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EDITORIALS  

If SLPP Loses in Sierra Leone on August 11th, It Will Be Because They Mismanaged Information
By Dr. Sylvia Olayinka Blyden
Jul 24, 2007, 03:44
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An Op-Ed by the Publisher

It was last Saturday July 21st 2007 when John Benjamin called me up on the telephone. According to him, he had just returned from an AGOA Conference in Ghana and whilst there, he had read all sorts of allegations over the Internet about him having endorsed for the female PMDC Parliamentary candidate for Segbwema to be beaten, tied up and stripped naked. He was particularly disappointed at Lawyer Charles Margai and at one Morie Mussafa of the PMDC living in USA.

 

He called to see if I could send reporters to Segbwema to independently investigate the political climate there as against what was being spread. As we were seriously short of reporters at the time, I suggested that he makes a  Press Statement with the facts of his own side and I would send reporters at my own pace later.

 

He promised to do so immediately he returned to Freetown as he was going to Segbwema that Saturday to get a first hand account of what had occurred in his absence but should be back on Sunday. He promised to issue the Press Statement on Monday.

 

Whilst he was in Segbwema, he again called to update on the situation and it was during that conversation that he remarked to me that Tom Nyuma was also in Kailahun and had been touring with one Moinina Conteh an SLPP Parliamentary candidate. Benjamin was sounding elated over the telephone as he explained how the mere mention of Tom Nyumas name, let alone his actual presence, was causing waves of support for SLPP to crescend over the South East.

 

Late on Sunday night, shortly before midnight, Benjamin again called to say that he could not make it to Freetown by Monday morning as his vehicle had developed some mechanical problem and so he was now forced to sleep in Bo. He requested if I could possibly inform other news houses that he had a Press Statement to make on the Kailahun Violence. I assured him that I had already told the Internet based Cocorioko and Patriotic Vanguard Newspapers whilst he informed that he had already spoken to I.B. Kargbo the SLAJ President.

 

Of interest is that he also remarked that he had asked Tom Nyuma to wait for him in Bo so the two of them could drive down to Freetown. He confirmed that Nyuma had already checked in to Country Side Hotel (easily the best hotel in Bo) and he was himself now going to check in. This was shortly before midnight. I asked after Nyuma and he jocularly stated that Nyuma had a female companion with him that he was occupied with. Benjamin however said his vehicle had been driven to the mechanic and by 6am, he would be taking off with Tom Nyuma for Freetown.

 

Of note is that at that time, he also mentioned to me that Nyumas driver and two men traveling with Nyuma were all around the hotels premises in their bright green SLPP colours and logos. He again reiterated how timely the return of Nyuma was in canvassing support for the SLPP all over the South East where Nyuma is perceived as a war hero who protected huge swathes of land during the war.

 

The next day, I got up and glanced through my messages. I could not believe my eyes at what I read:

  • Tom Nyuma had been attacked at the hotel by thugs of Ernest Koroma who broke into his room and beat him to a pulp between 3am and 4am. Ernest Koroma had checked in to the hotel after 2am which time is long after John Benjamin did at midnight and several long hours after Nyuma himself had checked in with a female companion. Ernest Koroma was lodged in Room 4. The hotel had innocently earlier lodged Nyuma in the room right next to Room 4.
  • Nyumas Skull had been virtually cracked open and he had several stab wounds and broken bones and ribs.
  • One of Nyumas guards who had been stationed outside his hotel room door had also been badly beaten up and was in a coma.
  • Nyumas female companion had been abducted away from the room by the APC men. She is reported to have been assaulted behind closed doors in another room by the APC men who kidnapped her. She was only rescued after daybreak by a team of police officers. She is badly traumatized and was found half naked with torn clothes and has not been able to say a single word except to weep continuously.
  • The presence of John Benjamin (in Room 22) at the hotel was not known to the APC men because his well known vehicle was not parked at the hotel but had been taken to be repaired at a mechanics place.
  • Speaking later to John Benjamin, he was to tell me that the only thing that saved him was the fact that his vehicle was not parked in the compound and so the APC Men had no way of knowing he was also in the hotel.
  • Benjamin was recently verbally attacked in Aberdeen, Freetown by an APC top brass (name withheld) who reportedly told him that he will be dealt with when they won the elections since he masterminded their demise in 1992.
  • However, Tom Nyumas own vehicle and his well known driver and his well known two guards in their green SLPP colours were very visible in the hotels compound and inside the reception respectively where they had lounged.
  • The hotel receptionist saved the life of Nyuma by sending a hotel staff to run across to Bo Police Chief FUK Dabos house.
  • The receptionist earlier got a slap with mobile telephone seized by the APC men when they noticed he was trying to call the police to come to the rescue of Nyuma. By the way, according to the Hotel, it was the hotel staff and not IG Acha who alerted FUK Dabo although we are now hearing otherwise from the Police Boss that Ernest Koroma called him and he first alerted Dabo.

More and more facts are going to come out and I am sure other credible independent newspaper houses will be carrying their own version of what they have uncovered about the incident in Bo.

 

However, my focus today is not on the facts of what happened. My simple sentences/questions I am going to make/ask are as follows:

  1. It is amazing that the SLPP led Government of the day and the SLPP Party Executive are yet to make a single statement on the incident uptil press time this Tuesday morning.
  2. Is Sierra Leone being governed by Mumus (Mute, Dumbs)?
  3. How can the Kabbah led SLPP Government and the SLPP Executive keep quiet at a time like this?

Say what you may about the APC, they have already issued a press release claiming a lot of stuff in that release.

 

As far as I am concerned, the APC Release smacks of guilt all over it but at least they have said something. I understand that Ernest Koroma has also called up a Press Conference in Bo and their man, Philip Neville has splashed all over the Internet allegations of planned assassination.

 

Over the BBC, Umaru Fofana is already blasting away about an alleged assassination plot of Ernest Koroma without even attempting to air the other side. (Wait a minute Umaru! A man goes to assassinate with his girlfriend in tow?)

 

On second thoughts, can I really blame Umaru? It is now 24 hours since the news rocked Sierra Leone and the world; yet still the SLPP Kabbah-led Government and the SLPP Party Leadership has not said a single word. The Ministry of Information continues to act like the proverbial Salone Mumu.

 

Meanwhile, the APC already has the upper hand in terms of propaganda. This has ALWAYS, been the sequence of things with this Government of Tejan Kabbah's. Mismanagement of Information is their modus operandi. And surely, if they lose on August 11th 2007, it will be because of that.

 

Poor Tom Nyuma. Poor, poor Tom Nyuma! I hold no brief for him and he is reported to have committed a lot of abuses in the past. But this time, his one crime is that he came home and stuck his neck out to campaign for a big bunch of Mumus!


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

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