Sierra Leone democracy must succeed – says Dr Sylvia Olayinka Blyden

Sierra Leone Telegraph: 21 August 2020:

The much anticipated second audio has been released by Dr. Blyden as promised, in what she refers to as her ongoing series of audio messages to the people of Sierra Leone and the international community, about the direction she would like Sierra Leone’s democracy to take.

In her latest  recording – dubbed Audio 002, Dr. Sylvia Olayinka Blyden expresses happiness with the various reactions to her first audio released yesterday, including those attacking her. She says that she respects everyone’s opinions and choice of language including those she referred to as  “cowards hiding behind small boys to pass their opinions”.

She apologises to former president Ernest Bai Koroma and others named in yesterday’s audio, “if they feel bad over Audio 001” but insists she is not going to stop, and that “there will be up to Audio 099 and beyond – even one hundred audios”.

She strongly challenges anyone to produce any signed or name-authored APC press release issued by Ernest Koroma’s APC leadership when she was detained. She said if anyone can produce such a publicly published document signed with a name, she will instantly swallow her words.

Dr. Blyden admonishes her APC comrades attacking her, that “ungratefulness is a very bad sin” and says people should stop provoking her as she was deeply hurt by the betrayal of the APC leadership when she needed them the most.

She dismisses what she said “is nonsense” talk about her once being an SLPP member, and says the photo  being floated on social media is of her as a journalist monitoring elections on Elections Day in 2007.

Dr. Blyden then quotes a parable “about a man who is deep in slumber on his bed dreaming a lovely dream and fire blazes inside the bedroom but the man is fast asleep enjoying his dream”. She says if someone sees the fire, bursts into the room and quickly wakes up the sleeping man, “the sleeping man will initially get annoyed from being woken up from his lovely dream.”

“It is only when his sleepy eyes open up and sees the fire that he will start to appreciate the person who woke him up”. Using this metaphor, Dr. Blyden says she is alerting her APC Comrades that are fast asleep amid serious legal and constitutional problem that is raging around them which needs technical handling to sort it out.

She then said that she suspects the reason why the Ernest Bai Koroma leadership did not issue any legitimate, signed press statement or make much effort to push against her detention was because they (the EBK leadership) seemed to have preferred for her to be locked away, so the members of the APC party’s highest organ – the National Advisory Committee (NAC) “can carry out certain NAC-based acts/decisions” in her absence which she may have been able to help guide the NAC membership  from acting on.

To back up her claim, she said that even on her release from detention for which she is innocent, the APC Leadership has since called four meetings of NAC secretly without informing and inviting her to attend.

She explains how a NAC Resolution was passed last year to ensure her attendance at NAC Meetings, and how attempts to engage the leadership on the non-invitation to recent NAC meetings have not yielded fruit.

Blyden spoke about the need for Democracy, Peace and Stability in Sierra Leone, which she said “can only be won collectively and never singularly”. She compares Sierra Leone to what is happening in other democratic African countries like South Africa, Nigeria, and Ghana.

In a clearly emotional tone, she spoke about the remains of four Muslim youths of Makeni lying at the mortuary still unburied in contravention of Islamic dictates.

She says it is “a collective national indictment on us all that we can allow that to happen but yet still, with those our youths yet unburied, some are calling for more youths to come out when democratic institutions and democratic tools are right there to be effectively used but are not being utilized.”

Dr. Sylvia Blyden closes with an assurance that she is not speaking out of vexation or anger and that her recorded audios will continue to be released; and she asks all to expect Audio 003 shortly with a proclamation that: “SIERRA LEONE DEMOCRACY MUST SUCCEED”.

You can listen to her recorded audio here:

Source Credit: Office of Dr. Sylvia Olayinka Blyden OOR.

6 Comments

  1. There was a lady called “Nacy Steel”in Freetown, Sierra Leone when I was a boy and you remind me of her. She was a real politician and as tough as her surname at a time when women were scarce in Sierra Leone politics. Continue to defend democracy in Sierra Leone because that is our only hope. Democracy fosters peace, stability and economic development. Dictatorship does not.

  2. Mr. Young4na, Thanks for emphasizing my point, because all the carnage happened when the destructive APC were in opposition.
    I personally believe that most APC members have been on the edge after losing the 2018 presidential election and the statement from Dr. Slyvia Blyden has finally pushed them over to full depression, especially the narcissistic lifetime chairman still hiding in his Makeni bunker hoping and praying for another coup. But this time around, Dr. Sylvia Blyden is on record for stating the FACT that the hindrance to our democracy lies at the doorsteps of the leadership of the APC. My prediction is, the APC party will finally IMPLODE in few months which will finally push most of their members and supporters from their current state of depression to total mental breakdown.

    Finally, I hope and pray that the New Direction government will continue to give out more pincodes to our health workers at the newly refurbished mental institution to take care of most APC SORE LOSERS in few months time and after the 2023 presidential election.

  3. Young4na, an asylum seeker! hahahaha, lord oh lord.Hey Henry Yamba Koroma, I must admit, your incoherent rambling composed of random media intolerance events spanning several decades, along with your fictional innuendos pertaining to the conditionality’s of my residency in the west, definitely got me laughing out loud. Here comes another green toad with uncontrollable impulses unable to resist the temptation of making up DECEPTIVE statements. At first glance, the basis of your response seems misplace in regards to the content of my initial post, except of course the obvious personal vendetta against my personality.

    Upon further inspections, however, i immediately recollect the symptomatic behavior of delusional POAPA supporters, usually having a deficiency in reading and comprehension. So i was left with no choice but to browse through my initial comments containing this statement— “ Before this current regime, the leadership of both parties, Kabbah and EBK, ruled our nation largely within the confines of a democratic nation. Political victimization and limitation on freedom of expression was less observed. ” Now if we dissect this statement and look at the 2 key phrase— ‘largely within the confines’ and ‘ less observed’, may i ask you Henry if you can actually read and comprehend?

    In the past decades across the globe, can you name any democratic nation with a perfect observation of all democratic prescriptions, for you to ignorantly construe my statement to mean, our nation’s previous regimes never had any democratic infringements? Now if we juxtapose the first 2 and half years of each of our contemporary democratic leaders in governance, Kabbah, EBK, and Bio, is there any evidence to suggest the rate of political victimization, suppression of press freedom, and the killing of innocent citizens in droves by state securities, being the same? Wake up from your slumber at cloud cuckoo and bring out the facts to debate me, Henry.

  4. Alusine Fallay says — “Through Johnny Paul Koroma who invited the RUF rebels, the APC party achieved their “ Scorched earth policy” meaning the destruction of anything that is useful to the government and people” , and Freetown was destroyed within days.” With all due respect, I am at lost what exactly you are talking about chief Fallay. President Kabbah was overthrown by the AFRC headed by Johnny Paul in 1997. Like the prior NPRC 1992 coup d’etat of Maada Bio and Strasser, Johnny Paul and co, overthrew the Kabbah regime with no loss of life or destruction of properties. I still remember vividly on that fateful day, the announcement coming from the radio that a government take over had happened. In fact most people were going about their business as normal.

    Now, the insecurity increases when president Kabbah while seeking refuge in neighboring Guinea invited the Nigerian ECOMOG forces to intervene, declaring that the entire Freetown has been overran by rebels. At this junction, the aerial bombardment was employed by ECOMOG with citizens nicknaming the Nigerian fighter jet ‘Alpha jet’. I remember the first set of bombs dropped at Mabela in the eastern part of the capital, leading to Freetown residents taking shelter whenever the sounds of the jet was heard.

    Despite the urban combat that ensued between the junta forces and ECOMOG, Freetown infrastructure was 99% intact with no houses burnt down or destroyed except those that were hit by aerial bombardment by the ECOMOG forces or astray bullets. Kabbah returned to governance in 1998. Contrary to your fallacies, Freetown destructions took place in January 1999 when the actual rebels invaded the capital, held the eastern part of the city for almost 2 weeks. It was during their retreat that they decided to burn down and decimated any meaningful structure along the way. My family house in Calabatown was burnt during this period. So please let’s stop the FAKE NEWS peddling!

  5. Mr Young4na are you sincere about what you have written above? Take a survey about Freedom of Expression in our country over the last two decades and you will be amassed with the responses from ordinary citizens and media practitioners alike. Don’t just concentrate your inquiries in Bombali and its neighboring districts. Go down east of Kono, Bo Kenema and Freetown and they will tell you how those who had made a career in the media world were destroyed, chased away by brutal force or undermined, Many of them in the last one decades and some were staunched supporters of the regimes that destroyed their business. Take for example Jonathan Leigh who has since found favour in this regime. His Media house provided three or more press attaches in the last government because he helped them in his own small way to come to power. As soon as he became critical of them, he spent several days or months at the famous Pademba road.

    Take Doctor Tam Mbayo whose radio station and popular programme, the Monologue was used effectively to sell the lofty campaigns of the last government. When he became critical of them, he spent sometime at the CID and Pademba road. By the time he was finished with, his name was no longer recognized as the force to reckon with. Talk to citizens and you will be told about how ordinary masquerades were arrested because they dressed in ashobi colours associated with the then opposition. Oh how I remember the adage that when you point your fore finger at someone, just bend your head down and you will see the other four fingers pointing at your face. President Kabba’s record on Freedom of expression was not clean either. In fact before 2002, many journalist lost their lives or were incarcerated because they were viewed as rebel collaborators. And we are talking about period when social media was not at its peak today with self acclaim political and social commentators.

    Even the west is finding it difficult to police and moderate the hate put out on social media by faceless people. Today, Sierra Leone with an illiteracy rate of over 70%, is being inundated with incitement, tribal, regional and all kinds of hate by faceless individuals, and the gullible people are taking the baits. In spite of that, how many people have been arrested and incarcerated for their public expression? You will point to Dr. Blyden. But you should ask yourself why her party failed to identify with her in her legal struggles of late. Becasue she is not as she claims to be. This is someone who incited her party big brass not to appear at the just concluded COI. But as soon as she was named, she appeared in full to participate. What a team player she came out to be. The APC decided to support two murderers of a journalist in their legal struggles instead of vouching for someone who had insulted and belittled everyone in the party that she said she belongs to. With regards you not registered with a political party or voting (one ngbinksakuroo). How can you when you left that country when there was no other political party in existence but your almighty APC. You came to the west likely claiming if you go back you will be castrated. So you cannot go back or risk forfeiting your asylum papers.

  6. While till date i happen to be among those Sierra Leoneans who have never registered to any political party or voted in any election in our nation; my obsession in following political events back home over the past 2 decades have indeed equipped me with a thorough insight in regards to the inner workings of both of our 2 major political parties. The fact of the matter is, both political parties utilizes tribal sentiment in garnering political support with citizens in the South-East, predominately the Mendes voting SLPP, while those in the North-West, predominately the Temnes voting APC. Of course in between, you have other tribes, as well as members of both the Mende and Temne tribes belonging to either parties.

    Now when it comes to governance and developmental issues; my personal observation is that; the APC is much more incline to focus on infrastructural development, while the SLPP main focus is usually human resources (education to be specific). When it comes to corruption, members from both political parties craves for outlandish lifestyles, hence usually involve in massive corruptions whenever either party takes over governance. As far as nepotism and other civil employment opportunities are concern, the APC usually priorities in giving jobs to party membership card carriers, while the SLPP priorities in giving jobs to citizens who speaks the Mende language or have a last name with origins from the South-East.

    Since our return to democracy, both political parties have spent time in the opposition (APC from 1996-2007, SLPP from 2008-2018). Before this current regime, the leadership of both parties, Kabbah and EBK, ruled our nation largely within the confines of a democratic nation. Political victimization and limitation on freedom of expression was less observed. However, the higher level of political vendetta espoused by the current ruling regime officials against former regime officials, along with a desire to have absolute power and control of every aspect of our nation, are the driving forces why our nation’s democracy is at risk.

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