From Awareness Times Newspaper in Freetown

Afsatu Kabba
In Sierra Leone, ‘Afsatu Kabba’s Support is Phenomenal’ –Finish Journalist
By Aruna Turay
May 6, 2010, 17:08

The former Minister of Fisheries and Marine Resources Haja Afsatu Kabba has received accolade from a senior Finish journalist, Mrs. Erja Vainikka-Howard who is currently in Sierra Leone on an exchange visit between the Awareness Times and the Etela Suomen Sanomat (ESS) Newspaper of Finland jointly organized by Plan Finland and Sierra Leone. The senior Editor of ESS, one of Finland’s leading Newspapers on Wednesday 5th May 2010 gave her "positive impressions" of Haja Afsatu Kabba’s large loyal following, after witnessing what she described as "an unbelievable passion" in support of Afsatu Kabba from the huge crowd of loyalists and sympathizers for the politician who spread over Siaka Stevens Street and State Avenue.

"This woman must be an industrious daughter of the soil for her to be able to mobilize such a very large crowd in support of her. The Love & Passion her supporters have for her is amazing to me!"" she told Awareness Times, adding; "I am not in any capacity to comment on the matter for which she is standing trial, but from what I have witnessed here today in this court, I have no reservation to conclude that Haja Afsatu Kabba carries immense clout in this country that can hardly be compared to any politician in my country or even throughout Europe."

She confessed that throughout her life in Finland, she has never witnessed such loyalty of a people towards a politician. What she also found amazing and was unbelievable to her was the long time that Afsatu Kabba’s supporters waited outside the barricaded gates of the Courts just to catch a glimpse of the indicted politician. The police yesterday blocked everyone from entering the courts, even those with legitimate business inside, until after the Afsatu Kabba matter was concluded.

Whilst she was in awe over the support for Afsatu, what however "totally shocked" Mrs. Vainikka-Howard in court yesterday which she could not conceal to comment on was when she saw police personnel, supposed to be responsible to secure lives and properties of civilians, glaringly brutalizing Journalists trying to enter the courts.

"Now I believe that you must have passion for the profession before you can practice it in a country like this," the confused international Journalist said after the sight of armed police brutally roughing up both male and female local journalists.

The Ex-Minister made her third appearance in the High Court on Wednesday 5th May 2010 where she is standing trial on allegations of corruption and other related charges brought against her by the Anti-Corruption Commission. In attendance were hundreds of people, mainly youths and University students in solidarity with the Ex-Minister. The supporters and sympathizers gave rounds of applause as a display of strong support for her. This was also inundated with solidarity songs in praise of the former minister.

After she entered her vehicle, the mammoth crowd, which included amputees and Polio victims in wheelchairs, followed Haja Kabba’s vehicle as it drove off whilst singing songs of praise in complete solidarity for one of the country’s topmost female politicians.

Please turn to our center pages for photos of yesterday’s events.

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