Political violence in Kono – former vice president Sam Sumana attacked

Sierra Leone Telegraph: 13 July 2020:

Political violence reared its ugly head in Kono, eastern province of Sierra Leone last Saturday, at the funeral ceremony of the late paramount chief Abu Mbawa Kongorba, when groups loyal to the ruling SLPP party clashed with the security staff of the former vice president in the Koroma-led APC government – Sam Sumana, leaving at least two people injured and the vehicle of the former vice president badly damaged.

There are conflicting reports as to what and who started the violence, as both sides make accusations and counteraccusations. The police are yet to issue a statement about what really took place last Saturday, at what should have been a solemn funeral ceremony befitting of a paramount chief.

According to supporters of Sam Sumana, the attack was an “attempted assassination of chief Sam Sumana by some SLPP representatives”.

A message of support from the opposition APC reads: “This is to record my sympathy and solidarity to you for the violence meted out to you and members of your convoy during a visit to Kono to attend the funeral ceremony of your uncle. The APC is following police investigations with keen interest and will come out with a definitive statement when the investigations completed as the party condemns violence from whatever source. Highest regards,- Ambassador Yansaneh, National Secretary General of the APC.”

But SLPP supporters deny the accusation. One such report said: “Expunged VP and APC reject Chief Sam Sumana continues to unleash his inclinations to violence by ordering his thugs to launch attack on SLPP Marshalls after he was denied VIP treatment at the funeral home of PC Abu Mbawa Kongoba in Koidu Town this evening.

“Similarly snubbed in Koinadugu at the funeral of late Momoh Conteh, Chief Sam Sumana drove down to Kono District to scope for relevance at the funeral of the late chief of Mafindor chiefdom. As he was not allowed to participate in the funeral discussions involving senior government officials, the paramount chiefs and family members, the gangster former VP ordered his boys to attack the SLPP marshals at the funeral house which resulted in the stabbing of one SLPP marshal by the notorious Adamu. Police are currently looking for Adamu and his band of thugs.

“In his usual false pretence to convince Former President Ernest Bai Koroma that he is a force in Kono, Chief Sam Sumana is also ready to sacrifice his Kono people to impress APC stalwarts. From all indications, it is evident that what transpired today in Koidu Town today is a demonstration that Vice President Dr Juldeh Jalloh’s politicking in Kono has reduced Sam Sumana to gangsterism in his bid to seek relevance. Majority of Kono residents including opinion leaders are openly criticizing Sam Sumana, calling him a thug with no finance and technical competence to match VP Juldeh Jalloh.”

A statement believed to have been published on social media by the Minister of Local Government, Tamba Lamina who is accused of “defending and justifying his role and that of the other two government ministers Hon. Philip Tondoneh and Hon. Chandaka in the attack on former VP Chief Sam Sumana for allegedly attempting to usurp his role as Local Government Minister and Master of Ceremonies  in the burial ceremonies of the Late Paramount Chief Aiah ABU Kongobar of Mafindor Chiefdom, Kono District,” reads:

“The WhatsApp hype and misinformation is just an attempt on the part of light weight politicians to clamour for underserved attention. As Minister of Local Government and Rural Development with the mandate to provide support to and oversight over 190 Chiefdoms, how could a naive politician boxing above his weight be allowed to usurp my constitutional responsibility in the name of furthering his already flagged political capital?

“The issue is simple, Sam Sumana’s attempt to take over my role yesterday, was a clear attempt at embarrassing government. It was disrespectful and shameful to say the least. He only ended up embarrassing himself and such juvenile posturing has to stop. How dear him?

“The ceremony of the late Paramount Chief will continue as planned with the Ministry of Local Government playing a critical role in ensuring that a deserving Paramount Chief is provided a very dignified funeral in accordance with the customs and traditions of the people of Mafindor Chiefdom.”

And as the war of words and accusations continue, between the ruling SLPP and supporters of Sam Sumana, it was reported yesterday that the family of the late paramount chief has apologised to Sam Sumana. This is what the report said:

“The Kongoba family has today paid a courtesy visit to Chief Sam Sumana at his residence to apologise for the unsavoury incident that manifested during the traditional rites ceremony of the Paramount Chief.

“In the process of the visit, the family disassociated themselves from the ugly incident that resulted in damage to Chief Sam Sumana’s car and injury to his close protection detail.  Speaking on behalf of the family, Mr. Kelly thanked Chief Sam Sumana for the fatherly role he has and continues to play in the family.

“From the inception of their father’s grave illness to yesterday, they confirmed that Chief Sam Sumana has been instrumental and called on him to continue his good will towards the family.

“As a family, they recognized him as a true family member. He therefore condemned the unfortunate act on Chief Sam Sumana yesterday and emphasized that the Kongoba family will continue to stand by him at all times. He commended Chief Sam Sumana for the peaceful manner he treated the unfortunate saga and emphasized that he has once again manifested that he is a man if peace. He stated that Chief Sam Sumana is the type of politician Sierra Leone needs, given its chequered history.

“Chief Songum Briwa thanked the Kongoba family for the love and respect shown to Chief Sam Sumana and noted that their apology symbolises that they recognize the relevance of the role Chief Sam Sumana had played in the family now and in the past years.

“Another relative present, Tamba Sandi, the C4C Chairman stated that he was impressed with the Kongoba family and called on them to continue the good relationship that is existing between the family and Chief Sam Sumana.

“Responding, the former Vice President, Chief Sam Sumana extended profound gratitude to the Kongoba family for the respect and recognition accorded him. Chief Sam Sumana told the family members that the name Kongoba is a household name in APC, saying the sick Chief has been a member of Parliament and a cabinet Minister in President J S Momoh regime and it was during the APC era that he became Paramount Chief, so if any political party wants to claim the sick body of PC Kongoba it would have been the APC party.

“The Former VP said what the SLPP demonstrated yesterday was cheap politics and expressed happiness at the manner the family handled the issue. He said what happened yesterday has been put under the carpet noting that this is not the time for politics and therefore called on SLPP not use this kind of forum to intimidate people.

“He told the family that his doors are always open to them for any support or assistance as and when required. His response was warmly received by the family as they departed to continue the traditional rites that need to be administered for such an outstanding Paramount Chief.”

Elections in Sierra Leone are not due until 2023. But what last Saturday’s violence in Kono shows is just how fractious and volatile national party politics has become.

You can watch a video here of Aiah Thomas speaking about what he believed took place last Saturday:

14 Comments

  1. Is it a terrorist activity or not? When Chief Sam Sumana and his supporters were teargased on the streets of Port Loko, not a terrorist attack. When Chief Sam Sumana was attacked at his uncle’s funeral, not a terrorist attack. When Dr Kandeh Yumkella was attacked on the streets of Kasierie, not a terrorist attack. When the bloody assault on the APC headquarters took place, not a terrorist attack. When a SLPP thug in a white SUV driving in front of the APC headquarters with a Bio SLPP thug point a rifle on APC supporters inside their headquarters, not a terrorist attack. When our prisoners and prison officers were hunted down at the Pademba Road Prisons by President Bio’s security guards, not a terrorist attack.

    But when people arround different parts of the country went on the rampage because of the failed policies of the Bio SLPP, 99.9% of the APC were branded as terrorists. The statement was made by President Bio himself. When the First Lady Fatima Bio incited mob justice, all was just fine. Let the world be the judge. Because the Kongoba family have apologized to the noble Chief Sam Sumana and Chief Sam Sumana has accepted the apologies to move on, it’s time to dial down the rhetoric and move on. God bless the Kongoba family, Chief Sam Sumana and the Kono People. RIP Chief Kongoba.

  2. Instead of apologizing to the noble Chief Sam Sumana and the family of the late Chief Kongoba, they took to WhatsApp defending themselves and the Bio SLPP in an unprecedented bullish and timid display of typical Bio SLPP damage control game. But their bullish rhetoric will never fly with the Kono people. The damage caused has damaged whatever political aims or favour they were expecting from the Kono people. Long live Chief Sam Sumana and the Kono people. To hell with the Judases and their associates. God bless Kono District, the Kono District Paramount Chiefs, Chief Sam Sumana and Mr Andrew Moseray for the WhatsApp information? TBC.

  3. Stern and serious warning by the UK Foreign Secretary indeed. We pray that Global Britain starts its mission to help root out dictatorship, tyranny and gross human rights violations in Sierra Leone first. This was what the man responsible for making sure that vulnerable and marginalised people under dictators and tyrants around the globe are protected said – “As Mr Raab told the House of Commons in a markedly undiplomatic terms, the UK is taking action against the “thugs of despots and henchmen of dictators” as well as stopping those trying to launder their “blood-drenched ill-gotten gains.

    He went on to say that their shopping trips to Knightsbridge or property speculation on the Kings Road in Chelsea are set to become a thing of the past. And the clampdown won’t stop with the four named countries. Violators from across the globe are about to join the list”. Read the article from the link below from one of the UK’s most read and trusted online news outlets, EXPRESS.

    https://www.express.co.uk/news/uk/1308371/christian-persecution-nigeria-uk-Competere-foreign-aid-sanctions

    Brutality, barbarity, unlawful incarceration, a gross violation of human rights against peaceful goes on unabated. Again, will the UK Foreign Office please take note of the past and the most recent events of brutality, barbarity and gross human rights violations against one of the most respected, popular and politicians and his security guards? God bless the Johnson Administration for listening and may God bless Chief Sam Sumana. May God grant a speedy recovery for the injured during that dark day in the history of Kono. Amen and Amen. TBC.

  4. Sahr Matturi, you seem to be the sole representative of all the Konos, and know it all. You forget the heinious crimes the apc committed including the looting of the treasury. You really think the chief will be the apc flag bearer in 2023? Don’t count out the Limbas, Temnes and the Lokkos too soon. God have mercy on you, brother.

    • A new recruit trying to attract my attention. No time for distraction for a grumpy rhetoric from Mr Andrew What, I don’t know. What I am interested in, is for the world to know about the barbarity, unlawful incarceration, gross violation of human rights, mob justice,etc that is happening presently in modern day civilized Sierra Leone. The message must be heard loud and clear to the whole world through this glorious platform. Finally, Mr Andrew what, I don’t know, I don’t listen to Pharisee or teachers of the law type rhetoric. See Mr Andrew what, I don’t know, scared and timid about the noble Chief Sam Sumana being APC flag bearer who will send the BIO SLPP into the political wilderness forever. However, God help Mr Andrew what I don’t know with his prophecy. TBC.

  5. After a similar failed mosque strategy on Dr Samura Kamara, now, the deputy head of the PAOPA group of failed politicians descended in Kono to assassinate their son in his back yard. To their dismay, they met the all-time hero, Chief Sam Sumana at his best. He was lecturing them how not only to behave like grown-ups, but how peace is the best weapon to choke out a dictator and his associates from of power in Sierra Leone. The Bio SLPP and these failed politicians without any political base, have realised how the Ballot box is the best way to discipline a tyrant, dictator and also how both the Bio SLPP and the SLPP Party have lost Kono for good. Just see how these grumpy and greedy old adult politicians without any political base are behaving—again disrupting the funeral rites of one of my colleagues? Dangerous and lethal political miscalculation.

    What I believe is, this shameful act of gross disrespect to the Kono people, headed by the isolated Vice President has rallied the majority, if not all the Konos, to boot out the Bio SLPP and the SLPP party, politically from Kono for a very long time. It is a disgrace that no Kono will accept. Look at a Vice President and others who claim to be sons of Kono, but have zero influence and no political base. See their cowardly acts. The noble Chief Sam Sumana, potential next president of the Republic of Sierra Leone, arriving very early, taking his seat and waiting peacefully for the ceremony to start. The assistant head of PAOPA was witing cowardly somewhere, engineering the disruption one of the most significant traditional rites and values of the Kono people.

    This story will not go away. I thank the people of the entire Kono District for showing restraint not to behave violently on the foreign intruders, invading their God giving territory to attempting to assassinate on one of their own with the Judases by their sides. Can you imagine the Noble and heavyweight, Chief Sam Sumana lecturing four so-called lightweights from PAOPA CITY under the command of the PAOPA CITY commandant? Again, this story is very long and will not go away. The struggle continues until Global Britain help eradicate tyranny, dictatorship and human rights violations from Sierra Leone. God bless Chief Sam Sumana and the people of Kono District. TBC.

  6. You could argue precisely that default chieftaincy inclusion in the modern political process must be restructured…The guise of inherited authority has proved disastrous in the Sierra Leone democratic process.

  7. In my personal opinion, I believe this 15 minutes cheap popularity video clip should belong to his Facebook page. This is not an issue between APC and SLPP because Sam Sumana is not yet a member of the APC party; where are all the APC top officials in this important occasion? Every sitting Chief is supposed to receive a civic and official burial from the government with the collaboration of close family members like the wives and kids.

    It is rather unfortunate for Sam Sumana to use the death of this Chief to attract negative political attention, to use it as propaganda against current government officials from the Kono people and the entire district. I hope Honorable Sahr Emerson of the C4C party from the Kono District will work with the Local government minister and the family to give the late Chief a befitting funeral, rather than letting Sam Sumana use this occasion to attract popularity from the lifetime leader of the APC, who is trying once again to shove him down the throats of members of the APC party, that had already disgracefully expelled him.

  8. I cracked up when I listened to Aiah Thomas’ analysis of the events that supposedly transpired between representatives of the SLPP and the APC at the funeral ceremony of the late paramount chief, Abu Mbawa Kongorba. First, Thomas is a crude APC loyalist and cannot be expected to be an unbiased witness. Second, absolving Samuel Samsumana of inciting violence amounts to absolving Leatherboot, the longtime APC thug and bodyguard of Ernest Koroma, of rape. We all remember how Letherboot led a coterie of APC criminals and gangsters to the SLPP headquarters in Freetown to rape innocent and hardworking women in 2007.

    Samsumana is a rabid inciter of violence, a proven nation wrecker and a chronic and unremorseful liar of egregious proportions. His life epitomizes everything that is wrong with duplicitous characters masquerading as statesmen in fragile political formations. As Vice President, Samsumana was caught on tape by AL-Jazeera journalists as he negotiated an illegal timber deal in the company of the late Alex Mansaray and the late Momoh Konte. The former Vice President was also found guilty by his own political party of lying about his academic credentials and his religion. When he was fired from his job, he filed a frivolous lawsuit in ECOWAS courts against the Government of Sierra Leone. After the unexpected verdict was handed down, Samsumana ignored his blatant lies to the prestigious court and went on to prostrate before Ernest Koroma, asking for forgiveness for his transgressions against the APC and Sierra Leone. As if that was not enough, this buffoon of a politician and self-proclaimed statesman tried to pull a fast one on the present government by arguing that he was entitled to state-provided security and pension. Well, fired vice presidents are not entitled to any benefits from the state, he was told.

    It follows that a naked and paranoid Samsumana thinks that he can only stay relevant in the national consciousness by keeping himself involved in unsavory activities. If he is not getting involved in fisticuffs with the police in Port Loko after lying to them that he was an invited patron to a soccer match, he will be disturbing the peace in Kono with an affront on state authority. But like any product that is sold in a market, politicians have an expiry date in politics. Samsumana is a spent force with a grandiose yet delusional impression about himself. His bogus claim that he is Kono’s favorite son has long been debunked with the emergence of Dr. Juldeh Jalloh, Dr. Morie Manyeh, Tamba Lamina, Philip Tondonyeh and many others flying the SLPP flag. Thus, Samsumana’s unrealistic dream of leading the APC in 2023 is in troubled waters. Not only is he presently dominated in Kono politics by men of proven integrity and charisma, but he also does not possess the unwritten requirement for leading the APC – he is from the East and not from the North.

    • Deceiving stuff. Mr Bilal Coleman should, first of all, produce the video he claimed to have seen concerning the Noble Chief Sam Sumana, before making any sarcastic rhetoric about the noble Chief. Do you remember what I’m talking about Mr Bilal Coleman? I sent a link on this glorious platform to prove how far Mr Bilal Coleman from the truth about the incident was. Knowing that he deceived many of us about the said video he acknowledges seeing, he disappeared from this great platform for ages to appear without providing the numerous readers and forumites with his so-called video. How can anyone trust what Mr Bilal Coleman is saying about the noble Sam Sumana?

      Until he produces the said dodgy video or gives us a link to view his so-called lipstick video, all his rhetoric about the noble Chief Sam Sumana will be for the birds like his so-called fake video. Again, grumpy and cowardly rhetoric. God bless Chief Sam Sumana and the Kono people for showing restraint. This long story will not go away until justice is served. All those involved in attacking the Noble Chief Sam Sumana must be brought to justice. Period.

  9. Just when you think normalcy is knocking at the door, gangsterism and political intimidation has reared its ugly behind again, with the culprit being the usual ruling SLPP thugs. I am not really sure what it is with these PAOPA extremists. It appears they are ready and willing to do anything under the earth, no matter how abhorrent and extreme, to gain spotlight. For Christ’s sake, why turn a private funeral event of the Kongoba family into a political battle field? Why attack Sam Sumana, a native of the soil for simply honoring and serving his role in attending his late uncle’s funeral? By all indications, the only crime Sam Sumuna committed was attending the funeral, and the bereaved family accorded him the privilege to receive the body of the late man. This in the eyes of the SLPP PAOPA thugs, Sam Sumuna was there to undermine their popularity, hence he must be taught a lesson.

    How insane have these people become? They did the same thing to him last year at Port Loko, after he attempted attending a local event there. The police after receiving “orders from the above”, blocked his motorcade from entering the Port Loko township. Despite physical intimations and taunting, Sam Sumuna behaved very peaceful and maturedly, just like this recent incident, persuading his supporters not to retaliate. As in numerous past political violence incidents, the criminal cabal, thuggish POAPA extremists, will orchestrate and attack opposition members, only to turn around and deceitfully claim of being the victims. This has become a pattern in the past 2 years.

  10. Thank you very much, Mr Aiah Thomas, for your real-time facts from KONO CITY. It is a SAD and DARK moment for all the Kono people. Thank God that Chief Sam Sumana did not allow the SLPP thugs to be slaughtered or decapitated by angry mobs, if Chief Sam Sumana had raised his peaceful hands. Did I hear foreigners trying to assassinate a Kono Man, the son of the soil at his uncle’s funeral and in his own house, backyard and district? That is a step too far. Disgusting and insulting to the people of Kono.

    As a member of a Paramount Chief family, strangers are not allowed to participate in certain funeral rites. So, going out there with thugs, chanting useless and reckless political chants and rhetoric about a dictator, is a disgrace to all Konos. The people of Kono must take action in a very peaceful way to honour the actions taken by Chief Sam Sumana and more importantly, for the respect of the late Chief Kongoba. The VP and his associates must now know how the people of Kono are thinking about them. The VP and his associates understand from that dark day, how the Ballot Box is going to be more robust, effective, more energetic and accurate than the bullet and thuggery.

    Bottom line, BIO SLPP and even the SLPP party are now history in terms of votes in the next election. I feel sorry for Mr Tamba Lamina, the minister of Local government, who allowed himself to be part of this beautiful mess, which is a disgrace not only to himself but the people of Kono. I don’t know how he will get out of this mess politically. God bless Chief sam Sumana, C4C, the APC and may the soul of Chief Kongoba RIP. TBC

  11. Whatever happened, who started what, and when, and why counts for very little in the eyes of the silent majority of peace loving Sierra Leoneans. We are so used to this thuggery in Sierra Leone, we have insulated ourselves from it all. And now we accept thuggery and political violence as part of every day life. This is the new, and old normal in Sierra Leone. Has always been since independence. My condolences go to the chief Kongoba family. When you think morally, our country can’t sink any lower in the politics of mudsling. You really have to ask yourself, where is all this leading us as a country of less than eight million people.

    Our country is politically, traditionally, and morally bankrupt. Thanks to this inept, morally corrupt, winners take all mentality of the political class. Made In Sierra Leone, for the people of Sierra Leone. These party political thugs that parade themselves as the voice of the people should have no place in our society. If president Bio is really serious about moving our country forward, he needs to come out and address this political thuggery in our country before it reaches a point of no return.

    The president should dissociate himself from all those thugs going around the country and creating mayhem. The police chief should arrest all those that were involved in the violence, whether APC or SLPP supporters. What has Sierra Leone as a nation become? Our country has sunk so low, there is no room left to sink any further. Just like the deaths at pademba Road, even the burial of a paramount chief can’t escape the nasty politics of our country. May God bless Sierra Leone.

    • I see that our African Colleagues are still in the direction of misunderstanding and representing their respective countries. AU member countries are mandated to have peaceful and stable leaving but on the contrary. Respect for rule of Law is not holding in majority of countries around the globe which Sierra Leone is not an exception. We the founders, settlers and passerby should respect authorities at all times until their power is over.

      We will all leave this earth at a given time. Let’s stop criticising leaders when they are in control. No man owns the land for ever. Nothing lasts for ever.

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