3 November 2012
Many a time it has been argued that Mendes do not like to venture out and work in many areas in the Northern Province of the country. What most of those who make such assertions fail to research is: why is it that Mendes do not feel comfortable to venture into many areas in the north?
We have many Lokos and Limbas managing large corporations and mining companies in Mende land over the last ten years. A case in point is the current managing director of Sierra Rutile – Mr. John Sesay, a Limba and cousin to the current president Dr. Ernest Koroma.
That cannot be said of the north. In 2005, when the London Mining Company came to Sierra Leone, its General Manager was a Mr. David Keile – a Mende from Bo.
When President Koroma became president in 2007, Newspapers owned by Northern publishers and editors, mounted a series of negative campaigns against Mr. Keili for no just cause, other than the fact that he is a Mende.
The Board members were forced by State House to sack Mr. Keili in 2008, before the company’s mining contract can be approved.
In 2004, when Njala College was relocated to its original campus, Professor Alghali was the Principal. He is an Oku/Mende. When APC came to power in 2007, he was sacked, and Dr. Abu Sesay – a Limba, who was a Lecturer in Botswana, was brought over and made Principal.
That cannot be said of what took place at the Makeni Teachers college, where a Mende – one Mr. Lansana, who was the Acting Principal when the college was displaced with no funds during the war years, was ditched and replaced with a Loko tribesman.
Immediately the government secured funds and the college was returned to Makeni in 2005, Mr. Lansana was sacked from his post.
It was shocking to know that senior citizens of Makeni Town – including the Paramount Chief and the then opposition leader – now President Koroma, actually took part in making representation to the then Minister of Education – Dr. Wurie to sack Mr. Lansana.
A Mr. Kargbo – a Loko tribesman who was a lecturer at FBC was made Principal.
Assistant Inspector General of Police Mr. David Sesay – a Limba aged 67 years, was made AIG South in 2005, while Mr. Sorie B. Kargbo another Limba – aged 63 years, was made AIG East. These two are still occupying those posts.
When the SLPP flag bearer candidate – Maada Bio, went to Bo on his thank- you tour, he was stoned and a fracas resulted in Bo. The Police, under AIG Sesay and CSP Turay – alias ‘Yete Yete’ – another Limba, unleashed terror on the people of Bo.
One innocent Okada rider was shot dead from the back. 26 people sustained gunshot injuries during that incident. A shamble Commission of Inquiry was instigated by the president.
The report of that commission is still gathering dust on the desk of his Excellency at State House. Mr. Sesay and ‘Yete Yete’ remained at their posts and will oversee the elections in the South.
Now consider what happened at Bumbuna few months ago. One innocent woman was killed, and seven people sustained injuries. Another commission of enquiry was formed. The police bosses in Magburaka – CSP Vandi and Superintendent Dassama – both Mendes, were blamed for the rioting at Bumbuna.
They have since been recalled from their posts, awaiting possible prosecution.
Elections are taking place in Sierra Leone on the 17 November, and while President Koroma and the APC are bragging about winning over the Mende Land, which is their right if they can convince the people, President Koroma’s cousin, Reverend Father Turay – a Limba, barricaded the doors to all Catholic properties – including Churches, so that the Bishop elect – Reverend Father Aruna – a Mende, cannot take up his rightful office early this year.
Nothing was done by the police, elders and politicians in Makeni, including the President himself as a show of tolerance and to promote social justice and inclusion.
For the Police boss Mr. Munu, I am sure he knows that it is a crime to prevent or barricade another person from entering or leaving any public place. The catholic premises in Makeni were built from Catholic funds meant for the benefit of ALL of the people of Sierra Leone.
It is a public place and by extension, those barricading it, thus preventing another Sierra Leonean duly authorized to enter it, are committing a crime against the laws of Sierra Leone. But this time when a Mende is the victim, it is a different standard of justice and law enforcement.
What a Statesmanship president Dr. Koroma could have shown, had he acted justly to see that the Bishop take his rightful position in Makeni.
With all these, we await to see, how much more tolerance the Mendes can show, when it is reported that they would reject someone who stands for equality, for another who is so divisive and who has only considered in his last year in governance, that Mendes are part and parcel of Sierra Leone – because elections are at hand, and he needs their votes.
If a government of Sierra Leone cannot utilise all of the best human resources available in the country – irrespective of which region they come from, Sierra Leone will continue to languish at the bottom of the Global Human Development Index.