From Awareness Times Newspaper in Freetown

John Benjamin & a Political Midget known as Sorie Fofana
By Sylvia Olayinka Blyden
May 14, 2010, 17:16

 It was Elections Day of 2007 and journalist Mohamed Daudis Koroma was up in Tonkolili District, his home district and also the district of the then SLPP Presidential Running-mate, Momodu Koroma. Mohamed Daudis, my good friend knew I had been supporting the SLPP’s Solomon Berewa against his own candidate, the current President Ernest Koroma but Daudis would always assure me that the SLPP was going to be beaten at the polls.

That morning Daudis and I were speaking over the phone and he laughed heartily and recounted to me how he could see Sorie Fofana and Momodu Koroma seated on a veranda at Mile 91 drinking tea and listening to the BBC like white colonialists lording it over the locals.

"Look at your wishful Vice President seated on his veranda with his journalist Sorie Fofana sipping their tea, speaking big English to the locals and listening to the BBC. If they get even 20 votes in this place, they will be lucky!" Daudis had chuckled over the phone even as I vehemently derided his position back at him. I scolded Daudis that SLPP’s Momodu had completed to build a mosque right within that town and just mosque-goers alone numbered in the hundreds so how could he say Momodu would get less than 20 votes at Mile 91?

In response, Daudis has insisted that Sorie Fofana, Momodu Koroma and many in the SLPP structure back then had no idea about running Sierra Leone local grassroots politics. He recounted what he had been up to that morning already to secure their votes as against Sorie Fofana and Momodu Koroma sipping their tea and listening to the BBC on their verandas. It was a sharp contrast.

Eventually, the results were counted and lo and behold, the SLPP scored 17 (seventeen) votes at Mile 91 polling station where the SLPP’s Presidential Running-mate claimed as his hometown. I presume if we deduct Sorie Fofana and Momodu Koroma’s two votes, we would be left with 15 indigenous persons voting for the SLPP in that entire Mile 91 Polling stations. What this tells us is that sipping tea and listening to the BBC does not translate to winning elections.

John Benjamin, on the other hand, has shown time and time again that he is a political force to be reckoned with and with the hampering he faces from two-timers and smart-alecs within the SLPP, he surely cannot fly like an eagle whilst working under conditions of members of his own executive like Mohamed Makaya selling out or senior MPs like Emmanuel Tommy being pliable to APC enticements. However, no-one will even start to rate Sorie Fofana anywhere near John Benjamin in terms of political skills. It will be an insult to JOB.

Whilst Sorie Fofana was seated on his Mile 91 veranda sipping his tea, speaking English and listening to the BBC radio as he prepared to receive the rude shock of bagging 17 votes in Mile 91, Mr. John Benjamin was galvanising his people in Segbwema and Kailahun to stay focussed and cast their votes en masse for the SLPP. It is an indisputable fact that contrary to the much-trumpeted, self-serving reports from Dr. Christiana Thorpe, Segbwema did not over-vote nor did they stuff ballot boxes. The facts are there and this is surely one of the reasons why the SLPP needs to ensure that Thorpe’s contract is not renewed. At best, if I want to be generous to her, I will say Dr. Christiana Thorpe is ‘too mathematically impaired’ to be a National Electoral Commissioner. Others are not so euphemistic when describing her but bottom-line, the yeoman efforts of John Benjamin in Kailahun District ensured that neither the PMDC nor the APC made any inroads back then.

After taking over the opposition which was in a shambles, Benjamin’s leadership has carefully started to stitch the tattered pieces of the party back into a semblance of a structure which is why despite the huge amount of State resources and physical cash and hot propaganda that have been deployed into the Southern and Eastern bastions of the SLPP, John Benjamin’s leadership has been able to retake Tongo from APC and maintain Blama and retake Pujehun from PMDC. He has a formidable job in front of him and I will be the first person to say he has been slow in certain respects but so far, with the likes of what he has to work with, he is a Political Giant compared to Sorie Fofana the political midget who misleads himself that he is a political analyst.

I am sure this is why John Benjamin must have surely waved off the brazen foolishness of Sorie Fofana in yesterday’s Global Times newspaper. Sorie who spent this entire week telling the world that Abdul Tejan-Cole is his confidant and friend (with friends like those, does Abdul Tejan-Cole need enemies?) who has abruptly abandoned his sacred ACC duties over ‘worldly lust for more money’ is suddenly failing to see the other four fingers pointing back at him yesterday as he tried to castigate a man like John Benjamin whose political shoes he is not even fit to clean at the moment.

When Sorie votes at a Polling Station where he can find up to 19 other people to join him in casting votes for the SLPP, he can start to be taken seriously as a serious commentator on local politics. Sorie Fofana is a big political joke which is why I am not even going to bother to demolish the arrant nonsense he presented as foundation for his attempted swipe at John Benjamin yesterday. Unless he wishes to oblige me with any further undue, childish attacks on John Benjamin’s cogent position in this matter of the Tejan-Cole resignation? I await the answer from Mr. Sorie Fofana...

© Copyright 2005, Freetown, Sierra Leone.