From Awareness Times Newspaper in Freetown

Sierra Leone: Siaka Stevens Ruling Style of the Seventies & the Issue of Tom Nyuma in 2010
By Sylvia O. Blyden (currently in Cameroon)
Nov 19, 2010, 17:16

I am currently in Yaounde, Cameroon from where I have read a news interview granted to Sierra Leone's Concord Times by Kailahun District Local Government Chairman Tom Nyuma who is alleged to have sliced off the ears of the late Police Chief Bambay Kamara before personally slaughtering him and others on December 29th 1992. In Concord Times, Nyuma is quoted as having said it was “crazy” for anyone to associate him with the APC.


Nyuma spends a lot of time talking about how it was not President Koroma who gave him the expensive Jeep. Well, who said it was the President? I clearly identified the Donor to be the President’s first cousin, John Bonoh Sisay, CEO of Sierra Rutile whom my documentary investigations show to have imported the Jeep into the country under the stated guise of “Own Use” on the Customs & Registration Documents [documents are currently in my possession] following which he (John Bonoh Sisay) first registered the Jeep on May 10th. Uptil the time I was flying out of the country this week for Cameroon where I am attending a Media Conference, the AEW-755 Jeep was still registered in the name of John Bonoh Sisay though Tom Nyuma is the one using it. Nyuma has promised to donate the Jeep to an SLPP-endorsed entity.


Nyuma also says it was not APC who sponsored his trip to Ghana and UK. Well, whoever said it was APC? All we said was that mysterious friends are funding his financial lifestyle that exceeds his emoluments. If GTZ is the one sending him also to United Kingdom, that is fine but we will soon be turning our attention on this GTZ funding of Nyuma. Was it to London or to Ghana?


However, throughout the interview, Nyuma fails to address the real issues as highlighted by even his interviewer so I wonder who Nyuma thinks he is fooling?



Even as I awaited for a long-promised official explanation from State House Communications Directorate over the Tondola school fabrication, here comes Wednesday’s Press Statement in Torchlight Newspaper in which the Nyuma-led Kailahun District Council is defending the Presidency over the supposed school in Tondola as proudly announced in the Three-Years Turn-Around glossy booklet. Augustine Samba interviewed the Tondola Town Chief who confirms that they had not "even smelt let alone seen" any such school being built but here in Nyuma's council saying a JSS school has been built by Plan International in Tondola!

Nyuma's Kailahun Council, in defending the Presidential blunder of a big fabrication about a school in Tondola, even goes to the extent of becoming the simultaneous Spokesman for both the Presidency and the Ministry of Finance which supposedly has a faulty database according to Nyuma their new Spokesman!



The fact that Nyuma’s SLPP dominated Kailahun District Council is the one explaining away a serious embarrassment on behalf of the APC Government’s Finance Ministry’s supposedly faulty “old database”, speaks volumes! So there you go! Kailahun District Council is now the Chief Defender when the APC-led Government fabricates non-existent schools in Tondola!



Of course, as already highlighted by this presshouse, Tom Nyuma serves to protect himself better by claiming to be an SLPP member whilst promoting the interests of President Koroma’s 2012 ambition because, just as happened to NPRC's Idriss Kamara at the 2009 APC Convention, Nyuma, as one of the reported killers of Bambay Kamara, Nyuma will find it difficult to fit within any APC party context. And he fully well knows this. Nothing “crazy” there. Now that the spotlight is on Nyuma, let us see how the next few months proceed until 2012.



But today’s piece is not only about Nyuma’s Concord Times interview or Torchlight Newspaper Public Notice but seeks to look well into a piece on Global Times website written by Uncle George Khoryama in defence of his nephew Tom Nyuma. Loyalty is an admirable trait and it is quite a good sign of loyalty for Uncle George Khoryama to stand by his nephew Tom Nyuma at times like these. However, the fact remains that Khoryama’s long, rambling treatise yesterday in favour of Nyuma still fails to address the THREE KEY POINTS that have gotten many people to be sickened with Tom Nyuma including yours truly.



Before proceeding, let me state that I have spent a significant number of my years closely studying the reasons why Siaka Stevens was able to get away with some of the horrendous things he did which eventually pitched Sierra Leone into civil war. I have interviewed a large number of people and read bundles of documents and I have a very fair idea of why Siaka Stevens succeeded. The most effective ‘culprit’ for Siaka Stevens’ success at ruling this land with repression was simple propaganda. Whilst the then President embarked on serious human rights abuses like seizing passports of opponents and arbitrarily locking up countless others in atrocious [Mafanta] jail conditions, he ensured he kept the world fooled via the effective use of propaganda even as the country slid backwards and tremendous bad blood was bred in the society  by those who saw no legitimate outlet via which to counter the propaganda that masked their sufferings.



My research shows that between 1973 and 1978, Sierra Leone was systematically subjected to false propaganda that stated that Siaka Stevens (Pa Shaki), the then President of Sierra Leone, was the most popular man in the country who could do no wrong. My research also shows that even his own Cabinet Ministers greatly feared him; let alone ordinary citizens. Pa Shaki perfected the art of deploying three tactics in order to achieve this false sense of popularity. It was Buy them; Intimidate them or Kill them.



Firstly, he would buy over members of the opposition who lacked integrity and these so-called Opposition figures, who were, in reality, no longer really members of the democratic Opposition but fully backing Shaki’s APC Ruling party, would pretend to be speaking on behalf of the Opposition. They would then make statements that gave the impression that even the Opposition preferred for Pa Shaki to continue doing the things he did in Sierra Leone. These opportunists seriously blurred proper interpretation of the National Polity with their warped utterances. Serious bad blood brewed in the society but no-one could effectively analyse the worsening polity in Sierra Leone as the opportunistic propaganda drowned it all out.



Now, if buying over Opposition elements failed, as it did when he met up with Opposition members possessing integrity, Pa Shaki would deploy the next tactic which was intimidation and/or violence.



A latter-day example of such intimidation tactics that would successfully get Pa Shaki to cow Opposition elements, could be the threats of utilising an Inquest into the deaths of late Police Chief James Bambay Kamara. This intimidation usually worked wonders and ensured members of the Opposition who could not be bought with cash and gifts like expensive cars (or Jeeps), were cowed and intimidated into total submission; sometimes via backroom deals that the public would never really learn about.

Interestingly, this intimidation tactic was only deployed against those who refused to be bought over with goodies, like for example, expensive Landrover Jeeps and cash donations.



Another tactic of Pa Shaki was deployment of crude violence on those Sierra Leoneans who refused to submit. Pa Shaki would endorse violent attacks on opposition strongholds (not only in the typical 'mendeline' South-East but also in Koinadugu and Kono). Interestingly, in the wake of such violence, the section of the Opposition who had already been bought over, would be the first ones to make up excuses for Shaki or his agents. In the process, these so-called 'Opposition SLPP Members' would blur the picture of the true state of the national polity in which tremendous bad blood was being brewed.



There was an ultimate tactic that was also deployed by Pa Shaki and this probably was the most sinister one of all. It involved actually the taking of lives of Sierra Leoneans. If a Sierra Leonean became too much of an obstacle to Pa Shaki’s plans and he/she could not be bought over or be intimidated or suppressed with violence, he/she were simply killed. This method of having persons murdered was not limited to just the SLPP Opposition members (many of whom were killed inside Mafanta Prisons) but also involved the taking of lives of senior APC Government functionaries. (Any wonder why even his Cabinet Ministers feared him?) Until this day, tongues still wag about the mysterious deaths of former Central Bank Governors.



In all of these tactics, Pa Shaki was able to succeed not because he was lucky but because there was not in place many upstanding people in the society who had the guts to stand up and point out when things went awry or when things got to be too suspicious for what was supposed to be a democratic culture with at least two political parties making it a duty to point out the lapses of the each other.



I note the innuendo by Pro-Nyuma writers against Awareness Times. Many people, knowing my ambition to eventually enter politics, have asked me to get into politics right now but I always give the simple response that for now, the best way for me to serve my country is right here in the Independent Media where I can mould public perception and at the same time 'speak truth to power' whether it be SLPP or APC as long as the truth is in the interest of a free and democratic Nation. I am also blessed to have a team of Sierra Leoneans who support me in this venture to maintain our Multi-Party Democratic Culture of 'APC is APC and SLPP is SLPP'. We are undertaking a sacred duty. This is why we are now fearlessly speaking Truth to Tom Nyuma, that pseudo-SLPP who insults us that we are “crazy” for exposing him.



This now brings me to Uncle George Khoryama’s defence of Tom Nyuma. As I stated earlier, Khoryama’s long, rambling Global Times treatise in favour of Nyuma still fails to address the three key points that have gotten many people to be sickened with Tom Nyuma regardless of how much cash is being dished out to repair his image right now or how much admirable loyalists like Khoryama try to whitewash or brainwash.

·          (a) Firstly, why did Tom Nyuma tell the American Ambassador this month (as reported in a story carried on the front page of Awoko Newspaper) that the people of Kailahun are to be considered as liberal in their voting patterns and do not vote on ideology of SLPP or APC but only according to who brings developments.

·          (b) Secondly, why did Nyuma openly call for voters in Kailahun to give “more time” to President Koroma to achieve all the development aspirations Nyuma says the President has in mind?

·          (c) Thirdly, why are virtually all the financially lucrative contracts from Kailahun Local Government Council going to mostly pro-APC entities? Even independent contractors are now punished in order to promote the APC’s interests!



We are not talking about Berewa being fooled by Northerners! We are asking why a man elected into office under the SLPP is doing a lot to uphold the APC and undermine the SLPP and by extension, the country’s budding multi-party democracy! It is only when Uncle George Khoryama effectively and convincingly responds to these three above issues that he would have started to remake the image of his nephew.



If some people think some of us are going to sit quietly and watch 1973-1978 replays itself all over again, they are sorely mistaken. Meanwhile, please note that my 3 points above did not even touch on the AEW-755 expensive Jeep donation from the President’s cousin or the sudden affluence of a man like Nyuma, who, less than three years ago, did not have two cents to rub together to call his own but whose current residence has been transformed and more infrastructure added to his possessions.



Now, let me add to Nyuma’s education by informing him that contrary to the rubbish he stated to the Concord Times to wit: “I have treated every media institution equally in terms of giving out adverts to them”, the 2004 Local Government Act under which he was elected does not empower him to give out Adverts! Let him be so educated!



However, since Nyuma brings it up, I can speak from my own vantage media point that even newspaper adverts for local Kailahun district contracts are now being personally given by Tom Nyuma, in an illegal manner, contrary to the Local Government Act of 2004, to little-selling newspapers with a pro-APC editorial slant.

Let me recount an incidence that happened a few months ago. The Procurement Officer for Kailahun District Council wanted to place Adverts for local contracts in Kailahun and just as he was trained in Procurement School, he decided to place them within those newspapers which have readership in Kailahun. His Boss, Tom Nyuma happened to be travelling to Freetown at the time and so the Procurement Officer gave the Adverts to Nyuma to please forward to Awareness Times Freetown offices which newspaper is the only newspaper that enters Kailahun District on a regular basis. What did Tom Nyuma do on arrival in Freetown? He took the Advert Authority officially addressed to Awareness Times and never darkened our offices but diverted the Adverts and gave them to a certain start-up pro-APC mushroom newspaper which not only sells very little copies in Freetown but which has never even been seen in Kailahun Town! These were Adverts for contracts concerning a local development in Kailahun which only people living within Kailahun would be interested in bidding for!

I was bemused after the Procurement Officer told me he had sent the Adverts for my newspaper through Tom Nyuma and so I telephoned up Nyuma and I questioned of him as to why he took an Advert authority clearly addressed to Awareness Times by his Procurement Officer and gave it to a pro-APC newspaper, his  response to me was as follows and I quote him VERBATIM: “I am under pressure!”.

What pressure I asked of him? He could not say! I kept my cool.

I later asked the Editor of SLPP’s Unity Newspaper if he received those adverts and he also said he did not receive it. Only pro-APC newspapers ran those Adverts! This is just one experience from a personal viewpoint. Now, Uncle George, go to Kailahun and speak to people there (Not the compromised ones but the real SLPP members) and you will be shocked at what your nephew Tom Nyuma is doing to promote the interest of the APC in Kailahun.



We are living in a free and democratic State and there is no crime in Nyuma wishing to promote the interests of the APC or President Ernest Koroma but when he misleads the world that he is working in the interest of the SLPP when he is doing just the opposite, it means, like Pa Shaki was able to mislead the world those decades past, the country’s democratic credentials are under serious threat as we are paving the way, like Pa Shaki did between 1973 – 1978, for an ONE PARTY TOTALITARIAN STATE to emerge... Good people should stand up and raise questions rather than whitewash a worrying issue in the national polity. Tom Nyuma is a reprehensible disgrace to our budding democratic culture. He is not working for the SLPP and many of his actions are designed against the SLPP whilst maintaining a public facade of being SLPP. So, he is creating a warped image of what the true national political situation is especially as he is now emboldened enough to mislead the US Ambassador. Unfortunately, there are many like him sprinkled around the National Polity and sooner the SLPP starts to hurl them in front of Disciplinary Committees to defend their actions and their utterances, the better for this country’s Multi-Party Democracy. Lonta!

© Copyright 2005, Freetown, Sierra Leone.