Makeni is still traumatised and needs our collective counselling and care – Op-Ed

Dr. Sylvia Olayinka Blyden OOR: Sierra Leone Telegraph: 9 October 2020:

I have nothing but commendation for the manner in which the Sierra Leone Police (SLP) led by Ambrose Sovula and the Anti Corruption Commission led by Francis Ben Kaifala, conducted themselves yesterday October 8th 2020 in Makeni, when the ACC faced a challenge in their bid to interview the amiable former president over allegations of corruption.

I also have nothing but sympathy for those ordinary residents of Makeni who spontaneously and with clearly, no pre-planned organization, decided to drive away the Anti-Riot Police crew back. Ordinary Makeni residents met the police halfway across the road leading to the former president’s compound and drove them away.

I sympathise with Makeni people because they are still traumatized from the killings of their youths few weeks ago; Scenes of anti-riot police brings back bad memories of a massacre that is yet to be conclusively investigated.

Makeni residents are suffering from what we call Post Traumatic Stress Disorder(PTSD) which clearly manifested itself. From all indications, residents of Makeni reacted devoid of any influence of the former president who was unaware of what spontaneously developed.

Tomorrow, Saturday 10th October 2020 is World Mental Health Day. Indeed, a lot of Sierra Leoneans have mental health issues.

Makeni people are traumatized and to quote the Bombali District Human Rights group, “the people of Makeni need counselling and a show of loving care from the rest of Sierra Leone”.

I congratulate the SLP and ACC for recognizing that need for counselling and care. Their decision to withdraw peacefully with no bloodshed was itself a show of care.

I also congratulate our former president for his continued willingness to be interviewed by the ACC; an institution which he himself strengthened for the good of us all.

May Peace and Democracy continue to survive in Sierra Leone. Amen.


  1. What do you mean Dr Blyden that the orchestrated rioters in Makeni had no planned organisation in carrying out their diabolical actions/deeds in denying authorities and law officials to carry out their legal duties as mandated by law and constitution of Sierra Leone. We CAN SEE YOUR PREMEDITATED ACTIONS/deeds BY USING THE YOUTHS IN PARTICULAR IN INCITING MAYHEM/RIOTS leading to catastrophic tendencies in your efforts to tarnish the good image of the current SLPP led administrations to the international community. But God almighty will not allow you – enemies of progress to prevail.

  2. We must remember and understand that Earnest Koroma has been charged with nothing. But he has turned himself into some kind of fugitive, who has managed to imprison himself physically and in terms of his conscience. He cannot leave Makeni and its immediate environs for fear of being intercepted by ACC. This alone amounts to humiliation for someone who just over a couple of years ago held his country on the palm of his hand.

    A request to be questioned by any law enforcement agency is not synonymous with a formal indictment. What is Earnest so afraid of? Is it case of having too many skeletons in the cupboard? Earnest must reconcile with the fact that his behaviour doesn’t lend itself to stability in the country. He has the wherewithal to stop his Makeni people from impeding the ACC from interviewing him. One can only deduce from his behaviour that it is a plan gone badly wrong stemming from his futile effort to get Samura Kamara to succeed him without allowing any democratic process within his APC party. He had taken a page out of Siaka Stevens’ book, vis-a-vis Momoh, but failed because he failed to realise that the country has entered a different era.

    By upholding the dictates of the white paper Maada Bio and ACC are transforming the country by making corruption unpalatable especially among the elite – a huge source of our backwardness. This is success. To those who are crying foul and describing the COI as a witch hunt, I want them to tell Sierra Leoneans why the author of the article – Dr Sylvia Blyden, is a free woman even though she served in the Koroma administration for years. I am not SLPP, but I support President Bio’s fight against corruption, particularly by starting from the top. They are the roots. If they are destroyed, the tree will be denied sustenance, precipitating its death. Implicitly SLPP themselves may be caught in the net in the future.

  3. The crux of the matter is Maada Bio is a failed President and he knows very well that time is his greatest enemy; with only two and half years of his first term of presidency, even if he built the Lungi Bridge, it will not be sufficient to convince the people that he is a credible President – especially after re-enacting to the happy-go-lucky people of Sierra Leone that he is a man of chaos, barbarity and sadistic nature. What is the urgency of investigating the former President when he had already been given the opportunity to prove his innocence in a court of law against the allegations of corruption in the White Paper? Why can’t the ACC wait for the law of the land to take its course?

    Maada Bio knows that unless he rigged the 2023 elections again, he has no chance of winning a fair and free elections. He is also quite aware that the probability of rigging the next elections would be improved if the main opposition APC is bankrupted or its hierarchy is totally discredited. However, even though the SLPP has shackled a crooked Judiciary as puppets on a string, bankrupting the APC might take a long and frustrating process in the courts. So, a desperate, self-centred and inconsiderate Bio has opted for the latter – that is to discredit the APC. Who else to go for than the main asset of the APC, EBK? It remains to be seen if the ACC did not go to Makeni with the sole motivation of arresting EBK with a trumped-up charge. Francis Ben Kaifala knew it would be a life-threatening task, amidst the level of protest by the people of Makeni, and decided to abandon his mission.

    The timing of this so-called ‘investigation’ was also crucial. In a week’s time the mandate of EBK as the Chairman and Leader of the APC is up; and the least Maada Bio would wish for, is the re-election of his greatest adversary. All in all, Maada Bio is a DESPERATE MAN, and seemingly he is determined to risk the peace and stability of the country for a second term in office irrespective of his accomplishment, or lack of it.

  4. This is what Dr Sylvia Blyden said “I also congratulate our former president for his continued willingness to be interviewed by the ACC; an institution which he himself strengthened for the good of us all”. What a very responsible statement by one of our Iron Ladies of all times. Bottom line, you don’t mess around with a peaceful and law abiding citizen like Former President Ernest Bai Koroma, the leader of the APC and of course the “Peoples Commander”.

    God bless former President Ernest Bai Koroma and Dr Sylvia Blyden. May God bless the youth and people of Makeni for their support to the great Leader, the “Peoples Commander”, former President Dr Ernest Bai Koroma. Obey Oh People, it’s the Peoples Commander, Obey Oh people. Now that the Bio SLPP kakistocracy arrest and chaotic threat against the “Peoples Commander” has been removed, it’s time to dial down or tone the rhetoric and move on.

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