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NEWS : Photo News  

Sierra Leone Disgrace: A Fitting End to APC/UNIPSIL's International Charade
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Jun 14, 2009, 15:55
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It started with what is widely perceived as a conspiracy to deny John Benjamin entry into the United States of America, "at this time".

It continued with the FRAUDULENT participation, on behalf of the SLPP Party, by Hon. Emmanuel Tommy at the United Nations. Tommy was nonsensically taken by Foreign Minister Zainab Bangura to the UN's PBC to illegally speak on behalf of the SLPP.

Mrs. Bangura acted unilaterally and surreptitiously without the knowledge or consent of SLPPs National Chairman/Leader, John Benjamin in total contravention of the letter and spirit of the April 2nd Joint Communiqu. Only Benjamin, as National Chairman, is empowered by the SLPP Constitution to represent the SLPP or nominate a representative.

With all the deceptions, conspiracies, reprehensible shenanigans and international charades, it was but fitting that the UNIPSIL/APC tomfoolery of the International World ended in a manner befitting an international charade of such a grand scale. So it was that last Saturday's much advertised "Massive" Peace Concert as had been touted at the UN Headquarters, ended in Total Disgrace as Freetownians simply just boycotted it completely.

For the past ten days, all the airwaves and newspapers have been filled with adverts calling on the populace to attend a FREE Musical Jamboree which was slated to be the climax of the UN Peacebuilding Meeting. They called upon the populace to go and enjoy all the leading musicians in the country, FREE OF CHARGE!! United Nations and the APC-led Government asked the populace to go and enjoy FREE OF CHARGE,  an entertainment jamboree.

"Nobody nor get for pay one cent. Una go na Stadium this Saturday for go dance with President Koroma and the United Nations," the Public Address systems blared on top of hired taxis that traversed the length and breadth of Freetown for several days. Brightly coloured Posters and Fliers were distributed all over the land.

CLICK HERE FOR A SAMPLE OF THE ADVERT

Also, here is what the APC's Minister/Diplomat Plenipotentiary Kabs-Kanu had to say about the planned FREE EVENT which he forecasted was going to be "massive". Here are his written words in red:

START-> "Before the President's speech [to the UN's PBC], there was a video presentation of the ARTISTS FOR PEACE (a youth Group in Sierra Leone) singing the peace songs Put you country fors and Peace nar we right. These peace songs and the video will be officially launched by President Ernest Bai Koroma in a massive peace building program at the Brookfields National Stadium on Saturday June 13. The Executive Representative of the Secretary General in Sierra Leone, Mr. Michael Von der Schuenburg, who visited the Sierra Leone UN Permanent Mission last week, presented a copy of the video to the mission. He was very excited about the video's message of peace and reconciliation in Sierra Leone." - END

To further illustrate the extent of the hype behind the "massive" Peace Concert, is the following from one of Sierra Leone's independent entertainment portals (SaloneJamboree):

President Koroma to Launch Peace Songs: Thousands of Sierra Leoneans are expected to join His Excellency the President Dr. Ernest Bai Koroma on Saturday, June 13 at the National Stadium main bowl as he launches peace songs and videos put together by the Artists for Peace Building.
The programme, which is dubbed national peace concert and is being sponsored by the Government of Sierra Leone and the United Nations Integrated Peace Building Office in Sierra Leone, aims at promoting peace, tolerance and reconciliation among the country's politicians following a joint peace communiqu signed last April by the ruling All People's Congress (APC) party and the opposition Sierra Leone People's Party (SLPP).
The country's politicians are expected to make statements committing themselves genuinely towards peace and tolerance for the common good.
Leader of the group, Abu Bakarr Elba (aka Base Aphonyx), said they wanted political parties and other key stakeholders in governance to work together to develop Sierra Leone.
The programme will begin at 12 mid-day with a peace march from the House of Parliament at Tower Hill to the National Stadium, Brookfields, Freetown.
The Artists for Peace Building will perform two specially composed songs titled Put you kontri fos' and Peace na we right', which are done in various local languages as well.
Videos of the songs, which show the artists all clad in white as a symbol of peace, are currently being shown regularly on national television.


WELL HERE FOLLOWS THE PHOTOGRAPHS OF THE "MASSIVE" PEACE CONCERT. AS FOR THE MARCH PAST, THE LEAST SAID, THE BETTER.

A view of the Stadium showing the only areas where human beings were somehow populated: The Presidential and Covered Stands. At this point, the Show was already mid-way and the President and his entourage were already seated
 

A view of one of the the Covered Stand
 

Close Up of the other Covered Stand showing dignitaries in their white
 

The rest of the Stadium to the left of the Presidential/Covered Stands
 

The rest of the Stadium to the right of the Presidential/Covered Stands. In this shot, some of the country's leading musicians are singing. It is not that the musicians were lousy. They are amongst the brightest and best of Sierra Leone's musical talents. The populace was just not in the mood to go and dance with President Koroma and the United Nations
 

A Close up of the empty blue seats
 

Another Close Up of another part of the empty stadium
 

Another section
 

A wider lens-view showing the most populated of all the Open Stands (Stand 15)
 

A Close up of Stand 15 which was the most densely populated
 

Stand 1
 

Stand 4
 

Stand 5
 

Stand 7
 

Stand 9
 

Stand 14
 

Stand 16
 

Stand 17
 

Stand 18
 

Stand 19
 

Stand 20
 

Stand 21
 

The National Stadium at the "massive" Concert
 

One of the Awareness Times reporters at the National Stadium overheard Foreign Minister Zainab Bangura grumbling to SLPP Deputy Chairman, Dr. Kadi Sesay over the fact that the people of Freetown did not show support for the APC's 'International Efforts. Dr. Kadi Sesay had led a delegation of a handful of SLPP members to the Stadium. Mrs. Zainab Bangura was also overheard saying to Dr. Kadi Sesay that the United Nations team on the ground in Freetown had made a mess of the arrangements.

"Look the rubbish nor? Look wey the stadium empty bah? This na disgrace! Wan sober arrangement den nor make!" Foreign Minister Zainab Bangura was overheard telling SLPP Deputy Chair Dr. Kadi Sesay in the local Creole parlance. [TRANSLATION: Look at this rubbish? Look at how empty the stadium is? This is a disgrace. There was no serious organisation!]

Meanwhile, ordinary citizens from Freetown and all over the country, have informed Awareness Times that the APC will regret the shabby manner in which the APC treated the SLPP Chairman John Benjamin, who is known to have bent over backwards to ensure political tolerance takes root in the country.

"We are not saying anything. We are watching carefully and observing. Sierra Leoneans have already sent out a strong message to the world with the non-attendance of us citizens at the charade of the UN and the APC at the National Stadium. Anyone who carefully observes local dynamics should advise Mr. Schulenburg and the United Nations Headquarters to re-think their peace-building strategies in this country," a Civil Society activist, Morie Benfullah stated.

"No-one will disrespect our elected National Chairman and expect to be respected in turn," one of the SLPP's elected Zonal Chairmen for the Western Area asserted last night as he explained why he and his members decided to just boycott the Stadium event. His views are being re-echoed all over the country by irate SLPP members who contacted this newspaper and who are dismayed and disgusted at the disrespect shown to Mr. John Benjamin by the APC Government with the full knowledge of Mr. Schulenburg.

It is not however clear why even APC supporters and members here in Freetown all decided to also boycott the event at the Stadium even though President Koroma was there with a high powered delegation.

Meanwhile, the BBC's Lansana Fofana delivered a scathing indictment of the Saturday event in his early morning Network Africa programme. Listeners could not mistake the tone of Lansana Fofanas voice as he reported on the lack of attendance at the Stadium despite the massive billing that the show had been given. It was a tone of derision and disgust.


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

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