| From Awareness Times Newspaper in
In Sierra Leone, Heroes Welcome for Dr. Kaifala Marah & Maj. Gen. RY Koroma in Kabala
By Sayoh Kamara
Nov 9, 2010, 17:28
Two outstanding sons of Koinadugu District, Dr. Kaifala Marah, Chief of Staff at State House and Major-General Robert Yira Koroma, Chief of Defense Staff of the Republic of Sierra Leone Armed Forces (RSLAF) were on Friday, 5th November given a rosy welcome in the district headquarter town of Kabala on their homecoming trip following their recent appointments.
Kabala, over the weekend was like Mecca, overwhelmed with people from all works of life and from every corner of Koinadugu district; from Falaba in the North of the district to Kurubonla in the South, and indeed from every corner of Sierra Leone, from Kambia in the Northern province to Moyamba in the South and from Freetown in the West to Kono in the East.
|Dr. Kaifala Marah: Chief of Staff in Office of the President|
Paramount Chiefs, Chairladies Youth Leaders, school children, traditional dancers and healers, men and women including the aged, were all out on the main Kabala thoroughfares, under the scotching sun waving, clapping, singing and dancing to all sorts of welcome songs with best wishes for the duo and their entourage and they entered the town. One Koranic scholar, Karamoh Sumaila Marah compared the massive turnout of people to that of the historic Koranic entry of Prophet Muhammad into Medina whilst a Pastor; Francis Bala Koroma equated it to the triumphant entry of Jesus Christ into Jerusalem. The welcome was electric; it was enticing, it was captivating and it was a manifestation of true love not only by the people of Koinadugu district, but the entire country as over one hundred vehicles thronged into Kabala in a convoy that is said to never had happened in Kabala in the history of official visits to that part of the country.
|COS Marah encouraging his people to unite for development|
Over thirty vehicles had earlier on assembled in Makeni along the Makeni-Kabala highway as early as 7:00AM. They had come from Kono whose delegation was headed by PC Sheku Fasuluku of Sandor Chiefdom, from Moyamba district whose team was led by Alhaji U.N.S. Jah.
This park of vehicles was later joined by another set from Freetown and in a convoy that has never entered Kabala since its establishment, drove the over 60 miles and were received by Paramount Chiefs, the District Chairman and his Councillors and Members of Parliament at Makakura, five miles to Kabala.
|One of the many banners welcoming Dr. Marah|
Banners with inscription of welcome and best wishes were flipping against the gentle Koinadugu breeze. School children lined the streets and sang welcome songs as well. Dr. Marah and Major-General Koroma were forced out of their vehicles because of the almost impossibility of the vehicles to move. Traffic had become static. They walked over two miles straight to an already capacity-full Yogomaia Football field were they were formerly welcomed.
Chairman of the Koinadugu District Council, Banjuku Conteh (Agbangba) said the people of the district felt proud but humbled by the visit of two of “our own who have excelled in their own right and have been given key appointments in government”.
|COS in consultation with Paramount Chiefs of Koinadugu District|
Solidarity statement were made by representatives of the Taiama and Kono entourages, the Koinadugu Youth Group, the Women’s Association, the Council of Koinadugu Paramount Chiefs, the Koinadugu District Councillors and Members of Parliament for Koinadugu district.
In his response, Dr. Marah who was virtually in tears thanked his people for the “overwhelming turnout to welcome us and I must admit, I have never in my life witnessed such a huge number of people at one time coming out to express their love of somebody. I must say, I have been most humbly touched by it.” He therefore called on the people of Koinadugu district to use the zest and show of unity and love manifested in this welcome razzmatazz to be united as a people and to continually show love for one another. “Koinadugu district, which a clear exemplification of diversity should as a matter of purpose demonstrate true unity in diversity as the district such partnership to forge ahead with its socio-economic development,” he urged.
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He said no group of people, a community or nation has developed in the faced of entrenched hatred, jealousy and grudge. “All of us need to put our hearts together as brothers and sisters and as indigenes of this district with the single aim and objective to develop,” he said adding that when there is love and unity amongst a people or community, people outside would be attracted to their way of life and would come to assist. He called for a change of attitude from all those vices that could have contributed to the socio-economic development of the district to one of “positive change that could reflect present realities in terms of our wants and needs as a people.”
He said “nobody should be blamed for the present decadent state of the district”, because according to him if any attempt is made to apportion blame, “all of us would be found culpable,” he noted, adding “what those before us did at the time was due to what was made available to them and the circumstances under which they operated. What we would do towards the development of this place would largely depend on what is made available to us and indeed the circumstances under which we would operate,” he noted, and called on every Koinaduguan to put their shoulders to the wheel “in order that during this our time, we make the difference that is expected us.”
He encouraged every Koinaduguan to stand and hold firm wherever they are and be ready to what he called “the big surge” that should pull Koinadugu district from its current backward state in spite of its richness in agriculture, minerals, landmass and indeed human resources. “We can properly harness all of these resources for the good of Koinadugu if there is this spirit of togetherness and love for one another,” he said and pointed out the need for strong unity even in the face of political differences.
He maintained that political differences should not give rise to indifferences towards the general good of Koinadugu. What he maintained should be the mantra of the people of Koinadugu is “unity in diversity, partnership in diversity in the interest of developing Koinadugu district and its people.”
Chief of Staff Dr. Kaifala Marah expressed similar sentiments in his consultative engagements with the Koinadugu Youth Organisation, the Koinadugu Women’s Association and the Koinadugu District Councillors. During his consultation with the Paramount Chiefs at the Kabala Magistrate Court building on Saturday, 6th November 2010, he hammered home the need for a Council of Paramount Chiefs that should have been at the vanguard to settle the many disputes the district is so plagued with over the years.
According to him, as a team, the Paramount Chiefs would muster so much strength and authority to even monitor development projects in the district. He reminded the people though that the problems of the district are in keen competition with those of other areas of the country with equal desire to attract government’s attention, but that with the Council of Paramount Chiefs there is a direct link to communicate with either the Ministers concerned or the President of the Republic as the case may be given the power and authority they have. “With a Council of Paramount Chiefs even the issue of tribal division can be forestalled since the people would be seeing you together and working above tribal considerations.”
By this massive and colourful show of appreciation for the appointments of Dr. Kaifala Marah as Chief of Staff at State House, and Major-General Robert Yira Koroma as Chief of Defense Staff of the National Army, the people of Koinadugu district endeavoured to show and make clearly in words, through songs and speeches that their expectations of government and indeed the elites of the district are very great and high. They want good roads, to enhance food production and transportation, electricity, water supply, improved health facilities and personnel, improved educational facilities, employment opportunities and more recognition of their sons and daughters in positions of trust. May be now is the time for answers to these development anathemas and indeed may be now is the time for doing away with of all forms negative attitudes towards themselves as a people and towards the general development of Koinadugu district. What ever it is now, the agenda seem to have been set and the people of Koinadugu district seem prepared now to collectively make a difference in their lives and the lives of the children yet unborn.
© Copyright 2005, Freetown, Sierra Leone.