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NEWS  

Sheik Bawoh attacks Umaru Fofana; names Jonathan Leigh in Sierra Leone Journalists mess
By Sylvia Olayinka Blyden
Oct 17, 2012, 17:17
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Distinguished Author of this article
The ongoing fall-out from the kidnapping of a foreign journalist in Sierra Leone, by the opposition, has seen serious confusion and discord within the ranks of the executive of the Sierra Leone Association of Journalists (SLAJ) with executive members now publicly lobbing insults at one another. Elhadji Saliou Ndiaye is a French-speaking foreign journalist assigned to cover the country's elections. He was on Monday 8th October 2012, kidnapped, detained and allegedly tortured in Sierra Leone by hired hooligans of the main opposition Sierra Leone Peoples Party (SLPP) in Freetown.

Sheik Bawoh, though Vice-president of SLAJ, is amongst the most rabid of opposition propagandists whilst the President of SLAJ, Mr. Umaru Fofana, has been severally accused of being one of the media advisers to the opposition SLPP presidential candidate. In the recent past, they have been known to be hands-in-glove with each other in their furtherance of nefarious agenda.

Today, it is a different scenario that has seen Umaru Fofana decribing the actions of his Vice-President as "an embarrassment" and his Vice-President lobbing insults back at both Umaru and the association's Secretary-General Ismael Koroma. Ismael Koroma has meanwhile aptly described the SLAJ Vice-President as engaging in criminal acts of forgery.

The initial silence on the part of both Fofana and Bawoh to condemn the kidnapping of the French-speaking foreign journalist had shocked many SLAJ members leading to accusations of the SLAJ executive being too partisan to continue at helm during these crucial elections.

There also was the embarrassment of SLAJ Vice-President yesterday going over the air-waves to attack the person of the SLAJ President as being to blame for SLAJ VP using a fraudulent press release in his newspaper. (details of that published elsewhere in this edition).

Bawoh, during a live nationwide SLBC radio interview, confessed that it was another notorious pro-SLPP local journalist Jonathan Leigh of the Independent Observer newspaper who had told him that Umaru Fofana had legitimized the fraudulent press release via Facebook. It can be recalled that it is the same Jonathan Leigh whom had been utilised by the opposition SLPP to launch vicious mammy cusses and sexually explicit insults at the publisher of this newspaper in a bid to provoke the newspaper into reacting and forcing the suspension of the poor selling Independent Observer as a tool to close down this powerful and highest selling newspaper.

As result of information Bawoh said he got from the pro-SLPP Jonathan Leigh (who is not an SLAJ executive member), Bawoh says he went on to publish a forged SLAJ Executive press release which shocked SLAJ members and led to the unpleasant exchange between Fofana & Bawoh and SLAJ Secretary General Ismael Koroma and Bawoh.

Sheik Bawoh also says he will disregard a demand from Ismael Koroma for an apology to him and to SLAJ and also the published demand for retraction of the forged press release. Bawoh instead insinuates that it is Umaru Fofana who should apologise for causing the mess in first place by posting a fraudulent press release which Jonathan Leigh reported from FACEBOOK.

This is arguably the worst ever SLAJ infighting in recent times if not in the entire History of SLAJs 41 years of existence. It can be recalled that pundits had predicted the downfall of the credibility of this SLAJ executive when SLAJ President hastily summoned an Emergency Meeting to endorse an illegal act by the Independent Media Commission.

Another Emergency SLAJ Meeting has now been called up for tomorrow Thursday 18th October 2012 to discuss "recent happenings within the association".


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