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Major Kula Samba - What the Future holds - Samba & Kallon Families Speak
By The Samba and Kallon Families in USA & Sierra Leone
Oct 27, 2008, 18:06
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October 19th 2008: Today marks the tenth anniversary of the judicial killing of Major Kula Samba, our sister and our aunt. She was not just our blood relative but she was also a close friend and confidante.

Thanks to her dear friend for undertaking to set up a Memorial Scholarship Fund in her name. As a family, we could not have undertaken such as it would have appeared to be self-serving but we are deeply grateful to Dr. Sylvia Olayinka Blyden for making everyone remember that this remarkable woman named Kula Samba once passed through this earth in a brief sojourn.

It still seems like yesterday when her beautiful smile, courageous spirit and caring personality were snatched away from us forever. Toward the end of her days with us, she endured an awesome catalog of trials, grief, terrors and mortifications, - always with her chin up! 

Many years from now, we believe Kula’s fate will be seen as the symptom of the times when many Sierra Leoneans were very angry and upset. It will be part of a time when some of our basic constitutional protections were not observed as we think most Sierra Leoneans – when we are very calm about it – would have wanted.

What drove many people were concerns that rebels would attack our country again, or that renegade soldiers would stage another coup or uprising or mutiny. Sam (Maskita) Bockarie was elusive but bragging all the time over BBC, Johnny-Paul Koroma escaped from Freetown when ECOMOG toppled him and thus he escaped the punishment we wanted for him; Foday Sankoh had not been brought to justice, and Charles Taylor who sponsored all of these and other atrocious forces against our country was still President of Liberia. So it was that Kula Samba and other soldiers connected with the Armed Forces Revolutionary Council (AFRC) junta became the focal point for our anger and our concern.

Much of the criticisms directed at Kula were based on snap judgments made in response to fragments of a complex story.
The first thing people did was jump on her decision to serve in the AFRC. Agreed, she made a poor judgment. But who among us has not? Luckily for most of us, our poor judgments don’t have such devastating consequences. Kula agreed at her court-martial that she really shouldn’t have been a member of the AFRC. The AFRC was not, by the way, the same as the RUF. Still, that was not a good judgment. We who are her family and friends have never tried to soften that Kula choosing to work with the AFRC was not a good choice.

However, having accepted that she made a poor judgment, next comes the questions asking if she really deserved to die because of this her poor judgment? Our government and Judicial systems work for much of the time. What doesn’t work are Sierra Leone citizens being detained or jailed without being given access to lawyers, and tried without the chance of an appeal. We are not as free as we once were during the colonial days or during the early part of our independence.

Foremost among the people who are going to save our systems are the members of the judicial branch of our government. If we are going to have a free country, then it is imperative for judges, prosecutors, and defense lawyers to step out and be strong and remember where we came from and where we want to go. We cannot all agree with the government all of the time. In a democracy, dissent is an act of faith and conformity is a philosophy of indifference. We can be assured when the majority and the minority take the same side of an important issue without adequate discussion, some great wrong is about to be unleashed.

To end, a little note on the pedigree of our late sister and aunt.

The Late Major Kula Samba was trained as a nursing sister in America and came back home to join the military as a Nursing sister. She was born at Nyeama village; the beloved daughter of the Honourable Paramount Chief Alfred Bockarie Samba of Jawei Chiefdom, Kailahun District in Eastern Sierra Leone. Her father, P.C. Alfred Bockarie Samba was the representative of all Paramount Chiefs of Kailahun District in the Legislative Council from 1947 until his death in 1963. Chief Samba was one of the four Founding Fathers of the Sierra Leone People’s Party (SLPP). It is recounted that he was the initial person chosen to lead the SLPP but following consultations with his people of Jawei Chiefdom, he instead offered for Sir Milton Margai to lead the then newly formed SLPP.

Until his death, Chief Samba remained a steadfast SLPP member. Today, his family and descendants remain to be SLPP supporters. Kula Samba’s immediate elder brother, Alhaji Moinina Samba, who was one of the strongest SLPP supporters in Kailahun, died of a cardiac arrest the instant he heard Dr. Christiana Thorpe announce the elections results on September 17
th 2007.

May both their souls rest in perfect peace.

© Copyright by Awareness Times Newspaper in Freetown, Sierra Leone.

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