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COMMENTS & OPINIONS  

State House should now do International & Local Damage Control
By Mohamed Azonto Kamara
Oct 10, 2013, 17:20
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As naturally expected, there is an ongoing backlash against what has been perceived as a threat against civil society organisations from the highest office in the land. As soon as the impugned release was issued laste last week, one KEMO CHAM, the journalist who ran away from Gambia and surfaced here as a so-called independent correspondent for an otherwise respectable international news outlet Africa Review, had by Saturday 5th October 2013, amplified the situation to worldwide attention with a report opened thus: Exasperated by mounting criticism over his leadership shortcomings, Sierra Leone President Ernest Bai Koroma say he will no longer tolerate being reminded of his duties.


KEMO CHAM continued by telling the world that the Office of the President threatened civil society with unspecified action.

 

Opposition SLPP jumped in with not only a demand for an apology from State House but opposition leaders like Chief Somano Kapen and Sulaiman Banja Tejansie were right there at the UK Parliament in London this week to tell British MPs and DFID officials that Civil Society groups who have begun to sense a gradual weakening of democratic institutions are now being targeted by the government!!  Yes, the matter has grown wings to not only London but is now topical throughout Sierra Leonean fora worldwide!! Many might say all of this was predictable so the question to be asked is: WHY WAS THE RELEASE CRAFTED IN THAT MANNER? Well, President Koroma does not write Press Releases from his Office and he is too busy to look at the fine print of releases issued from his Office. That is why he has professionals who should protect him and advise him.They failed.

 

Seeing the damage that the likes of KEMO CHAM had spread worldwide on Saturday October 5th 2013, this writer waded into this matter with my views published on Monday October 7th 2013, pointing out that the release was unfortunately drafted since President Koroma is on record for asking citizens to publicly monitor his government projects so he cannot be labeled with or linked to dictatorial unspecified threats. I understand folks at State House are now unhappy over my views of Monday. Well, let me just say that seeing how independent foreign journalists and SLPP gleefully jumped and took things to international awareness levels, I believe State House functionaries should forget about being unhappy with me and instead help to do damage control for the President; that is, if in the first place, those at State House, who wrote that Press Release did not even mean for the ongoing fall-out to happen.


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