Over Allegations… Paddle Chairman Speaks


By Musa Sesay

The Chairman of the traditional Eastern Paddle masquerade, Ahmed Gento Kamara has who is also the Chief Executive Officer of Gento Group of Companies, disclosed that entire membership of the institution was financially responsible for last Saturday’s Parade Street Carnival and not the APC government, as earlier alleged.

The swift reaction from Chairman Gento comes following intense criticisms and accusations that the said carnival was sponsored by the government with a mouth-watering sum of one billion five hundred million Leones.

Speaking to The Exclusive, Gento revealed that preparations for the event including the building of the mask devil, ‘Ashobi’ ( dress code) and other logistics amounted to one hundred and fifty thousand United State Dollars (US$150,000) which he said was raised by members.

Gento proudly bragged that members of the institution were able to raise the said sum all by themselves. He pointed out that paddle was formed in 1949 and its culture and heritage have been maintained throughout with overwhelming celebrations once every year.

One unique quality of paddle, he went on, is its objective criticisms to sitting governments; commending and lambasting as and when necessary.

He recounted the days of late President Joseph Saidu Momoh when he failed to live to the expectation of the public. He said the public, through Paddle, registered their dissatisfaction by lambasting him. On the contrary, he added President Ahmed Tejan Kabbah was praised by the public after ending the war and was accorded a fitting good bye by Paddle”.

Last Saturday’s Street Carnival, he said, was designed to express their thanks and appreciations to President Ernest Bai Koroma for his development strides during his almost two year’s tenure in office.