Puawui Dr Sama Banya: Sierra Leone Telegraph: 30 May 2019:
Much has been said and written about the quality of leadership of the late former President Ahmad Tejan-Kabbah. He had many virtues and left a legacy that is worthy of emulation.
One was highlighted recently by the publisher of the Global Times newspaper Sorie Fofana. Yes, Tejan-Kabbah preferred to be told the truth straight in the face, than to behave like a typical boot licker who tells him what pleases him.
There had been rumours that some renegade members of the Republic of Sierra Leone Armed Forces RSLAF were planning a coup. When the President mentioned this to his then Army Force Commander – now referred to as the Chief of Defence Staff (CDF), the poor man was given the assurance that there was no truth in the rumours and that military intelligence had also debunked the rumours.
Sometimes too, he received conflicting reports on the same subject from different sectors of the intelligent services. The poor man had spent twenty years in the United Nations system where Intelligence reports were well worth the papers on which they were printed.
I recall the days of former President Siaka Stevens (photo) when like clockwork, both the Force Commander and the Commissioner of Police again now Inspector General, would wait in the ante-room to the President’s office in order to give him the day’s intelligence report.
There was a Director of Prison at the time, who, although he had past the retirement age by more than five years, continued to hang on. He nearly smothered a colleague Minister of Social Welfare who had dared to suggest that he ought to lay down his uniform.
This man was a Chief Patron of one of the leading soccer teams of the day – our ‘man Friday’ was said to have been a former goalkeeper of the team.
Because of that and especially because of his generous donation, the management decided to include his photograph in the team’s proposed Almanac. When they showed him a sample of the Almanac with the caption that he was the best goalkeeper of his day, it delighted him no end until he read further that the year was 1928. He vehemently admonished them to remove the photograph but retain the donation.
As if to demonstrate his importance, not just as Director of Prison (here again we now have Correctional Centre), he always joined both the Force Commander and the Police Chief in order to add his own Intelligence brief. But I digress.
Back to the events immediately preceding the events of May 1997; ordinary citizens were also reported to be uneasy over some of the strange movements of those times. The rest as they say is history. We paid the high price for over ten years.
I am not an alarmist, but I like many others – am not comfortable with some of the funny things currently happening, which to us lay people, borders on the security of the state.
A military officer who was in charge of ammunitions was facing court martial proceedings for the strange disappearance of arms from the armory. (Photo: Former president Ernest Bai Koroma – right, with the missing soldier who was head of the country’s military ammunition stores).
At a time like this, and with the previous declaration of the APC leadership that were the SLPP to be declared the winner of the runoff elections that they would make the country ungovernable, I don’t believe that it is premature or alarmist to take pre-emptive action.
It is not simply a case of a stitch in time saving nine, but credence is given to my gut feeling by the uncalled-for planned demonstrations of the opposition APC.
Can we depend on the current security forces to defend the nation, when nearly the entire membership of the OSD was handpicked and trained in Samu chiefdom?
In the last ten years, recruitment to the military and police as well as promotions, depended on the ethnicity and regional origin of the recruits.
A proverb says that when once bitten by a snake, one is advised either to pick up a stick or other weapon at the sight of an earth worm.
Charles Margai (Photo) was taken in for three days of questioning for merely saying that, were he to be attacked he could raise more than twenty thousand volunteers to defend himself.
The date was April 27, 2015. The country was celebrating 50 years of independence from Britain. The membership of the SLPP was celebrating 60 years of the founding of our party.
The majority of us including Kandeh Yumkella and other “allagbas” were in the party headquarters to praise God. I was to pour the Libation to the spirits of our Founding fathers. The younger folk were masquerading along Wallace Johnson Street when the police went into action.
Our men were chased and beaten up mercilessly, with many of them dragged to the Central Police Station where they were further maltreated and kept in custody for three weeks, before they were charged to court.
Mrs Lulu Sheriff – the women’s leader went to inquire if her boy was among those detained. She was promptly arrested and also detained.
Now, in the midst of all these security rumours, the opposition APC are calling for a massive turnout of their members over the next two days and to paint the city red. What could the motive be, after the Parliamentary walkout, their refusal to attend the Bintumani conference – coupled with the disappearance of a military officer, who is said to have been a security detail of former President Ernest Bai Koroma?
Over to you Mr Inspector General of Police, and to you Madam President of the Bar Association, as well as to the do-gooder civil society advocates.