Sierra Leone Telegraph: 17 April 2018:
A charitable organisation – the JFK Foundation, which was established over five years ago by the former Attorney General of Sierra Leone – Mr Joseph Kamara and his wife Lynette Kamara, to support marginalised and vulnerable groups in Society, today brought smiles to the faces of hundreds of market traders in Freetown.
Mrs. Lynette Kamara – the Co-chairman of the JFK Foundation (Photo), was at Abacha Street where she donated 100 market tables to the Abacha Street traders, who were victims of post-elections violence in Freetown.
“The donation was non-partisan as every identified victim benefited,” says Mr. Joseph Kamara. The event was co-hosted under the auspices of the Traders Council.
Addressing the beneficiaries, Mrs Kamara thanked them for their patience and urged them to continue to be law abiding.
Abdul Wahab Bangura – President of the JFK Foundation, spoke about the vision and activities of the Foundation, which he said is strongly committed to serving the needs of humanity.
Acknowledging thanks and appreciation for the donation, Chairlady Jatou expressed joy and praise for the donation and commended the JFK Foundation for their support at such a difficult moment. It was a joyous occasion for the traders as they sang songs in thanksgiving.
Its not unlawful to sell in the streets, but its because in Africa and in this case Salone when one has a car, he/she is the master/king and has no respect for pedestrians or anything. In civilised societies, every city or town has an area where cars should not enter to allow business to prosper unless the police or emergency vehicles. It’s time for municipalities to start thinking about ordinary people and make some streets vehicle prohibited to give value to human life and relaxation without the fear of being knocked down by a car.
On the aspect of the donation by JFK, I think its the normal politicking in Salone to show to those people that he cares about them for future elections. Very few Sierra Leoneans speak today without a political accent; and as a matter of fact we have lost out natural reasoning capabilities to a greater extent.
I strongly believe that JFK’s donation to the traders is personal, because he can also help other segments of the society that are in dire need. I am not saying he should not help them at all, because they are also victims. But in a country where politics mostly benefits the rulers (families and friends), there are several groups that could be helped on a daily basis.
After the election dust has settled down, it will be very quiet in the next four years without any significant change in the quality of life, and all those people who are engaging in violence will have nothing in the end if no one within the administration knows them.
What is the rule of law? (Chai! una pass mack.) I view this as an attempt to undermine the rule of law in Freetown. One thing I ask of the new government above all else is to restore discipline and the rule of Law in Sierra Leone. Give the poor people better education, health and housing. (Nor support dem for be lawless).
Bo una nor get shame? If you are doing this for future votes, you will be disappointed. Cow way say e day pwell road. Lonta!
While I agree and will appreciate when people sympathizes with others seen to be in distress and lend them support, but this so called gesture by JFK to Abacha Street Market women is nothing commendable. On the contrary, JFK must be condemned totally for encouraging unlawful act or behavior with impunity.
I am honestly disappointed, though not surprised by what JFK has done. I am surprised for one reason that a man of his caliber, a lawyer, a former attorney-General, a former Anti-Corruption Commissioner is seen here donating tables to people who are illegally occupying the streets that is meant for vehicle and people as pedestrians, and not an approved and legally accepted place of market activities.
This Foundation of JFK himself as government minister was established over five years ago in the midst of the existence of Abacha Street Traders of whom 70% are women petty traders, illegally occupying this street. It is a disgrace and hypocrisy on the part of JFK and his Foundation now referring to these market women as being ‘marginalized and vulnerable people in society’, but he JFK did not see anything wrong by these traders illegally occupying this street while his government was in power and had every opportunity to find legal market places and move them there.
What JFK must do is to blame himself personally and his government in particular, for marginalizing and making these Abacha market people vulnerable in society. JFK would not accept this fact, but I must put it to him that his donation to these illegal occupiers in the heart of the city street can only be interpreted in One or two or both ways:
Firstly, it is intended to project bad image of those who he believed (SLPP Supporters) destroyed those tables as ruthless and criminals, who did what they did as a political reprisal.
Secondly, it is intended not actually in sympathy of their situation, but looking for future political support from these illiterate vulnerable groups of people, who only understood vote by Tribe and Region.
To me, this is a complete human right abuse of these illiterate vulnerable traders by (JFK himself a lawyer) and his failed APC government (Now in opposition for life, having been sent in political oblivion for ever) had always engaged, (Brainwashed) using these set of group of people to frown at and reject any good plan by any government (SLPP in particular as a target) that is intended for the benefit of all Sierra Leoneans, regardless but to vote on Tribal and Regional lines only.
This in the first place makes these people vulnerable in society and explains why such illiterate vulnerable people never see and accept any good quality that they see in the SLPP. But always embrace everything be it good or had (which is always on average 90% BAD) governance the APC stands for.
My advise to JFK is to go back to the drawing board or to put it mildly, do some more research on how best and decently you can win over people for your intended political support in the future. But you are wrong in this and absolutely wrong in all of your political plans and activities, having failed as Anti-Corruption Commissioner and as Attorney-General and Minister of Justice in the defunct APC Club.
With most things considered, small business really is big business. Give them the market tables first, then petition Sawyer’s FCC for market space to create mini niche markets. 20 stores in Abacha can provide major space for street traders -say 30 traders per store. Hopefully it will reduce the risks they face. It might even support the ultimate goal of decongesting the central commercial area.
It’s a noble gesture worth commending. Nonetheless, we still need to do more, e.g:
1. Call a round table conference to stop political violence after and during elections.
2. We need new laws and penalties for those who engineer tribalism because tribalism goes hand in hand with violence and we should do something to stop it.
3. Regulate and provide the necessary logistics and infrastructures to facilitate a good functioning petty trading in our country
4. Because of failed governance in the past years, the majority of Sierra Leoneans have been pushed to petty trading. Petty traders in turn hold our streets and road junctions (almost all over the country) to ransom.
The streets and road junctions should not be used as a marketplace. The Petty Traders should not be above the laws of our country. Therefore I say, free our streets and road junctions from petty traders.