An open letter to President Ernest Bai Koroma

Dr. Sama Banya

15 September 2012

Your Excellency, the Thursday, 13 September, 2012, front page of the Awareness times newspaper carried a report of an interview, which its publisher – Sylvia Olayinka Blyden, said you granted her, following the decision at State House on Thursday to return to the 2007 nomination fees for Presidential, Parliamentary and other public elections.

She quoted you as saying the following, among other things: “They know they are going to lose the election and want to escape from the kind of defeat they have seen looming at them. We will do all we can to ensure all parties contest these elections.”

Did your Excellency utter those actual words? If you did and because I am not a journalist, I will ask a few questions openly here, instead of requesting an interview.

Mr. President, if you are that sure of your victory at the November polls; if you foresee defeat looming at the opposition parties, then why do you and your party continue to contrive to win in every way except transparently and freely through the ballot box?

You go around the city throwing money here and there at impoverished car washers, okada riders – who are barely surviving in your harsh economic environment.

You do the same to the Sweisy and Belgium traders in the centre of Freetown, whose business could best be described as ‘hand-to-mot’. Is that your Excellency’s way of developing their potential for sustainable existence, by making them pick up the crumbs from your affluent life style?

Is it an act of Islamic piety that according to your very loyal Vice president, who has yet to wriggle his way out of the various corruption scandals, that you would be personally sponsoring 169 Imams to Mecca this year?

Out of your Islamic conviction, you a practicing Christian and the son of a former Lay Preacher are also reported to be providing the sacrificial lamb for every Pilgrim performing the Haj in Mecca; is there any political quid pro quo?

With the kind of confidence with which you boast in the interview with Sylvia Blyden, why did your Excellency have to collude with Christiana Thorpe and NEC to hike the nomination fees to such astronomical height, even though you knew or ought to have known that your proposals were in breach of a very serious ECOWAS protocol?

And why did your Excellency advise your Parliamentarians to move a motion to adopt the wicked proposals without debate?

Did it not occur to you that by that action alone of scuttling debate, both you and the NEC were going to eliminate a big chunk of the citizenry from participating in the democratic process?

Your bought-over journalists, praise singers and other sycophants would soon begin gloating that the decision to revert to the 2007 nomination fees, was one of your acts of goodwill consideration for your people.

The truth is that your hands were forced by the combined resistance of the opposition parties, with the exception of your APC satellite – the UDM of Mohamed Bangura and the pressure on you from the international community, especially ECOWAS.

If the proposals originally came from NEC alone and you turned them down outright, I would have done an about-face turn, by urging all to allow you a second term by what would have been a statesmanlike stand.

More anon – your Excellency.


A Letter to Philip Neville – Editor of the Standard Times

Dear Philip,

Sorie Fofana of the Global Times newspaper has dealt very effectively with your continued diatribe against former President Ahmad Tejan-Kabbah, who stands head and shoulders above you.

There is a profound and an almost irreversible lack of professional ethics and moral integrity in you.

Should you not be ashamed that Sanpha Koroma who is a professional banker has to draw your attention and limited knowledge to real professionalism in journalism, with his near use of Rudyard Kipling’s – “IF YOU”?

Was it Tejan-Kabbah who made the damaging allegations against Sanpha Koroma?

And when after three years and an unnecessary interference into the man’s private life the ACC and DfID came out with nothing and Tejan-Kabbah as head of state and government PUBLICLY apologized to Sanpha, should his statesmanship not have been acknowledged even by you?

Instead of which, you have attempted to vilify him for it. How did you react when the IMC found you wanting in your libel with forged documents against the leadership of the opposition SLPP; fined you and ordered you to apologize?

What did you do then, and since when it was generally acknowledged that the former President handed over the entire stock of Libya rice to Parliament for equitable distribution?

More especially that the then opposition leader in Parliament, now head of state, played centre stage in the arrangements for the disposal of the rice; and of equal importance that he presided over the technical arrangements for former President Tejan-Kabbah’s brainchild NASSIT?

None of these things matter to you, except to bring down a man with whom you can never be favourably compared.

You take delight in destroying the character of people whose contribution to the development of this society has been immense.

Without any remorse, you impose the head of Sylvia Blyden on the naked body of an unknown woman and published the doctored photograph of the naked woman leering at rebel leader Foday Sankoh, and you call it journalism; and the chairman of the board of your star radio, who was chairman of the complaints’ committee of the IMC at the time – Christo Johnson saw nothing wrong with that.

Out of spite and malice, you published in your standard times scandal sheet that Babatunde Blyden IS NOT THE BIOLOGICAL FATHER of Sylvia Blyden.

In your wicked and crooked way, you actually called an imaginary name as the woman’s father. Do you lack a conscience, which ought to tell you that apart from the vulgarity, that your behaviour is immoral?

And yet, at some stage you vied for the honorary Presidency of the journalists’ organization SLAJ. What a disaster to the organization that would have been if you had succeeded.

Let me conclude this piece by again drawing your attention to paragraphs 4, 5 and 6 of Sanpha Koroma’s letter to you and to his final shot at you in the last sentence of that letter.

Bravo to the publisher and editor in chief of the Independent Observer newspaper, who without uttering a sound, says to the publisher of the Awareness Times newspaper: ‘ANYTHING YOU CAN DO, I CAN DO BETTER!”

Annie get your Gun!!



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