Sierra Leone Telegraph: 7 February 2016
Yesterday Saturday, 6th February, 2016 was a special day in the south-eastern Borough of Southwark in London, where members of the Friends of Alie Kabba Campaign Group – UK & Ireland, gathered for a town hall meeting.
It was a political meeting like no other, with almost every seat set aside to accommodate those attending the meeting filled, and speaker after speaker extolling what they described as “the unquestionable leadership qualities of Alie Kabba”.
Dr. Alie Kabba – now regarded as the most vocal opposition presidential aspirant, has not only proven to be more than a handful to the ruling APC party in Sierra Leone, but has in the last couple of months won the hearts and minds of a large number of Sierra Leoneans that are hungry and desperate for political change in the country.
Since arriving in Sierra Leone from the USA on 16 December 2015 – about two months ago, Alie Kabba has become the de-facto spokesman for the opposition, constantly and persistently holding the hands of the Koroma government to the fire, demanding accountability, transparency, probity, justice and civil liberty.
And those attending Saturday’s meeting in south London, where in no doubt that their leader – Alie Kabba has become a national political icon – set to take Sierra Leone by storm at the polls in 2018.
A message that came out loud and clear at the meeting, was that Sierra Leone is a country in distress, with the dream of political change kept alive by the Alie Kabba Movement.
Addressing the Alie Kabba faithful, the Chairman of the UK and Ireland Branch of the Movement – Mr. Ansu Sillah, said that Alie Kabba is leading the campaign for transformational change in Sierra Leone, with courage, determination and conviction.
He told members of the Movement that millions of people across Sierra Leone have been won over by Alie Kabba’s passion, honesty, and fearlessness, despite the ruling party’s attempt to silence him.
The campaign for social justice and economic inclusion he said, will in the coming months be taken forward throughout all the districts of Sierra Leone to bring hope to millions of Sierra Leoneans that are feeling excluded and betrayed by a government that promised so much and yet delivered very little.
Mr. Ansu Sillah spoke about the divisions and infighting within the opposition SLPP that is threatening to derail the party’s chances at the polls in 2018.
He appealed to all the aspiring presidential candidates, the national council executives, and the rank and file members to show greater tolerance and respect for diversity in the party.
He pointed out that without unity in the SLPP, the party will stand very little chance of defeating the ruling APC in 2018.
The SLPP he said, must adopt the Alie Kabba philosophy of ensuring that: “Everyone is kept in, no one is left out; everyone is pulled up and no one is pushed down,” to the loud applause of the crowd.
Also on the podium was the Women’s Leader of the Group and Global Fundraising Coordinator – Mrs. Sia Evelyn Nyandemo. She spoke with passion and determination, about the need to see that women in Sierra Leone are given their equal and rightful place in a society that has for far too long, discriminated against them. (Photo: Some of the members of the Friends of Alie kabba Movement).
She called on the women to unite in support of Alie Kabba and the campaign for transformational change in Sierra Leone.
Mrs. Nyandemo (Photo) also spoke of a future when women will not only play a greater role in the running of Sierra Leone, but of a female president leading the government, because of their capabilities and strengths.
The chairman – Mr. Ansu Sillah, said that plans for a large demonstration in the streets of London by members of the group are quite advanced, in support of Alie Kabba’s fight against injustice in Sierra Leone.
Speaking to the editor of the Sierra Leone Telegraph – Mr. Abdul Rashid Thomas, who was present at the meeting to provide media coverage of this important event, chairman Sillah said that his vision for the ‘Friends of Alie Kabba Movement’ is; “to ensure that it gained traction in Sierra Leone. This will be achieved by engaging with communities across the country, irrespective of tribe; engaging demography rather than engaging geography; engaging particularly the youths, whose dynamism will be important for the Alie Kabba campaign.
“We intend to work with the youths all over the districts, villages and towns to clearly put Alie Kabba’s message of transformational change and inclusion across.”
Asked about whether he believes justice will be done in the ongoing Alie Kabba court case brought by the government, Chairman Sillah said: “If we go by the merits and facts of the case, available evidence, and the rule of law in Sierra Leone, I believe that justice will be done and Alie Kabba will be exonerated.
“But given the fact that the charges brought against Alie Kabba are politically motivated and politically driven; the prosecution of the case and the persecution of Alie Kabba, I doubt whether justice will be done.
“But I remain strongly optimistic that the judiciary will wake up and realise the injustice that is being perpetrated, and ensure that the case is heard fairly and brought to a just and quick conclusion. The judiciary in Sierra Leone must realise the importance of resisting political interference and influence, if they are to win the trust of the people, serve the needs of all Sierra Leoneans, rather than the vested interests of the few and powerful.”
The Secretary General of the Group – Mr. Abdulai Braima was clear in his message to members and supporters of the ‘Friends of Alie Kabba’ Movement. He said that: “We, ‘the Friends of Alie Kabba’ are very much determined to walk the entire length of the road, together with like-minded citizens, to a brighter and a far better Sierra Leone, where individual rights are always respected and the collective will carries sway.
“A Sierra Leone where position in governance is not used as a badge for looting, and progress is dictated by merit.
“ A Sierra Leone where education ceases to be an exclusive privilege for the connected few, and health-search is not synonymous with certain death for the impoverished majority.”
Members of the executive of the ‘Friends of Alie Kabba’ who were present at the Town Hall meeting were: Mrs. Sia Evelyn Nyandemo (UK&I Women’s Leader and Global Fundraising Coordinator); Mr. Ansu Sillah (UK&I Chairman); Mr. Francis Kpaka (Social Secretary); Mrs. Georgette Femusu Jonah (Deputy Chairman); Mr. Alex Wuseni (Deputy Social Secretary); Mr. Abdulai Braima (Secretary General); Mr. Peter Kendemah (Financial Secretary); and Mr. Samuel Foyoh (General Coordinator).
There were several others too, including Dingis Nyandemo (Executive Adviser); Shar Changathi (Publicity Secretary); and Isaiah Komba Daniels (Deputy Publicity Secretary).