From Awareness Times Newspaper in Freetown

The life and Times of Honourable PC Madam Ella Koblo Gulama of Sierra Leone
By Awareness Times
Sep 26, 2006, 14:17

Madam Ella Koblo Gulama was born on 26th January 1921 in Moyamba and was educated at the Harford School for girls from 1928 to 1938. She then attended the Women Teachers Training College at Wilberforce, Freetown from 1938 to 1941. After completing her studies she was appointed supervising Teacher for the Provinces, the first to attain this position.

Late PC Ella Koblo Gulama

She was married to Paramount Chief Bai Koblo Pathbana II Marampa Masimera Chiefdom, in 1944. The union was blessed with seven children, two surviving, Obai and Soccoh and many other Kabia children

Madam Gulama was born in Moyamba Kaiyamba Chiefdom in Moyamba District. Her late grandfather Momoh Gulama and father Julius Gulama were Paramount Chiefs of Kaiyamba Chiefdom.

Paramount Chief Julius Gulama worked relentlessly to bring people of all ethnic groups together. He supported and worked for the establishment of the BO Government School and was one of the founding members of the SLPP. After his death in 1953, Madam Gulama succeeded him as Paramount Chief of Kaiyamba Chiefdom.

She soon followed in the foot steps of her father and entered national politics. In 1957, she became a Member of the Moyamba District Council and was also elected to the House of Representatives of Sierra Leone as Paramount Chief Member for Moyamba District. Thus becoming the first female member of that august body. She was re-elected to Parliament and appointed a Cabinet Minister in government of Sir Milton Margai, Sierra Leone’s first Primer Minister, thus becoming the first female minister in Sierra Leone and the sub-Saharan region.

In 1967 she regained her seat in the General Elections. However the elections were marred by controversy followed by a period of instability affecting the whole country, culminating in a series of military coups that finally ushered in a thirty year period of party rule under the APC. Earlier in this period, she spent two and half years at the Pademba Road prisons but was subsequently exonerated and released. She was also deposed as Paramount Chief during this period.

She remained in the service of her church, the United Methodist Church, and from 1985 to 19901 she was the Vice-President of its highest organ, the conference on Finance and Administration.

Throughout the span of her career, Madam Gulama maintained a high interest in educational development in Sierra Leone. In particularly, she worked hard to promote the education of girls and to improve the lot of women folks in this country. She was a member of the Board of Governors of her Alma Mater, Harford School for Girls in Moyamba. She was also member of the Sierra Leone government Scholarship Advisory Board and also a member of the Bursary Committee of Fourah Bay College.

She was President of the Federation of Women’s Organisations in Sierra Leone from 1960 to 1967, and President of the National Organization for Women (Sierra Leone) from 1985 to 1991.

In 1992, Madam Gulama had a renaissance of her Political career, con­testing and winning re-election as Paramount Chief of Kaiyamba Chiefdom by a unanimous vote. She worked assiduously with the help of NGOs to bring agricultural and infrastructural development to her Chiefdom and district. The rebel war and its effects were devastating to Moyamba District and the country as a whole, resulting in complete set­back to development and progress. She was forced to leave Moyamba and seek refuge in Freetown.

On her return to Moyamba, madam Gulama again put all her efforts into the rehabilitation of her Chiefdom and District. She however suffered setbacks in relation to her health. She served in various capacities as director of the Sierra Leone Export Development and Investment Corporation (SLEDIC) from 1994 to 1996 and also a director of The Sierra Leone Commercial Bank Limited

She travelled widely representing our country in Africa, Europe, the United States and the Middle East. As early as 1957, she was invited by United States Government Department of States accompanied by her closed friend Mrs. Elizabeth Eula Hatib. She completed a four month tour, during which time she met with the then Vice-President Richard Nixon, and was also a guest at the NAACP convention in Cleveland, Ohio and at the Booker T. Washington Institute of Tuskegee, Alabama. She also visited the Lady Mayor in San Juan, Puerto Rico in 1964. She led the Sierra Leone delegation to the World Fair in New York and introduced the Sierra Leone national Dance Troupe to an inter­national audience for the first time with the late John Arkar. She also participated in a number of UN-sponsored conferences on matters of rural community development and female education and progress.

She was the recipient of several awards including the MBE in 1959, the O.B.E in 1966 from Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth and the Order of the Rokel Award from the President of Sierra Leone, His Excellency Alhaji Dr. Ahmed Tejan Kabbah.

She adored her family and friends and was a strong proponent of African traditional values.

© Copyright 2005, Freetown, Sierra Leone.