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In Kono, Chameleons Sang Baa Nya Fayki
By Sylvia Blyden, Abdul K. Kabia & Saa Mathias Bendu
Feb 25, 2009, 17:16
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In the English Language, there is a species of lizards known as Chameleons. In the local Krio parlance, it is known as a cormuel. A cormuel (chameleon) has a unique ability. It changes its skin colours according to the surroundings it finds itself in. If it is lying next to red roses, its skin becomes red and if it is lying on green vegetation, the skin colour changes quickly to green and if it moves over to a patch of red fruits, it quickly becomes red once again. The dictionary definition of a chameleon (cormuel) is as follows:

1. A lizard characterized by the ability to change the color of their skin.
2. A changeable, fickle, or inconstant person.

This past weekend up in Kono, the President, the First Lady and the Vice President all travelled to spend time with the people of Kono. Kono is a district that had rejected the ruling APC party during the 2007 Parliamentary Elections to the extent that seven (7) of eight (8) MPs from the district are all from the opposition green SLPP. However, during the 2008 Local Government Elections, Kono seemingly turned to ruling party APC red by sweeping virtually all the councillorships albeit with attendant intimidatory violence by APC operatives. Of late, the SLPP has been strongly asserting that Kono is now once more indisputably green for SLPP but if the crowd of merrymakers that came out to welcome the visitors last weekend is anything to go by, Kono is definitely red for APC.

The bone of contention has been whether the crowd was a genuine one or full of fake APC supporters.

The APC entourage took along with them a famous local musician by the name of Innocent. This young man was the author of the hit song "Notice that signaled the end of the erstwhile SLPP Government as well as the other hit song Ojukokoro that is now practically synonymous with the Wanza 75 Billion Leones scandal. Innocent now has a new song entitled with a Mende phrase known as Baa Nya Fayki (Do Not Fake Me).

The phrase Baa Nya Fayki was popularized by the opposition SLPP as a taunt after the ruling APC party spent millions of Leones in Pujehun during the last Bye Elections. After allegedly dishing out bales of cash to Pujehun residents, the APC Secretary General, Victor Foh would give an admonishment to what seemed like thousands of newfound APC supporters that he hoped they were not faking their support for his party.

"I hope you are not faking me oh (Baa Nya Fayki)?" Foh would nervously ask his newfound APC supporters. Unfortunately for Foh, indeed they were faking him as he found out when the election results were counted and his party lost woefully despite the thousands of supporters who had used to rally around him and his moneybags. It became clear to Foh that he had been hoodwinked when upon the announcement of the results, those he had thought were his new APC supporters came out in their bright green opposition SLPP outfits to jubilate and mock him with taunts of Baa Nya Fayki! Baa Nya Fayki!! Baa Nya Fayki!!!

The mocking taunts soon spread to Freetown and later throughout the country so much so that at any junction of entertainment or even in school compounds, Baa Nya Fayki was a the slogan of the times. It was this popularity that Innocent the musician took advantage of and released a single in which he sang about citizens who had fake lifestyles and went around boasting and pretending to be who they were not. The song soon picked up momentum and when Innocent travelled with the President to Kono last weekend, the song was being sang all over the town.

However, what also has emerged clearly is that many well known SLPP supporters came out in droves dressed in bright red and singing alongside the APC supporters, Baa Nya Fayki! Baa Nya Fayki!! since it was the song being blasted on the music sets around the town in honour of the visiting Innocent musician. Many of such SLPP supporters telephoned this press house to say they were right in the thick of the APC merriment and dancing with the APC all decked out in red but in reality, they were SLPP members to the core.

Our Kono correspondents were assigned to monitor various spots in Kono and they all reported back that indeed many SLPP die-hards were seen in the APC crowd but they were wearing red and winking to one another as they enjoyed the food and drinks that were made available to them by various APC operatives.

According to the newly elected Secretary General of the SLPP branch in the district, the SLPP was "showing understanding" to their "well-known members" who were out dancing for the Presidential entourage. He said the turn out was not a show of support for the APC but actually a means for the impoverished people of the district to get themselves entertainment, free food and free drinks.

Another SLPP youth telephoned up the Awareness Times offices last weekend during the height of merriment in Koidu Town. This is what he said: "Awareness Times, I am calling to tell you that right now, I am a cormuel (chameleon) with red skin but as soon as the APC leaves town, I am changing colour back to my green skin. For now, I am enjoying the free food and drinks. Baa Nya Fayki! Baa Nya Fayki!! Baa Nya Fayki!!!" he shouted out over the telephone.

However, a close associate of President Koroma who was also up in Kono dismissed the talk of cormuels singing Baa Nya Fayki instead opining that those who were spreading "lies" about the APCs popularity would have to Gbak-si-neh-mi. Asked what was Gbak-si-neh-mi, he cryptically responded, "That is your assignment".

Mr. Cornelius Deveaux, the Editor of the APC Newspaper and aspirant for their partys National Publicity Secretary, also strongly debunked the claims that the people who were dancing to welcome them into the town were chameleons.

"That was not a cormuel crowd. I was there. I know what I saw with my own two eyes. That crowd in Kono was very sincere and very genuine. The detractors of Vice President Sam-Sumana have all been put to shame and they are now coming up with excuses. It is not a situation of Baa Nya Fayki but one of Take Dry-Eye Cover Shame." Deveaux asserted.

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

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