It was a tough decision to make. The highly-supportive-of-her-husband First Lady of Sierra Leone had an important meeting planned with the various international donors that her office was working with. Some of them were going to be flying in to attend the Roundtable Meeting. Unfortunately, the date that fitted into the calendar of all those who were to attend the meeting fell within the time His Excellency the President was to have been in New York for his Inaugural Address to the U.N. General Assembly. Sia Nyama Koroma had to make a tough decision. Accompany her husband to America and leave her administrative staff to deal with the donors or Stay in Sierra Leone and work with the donors at the Roundtable Meeting called to discuss how her dreams for the downtrodden and needy in Sierra Leone could be supported.
|The Happy Koromas dressed up in beautiful Sierra Leone Gara Outfits at the recent State Opening of Parliament
The First Couple made the decision together that it was of high importance for First Lady to be present at the Donor Meeting for her office. So, it was that Sia Koroma stayed behind in Sierra Leone whilst Ernest Koroma flew to New York. This, I must say, is not the usual pattern of the First Lady who has been extremely supportive of her husband since he became President of Sierra Leone. For example, the Public recalls how Information Minister revealed that the night before the President was to face the media for the very first time, the First Lady had been very concerned about what format the Media Session was to take. It was obvious that she had deep concern that her husband might get to be exposed to potential heckling or embarrassing questions.
This is not unusual. It is what is expected of a woman in love. Interestingly, Sia Koroma is not the only woman in the President’s life who has such concerns for his public figure not being exposed to embarrassment. I remember having a conversation with Mama Alice Koroma, the mother of the President, shortly before the President was to launch the SLPP Radio at a public function. Mama Alice was worried.
Infact, just like Sia Koroma reportedly expressed to Minister I.B. Kargbo, she told me that she was concerned over what her son might possibly face there. It was not that the President’s mother was against him doing the launching of the opposition radio; No! She was just concerned that some over-zealous SLPP supporters might gang up to heckle and embarrass the President. But, the occasion ended up being one of the highest points in our democratic timelines to date. Both Koroma and the SLPP Party came out with laurels.
Bottom-line, no heckling or embarrassment of the President occurred at either of the two functions. But these two important women in his life cared so much for him that they expressed it to others.
Following her expression of concern for what format the press programme might take, Sia Koroma in a further show of solidarity, ensured she was right by the President’s side to give him moral support as he faced uncensored public questioning by journalists for the first time since he became President.
The Press Lunch was slated for shortly before mid-day which meant that President Koroma arrived straight from his offices at State House whilst Sia Koroma took off from their residence. At the end, the two of them departed again for their various directions and of course with full security and protocol measures being observed.
Those who know Sia Koroma realise that she is easily one of the best things Sierra Leone has going for it right now. Highly educated but down to earth and very approachable, the First Lady has won the hearts and minds of many people including those who might otherwise have been opposed to her husband.
Being the niece of Chief Tamba Songu Mbriwa, and the daughter of Abu Aiah Koroma, it is not an exaggeration to say Sia Koroma grew up in highly political surroundings. Her late father, (a master-politician who swayed all the Kono votes into his DCP Party in 1996) is easily one of the most successful Kono politician to date. Her uncle, T.S. Mbriwa together with my grandfather Professor Edward Blyden, coalesced their individual political movements before Independence to create what was then a formidable political force in Kono and in large swathes of Freetown. Sia Koroma was brought up by successful politicians and she knows politics. She has been quietly applying this knowledge of hers overtly and covertly in support of extending her husband’s political influence. So it was that like John the Baptist, she was in Bo Town last weekend to ostensibly soften the ground for her dear husband’s own planned visit to Bo Town this weekend.
I passed through Bo on my way from Kailahun earlier this week and the feedback I got did not surprise me. First Lady Sia Koroma took Bo Town women by storm with the mobilization of small women’s groups and the mentoring of those involved in projects which she had interest in. One person who had never met her before that time, told me in Bo that from how he saw her operate in Bo, Sia Koroma is easily one of the biggest political assets that Mr. President currently has. I could not agree more! Additionally, I will say the way and manner in which she has comported herself since she became First Lady, has been a source of pride and inspiration to many Sierra Leone women. Indeed, we have a fine First Lady. Keep the flag flying Sia Nyama Koroma as we are very proud of you, our able & capable First Lady!
© Copyright by Awareness Times
Newspaper in Freetown, Sierra Leone.