From Awareness Times Newspaper in Freetown

Press Secretary Making a Fool of President
By Sylvia O. Blyden
Oct 12, 2009, 12:20

His Excellency President Dr. Ernest Bai Koroma probably remains as the only President in Africa who has a Press Secretary who is not only a liability to him but who openly and repeatedly disobeys the direct orders of his boss the President thus subjecting the President to ridicule by observers who see the President as being a leader who is unable to control the excesses of his notorious Press Secretary.

In May this year, Press Secretary Sheka Tarawalie was ordered by H.E. President Koroma to choose either the very respectable job of Presidential Press Secretary or choose to continue to shadow-edit Tarawalie’s privately owned Torchlight newspaper operated from 17 Bathurst Street.

Today’s Edition of President Koroma’s Press Secretary’s paper which displays photographs collected from Police CID Investigators in the name of President Koroma but which were appropriated for illegal use in Shekito’s paper!

Tarawalie told his boss that he preferred the Press Secretary job and he would wash his hands off the editorial aspects of his newspaper. He was also strictly warned that he should with immediate effect cease using the Government owned STATE HOUSE PRESS white van at the private newspaper. Again, he faithfully promised his boss, Mr. President, that he would obey. BUT, he was lying. He is still shadow-editting his newspaper and his wife is still using the official Government vehicle to run the private newspaper whilst the State House Press staff to whom the vehicle is rightfully assigned, are being forced to walk around town carrying out their duties.

Evidence of his direct complicity in the journalism at Torchlight is shown in him last week picking up the telephone to interview Western Area Regional Police Commander, AIG Chris Charley on the matter of Dr. Sylvia Blyden’s Jeep; which interview he then proceeded to run in his newspaper but without a by-line. Whether part of his Press Secretary duties now involves interviewing the police for his newspaper, is something that only the President of the Republic will be able to elicit from him.

However, the gravest sign that President Koroma’s Press Secretary is flagrantly defying his Boss and treating the sacred office of President with gross contempt, happened over the past weekend. Investigations by this newspaper reveal that Sheka Tarawalie’s newspaper contacted Police officers and claimed that they were instructed by President Koroma to collect the photographs of the suspects in the Jeep ‘armed robbery’ matter. The suspects  informed Awareness Times that they were lined up and photographed and when one of them questioned as to why he was being photographed, he was told that the photos were for President Koroma’s use. However, the photos were not for President Koroma but disgracefully for use in Sheka Tarawalie’s private paper which has proceeded to publish in their today’s edition, these photographs that were obtained through duplicitous use of President Koroma’s name.

Awareness Times’ top-notch Investigators diligently got a copy of today’s edition of Sheka Tarawalie’s paper and indeed, photos of suspects are lined up on Page 19 and the front page next to Dr. Blyden’s photo. So, the name of our revered President is now being used by his Press Secretary to obtain photographs for illegal use in his newspaper. In the newspaper itself, a lot of trash was written that no sensible person will believe. For example, he says Sylvia Blyden begged him that she wanted to be a part of his State House Press team!!! However, in reaction to that claim, Sylvia Blyden remarked that he should spend far more time to know his Boss’ thoughts and less time playing Torchlight journalist.

Meanwhile, our savvy, underground investigators were stationed at 17 Bathurst Street offices of the Torchlight last week Saturday and they monitored as President Koroma’s Sheka Tarawalie walked in and out of the newspaper offices; giving directives to his journalists and even sitting at the computer to personally supervise how pages of his today edition should appear. At one point, our underground team overheard Sheka Tarawalie screaming in anger when the person designing the photographs, did not put Sylvia Blyden’s face where Sheka Tarawalie wanted it to be placed on.

We calculated that Tarawalie spent seven hours of his time at the newspaper’s offices last Saturday. It is not clear if 17 Bathurst Street is the new location of the offices of the State House but what is very clear is that with his actions of openly defying his boss, observers now perceive that Sheka Tarawalie holds his Boss, His Excellency President Dr. Ernest Bai Koroma in complete & total contempt.

IN TOMORROW’S EDITION: We look at President Koroma’s ronsho-minded, ronsho-dressed Press Secretary Sheka Tarawalie’s possible damaging of the chances of success for the proposed London Hosted Trade & Investment and Consultative Group Meetings. No doubt our President means well but will he succeed with the likes of Sheka Tarawalie as his Press Secretary? Please continue reading this paper all through this week for the answer.

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