From Awareness Times Newspaper in Freetown

Government Forgives Sylvia Blyden – A REJOINDER (Tell the APC to bless Makalay Koroma)
By Sylvia Olayinka Blyden
Jan 18, 2010, 14:30

Readers will recall how back in December 2009, I contemptuously dismissed the attempt by the now-convicted felon Reverend Kemoh Sulimani, to beg for me to be given an ‘X-mas forgiveness’ by President Koroma in the matter of the State versus Sylvia Blyden at the courts. Sulimani, without my requesting so, wanted the case against me to be dropped on “Grounds of Mercy”.

In response, I sharply told him to back off because I did not need his appeal nor did I ask anyone to beg for the matter to be taken out of court. I had held a closed door meeting with President Koroma in May 2009 in which I had apologised to him, as a friend, for hurting his feelings; subsequent to which I had expected the matter to have died.

Infact, on my word of honour, I have never discussed the Court Case with President Koroma because I did not think he was behind that debacle at the Courts. Until such time as H.E. openly endorses that he gave his blessings for that shameful abuse of the country’s Criminal Libel Laws to occur, I have no bones with President Koroma in this court case. He was not the complainant nor was the First Lady a complainant!!

As far as I am concerned, it was nothing but pettiness, grudge, malice and SHEER STUPIDITY that kept that matter alive at the Law Courts! It was sheer STUPIDITY for the case to have been continued for so long. The Attorney General and the State should have done the correct thing right from the moment I gave them an escape route with my public apology and retraction (I must add retraction was qualified to be in interest of peace!).

Instead of cutting their losses and running away from this debacle back in May, these foolish State operatives decided to make a spectacle of themselves and our President. Here, I must confess that being the consummate Public Relations expert myself, I allowed them to play on as I danced to their sweet music that was increasing my public profile and exposing their asinine nature of some of the operatives. Instead of doing the right thing, they turned themselves into tools in my willing hands.

Now, in the past few days, some of President Koroma’s allies here and abroad, have been making sounds about the Government either forgiving me of my alleged crimes or having exercised a discretionary prerogative of mercy in entering in a nolle prosequi in the said matter. NONSENSE! I was never threatened by that case.

If anyone thinks they have a case against me, let them take me to court but let them not waste time with ceaseless adjournments. Let them take the witness stand, get sworn on the Holy Bible and publicly testify under oath as to what they know that makes my publication to fall under publication of false news!!!

First of all, as an advocate of Sierra Leone’s criminal libel laws, I do know that truth is not a justification for a defamatory publication but I also know that under those very same laws, public interest is certainly an overarching justification for exposing someone truthfully even if it hurts the person’s value in the estimation of the public.

Secondly, how could I be threatened by the criminal indictment as prepared? It was an embarrassment to any serious lawyer who associated him or herself with it. It was so defective in how it was drawn up that even a layman like myself was embarrassed for my country’s justice system. There was no way that indictment could have stood up to any competent judicial perusal.

IT WAS A JOKE!! It was an embarrassment to the Attorney General, the Inspector General and the President’s Press Secretary to use that indictment! I ask all students and practitioners of law to get a copy of the indictment and laugh your hearts out! The draft is unbelievable! Enough said...!

Now, some asinine persons want me to stay quiet whilst my detractors have spent State resources pursuing a matter that should have been laid to rest the minute I gave the President an escape route with my published retraction! They want me to meekly go away so the State operatives will repeat the shameful acts on some other journalist! No way!



Okay, so now, according to a publication by President Koroma’s Press Secretary, the Government has forgiven Sylvia Blyden. Cool. Good for the Government. (See Page 5). They can continue to delude themselves that they have forgiven whatever crime it is that they perceive was done. What I however want to ask is whether the Government has forgiven itself? Has President Koroma’s Government forgiven itself for the disgraceful and shameful events of the past months since May 12
th 2009? This is what I want to know.

If the Government has asked itself for forgiveness and proceeded to forgive itself of its outrageous sins since May 12th 2009, I will like to know.


I will like to know because if this Ernest Bai Koroma Government thinks its operatives are going to get away scot-free with their unsavoury actions towards me since May 12
th 2009, without showing remorse for it, let me assure them that they have another long think coming up. If I allow them to get away with it unchallenged, they will continue to abuse their authority and molest another journalist in the future. I need to set an example to inspire others to stand up to bullies abusing their State authority.

Anyway, the Judiciary has shown its propensity for some of its members to be directed by President Koroma’s executive arm of office but what we all will soon learn is whether the OFFICE OF THE OMBUDSMAN will also allow itself to be directed and/or influenced by the Executive Arm of Government. Very soon, Ombudsman Justice Cowan might receive my bitter complaint to him requesting for him to run an investigation, under Part VIII, Section 146(2) of the 1991 National Constitution, into how the Attorney-General, the Inspector-General and the Presidential Press Secretary abused their positions in this matter.



Meanwhile, can someone please tell the All People’s Congress to thank their lucky stars they have a dynamic woman with foresight like Makalay Koroma, the Vice President of the APC’s Women’s Wing in their midst? Makalay must have been greatly inspired by President Koroma’s New Year’s Message, that called on us to be imbibed with the spirit of late Nancy Steele, to undertake the laudable venture she did last week. My mum was/is probably one of President Koroma’s big fans since her days as Commissioner of Insurance in Sierra Leone. She made no secret of her support for his Presidency but following how I was hounded under his purview, she, like other members of my close family have been silently asking questions.

I was with her in London over the X-mas break and one thing she had remarked of the then-ongoing shameful saga at the Courts was her sadness that the APC no longer had the likes of Nancy Steele in their midst. My mum is the eldest daughter of the famous politician known as S.A.J. Pratt (Doyen of Krio Politicians) and although not a politician herself, she was obviously a firsthand observer of the politics of my grandfather’s days during Siaka Stevens Presidency when the APC’s Nancy Steele made a name for herself. Well, when my mum read of the proactive stride by Madam Makalay Koroma, my mum opined from London that indeed the spirit of Nancy Steele lives on in Makalay Koroma.

I did not know Nancy Steele very well so I cannot speak much on her but what I will say is that within the entire APC membership, there is definitely at least one shining female star who was smart enough to do what she did when she did it last week. Indeed, if anyone had been deluded into feeling I had ever been in fear of this Criminal Indictment, let them think again!!! It was a shameful imbroglio that was going on at the Law Courts and Makalay Koroma has shown she is a true member of the APC who cares for the image of her late father’s party.

APC should highly commend Makalay Koroma. She should be commended because, unlike others, she is a bonafide APC member, born and bred APC. She is not like those impostors who are only around to grease their palms but with no pedigree within the APC and nothing to offer the APC except scandals upon scandals alongside ‘Leicester City K@k@ Debul Dancing on New Year’s day’.

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