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.

12 Comments

  1. I personally believe that the Subliminal message that Dr. Sylvia Blyden is sending to the people of Sierra Leone especially the Office of National Security ( ONS) is that the biggest Security threat our nation is currently facing is the “Adebayor People’s Party” ( APC). The first time the APC party was overthrown by the NPRC which was commonly known as the People’s Revolution, our nation started having “ Sobels” which means Soldiers in the day and rebels at night. The first time the APC lost a democratic election to the SLPP, the APC party were so devastated that they had to incite the military to destroy our democracy under the watchful eyes of ECOMOG, United Nation peace keepers and the British Force.

    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. For the 11 years of APC misrule, the people of Sierra Leone enjoyed Peace , stability and democracy because the SLPP respected the wishes of the voters.

    Finally, the destructive APC party is once again in opposition and now the biggest threat that we face is the battle of the minds of our youths which is a fight between the “ Adebayor Peoples Party” (APC) and the Free quality education of our youths and fight against corruption by the SLPP. Let’s hope and pray that this time around, with this honest appeal from Dr. Sylvia Blyden the Almighty will protect our democracy against the destructive APC party, because the only option available to them now is spreading hatred, incitement and destruction.

  2. Abdul Hashim Daboh, I welcome your insight to my comment. That is the enssenc of democracy; the Freedom to have a variance of opinions as long as they have relevance to the context of the discourse at hand. Without any degree of uncertainty, it is a well known fact that our country is entrenched on tribal sentiments; an aspect that is decelerating our strides towards economic development. However, we seem to indulge in HYPOCRISY and deviate away from this fundamental issue when articulating the problems our country is facing. Each and everyone of us knows that this tribal demarcation has been emboldened since Maada Bio took the reins of power about two and half years ago. Maybe, you would like to enlighten us about any serious development programme that has been initiated in the northern part of the country – an APC stronghold – during this period?

    In spite of the above, the theme of my comment was about the absence of democracy in Sierra Leone. Which, in an atypical fashion of the Sierra Leonean you seem to blatantly ignore, and on the contrary you decided to divulge on personalities and partisan issues. Being a development fanatic, my fervent interest is hinged on the stability and progress of the country irrespective of which party is in power.

    Unfortunately, the current absence of democratic principles has inpinged on the framework in which the process of development can flourish. Now that you have hypocritically denounced the existence of tribalism as a deterrent to the country’s progression, it might be a good idea for you to have a comprehensive insight on my comment and give us a succinct account on the prevalence of democracy in the country amidst the points therein. Awaiting for your response.

  3. It seems to me the people of Sierra leone simply do not understand the grave importance of having order and caution as the most essential yardsticks for measuring and maintaining sustainable progress in a political environment as volatile as our own.Those who support a barren NGC and an unproductive SLPP have no credibility whatsoever when it comes to assessing and evaluating the past and current performance of the Legendary APC. Answer – what did Strasser and Maada Bio accomplish after overthrowing a legitimate government and slaughtering hundreds of innocent people? And who is able to tell us exactly how many millions of dollars was stolen by their Cult of Cruelty,which today has strangely become transformed into a Criminal SLPP cabal overcrowded with freeloaders robbing and fleecing a struggling system?

    Again,Why are those ingrates that are now calling for EBK to step down not demanding that there should a private investigation into the killings of those unarmed prisoners in the Pademba road prison riots? Its crystal-clear that our nation is one full of delusional hypocrites that are afraid to openly confess that the SLPP is the most tribalistic party that has ever ruled Sierra Leone.Its so damn silly,childish and immature to shrug of such an obvious fact because tribal politics is and has always been the cornerstone of our nations politics.Again if Stevens was as cruel as those Super spreaders of fake news are now saying on this glorious forum,why was there no genocide,butchering and massacre like the one Maada Bio and his henchmen have now committed under his watch,just by being over two years in office?

    My advice to EBK is to remain strong,calm and resolute,choose your words and people that surround you wisely more than ever because Foxes will be foxes,and therefore we must think like them and not like clueless fragile ewe lambs.Seasons come and go,nothing lasts forever.Embrace and respect the process folks,and in due time EBK and other prudent minds will choose a rightful deserving successor that will make the APC and our beloved Sierra Leone truly proud.

  4. The whole firestorm around Sylvia Blyden was ignited by her call for the APC leadership to step aside in a few weeks when their tenure expires. But free speech is something which APC, as a party, has had problems with going back decades. In the Siaka Stevens years no one dared to challenge Siaka Stevens on anything unless they wanted to stay out in the cold or face the real possibility of being framed for treason. Do we still remember Mohamed Sorie Fornah and others? Dr Blyden has a legitimate reason not to be in an easy temper. If I remember correctly one of the reasons why she was initially arrested was that security officers found a framed picture of Ernest Koroma in her house. There followed a series of other concocted charges which kept her locked up for months. Who is on record in the APC leadership standing up to the Bio government to simply ask that the Rule of Law be respected – charge Sylvia or let her go?

    The silence of the APC leadership can easily be explained: The Maada Bio government has grabbed them by something very sensitive which is making the rest of them to follow. All their protests and objections to Sylvia’s detention must have been done behind tightly closed doors. It took the intrepid and the not-suffer-fools-easily Charles Margai who finally unraveled the government’s case against Dr Blyden. Lawyers for the government got so scared of what he would say to them in the courtroom that they failed to turn up for the hearings – revealing themselves as overgrown poppies in law.

    The problem with APC is that they are not used to be in opposition in a democratic setting. Their history unambiguously attests to this. In a subtle way, Sylvia is telling the party to restructure itself if it desires to become meaningful once more. Dr Blyden is right in telling the party that no fallen comrade should be left behind in the political battle field. He or she should be tended to and carried to safety.

  5. Dr. Blyden is one of the journalist I used to admired then, but unfortunately her involvement in politics has dented her good image as a journalist. I pity her.

  6. It is only fair that one first makes efforts to put one’s house in order before crying for public sympathy. Before Dr Blyden joined the APC party, she should have first reviewed the track records of the party over the years. We can clearly visualise from ungoing developments that the APC party is disintegrated and clearly lacks the capacity to reorganise itself as a responsible party. They continue to use primitive propaganda tactics which most of the citizens have already known them to be futile. Their acclaimed ’99 tactics’ have suddenly been exhausted. In a truly democratic country, the APC tactics was always bound to woefully fail.

    APC have a lot to answer for their reckless performance in the governance of Sierra Leone over the years. It is however sad to note that the members of the APC party are totally oblivious to the realities of their failure to govern Sierra Leone properly and constitutionally. A system that has no organised pattern to operate is always likely to disintegrate into chaos. The APC party has a huge mountain to climb in order to regain credibility as a responsible political party again.

    I personally think that the party may never recover from this loss of credibility for the next several election cycles. Sierra Leone therefore needs another responsible opposion party in order to fully function as a truly democratic state. Many Sierra Leoneans are carefully observing the political landscape as we approach the next General Elections in 2023. May God guide our beloved country, Sierra Leone.

  7. Dr Sylvia Blyden might have a point. Then again everyone has a point. Its the way you express it that makes the difference. Democracy, is not about one size fits all mentality. You can’t have everyone agreeing with you. That in itself is what can only be discribed as a dictatorship. NORTH KOREA. The tent for debates or political discussions should be opened to all and sundry. In a country like Sierra-leone, where political debates have become so polarised, on tribal and regional lines , it is easy to forget politicians like Dr Sylvia Blyden,or any politician for that matter, who put themselves forward in the political areana, are seen as legitimate targets for insults, and sometimes worse.

    I am glad she took it on the chin and most importantly recognised, for some thats the only way they know how to express themselves. Democracy offers us freedom of speech. And one of the litmus test of a mature democracy, is how far those in authority are willing to accept legitimate criticism, which ever way it is expressed, without restoring to violence, to silence your critics. Dr. Sylvia Blyden seems to understand that more than she is credited for. The good news, every Sierra-leonean knows our political discussions are redundant. Those in government think they know best,and they have the solution for what works for the country. And on the other hand the opposition parties and their supporters think they know better. We all know what is wrong with our country.

    Every Sierra-leonean is an expert on what is holding back our country. As Dr Blyden’s audio tries to suggest. So people of all backgrounds, frustrated for the lack of progress in the country express themselves the only way they know. The problem is we spend more time talking about it, rather than doing something about it. Politics becomes like blood sport. WE TALK THE TALK, BUT CAN’T WALK THE WALK. In the event its like our country is trapped in an echo chamber. And its no getting away from it. Meanwhile, the silent majority continue to suffer whilst the political elites continue to slugg it amongst themselves. And the people who bear the brunt of it all are their illiterate supporters. May God bless Sierra-leone.

  8. Dr Sylvia Olayinka Blyden revels in making empty noises but deeply lacks pragmatism. She talks about DEMOCRACY which is very good; though with hindsight or inadvertently she does not know the true meaning of the word. For democracy to function properly first of all the three organs of governance – the Executive, the Lawmakers and the Judiciary – must function separately and independently. With a junta and tyrannical Executive, a forcefully imposed Parliamentary setting, and a crooked Judiciary, does she envisage Sierra Leone has the right atmosphere in which democracy can prevail? If the answer is ‘yes’ then she must have been hibernating in a different planet for the past two and half years – since Maada Bio’s paopa SLPP came to power and ruled the country with the barrel of the gun.

    She seems to forget the fact that she has been been living in the worst dictatorial regime that the country had ever experienced since gaining independence. It is true that time is a healer and her 50 days in Pademba Road prison due to the absence of press freedom has ominously evaporated out of her subconscious mind. In addition, to the present status quo, there are no human rights and civil liberties; the Police, Armed Forces, Civil Society Organisations, and all other institutions have been politicized.

    The country has been divided along tribal lines and corruption is rife as never seen before. People are butchered with impunity, and the government brags and boasts about it. Perhaps, during her audio outbursts, she must alter the inclination of her lenses and try to capture the bigger picture. Then she would be in a better position to lecture the nation about democracy.

    • Alimamy, hope fully both of us are ardent APCians. However, I am taking your ‘tribal lines’ statement with utter disrepute. This tribal delineation is simply a figment of our imagination. Like the APC, the Bio led government has personnel from all shades of this country. His cabinet is composed of almost every tribe from every political region of this country. It’s apparent that we in the APC lack ideas (if we had any) to deal with our mammoth problems, so we’re playing the tribal card to garner sympathy from our strong northern base – a very disgraceful, reckless, if not a dangerous trajectory. One very annoying problem, which Blyden has highlighted is our chronic affinity to undemocratic practices. For crying out loud, EBK was a good man in his own right, but his time has passed, he should have long self-isolate himself from the running of the party; leave it to other desirables, other Sierra Leoneans and equally patriots like him to take it to the next level without his input.

      His insistence on running the affairs of the party in retirement, only serves the very few whose presence seems to entrench their hold on the party. Of course, this is not only a blemish on the party and our national polity, but on the very development of the party. EBK and co should rather be elders who can be consulted when matters arise than being the cog in the wheel. Unfortunately, the greedy and dishonest nature of our politics never create room for budding leaders. In normal societies, young and aspiring leaders are encouraged and mentored, but in the APC, the pa could stay till eternity. It’s apparent that EBK would prefer to stay till eternity, and hopefully be interred with the party. His continued but unwarranted presence has not only hindered any reformation but further derail development and the much needed reorganisation work the party so dearly deserve.

      Again, stop misusing our people for political gains. This tribal politics belongs to the long past – not today, not tomorrow, unless if the end game is ethnic warfare which your lot seems to be instigating. In APC, a south-eastern like myself is always considered either a spy or saboteur regardless of our genuine intentions and endeavour. This doesn’t happen in the SLPP.

  9. And look who is now trying to lecture us about ingratitude – a Medusa with living crawling venomous snakes in the place of her hair (lol) Careful folks – not to gaze into her evil deceptive eyes or you will instantly be turned to stone.Be rest assured comrades with the treacherous the hands of time will deliver without fail the exact judgement they deserve.Imagine such a woman that once sang sweet songs like joyful nightingales before she was arrested and locked up,only to emerge grunting and yapping like angry aggressive flesh eating vultures.

    Madam you’ve mistakenly declared all out war on the APC,and now the most loyal fearless young cubs that were raised and nurtured in the den of lions are digging deeper and deeper into the trenches of confrontation waiting for you and your notorious SLPP criminal cabal. Remember this – the APC throne instantly becomes surrounded by fire when approached by tricksters and fraudsters – it is unapproachable by those with wicked hearts who tread not in good faith and sincerity but deviously and unscrupulously with malicious intent..

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