President Ernest Bai Koroma celebrated the first anniversary of his Inauguration (15th November) by walking the streets of Freetown as an ordinary man. Leaving behind his security and other cumbersome assistants, President Koroma suddenly materialized in front of the Awareness Times offices at PZ last Saturday November 15th 2008, with minimal fuss. As soon as the passers-by and market women realised that indeed it was their beloved President, a huge roar of support went up in the air as people rushed towards the casually dressed popular President.
|President shown at his Inauguration: He is still a Very Popular Leader!
Dressed smartly in a bright red and brown striped Sports Shirt, light brown khaki pants and a matching brown sports hat tinged with red, President Koroma was in a relaxed mood as he took his time to shake the hands of dozens of his chanting supporters. People were ecstatic as the word spread that the popular leader was at PZ Roundabout and the crowd of supporters swelled up.
President Koroma spent several minutes walking and chatting especially with the traders before he walked back into his Jeep and drove off. His activities in the city were then monitored by Awareness Times reporters who were placed on alert all over the city to monitor what kind of reception the President received. The feedback to our offices was that everywhere the President went, he was joyfully received.
Our reporters monitored as the President left our office area at PZ Roundabout and drove to where the female shrimps sellers place their produce. He was also lavished with loving songs of welcome.
At the Sweissy area and the BASE area, it was the same warm welcome that the President received. He moved over to the Booksellers by the Park and again he was warmly received and joyfully mobbed.
Awareness Times, an independent newspaper, can authoritatively confirm that at each and every place where our reporters monitored President Koroma last Saturday, the President was warmly welcomed. Perhaps the most interesting development as monitored by this independent presshouse, was when Mr. President walked unannounced into the Opposition ‘stronghold’ of STOP PRESS, an entertainment spot run by veteran Journalist Pios Foray. A true sign of the enduring popularity of Ernest Koroma (aka ’Nesto!) was when opposition loyalists gleefully welcomed him to their ‘lair’ .
Infact, as monitored by Awareness Times’ reporters, the Opposition SLPP’s Secretary General, J.J. Saffa, upon hearing the news of ’Nesto’s presence at STOP PRESS, practically ran there all the way from the SLPP Party headquarters where the SLPP had just concluded their NEC Meeting. Gasping for breath, Saffa rushed joyfully to greet the President and to pose for some photos with him (See Page 3 for some of those photographs).
Later, as monitored by our reporters at the scene, whilst other patrons of STOP PRESS were trying to joyfully rush at the President, it was J.J. Saffa who was even helping to protect and secure the President as the President had not gone with bodyguards into the Entertainment spot.
IN A FUTURE EDITION THIS WEEK, READ THE DETAILS OF THE EXCLUSIVE INTERVIEW GRANTED TO DR. SYLVIA BLYDEN BY PRESIDENT ERNEST BAI KOROMA, ON THE FIRST ANNIVERSARY OF HIS INAUGURATION, ABOUT THE REASON WHY HE WENT AROUND FREETOWN WITHOUT BODYGUARDS.
© Copyright by Awareness Times
Newspaper in Freetown, Sierra Leone.