As Sourious Samura Warns… Salone On Time Bomb

 

Sixteen years after the eleven years bloody civil war that tore the country apart physically, destroyed it economically, culturally disoriented it and reversed individual and national development, it is reportedly an undisputable fact that the aftermath of the announcement of the 31st March, 2018 presidential runoff election indicated that the country continues sitting on a ticking political time bomb.

In spite of the fact that the country returned to multi-party democracy in 1991 after the lifting of ban on multi party democracy by former President Joseph Saidu Momoh, Sierra Leone still remains politically fragile with the tendency of the country flaring up into open conflict at any time particularly now that political tension seems to have reached fever pitch.

Since the SLPP government acceded to power on 4th April, 2018, when Rtd. Brig. Julius Maada Bio was announced as winner of the 31st March presidential run-off election, there is no doubt that the long-standing suspicion, enmity and hate that had existed since the 1960s between the two political arch rivals or twins that the leader of the National Grand Coalition, (NGC) Alhaji Dr Kandeh Kolleh Yumkella referred to them as  the historical twins of ‘Alusine and Alhassan’ continues to blaze fierily, openly and covertly nationwide between supporters of the two.

In particular, this nation has once again become sharply divided over the Bio administration’s avowed determination to fight corruption that targets then serving government ministers, officials and their families, relatives and friends.

At the weekend, the residences of former Ministers of Internal Affairs and Fisheries and Marine Resources in the persons of Alfred Palo Conteh and Capt. Alieu Pat-Sowe, who immediately travelled abroad following the announcement of the presidential run-off election, were raided by security personnel acting upon tip-off. This action, according to report, has further heightened tension between supporters of the two traditional parties.

While many Sierra Leoneans believe they are not averse to the fight against corruption which poses as a common enemy against national development, they also cautioned that the Governance Transition Team (GTT) Report must be dealt with delicately and sensitively so that it would not appear as though it is a witch-hunt.

Fearful of what a divided nation could lead to, a renowned Sierra Leonean investigative journalist, Sorious Samura in a video message to compatriots warned against the dangers of Sierra Leoneans seeing themselves as political enemies and fanning the flames of another unrest in the country after the decade-long bloody civil war between 1991 and 2002.

Recounting the role he played in bringing international attention to the horrors of that conflagration in his documentary ‘Cry Freetown’ that led to the involvement of the international community to help bring the war to an end, Sorious Samura also did a documentary on the tribal and ethnic conflict between the Hutus and Tutsis in Rwanda that was fuelled by hate speeches and messages by local radio stations in that country.

In his message, Sorious highlighted that patriotism is not about loyalty to partisanship but about love for once country, pride and dignity in belonging to it. He lamented that given the way things are unfolding, it appears that the country is on the path to destruction. “We are strolling blindly towards civil war,” Sorious warned, noting that if that happens, it would be worse than the previous civil conflict. Consequently, he warned that no politician or political party is worth fighting and dying for.

“Let us put Sierra Leone first,” Sorious pleads. “Not the tribe you belong to that matters but Sierra Leone.” He notes that some politicians are playing games with the citizenry and that it is about time they refused dancing to their tune of tribalism and regionalism.

He further warned that if Sierra Leoneans are stupid enough to resume war against each other, it is not the politicians and their families will suffer but the impoverished citizens who are in the majority. “Let’s don’t fight each other; no political party or leader is worth shedding our blood for,” Sorious reiterates, adding, “Instead, let us be our brother’s keeper.”

Meanwhile, while political tension is brewing between the two leading political parties, the APC National Chairman and Leader, erstwhile President Ernest Bai Koroma, who is at present abroad, has strongly reacted to the GTT Report that was launched past Wednesday accusing him and fifty others of grand corruption and racketeering by dismissing the report as rubbish and calling on party stalwarts, supporters and the entire citizenry to remain calm.

“I have a lot of confidence that Sierra Leoneans will come together and use this unfortunate saga as an opportunity to showcase the maturity of our democratic credentials, the sustainability of our peace, the importance of a genuine fight against corruption and the inviolability of our rights and freedom,” former President Koroma wrote on 5th July, 2018 in reaction to the GTT Report.