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Sierra Leone's President Koroma and His Immediate Surroundings
By Umaru Sitta Turay
Oct 28, 2009, 18:53
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In the beginning of every day, the first thing I do is to grab newspapers and read them. I do not only read the news content of the papers but every little thing that is being printed on them. It is food for me and therefore replenishes that side of me that I am unable to explain. All I know, as a journalist, I am bound to be reading newspapers.

The very first paper that I always like to read is the Independent Observer. I like to read this paper because they are quick to write things in their Editorials that I will always want to write about. Its like they read my mind. Truly I do admire the trio in that media. A trio that is very united in different ideology. They are tolerant of each other even if they have differences on their ideology. I want to say Bravo although I am not praise singing.

The crux of this piece is motivated by one of the editorials of 26th October 2009 of the Independent Observer. It is captioned SCB 777 Bundu is a Blackmailer. When I read the piece I applauded although it was done in my room privately. It has given me the urge to ask the question; "Who are these people around President Koroma?"

The other day, it was a photographer of the President that was being charged to court for conspiring to stab Umaru Sitta Turay. The other time, its the close protection officer of the President that is alleged to have involved in violence at the SLPP office; another day, it is the Close Protection Unit officer again that is implicated in shooting at the Lumley Beach and if not all that, a presidential press person will choose to wage "Press War" on a popular female publisher. That is driving me mad.

I am looking at it as if some kind of massive overhauling must take place around the President. All sorts of stories are being heard from close the President. I remember the Ariogbo Saga; the throwing of urine at opposition party top officials at State House; the beating of journalists in front of State House and several other incidents. All of these things are done by people that are close to the President.

People close to the President should behave in like manner (Presidential) but it is totally not so with our darling President, Ernest Bai Koroma. Looking at the case in question, it is very current that Sulaiman Bundu alias Honourable is going round this city purporting to be an Honourable Member of Parliament and the closest of confidantes to President Koroma. At the Satellite Clinic along King Harman road, this so called Honourable met me there one time and told officials that he is a member of parliament and for that reason must be given a preference. I protested to it but he got away with it because I was a little late to identify him.

This Bundu has been a close friend of the daughter of Solomon Berewa, Annie Berewa. That relationship brought Bundu to the corridors of the then vice president. During the 2007 elections, Bundu served as a close person to the Director General (DG) of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs as the DG also showed interest in the running mate issue. He deceitfully stood by the DG and continued to be member of the SLPP at that time.

During the Presidential runoff, he quickly moved to the APC through Musa Tarawally, Resident Minister South. He pretended to be carrying news (false) from Berewas house to Musa Tarawally for onward transmission to President Koroma. Those false movements secured him confidence to the President. He has been a false person from the onset and has been chasing respectable Sierra Leoneans and posing to have the ability to influence good and bad things to happen. He can misbehave in public at anytime and in any place. He is a desperado to become rich. He flouts public rules especially traffic orders. He is quick to fight and has surrounded himself with some ex-combatants that he calls his personal body-guards. He is FALSE to say it all.

President Koroma should now start to closely monitor his surroundings. The surroundings of a President should be a decent one. It should be unblemished. Even the security personnel that are attached to the Presidency must show that they are a different entity all together. They should be a specialized group of persons that are soberly disciplined. The other officials around the President should also be chosen persons from the public that will maintain the good name of the Presidency. It has always been a discomforting scene for me when I see some kind of people around His Excellency President Koroma. He really does not deserve those kinds of persons.

Most Sierra Leonean refers to President Koroma as a decent man. It seems as if that has changed since he became President. His choice of people that have been placed around him has seriously contaminated the view of him being a very gentle man whom all of us knew when he was heading the opposition. The President needs to reexamine this issue and take the proper action himself. It scares me when I think of it that President Koroma will continue with his present surroundings. It scares me because I am one of the victims of the violent act of his photographer. Please change your surroundings Excellency!!!

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

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