From Awareness Times Newspaper in Freetown

Mohamed Daudis Koroma: A Tonkolili Friend & Brother
By Dr. Sylvia Olayinka Blyden
May 14, 2010, 17:00

One of the most powerful propagandists in Sierra Leone of this century is little hailed for his propaganda skills but I find him to be within the topmost tiers of political strategists and barefaced propagandists that Sierra Leone has ever produced. This man, in my view, was mostly responsible for taking the then-opposition APC’s message through his African Champion newspaper to the masses. He would skilfully, with barefaced cheek, deploy headlines written in Creole; meant to capture and convert the hearts of the largely northern province originated immigrants in Freetown.

Whilst some people give credit to We Yone, Standard Times and Peep magazine, I have always given credit to this man for being the brains that effectively propagated the image of Ernest Bai Koroma prior to September 2007. This gentleman is a master in political propaganda and in local political strategies. However, one thing about him is that despite his intense loyalty to the APC and President Koroma, he rarely, if ever, will stoop down to some of the low-down tactics that others utilise in propagating material for the APC and to the best of my knowledge, he has never launched a single personal attack at a woman that was a gender-based attack. The Sierra Leonean gentleman I am talking about is Mohamed D. Koroma, the current Deputy Minister of Health & Sanitation and former Managing Editor of African Champion newspaper.

I have an enduring respect for Mohamed Koroma that has been built up since I first started my newspaper five years ago at which time I had made no secret of the fact that I believe in the retention of the country’s Criminal Libel Laws until we can legislate strong insurance policies for news outlets within this country. As a result of my stance, journalists turned their pens against me – expectedly! I naturally expected this but still never relented in stating and re-stating my beliefs in the face of some of the most abhorrent tactics to silent me.

Pro-APC journalists who needed to churn out massive, untruthful propaganda against the SLPP back then in those years, held no prisoners as they castigated me ceaselessly for my pro-criminal libel position which was seen as being pro-SLPP since the then Government was led by the SLPP and criminal libel laws are usually abused by Governments of the day. The most favourite tactic employed at that time was vicious personal attacks on me as a woman.

Using gender-based insults, I was portrayed in despicable terms all in an effort to browbeat and intimidate me but throughout all of that period, despite formidable propaganda that he would regularly deploy to shore up the APC and Ernest Koroma, Mr. Mohamed Koroma never went down that road. He showed he had too much respect for his mother and female relatives to indulge in the kind of tactics that were being deployed against me and for that, he won my enduring respect despite his obvious pro-APC slant in reporting.

Back then, I confess that I actually went out of my way to befriend Mohamed Koroma because I saw in him a decent, well brought up Sierra Leonean male, a Role Model to upcoming young male teenage Sierra Leoneans and a pride to not only his mother but to the Women of this country. He has continued to comport himself extremely well even after being made a Deputy Minister of Government and when recently he found himself as the recipient of a cascade of awards from persons both in and out of the country, I was not at all surprised. Mohamed Koroma is a decent human being whose friendship I am very proud to boast of.

Like all human beings, Mohamed has frailties which he needs to work on; most of them being linked to his over-riding desire to catapult his APC party to the top but he has another trait which is so commendable and that is the ability to listen to good advise and act upon them. It is as a result of this that he has been able to fine-tune his relationship with many of his civil servant staff from the initial brusque one to one of conviviality.

Indeed, I am proud to have Mohamed Daudis Koroma as a friend and brother and I foresee a wonderful political future in Sierra Leone for him. He just has to be patient and know that the patient dog will always eat the fat bone in politics. God Bless you my brother and dear friend.

© Copyright 2005, Freetown, Sierra Leone.