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NEWS : Politics  

Kabs Kanu suggests it will be wise for John Benjamin to Distance Himself from Awareness Times
By
Jun 11, 2009, 12:11
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In an email sent to the Publisher of Awareness Times this early morning, Mr. Kabs-Kanu, the erstwhile Publisher of Cocorioko who is now a Minister Plenipotentiary at the United Nations Mission of Sierra Leone, has called on the bonafide and legitimate Leader of the Opposition in Sierra Leone, John Oponjo Benjamin, to distance himself from the Awareness Times Newspaper so as to increase his political capital. The interesting missive, with insults at this paper, was sent to us for publication. As is our policy to allow everyone to be heard, even though the missive is meant to be insulting to us, and Mr. Kabs-Kanu obviously felt we would not heed his request for publication, we have reproduced the entire email as sent to us for publication. It is reproduced below. History and Posterity will judge everyone.


Subject:   Fwd: DATELINE NEW YORK
From:   kabbskanu@aol.com
Date:   Thu, June 11, 2009 4:22 am
To:   ceo@blyden.com

Sylvia,

Kindly publish for me. Part 2 is coming.


-----Original Message-----
From: Abdulai Bayraytay <abayraytay.foreignaffairs.sl@gmail.com>
To: kabbskanu@aol.com
Sent: Wed, 10 Jun 2009 6:15 am
Subject: Re: DATELINE NEW YORK

Kabbs, a well written piece, as always....keep it up.

Bayraytay
--
Abdulai Bayraytay, M.A. Political Science (International Relations)
Personal Assistant to the Honourable Minister & Spokesman
Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation,
14 Gloucester Street (6th floor)
Freetown, Sierra Leone
Office Tel.: +232-22-220340
Cell: +232-33-219-354
Fax: +232-22-225615

On Tue, Jun 9, 2009 at 1:25 PM, <kabbskanu@aol.com> wrote:


DATELINE NEW YORK

The diary of a Sierra Leonean diplomat -- by KABS KANU

A DAY I WAS PROUD OF MY PRESIDENT, OPPOSITION LEADER AND NATION

Once a journalist, always a journalist.After over a moth of uncomfotable silence, I
have decided to write again and get back into the scheme of things .  I cannot stay
away from writing because writing is my passion and my life.In over 30 years of
journalism, I have  also established a readership base I cannot forsake at this
time.

Writing is the most exciting preoccupation I have known since childhood .Therefore,
never  my position as Minister Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary to the Sierra Leone
Permanent Mission to the United Nations should not really keep me out of the
profession I had loved since primary school days.  I have found a way to always
touch base with my readers through this diary which I will fill in whenever matters
of importance to my nation comes up. Hopefully, this is going to be a column through
which I will be giving my perspectives on national reconciliation, national unity,
na
tional development and the "publishable' matters from New York , about which , I am
certain,  my readers would love to know.
 

MONDAY JUNE 8, 2009

This is  a very important week for Sierra Leone. The High Level Peacebuilding Sierra
Leone Configuration Special Session takes place at the UN .According to a UN
document, the objectives of the session are to garner political support  for Sierra
Leone's Agenda For Change and its peacebuilding elements as well as mobilize support
for the implementation of the UN Joint Vision for Sierra Leone and to also launch
the UN Multi-Donor Trust Fund. The session is also meant to broaden the scope of
Sierra Leone's partnership base and enhance coordination and coherence of
international support to Sierra Leone's peace consolidation efforts in line with the
Agenda For Change and in advance of the forthcoming Consultative Group Meeting.

Here in New York for the summit is a high-powered Sierra Leonean delegation led by
the highly-esteemed Minister of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation,
Mrs.Zainab Bangura . Other members of the delegation  include the Deputy Minister of
Finance, Dr.Richard Konteh; the minority leader of the opposition Sierra Leone
People's Party (SLPP), Mr.Emmanuel Tommy, a representative of the press, ace
journalist David Tam-Bayo and the President of the National Union of Sierra Leonean
Students ( NUSS), Mr.Felix Sandy.

The first day of the exercise today was held with the UN Security Council . Apart fr
om the delegation from Sierra Leone, the nation was also represented by the
Permanent Representative to the Permanent Sierra Leone Mission to the UN, H.E.Shekou
Toure, the Deputy Permanent Representative for Political Affairs, Ambassador Rupert
Davies , the Minister Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary , your humble servant ;
Counselor Mannah Kpukumu and the Information Attache, Ms.Betty Foray.  It turned out
to be a very instructive and eye-opening summit.

I  left the hall feeling very proud of my President, Dr.Ernest Bai Koroma , the
opposition leader John Oponjo Benjamin and my country. I will explain why. Last
Sunday,while our mission in New York was busy putting plans together for a summit
whose ultimate success will be a blessing to the Sierra Leonean people, the
AWARENESS TIMES  newspaper stunned everybody by reporting that some Sierra Leoneans
in the U.S.were planning to stage a demonstration at the UN Building. According to
the pro-opposition SLPP  newspaper, the Sierra Leoneans will be demonstrating to
call for  "...the removal of ERSG Michael Schulenburg from Sierra Leone.... More
non-partisan Sierra Leoneans are frightened at the very real prospect of the
breakdown of peace as a consequence20of the perceived heavy bias demonstrated by the
special representative of the United Nations in Sierra Leone against the nations
oldest political party, the SLPP."
 
The report was a slap in the face of Sierra Leoneans who were tired with all the
political posturing that has done more
 harm to the country's interests than good. A demonstration at the UN while a
high-level meeting intended to help the nation was going on ?The question that
reasonable Sierra Leoneans asked was "What is wrong with our people ? " . Sierra
Leoneans could not understand that at a time that the government and the
international community were busy working together to redeem our nation from the
shackles of want, poverty and wretchedness, here were people who called themselves
Sierra Leoneans plotting  partisan actions to supplant the whole processs .I did
not believe that the SLPP would be so unpatriotic and dumb to try to squander its
goodwill, respect and credibility at a time when the party should be projecting a
different image of itself.

I went to the hall with a bitter taste of our citizens' unpatriotism in my mouth.
However , when once the summit started and the  Executive Representative of the UN
Secretary General, Mr. Michael Schulenburg an d other member states of the Security
council started presenting their reports on Sierra Leone, my mood lifted and I
became elated.

At a time when some of our destructive opposition newspapers were busy spreading
alarming stories that the President ,Dr.Ernest Koroma and his government had lost
the goodwill and support of the international community, here was the very
international community larvishing praises on the President for his maturity,
tolerance and wisdom in working with the opposition leader ,Mr.John Benjamin, in
consolidating the peace20in Sierra Leone and for his Agenda of Change , which will
benefit the people , and  his economic reforms. This development in the UN was a
blow to detractors of the government who had thought that the March crises would
have damaged the President and the government's standing with the international
community . I felt very proud of my President.I have said it over and over before
that as far as the present Sierra Leone was concerned, President Koroma is the best
hope for socio-economic and political renaissance .It is refreshing that the
international community is moving towards that same opinion. President Koroma is
doing a magnificient job and inspite of the country's mountains of problems we ,
Sierra Leoneans, need to give him our support .

As for the opposition leader=2 0,Mr. Benjamin, he too can take something from the
way he  was highly commended by the international community for working with
President Koroma to defuse the March conflict and sign the peace communique, which
holds tremendous promise for consolidating peace in Sierra Leone. Nothing brought
more pride to Sierra Leone that the sentiments expressed at the UN Security Council
that the Sierra Leone peace initiative and comminique could be a model for other
African nations facing the same situation. I  could not help calling Mr.Benjamin to
congratulate him for the sentiments expressed about him. Though he i told me that he
was still upset by the inconvenience he suffered  from immigration authorities at
the Dulles In
ternational Airport while entering the U.S. last week, Mr. Benjamin agreed with me
that the interest of our nation comes first and Sierrra Leoneans should be proud of
the apparent shift in perception about Sierra Leone in the UN. What was gratifying
was that Mr.Benjamin did not seem to be the intolerant opposition leader his own
party newspapers, especiallt the NEW PEOPLE,  want people to think about him.He said
he had called President Koroma many times to reaffirm his support and cooperation
for and with the peace process in the country.

The feeling that one is apt to nurse is that  Sierra Leone's problem may not be the
President or the opposition leader but the press, which was=2 0blamed by some of the
members of the UN Security Council  today for instigating political intolerance in
Sierra Leone. May be, for his own political capital, it is time that Mr.John Oponjo
Benjamin dissociates himself from newspapers and media that are steadily being
construed by the international community as part of the problem in Sierra Leone.

The SLPP Minority Leader,Mr.Emmanuel Tommy , also fascinated me yesterday during a
lengthy discussion about the political situation in Sierra Leone .He also extolled
peace and the idea that we Sierra Leoneans are one people and there was no reason
for our people to allow politics to divide them. 

Anyway, I am proud of my country for setting the pace once again and by God's grace
we shall regain our old glory.

N.B
0A

I am also delighted with this day because I met my cousin from Gbendembu Gowahun
Chiefdom, Deputy Finance Minister , Dr.Richard Konteh, in person for the first time
and ofcourse my professional collegue, the inimitable journalist, David Tam-Mbayo
,whose interesting and educative articles I have been admiring , since the early
1990s when he=2 0published THE PUNCH  newspaper. I was also delighted to meet and
collaborate with my boss, Foreign Minister,Zainab Hawa Bangura, who delivered an
immaculate speech at the UN Security Coiuncil.

---
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