Kabs Kanu: Sierra Leone Telegraph: 03 October 2022:
Yes, I mean what I am saying. I will ever remain APC, whatever the state of the party. I will never abandon my All People’s Congress ( APC ) , once they continue fighting for the people and avoid wickedness and heartlessness, bloodshed and horrendous human rights abuses. Maada Bio, Fatima Bio and others do not have the money and privileges to buy me or lure me away from the APC, even if they tried. The reason is that I will always be loyal to the APC , in sadness or in joy, in victory or defeat .
Politics is not about “sweetness” , self- aggrandizement, or self – promotion . It is about fighting for the people. It is about speaking for the people. It is about putting the welfare of the people above yours.
Politics is not about THE SELF. The moment politics becomes all about you and THE SELF, you will become a watermelon ( red inside but green outside) or sugar ant. You will become subject to the whims and caprices of user- politicians, who will use you for their own narcissistic pleasure and dump you afterwards.
By the grace of God, we will bring APC back to power in Sierra Leone , whatever the tribulations the party is going through now, because despite all its foibles and failings, it has been proved that the APC are always better than the SLPP. It is only when APC are in power that you have sustainable socio- economic and political developments in Sierra Leone, to the extent that you cannot see any impressive development project that was completed in Sierra Leone that does not have the rubber stamp of the APC. This is why I will remain loyal to the APC and will never flip-flop.
And talking about political loyalty, today I want to eulogize two SLPP personalities I met in life, who I will always respect for their loyalty to their party:
He died one of the most respected veteran politicians in Sierra Leone . I shared cell with him at Pademba Road Prisons in 1977 when President Siaka Stevens arrested and detained us for separate offenses after the students’ demonstrations that almost toppled his government. While sharing dinner in our cell one evening, he told me that Pa Shaki tried a lot to woo him, but he always told him he did not have the money to buy him . He said Pa Shaki offered him many lucrative ministerial and ambassadorial positions, but he told Pa Shaki : “Look here , Siaka Stevens, you are President of Sierra Leone but you do not have the money to buy me. I am not for sale. I am SLPP and will always remain SLPP till I die .“ And he lived up to his word. Pa Mannah Kpaka remained loyal to the SLPP until he took his last breath.
As if God was teaching me something , when I escaped political persecution in Sierra Leone in 1978 and landed in Liberia , I lived with a nice man called Mr. Edward Kanneh, whose neighbour at Jamaica Road, Monrovia , was Pa Maigore Kallon. Maigore was the Minister of Foreign Affairs in the SLPP Sir Albert Margai government and after the 1967 defeat sought refuge in Liberia . President William Tubman gave him asylum and a free house at Jamaica Road . I used to go sit down and talk with him and he shared a lot of experiences with me.
Pa Maigore KALLON said Pa Shaki had invited him many times to return home and even be his Foreign Minister but he told Shaki that he will never betray his party and work for APC , after what he said Siaka Stevens had done to the SLPP . President Tolbert retained his asylum status but for a man who was Foreign Minister, what was asylum money ? The Pa was suffering and lived on hand-to- mouth and the graces of his South-eastern people in Monrovia . You know they are very supportive to one another .
Pa Maigore was cut off from his children, family and party members and was missing home. He used to devour the Sierra Leone newspapers I used to carry him. He was not doing well but he did not think that betraying his ideals and values for KOKOEBEH was the solution . He valued and respected himself to the point that it was shameful for him to be a turn – coat for the sweetness of politics or self – perpetration .
You must give PRESIDENT SIAKA STEVENS praise and honour here from his political tolerance and inclusion and for trying to woo his opponents . He was a great politician and unifier . But despite his noble endeavor that rebukes and shames the likes of exclusionist President Maada Bio, Pa Shaki met people who had impeccable moral and political principles, who had self- respect and self – worth and would not return to their vomit like dogs for KOKOEBEH .They turned down his every overture and remained loyal to the SLPP until the party regained power in 1996. This is what you call loyalty.
Political opportunism , disloyalty, watermelon, and sugar ant politics are bad for democracy and Sierra Leone . They cheat, degrade, and weaken opposition parties and deny the polity the opportunity to hold the government to account. If everybody is on the winning side, who will hold the government’s feet to the fire ? Who will fight the cause of the people ? Besides, what will be the state of multi- party democracy ?
We need strong opposition political parties so that our nascent democracy would be nourished and strengthened . But when opposition politicians look for the quickest opportunity to jump ship as soon as their party loses power to seek sweetness and greener pastures with the party in power , it is pseudo politics that reigns to the detrimental of democracy .
Some politicians like my ambassador friend , JOHN ERNEST LEIGH, or Mohamed Sorie Forna or Ibrahim Taqi left their parties while they were still in power because they discriminated against them and treated them badly or betrayed the welfare of the people and reneged on campaign promises .
I am not talking about these principled politicians who leave while their parties are still holding and enjoying power. These men deserve nothing but praise for standing up to bad governance by their parties and leaving them while the gravy is still flowing . In this article, I am condemning watermelon and sugar ant politicians who abandon their parties after they lose power for their own self- aggrandizement and promotion.
No political party is perfect. They all make mistakes, but democracy must be sustained in our country by having a strong and vibrant opposition. What we see today is not people leaving a party while it was in power for reasons bordering on moral principles. They see nothing wrong with the party when it is in power and even glorify its mistakes and wicked acts , but as soon as the party loses power , they want to switch over to the winning party . Why such opportunism? Why not stay with your party and help rebuild it for the next elections?
Sierra Leoneans are now looking for all kinds of excuses to promote their new habit of abandoning their parties as soon as they lose power . The reason is that they want to join the enjoyment on the winning side . This is a very bad example of self – seeking opportunism and should be condemned. This was the lesson the late President Ahmad Tejan Kabbah was trying to teach APC sugar ants in 2002 when they wanted to cross – carpet from the then struggling APC to join the SLPP , which was in power .
President Kabbah did not accept them in the SLPP and told them to stay with their APC party to help strengthen it and nourish Sierra Leone’s democracy . I hope other presidents will take a cue from President Kabbah and block sugar ant and watermelon politicians and stop giving them positions.
We need principled and honest politicians on both sides of the spectrum . our democracy must not suffer because of greedy individuals who think only about themselves.
To be honest, none of the political parties have earned the right to speak about the other because they’re both as useless as each other, as corrupt as each other, and as backward as each other.
Sierra Leone is a failed state and will continue to be one until someone sensible with conviction and dedication gets to govern the country for the people and not for their own personal gains, which has clearly not happened since independence.
To think that Singapore gained independence at the same time and was a swampland speaks volumes about those in authority over the decades.
These leaders didn’t fall out of the sky. They came from the society you live in so where are all the upright, honest, and honourable people at that should be governing the country.
Was that an echo I heard in the room?
What a shame and such opportunities for an incredible country squandered.
Whoever is reading this now, I advise you not to expect any better, it’s not going to happen in your lifetime or your children’s because the problems are embedded and to turn it around needs sacrifice which many are not prepared to accept because the individual is better than the whole in Sierra |Leone apparently.
Generations have been born and died just waiting for things to change in the country but it never came. It’s the mindset, pure and simple.
So so sad.
1: Please supply a list of ALL the NATIONAL DEVELOPMENTS under 11 years of APC rule in Sierra Leone
2: Please supply ALL the NATIONAL DEVELOPMENTS under 5 years of SLPP rule in Sierra Leone
Help me choose which party I should vote for.
I agree with Mr. Leeroy to some extent. Politics in the Sub-Region in general has never been about integrity. Immediately after independence, a good number of nation states including Sierra Leone reverted back to clannish politics. As the phrase goes “its our turn to eat”. Rivalries within party politics itself accounts for the cross carpeting of party card members to other parties. Case in point Alpha Khan was ostracized for coming too close to the SLPP, an unforgivable sin that cannot go unpunished. Had he not greased the wheels with few enemies turned friends in the SLPP his political shelf life with the APC was nearing expiration. Other factors to consider is weak state institutions, structure of the economic system of the country, and the subdued influence of interest groups have all led to misplaced loyalties and inclination to self preservation. To conclude, our politics is unique and it is difficult for average Sierra Leoneans to divorce realpolitik from ethnic sympathies. Good piece though Mr. Kanu, very thought provoking.
When Joan Bakewell a famous British TV personality said about her trolls after she posted her support on Twitter towards JK Rowling the British Author’s stands on Trans ,she received unpleasant messages that left her with bamusment about the human condition that judges peoples charather not on the issues they expressed and try to find solution to ,in our case the political quagmire we found ourselves with this one directionless Bio government ,which is precisely the position Mr Kabas Kanu took but rather they are trying to shoot the messenger to masked out the real message he is trying to deliver to our people .The corruption and cost of living crisis affecting families up and down the country . And the failure of the Bio government to get to grips with how to help mitigate the suffering by offering help to people is a nor brainer . Play the ball not the man .No one is suggesting Bio is responsible for Covid 19 and Putin’s barbaric war of choice in Ukraine, but there are other areas his government could have done more to help soften the blow of the economic nightmare we found ourselves .
There are families up and down the country that don’t know where their next meal is coming from .At the same we have a political class and their supporters that are cut off from reality and are living comfortably in La La land . We have to talk about the isuses in our country . Because where there are isuses ,there are always issues to talk about .The position Joan Bakewell took is similar to the position Rev Kabas Kanu said about expressing ones opinions . By and large everyone is entitled to their opinions .That is a universal right to free speech . But with that right comes responsibility .For instance you can’t shout fire in the middle of a packed cinema hall .Mr Kanu might not be everyone’s cup of tea , but throughout these political debates he has been consistent and hold on to his beliefs .Now you can all agree to disagree with him , but you can’t browbeat him to submission just because he holds different opinion to your political beliefs .As Joan Bakewell said :”I don’t want to be part of the turmoil .I don’t want to be abused …I”m interested in the exchange of. Ideas with people who hold exactly the opposite idea.But I don’t like to be a source of aggression .
There seems , to me , a lot of hatred on social media .It gives you the chance to be very , very unkind to people who you want to humilate ..that doesn’t get anyone anywhere .It doesn’t change the debate , it makes it more mutually hostile “. She went on to say “it’s no way to solve problems, people want to impose their view on you rather than persuade you of it .” This last point is more common with Sierra Leoeans , who thinks is their God given right to impose their will on others .And this is more pronounced with diehards supporters of the two major patties APC /SLPP .If anything that’s why our country is considers as one of the least develop countries in the world .We need to accept and encourage different points of view in our societies .Immediately you try to insult people for the beliefs they hold , it means you lost the argument .
We may not agree with everything the good Rev stands for but I will have to agree with him on the issue of integrity politics. Our Politics has been reduced to “what do I stand to gain” rather than “what do I have to offer” and until this mindset of material gain changes we will not move on as a Country.
Don’t get me wrong Politics indeed is a rewarding career like all other professions the difference being its a form of social contract to improve the lives of the people in society.
Politicians in Sierra Leone have come and gone but the question is what legacies have they left behind that society can look back on decades later and be proud of. When you go in to politics to become rich overnight through corrupt practices please remember that the huge house you are constructing at the expense of the poor will be left in ruins after you are gone as those you leave behind may not be in a position to maintain it.
As you serve our nation please bear in mind your legacies and how you will be remembered. Do you want to be remembered as one of those who plundered our nation with the consequence of bringing a curse to your generations or one of those who helped to build it etching your name in the glorious annals of our history.
Only fools and God don’t change!
Anyone who is stocked up to an idea of self-aggrandizing shows lack of retrospection and consequentially lacks principled and honesty.
Too much of spending time detailing intentionally deceptiveness and this is what self-aggrandizers spend all their time promoting. Some of us have worked with people who are self-aggrandizers, and they are a detriment and an obstacle to productivity and success because they are consumed with nothing but being seen and heard and constant attention-seeking.
These people suck up all the energy of whatever environment they are in and are frequently preaching gospel of mendacities.
Its amazing to see the Sierra Leone Telegraph, the most widely read online salone newspaper publishing stories written by Kabs Kanu, who when his APC were in power did not tolerate journalists like the editor of the Telegraph criticising the APC government. I remember vividly, kabs Kanu referring to the editor of the Telegraph as a dissident simply because he was criticising the APC government.
Does Kabs Kanu still believe that the editor of the Telegraph is a dissident now that his APC party is no longer in government, and the Telegraph is criticising the SLPP government, and continuing its policy of holding every government or party in power in salone to account?
This says a lot about the consistency of the Telegraph editor as a fine liberal democrat who will stick by his democratic values than kabs Kanu.
Even Ernest Bai Koroma as president, insulted the editor of the Telegraph by describing him as a “wet blanket” simply because the Telegraph editor was questioning his quality of leadership. Yet we see the Telegraph now publishing stories presenting Ernest Bai Koroma as a statesman because of the role Ernest is playing in monitoring elections on the continent and promoting good governance.
This is why I have so much respect for the Telegraph editor. Keep it up sir! As for the SLPP who are now in power and criticising and insulting the Telegraph editor, I have one question for you. Were you not happy that the Telegraph was blasting the APC government when you were in opposition? Did your party not benefit from all the anti-APC government articles the Telegraph was publishing? So why are you insulting him now for criticisng your SLPP government also? Oh politics!
I am not suggesting for one minute that the editor of the Telegraph should stop publishing stories by Kabs Kanu. On the contrary. I am merely making a pertinent observation. Please continue the good work Mr Telegraph editor!
DISAPPOINTED AT HOW LOW PEOPLE CAN STOOP
Mr. Mohamed Jalloh of NGC , I am very disappointed at your malicious and fallacious attacks on me and your insidious and divisive suggestion to the Daily Telegraph Editor . You stooped too low, bro. I ALSO THINK YOU ARE MISINFORMED . PLEASE TRY TO GET YOUR FACTS RIGHT NEXT TIME.
LET US LOOK AT THE FACTS : .
Who provided the biggest ever forum for Sierra Leoneans to express their views on national matters and even attack the APC and me ? If you are ignorant about this , I will educate you about this fact. I, KABS KANU, provided the biggest ever forum where people of all political persuasions published their views without any hinderance. Through the SIERRANET and then the COCORIOKO FORUM, I was one of the first Sierra Leoneans to introduce our people to democracy on the internet. I even moderated the NUP FORUM for John Benjamin, who had then left the SLPP and formed the National Unity Party. For years, the COCORIOKO FORUM remained the best and the biggest source of democratic expressions. I still have archives online and i can reproduce them to prove my point. I was constantly attacked on my own forum and even when people suggested that I remove the culprits, I refused because I wanted democracy to prevail.
When I went to Canada in 2008, I met the most celebrated African radio journalist in that country called KOKOFELE and Sierra Leoneans who had been following the COCORIOKO FORUM. The first question Kokofele asked me was, “HOW CAN ONE MAN ENDURE SUCH VERBAL ABUSE ? YOU ARE INSULTED WHOLE DAY ONLINE. HOW DO YOU COPE ?” The other Sierra Leoneans at the occasion also wanted to know. I told them that I had no problem being attacked by people. It is their opinion and they are entitled to them. These guys were fascinated.
Due to the COCORIOKO FORUM, I became a good friend of former NPRC members, Col. Idiss Kamara , the late Col. Tom Nyuma, Col. Taqi Mansaray, Col. Komba Kambo and Kenneth, who wrote the book on the war. Sierra Leoneans had bad feelings towards them. They lauded me highly because I was the first man to give them a platform to tell their own story and respond at last to all the criticisms that had over the years been heaped on them since they handed over power. Through the Cocoriko Forum , these soldiers who overthrew the APC, had the opportunity at last to tell their own story at last and debunk criticisms levelled against them and they were highly appreciative.
In fact, in 2007, when that deadly clash at the Bo Hotel took place between Tom Nyuma and Leatherboots and supporters of the then opposition leader, Ernest Koroma , where Nyuma was badly beaten and hospitalized in Bo, it was my forum that gave him and his wife the opportunity to tell their own story and correct allegations that Tom went to the hotel to assassinate Ernest Koroma. I still have the thank-you e-mails sent to me by Tom Nyuma, his wife and the wife of Kambo, who appreciated me giving her the opportunity explain by U.S. marshals once arrested her husband.
There were many anti-APC hardhitters on the forum and they were never hindered from spewing bitter views at the party. Problem came when exchanges became so bitter and very damaging allegations were being made that would have led to lawsuits for the American woman who created HW FORUMS for us in those days. We paid every month to her but according to the law then, she too could have been held liable for providing a forum where people were being defamed and their character destroyed. She shut down the forum.
We, journalists, routinely publish one another’s articles. Dr. Sylvia Blyden publishes my articles in her AWARENESS TIMES newspaper, despite our bitter disagreements once . I used to publish her’s in COCORIOKO . Mohamed Sankoh ( One Drop ) of the NATIONALIST newspaper, Abu Shaw of the ORGANIZER, Joseph Kamanda of the FORUM , Philip Neville of STANDARD TIMES, Stanley Bangura of THE NORTHERN TIMES, Adeyemi of SIERRA EXPRESS , Ahmed Kamara of NEWSTIME AFRICA, the editor of THE TIMES newspaper etc. etc. all have that unwritten arrangement with me. We publish one another’s articles routinely when we see it fit . So, it is not just Abdul Rahman Thomas of SIERRA LEONE TELEGRAPH alone .We, journalists, are not as evil and unforgiving as some of you. Thomas once wrote a long article against me, accusing me of receiving a Bai Bureh portrait from Peace Corps Gary Shulze when I was MINISTER PLENIPOTENTIARY. I do not hold it against him.
I know your problem. THE TRUTH HURTS. ALSO, I DO NOT BEND THE TRUTH TO SATISFY SOME OF YOU. I am an enemy because my views are antuthetical to your partisan beliefs.
It is a shame that somebody would stoop down to your level in expatiating his dislike for somebody else. SHAME.
Hahaha This guy (Kabs Kanu) is a joke. I keep wondering why all of a sudden he has become a big fan of Abdul Rashid Thomas and the Sierra Leone Telegraph. This is the guy who mocked and ridiculed the Sierra Leone Telegraph and its publisher when the looting of Sierra Leone’s national coffers by Ernest Bai Koroma was exposed by the Telegraph. This was the same period of time when he (Kabs Kanu) was enjoying the benefits of a position at the Sierra Leone Mission to the United Nations that his corrupt friend, Ernest Bai Koroma had corruptly recruited him into. And sadly, Sierra Leonean taxpayers’ money was wasted on a man who spent all his work hours publishing praise-singing articles about Ernest Koroma and his corrupt government.
.Now that the readership of Cocorioko is almost non-existent, Mr APC Kabs Kanu has turned to the Sierra Leone Telegraph for salvation. This is what happens to people who practice the journalism and politics of division, tribalism and intolerance. Even the cocorioko forum that Kabs Kanu talks about was very intolerant. One criticism of the APC and you are banned. It was precisely this attitude of intolerance that gave birth to the Bntumani forum.
If and when the APC loses next year, the blame should fall on the shoulders of folks like Kabs Kanu. He is partly responsible for many Sierra Leoneans fleeing the APC for the NGC, SLPP and the C4C. The guy’s open preaching of tribalism, especially his attacks on Mendes would lead to the APC performing badly in the Southeastern districts next year. With all this, who in his right mind would welcome Kabs Kanu to the SLPP? To destroy the SLPP the same way he has destroyed the APC? .,
Come on, Bial Coleman, you are too hard on Kaba Kanu. You cannot be right about the brother. Mind you, Kabba is rated the most brilliant and outspoken journalist we have. Whenever I attend social functions and politics back home is discussed, the name Kabba Kanu comes up for praise that he is now one of the few journalists and Alpha Bah of Aricanist press that speak the truth. I am NGC and I should be crying because he has never had anything complementary to write about KKY but hey, what is democracy ? The First Lady is coming down hard on Umaru Fofanah for his report on the BBC about the statement from her mouth of her husband having a PhD in coup. You are coming down hard here on Kabbs for speaking about our politicians being wishy washy . Our journalists should not be under constraints or abuse to say the truth. Let democracy prevail. Publishing harsh facts. That is the man . He is APC, so what ? He served his country at the UN ? So what ? He promoted his country and president. So what ? Please name me any journalist who is not politically aligned. Do I see the green monster ? Bilal, act your age. What Mr. Kanu saying is true or false ? To most of us, he is telling the truth .are our politicians loyal to their parties or the country ? Has Maada Bio given other tribes a chance to hold positions in the government ? Is there not complaints that Brigadier Bio has changed Sierra Leone to a Mende country ?
As a proud NGC man, I do not like the APC but I share the writer’s opinions .people like you with selfish interests in the government will bash any journalist for exposing facts, hence the problem is not the Kabba kanus that tell these truths but dishonest citizens like you who hate and fight these truths. From my neck of the woods, journalists like Kabbs and Alpha Bah of Africanist are rated and respected. It is only through them that we living in the diaspora learn the truth. Abdul Rashid Thomas is another for making his newspaper free for every dick, tom and harry .
The elections next year must be free and fair . The registration process is a mess. Opposition strongholds are being prevented from registering. So, if APC or NGC loses and SLPP wins , it is not because Kabbs Kanu or alpha Bah or Rashid Thomas uncovered hard to swallow truths about your SLPP style of governance and naked tribalism but because of rigging , which we are ready to fight. Please leave our journalists to do their job.
While we may not agree with everything that Mr. Kabs Kanu writes, I think we should respect his right to say them in the spirit of democracy . Bilal Coleman’s attacks on the gentleman whenever his articles are published by the Telegraph are very harsh , unfair and undemocratic , especially when he makes them personal and not issue-based. I cannot understand such bitterness . Do you detest the idea of the Telegraph granting platform to Kabs Kanu because of his vitriolic attacks on the SLPP ? If that is your reason , then it is a confirmation of what Kanu is trying to tell us that the SLPP is not a Democratic Party .
To me, I see nothing wrong in one publisher allowing another to use his media to promote his/ her views . Kabs Kanu too has a well – established newspaper.
We all know that Cocorioko has a very large following . I have been reading the newspaper for over a decade. It is my first port of call when I wake up in the morning and O disagree with Bilal Coleman that the paper’s readership has fallen that is why Mr. Kabs is now publishing in other papers. I follow Kabs Kanu at Facebook and WhatsApp where his newspaper has forums with large memberships. . I do not agree with him many of the times but as other members of this forum have said, he writes with a distinctly unique and brilliant style and he dwells on very burning problems besetting our country under the SLPP government. Most of what he writes are true
No sane person will deny the fact that the SLPP government has failed us, the people of Sierra Leone We want to register to vote in the upcoming elections but ECSL officials have made it very difficult for us in opposition strongholds in the Northwest. How can they continue to promise credible elections when we are not allowed to register ? Is this the government Bilal Coleman is protecting from criticisms by journalists like Kabs Kanu ? When readers know the truth , Bilal Coleman is only exposing his nakedness and unpatriotism whenever he attacks journalists for revealing the truth .
Tribalism has become a thorny issue under this SLPP government President Maada Bio makes it seem like only Mendes live in Sierra Leone. Every position has been given to Mendes. What do you expect patriotic journalists to do , Bilal Coleman ? Ignore it ? I do not see anything wrong in what Kabs Kanu has been saying on this matter. It is the truth and something needs to be done about it. Only an idiot will believe Bilal Coleman that because a journalist is exposing tribalism. his party will lose the elections . Has Bilal Coleman not been listening to the many audios on social media where even Mendes have been accusing the SLPP government of tribalism ? Even this very newspaper , the Sierra Leone Telegraph. has been publishing articles in which the SLPP government is accused of tribalism. This problem of Tribalism in Sierra Leone by the SLPP is serious and needs to be addressed. Please stop making Kabs Kanu a scapegoat. You need to apologize for your anti. democratic behavior on this noble forum. We are no longer fools in Sierra Leone.
I want to conclude by commending Mr. Abdul Rashid Thomas for making his newspaper accessible to Kabs Kanu and all of us to express our views . Do not listen to unpatriotic and undemocratic SLPP supporters like Bilal Coleman who want you to shut down this access because their party hates the truth.
CORRECTING THE MISCONCEPTIONS AND MISCHARACTERIZATIONS OF BILAL COLEMAN : PART 1
By Kabs Kanu
A. I DID NOT RECEIVE GOVERNMENT MONEY FOR DOING NOTHING
I have learnt from over 50 years of involvement with journalism that whenever a miscreant launches attacks on you, it is often wise not to respond immediately, with a rush of blood to the head, because , when done, most of what you say is controlled by anger and this often obscures your message and the issues that might be imperative to address. I want to thank all those, especially Messrs Abdul Aziz Mansaray, Titus Pratt, Abraham Amadu Jalloh, Med Sillah, Alimamy Turay , Lamrana Bah etc. who have positively defended me against the insane, undemocratic Bilal Coleman and his SLPP acolytes or viewed the issues they raised from a more objective and patriotic perspective. If I failed to mention your name, please consider it an oversight and forgive me.
Through introspection, I came to realize that Bilal Coleman is misinformed and ignorant and the best way to respond to him is to not through anger, but to patiently seek to remove the wool and pall of ignorance and hyper- partisanism blinding his eyes and correct his misperceptions and mischaracterizations . When a man expatiates ignorance, you correct him, not fight him.
1. Mr. Bilal Coleman, diplomatic work is structured and cast in stone. Nobody is able to idle in our diplomatic stations, especially our UN Mission in New York because, first of all , we are understaffed and secondly roles that have to be diligently performed are assigned to every diplomat. We all had multiple roles . Failure to perform them would have impacted negatively and heavily on the country’s diplomatic engagements with other nations and international organizations, prompt a breakdown in the chain of set objectives to be accomplished that would have created diplomatic furor, embarrassment for the nation and caused the country’s foreign service to be anemic , collapse and bring rebuke to the country. I was the Coordinator of the African Union Committee of 10 ( C-10) on the UN Security Council Reform . Sierra Leone headed the C-10 and we worked with 9 other African nations to canvass support for Africa , in accordance with the Ezulwini Consensus and the Sirte Declaration. We were canvassing for AFRICA to be given 2 seats in the Permanent Category, 3 seats in the Non- Permanent and access to the Veto, with all its prerogatives and privileges.
Bilal Coleman, there were a multiplicity of meetings to attend every week with the other organizations and member states involved in the Security Council Reform negotiations and C- 10 members . As Coordinator of C- 10, I had to be there at all times not only to participate but also take notes because I also had the task to inform President Ernest Koroma and capital in writing , since I was representing President Koroma directly on the committee , he being Chairman of C-10. The President and capital had to be kept fully abreast of everything because UN Security Council Reform is so important that heads of state call the president constantly to ask him to appraise them with the latest , he being Chairman of the African Group and C- 10. Can you imagine the national and international embarrassment if the president gave the wrong information or seemed not to be fully abreast with the status of the negotiations ? Mind you, other C-10 members and the African Group informed their presidents and capitals too. If there were discrepancies in the information that embarrassed our president and Chair, you know we would be fired the next day. So, Bilal, I did not sit at the Mission just writing praise articles. I attended nerve- wracking meetings after which I sat down painstakingly to write reports to send to my president and the Foreign Ministry. It was sleepless nights accurately putting together all the views of the various diplomats and composing a report for the president and foreign service.
Our work even got harder whenever it was time for the African Union Assembly of Heads of State Summit in Addis Ababa or other African capitals . The President will have to report to African heads of state the latest on the UN Security Council Reform negotiations as the Chairman of C-10 and the African Group. Our report from New York had to be comprehensive and accurate. We on the C-10 committee had to hold multiple technical committee meetings to prepare the report. There were times we could not go home. The heads of state meet twice around July and January. C-10 work was not easy. We had to be productive and efficient on the work, otherwise the chairmanship position, which South Africa and Nigeria envied with passion, would have been taken from Sierra Leone and you know how embarrassing .
2. I was also assigned to the UN Peacebuilding Sierra Leone Special Configuration. Sierra Leone had just come from war and was still under the UN Peacebuilding guidance. This also entailed meetings upon meetings and reports to write and send to the president and the Foreign Ministry.. Could you imagine what could have been the result if I did not attend meetings, contributed my part and sent reports to capital ?
3. I was also give the arduous task to rebrand Sierra Leone. If you found me writing all those promotional articles on President Koroma, the government and the country, it was not because I wanted to be a sycophant as many of you thought. I was doing a specific job for which I was being paid. President Koroma and the government thought wisely that the image of Sierra Leone had to be laundered and rebranded in the international world because negative notions and stereotypical ideas about Sierra Leone that had emanated from the 11- year civil war were affecting the country’s ability to attract investment, commerce and tourists. Sierra Leone was negatively perceived as the land of blood diamonds, amputation of the limbs of innocent women, children and adults by bloodthirsty rebels, instability, coup plots , economic collapse, zero development, filthy cities, darkness ( No light ) and the highest infant and maternal mortality in the whole world. President KOROMA wisely believed that through the art of rebranding the country, these negative and stereotypical perceptions about the country would be addressed and cause a change of mind to investors and tourists. Press Attaches were appointed also to do the job. I was not a press attaché, but because of my writing skills, President Koroma and the then Minister of Information, Hon. I.B . Kargbo gave me the assignment to rebrand the country. That was what got me into all the writings about the agendas, goals and achievements of the president, government and country.
4. To enable me to get investments and commerce to Sierra Leone, I was assigned to the U.S Chamber of Commerce and the U.S . Stock Exchange. Through my engagements, various investment teams from the U.S visited Sierra Leone. The idea of opening the Mango Juice factory in Sierra Leone was conceived in my office in New York . I was so appreciated by both bodies that the U.S. Chamber of Commerce gave me an award. When President Koroma was held up at the UN and could not make it on time to meet the 4pm deadline, I became the first Sierra Leonean ever to ring the NASDAQ Bell, in President Koroma’s place. Those were two of my biggest achievements as Minister Plenipotentiary. I have photos and will publish them with this piece in my Cocorioko newspaper. The UN too appreciate me and I was consultant until recently when I got another job as international elections observer.
5. You mentioned that I now send my articles to the Sierra Leone Telegraph because nobody goes to Cocorioko anymore. You were wrong. There are mechanisms online to check the readership of any online newspaper. We live today in an age of technology and knowledge. Nothing is hidden. ALEXA has our daily readership at Cocorioko.info at 5, 900 . If 5, 900 people read your newspaper everyday, is that not a big achievement? And mind you, this is only the website. We have 3 Facebook forums. One has 30,000 followers, the other 29,000 and the last one 5, 000. We also have forums at WhatsApp , Twitter and LinkedIn. Your perception about Cocorioko is therefore patently wrong. I send articles not only to the Telegraph but different newspapers online and in print and many of them publish my views. COCORIOKO remains one of the biggest and one of the most widely- read newspaper online. Thanks to Mr. Abdul Rahman Thomas of the Telegraph for publishing my articles. With people like Thomas alive, we will always have alternative sources to broadcast our views to an even bigger and more diverse readership. I also routinely publish articles from the Telegraph in the spirit of fruitful sharing.
Politics has become so dirty in Sierra Leone that people like you seize on any opportunity to malign and tar with a black brush anybody who does not support your political party and government. I can therefore understand why you often take undue liberties to paint wrong notions about me whenever I attack your SLPP. This clarification is not meant to change your mind, Bilal. A man whose opinions are set is unconvinced still . But this is for the benefit of the readers of the Sierra Leone Telegraph and decent Sierra Leoneans who deserve the truth.
TO BE CONTINUED.
“Just as a man sees a mirage and mistake s it for real water so people regard the world as real when they are merely transferring their own mental ideas to the world ” The world is never given to us by experience nor actually known by the mind. If you see some sets of people becoming prosperous and stronger it is because of their mental ideas. Similarly, if you see some sets of people becoming impoverished and weak it is because of their mindsets about the things they perceive and do. Just choose where you belong.