line by the mining giant – African Minerals Ltd., purely and exclusively for the transportation of its iron ore, as an act of bringing back the railway?

Perhaps Logus is referring to the old passenger and goods government railway, which in its last days enriched certain Sierra Leoneans, at the expense of the poor majority and, which the APC finally scrapped and sold to Jamil Sahid Mohamed.

Logus, please show some respect for the intelligence of ordinary Sierra Leoneans and avoid telling such fibs in order to catch votes. Everyone knows that your reference to Yenga or the railway is more than a false claim. In fact it is a blatant LIE.

Now back to the Yenga issue itself. This government had refused to acknowledge the intransigence of the Guinean authorities over Yenga, even though at the highest level, that country knows that its claim has no justification.

During his Presidency, his Excellency Tejan-Kabbah had Yenga as a top priority of his foreign policy, and had it on the agenda of every Mano River Union summit.

It is the Guinean military which had dug its heels over Yenga and the head of state at the time – Lansana Conteh was a military man.

Politics aside, we had all hoped that with a civilian administration in Conakry, Guinea’s withdrawal from Yenga was only a matter of time and a limited one at that. To our utter disappointment things have not worked out that way.

However, Yenga lies in a constituency in the Kailahun district, where the APC would give anything to gain a foothold.

To achieve this, and as has been demonstrated by the communiqué on Yenga, which was issued in Freetown a few weeks ago, the APC has not hesitated to deceive the people of Sierra Leone and of Yenga in particular, that at last Guinea was about to quit the area and hand it back to Sierra Leone.

Thus, this regime whose primary interest is to regain power has participated in the treacherous act of deceit against the poor people. It is therefore right for local journalists, including Roy-Macaulay and Jonathan Leigh to ask the government for clarification of the issue.

Anyone who reads and re-reads that gabbled government communiqué can come to only one conclusion; that it is a typical example of meaningless ‘double speak’.

Like I said previously, more than half of the length of the statement is taken up by a long but meaningless preamble.

At the end of which, we are told that yes, Yenga would be demilitarized and all military personnel would be withdrawn with immediate effect.

Although Yenga had been UNILARERALLY OCCUPIED by Guinea, the APC government has been too timid to tell them – like Stevens told Doe; “you unilaterally occupied our territory and therefore you should UNILATERALLY withdraw your forces, which are the only military presence there.

We have nothing to withdraw, and herein lies the deceitful part of the exercise. After the so called withdrawal, a bilateral commission would then begin the work of demarcating the boundary, a task that had been accomplished many years back.

Why fool the people?

If it is not open deception, then let the minister of foreign affairs expand on the words of the joint communiqué, which he read and signed.

But we would still continue to be no wiser over the status of Yenga.

It is not the lie that passes through the mind of these people that is dishonest, but the lie that SINKS IN and settles in, that does the damage.

Oh for the Bob Marley lyrics: “BE HONEST WITH YOURSELF!” And the answer to all this is to vote them out in November.


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