From Awareness Times Newspaper in Freetown

Beware of the “Ides of March” Mr. President
By Abdul Karim Kabia
Mar 17, 2010, 17:28

The meaning of the phrase: "Ides of March," was derived from the ancient Roman calendar. It means the fifteenth day of March.

For those of us who were fortunate to read the book titled "Julius Caesar" in our Junior Secondary School stages could recall that the lead character in that book (Julius Caesar) was cautioned by Sinnah the Poet to "Beware of the Ides of March". True to the warning of the Poet which Caesar dismissed as frivolous, the latter was brutally murdered in cold blood on the 15th of March.

With this background, I want to advise His Excellency the President of the Republic of Sierra Leone, Ernest Bai Koroma, to beware of the "Ides of March". By all indications, President Ernest Bai Koroma might stumble and fall from the citadel of power as a result of his decision on the 15th March 2010. He will not die like Julius Caesar, far from it and God forbids it, but might have the cause to place his hands on the head and say "I am devastated", come 2012.

President Ernest Bai Koroma, on the 15th March 2010, took an unpopular decision to relieve his dynamic Minister of Fisheries and Marine Resources, Haja Afsatu Kabba, of her duties as Minister. The decision which was taken without a second thought came in the wake of the arraignment of the female minister to answer to corruption related charges.

The news of the decision from State House was only welcomed by people who have been branded as Sierra Leone’s Fish Mafias. It succeeded in annoying citizens from all works of life. No exaggeration. I am sure that President Koroma is not averse to the fact that his 15th March 2010 decision has been received with dissatisfaction cutting across all political and social persuasions in the country. The All People’s Congress (APC) is DISGRUNTLED; People’s Movement for Democratic Change (PMDC) is DISSAPOINTED; the Sierra Leone People’s Party (SLPP) is IRRITATED; the youths are ANGRY; the women feel REJECTED; the students are CRYING; the Abacha Street traders are GRUMBLING; everybody from the nook and cranny of Sierra Leone is DISGUSTED Mr. President.

How can Mr. President allow himself to be held hostage by a small group of people who does not want the progress of the country? Prior to his 15th March decision, did His Excellency took a look at the "charges" brought against his dynamic minister and compare them with the latter’s effort in raising an unprecedented Le11 Billion from the fish sector as government revenue? Did the President think of the calamity that will befall the APC party in an instance where a trusted and diehard daughter of the party is rejected by the APC led Government of Sierra Leone? Is relieving a prominent member of your party (who did not only stood by the APC and sponsored it financially during trying times but also traveled through narrow, dusty and crooked roads to popularize the APC) the only way of granting the ACC or judiciary "unfettered access"? Is this the way to pay Afsatu Kabba for her commitment to the APC? Is this the way the APC reward people for saying no to corrupt people like the fish mafias? The aforementioned and more are the numerous questions begging answers from the APC and its leader.

President Koroma should have looked at the circumstances surrounding such a situation before jumping into such a hasty and disastrous conclusion, as the saying goes: "LOOK BEFORE YOU LEAP".

Why is everything about this Afsatu/ACC matters being done in a rush? One begins to ponder. The journalists aired and published misleading reports against Afsatu Kabba; the ACC rushed Afsatu to Court even before concluding its investigations, and now the party and government she fought for selflessly has hastily rejected her. What a rush!

Has the APC forgotten so soon that they need foot soldiers like Afsatu Kabba in their forthcoming elections campaigns? Who will campaign for the APC? With such an occurrence and with no regard for the Ides of March, the only foot soldiers who will help to popularize the APC come 2012 will be an old old woman in the northern part of the country backed up by a former government functionary turns catering contractor. If the President is yet to see it, let me make it public here that the APC is speedily heading for the rocks.

It is an open secret that the March 15, 2010 decision of the APC government was a step in a direction to the thorns, but it will be really too late by the time the APC will realize this. His Excellency sir, beware of the "IDES OF MARCH".

You have been cautioned.

© Copyright 2005, Freetown, Sierra Leone.