Mohamed Sankoh (One Drop) and I go back along the journalism pathways some 5 odd years. He was first brought to my attention by my Editor, Sayoh Kamara when we were setting up the Awareness Times in July 2005. Sayoh had described him as a very intelligent proof-reader so I had conducted an informal, semi-interview with Sankoh back then after which I told Sayoh that I did not have a good feeling about Mohamed Sankoh working for me. That was the end of that proposal.
Fast forward to 2009 and Mohamed Sankoh commences to edit Presidential Press Secretary’s Torchlight Newspaper which newspaper had made it a hobby to write about Sylvia Blyden inside every edition. They thought that was the best way for them to help President Koroma. As I always do to such pro-Koroma detractors of mine, I gave them leeway for a very long time to mis-perform without paying cognisance to them until one fine day, I decided it was time to strike back. The rest is History with Mohamed Sankoh eventually authoring an editorial on Page 2 of Torchlight calling for a ceasefire and saying he had nothing against Sylvia Blyden. Fine by me!
Fast forward to mid this year with Mohamed Sankoh deciding to quit Torchlight and set up his own Media Consultancy. The Afsatu Kabba issue came up and Mohamed decided to have fun with his pen, once again at my expense. I ignored him since I was too focussed on what I knew was one of the biggest journalist battles on my hands; bringing to light the reality of the ‘case’ against Afsatu Kabba.
Well, by May 2010, to the shock of people like Mohamed Sankoh, they saw their anti-Afsatu positions slipping away from under them as the trial commenced and Abdul Tejan-Cole ran away from town. Tejan-Cole left a confused bunch of pen-pushers behind who could barely find their way especially as the trial became a comedy of errors in so many ways.
Many pen-pushers just kept quiet but unlike other pen-pushers, Mohamed Sankoh, decided to privately contact me and concede that he might have found himself on the wrong side of History. He asked for the two of us to turn over a new page and start afresh like fellow Princewaleans. I was very, very moved at his humility and found myself seeing in Mohamed a different person altogether from my earlier perceptions of him as an arrogant person. Today, I see him as a younger brother. Someone I like a lot.
With time, I developed such respect and liking for Mohamed Sankoh that when I was leaving for London recently, I told him I trusted him enough to act as temporary Shadow Editor and proof-reader backing up Bampia Bundu. He was obviously pleased that I respect him that much but unfortunately, it eventually did not work out.
I have given all this background before coming to my points for today to show that whilst we both have a well-known History of Animosity in the past, I currently have nothing but respect and likeness for Mohamed Sankoh (One Drop) even as I sometimes vehemently disagree with some of his opinions which he is very much entitled to hold.
Today’s piece concerns one such article of his which I disagree with. I intend to educate him a little bit on some of the misguided positions he has publicly expressed in his recent piece entitled as ‘Kailahun Court Barray Logic’. This piece is not intended to defend the great people of Kailahun which task has already been handled by Uncle George Khoryama but to assist my brother Mohamed Sankoh is his obviously limited understanding of elections dynamics over the past 15years in Sierra Leone.
Now, Mohamed ‘One Drop’ Sankoh recalls that SLPP had votes in excess of 100% invalidated in their strongholds during the 1996 Presidential Run-Off Elections but as George Khoryama reminds him, so also did the other Presidential candidate for the UNPP, the late Dr. Karefa-Smart and it was an invalidation of votes of both sides that was jointly agreed upon by all sides in the presence of international actors at the American Embassy. However, aside the consensus of 1996 arrived upon by ALL actors, the other important point here is that only votes in excess of 100% were invalidated. Not the entire voters of that area suffered from their votes being totally invalidated and tax-paying citizens being disenfranchised.
I make this important difference because what James Jonah did in 1996 and Walter Nicol did in 2002 were done in consultation with all their fellow Electoral Commissioners and with public endorsement from all participating political parties and candidates. What Jonah and Nicol did cannot even begin to compare with the unbelievable arrogance that Christiana Thorpe exhibited in 2007 when she invalidated huge swathes of ENTIRE VOTING AREAS IN THE SOUTH AND IN THE EAST to the loud rejection of such an ignoble act by no less persons but her Fellow Commissioner in charge of the South, Winston Minah and her Fellow Commissioner in charge of the East, Eddie Nyalley. Those two patriotic gentlemen, who suffered unduly for standing up for the truth and for walking out of the charade at British Council were in charge of the regions that Christiana Thorpe invalidated huge swathes of, without any reference to them let alone reference to the affected Presidential Candidate! Such arrogance and disrespect was unbelievable!
So, Mohamed Sankoh is totally wrong to even compare Thorpe to Jonah or Nicol. It is like comparing Night to Day.
Dr. James Jonah has integrity and so he called his Fellow Commissioners together to meet with the Presidential Candidates where the positions were unanimously accepted in the presence of the International Community! The same thing with the late Walter Nicol. He acted in collaboration with his Fellow Commissioners and with the fullest acceptance of the Presidential Candidates! Christiana Thorpe, on the other hand, has no integrity to speak of which is why she did the unlawful things she did with arbitrary high-handedness.
Christiana Thorpe is also heartless and totally remorseless even when caught with her hands in the cookie jar. Only a hard-hearted woman would manipulate against Daphne Olu-Williams in the manner she did simply because Olu-Williams protested against the free use of forgery tactics like forged signatures, in an institution that should exist in an ocean of transparent integrity! It is thus laughable for Mohamed Sankoh to try and paint Christiana Thorpe as an honest woman to be emulated. Spare us that nonsense please as many people know Christiana Thorpe is a very dishonest woman who repeatedly acts unlawfully and shamelessly perpetuates forgery of signatures on Documents she forwards for the attention of the elected House of Parliament. She is dishonest, lawless, with little shame and also a forger. Any other portrayal of Christiana Thorpe is hogwash!
The second issue that I wish to address is the insistence of Mohamed Sankoh that the people of Kailahun over-voted en masse during the 2007 Run-Off elections. Even the so-called delayed results that were released by Christiana Thorpe over one year later, showed an over-voting of only one vote in many of the areas which she invalidated whilst other areas invalidated DID NOT EVEN OVER-VOTE! She just wickedly disenfranchised hundreds of thousands of Sierra Leoneans. I challenge Mohamed Sankoh to produce this ‘evidence’ of ‘over-voting en masse’ inside Kailahun or inside any of the other districts in the South and East that Christiana Thorpe wickedly disenfranchised whole swathes of. Go on Mr. Mohamed Sankoh. I challenge you! Show me the figures!
The third issue concerns the Ballot Validating Stamps and the NEC Website Data but I will handle those crucial ones and subsequent other Elections 2007 issues in my pieces to be published tomorrow and throughout this week.
I have decided to bring the issue to the fore this week since I see the leadership of the Sierra Leone Association of Journalists (SLAJ) has condescended to giving undeserved credibility to a developing elections nefarious situation(s) that all patriotic citizens must be very worried about. I will not be there to attend the planned ‘Address’ of the ignoble Christiana Thorpe to us journalists this week but I will be putting out my pieces about why that woman has no business running any more elections in our country!
Meanwhile, I hope when I finish educating Mohamed Sankoh, he will publicly concede that he was on the wrong side of History when he wrote that gobbledegook on elections issues which he entitled as Kailahun Court Barray Logic! I hope he will not prove to be like those he accuses of behaving “like donkeys because they are stubborn, unwilling to learn and inflexible” nor would he continue to state the erroneous position that “the 2007 election that brought President Ernest Bai Koroma to power was the freest and fairest in this country’s history”.
Let me end today’s piece with this great quote from Mohamed Sankoh himself in which he says: “...inflexibility to realities will not take this nation anywhere ...majority of the people of Sierra Leone can only accept arguments that are logical!”.
More Anon from London! STAY TUNED.
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Newspaper in Freetown, Sierra Leone.