Dr. Sama Banya
6 September 2012
In the early 1970s, President Siaka Stevens did not have a resident minister in any of the three regional headquarters.
The Provincial Secretary was both the most senior civil servant and representative of the President who reported to him, through the Permanent Secretary in the ministry of the interior.
I was then in private practice at my recently established private hospital along Hangha road in Kenema.
The Provincial secretary and I had been classmates in the Bo School and remained close friends until his demise not long ago.
A Paramount chief vacancy had arisen through death and as is usual to this day, there were several candidates from different ruling houses within the chiefdom vying to fill the vacancy.
I was close to one of those ruling houses – a member of another family who was a civil servant by the nature of his job, resided in the chiefdom headquarter town and carried some weight in the community.
Members of the house, which I was backing suggested that I speak to my friend the Provincial Secretary to have the fellow transferred far away from the chiefdom, so that he would not use undue influence during the campaign.
I advised against the suggestion, not only because it was unethical, but that it may well have made a hero out of the man because if his family had lost, they would have lamented it was because their man had been taken away.
I advised instead that he be left alone, while we concentrated on winning the hearts and minds of the chiefdom councillors. If we won then, our victory would be attributed to our own endeavours.
And so it happened that when our candidate won by a large majority, there being no cause for a run-off, I reminded my friends that we could hold our heads high because of the wisdom of fighting a fair battle.
I am reminded of this story because the Awareness Times newspaper has been carrying a self-satisfying publication, which alleges that the opposition SLPP had targeted their publisher and her ally – the producer of the monologue radio programme for assassination.
What absolute nonsense! What absolute trash and conceit!
Why would the SLPP want to carry out a cowardly, crazy and criminal act like that? What is the significance of the two people to the cause of the SLPP?
After all, they both had derided and campaigned against the party’s eventual successful flag bearer candidate – Retired Brigadier Julius Maada Bio with no impact on the result.
Even now, they and others are conspicuously silent on the corruption going on all around us and have even attempted to defend one of the characters.
In the second place the allegation itself is a lie; there is no such threat and never has been.
In the third place, in the unlikely event that we committed such a grievous and senseless crime, it would immediately confer undeserved martyrdom on the two characters and who wants that?
Finally, the Sierra Leone Peoples Party does not have a reputation for violence, let alone murder.
To David, I would merely add that with the cooperation of my editors, I may have cause to reproduce the piece I wrote about his complaint against the renowned Physician consultant Dr. Victor Willoughby to the Disciplinary committee of the Sierra Leone Medical and Dental council.
Since the government of President Ernest Bai Koroma assumed office our party had been the victim of unprovoked assaults on our members and on our premises.
We continued to complain to the police for a long time, but no action was taken.
As a matter of fact, after the first vicious attack on our party headquarters, the man who should have investigated the crime and brought the criminals to boot – the then Inspector General of Police – Brima Archer Kamara, told the world that the assault and damage were self-inflicted by disgruntled members of our own party.
And so the attacks continued intermittently without a break, until we decided that enough was enough.
The publisher of the Awareness Times and her friend know which party in this country has the propensity for political violence and thuggery, because the newspaper had indicated as much in the past.
With this government’s failure to address the issues which are of paramount importance to the electorates, which are: the economy and the high cost of living, coupled with evidence of high corruption, we are confident that our people will vote the APC out of office on November 17.
Our prospects of victory are not enhanced by support from the Awareness Times newspaper or the producer and presenter of the monologue programme; nor are they reduced by the persistent criticism from them.
The newspaper is at liberty to continue repeating its ‘wolf wolf’ scare story until victory is ours.
“The legacies of dehumanization, hatred and fear must be confronted. There is a need for tolerance not prejudice; a need for acknowledgment – not recrimination; a need for reparation – not retribution; a need for community – not victimization; a need for understanding – not suspicion; and A NEED FOR COLLECTIVE RECONSTRUCTION – NOT GREED”
Those were the words of the Right Reverend Bishop Dr. Joseph Humper – Chairman of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission, during his presentation of the Commission’s Report to former President Alhaji Dr. Ahmad Tejan-Kabbah on the 5th October, 2004.
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