Kabs Kanu Responds to Mustapha Sesay’s Letter

When some Sierra Leoneans always respond to salient analyses of national issues with a rush of blood to their heads, abandoning their thinking caps,  you should  always expect disjointed thinking, illogical arguments and conclusions , sound and fury and no sense or substance, exactly what I posited in my first article. The same mistake has been committed by Mr.  Mustapha M.K. Sesay, who has abandoned HIS THINKING CAP and is  taking  umbrage with me over  my right to articulate the achievements of the APC party and Government.

It is exactly the reason, just as I stated earlier , for the poverty of intellectual,  issues-based discourse in our online forums and in the social media. Feigning that Sierra Leone has no problem in this regard is even the height of  insincerity .

There is no serious participant in our online forums, chatrooms  and the social media who is not aware of the tendency in most Sierra Leoneans to resort to verbal abuse , profanities and cyber-bullying  to enforce their disagreements with the honest viewpoints of others. I speak not like a novice in these matters, but an expert , who once controlled the biggest and the most popular  online discussion forum for years  —The COCORIOKO FORUM.  The archives are still available for perusing. The forum had to be shut down because the level of gutter exchanges laced with profanities ,  even by well-educated and distinguished citizens, reached such a pitch that the hosting company decided to pull the plug, which was in fact the third time it was happening , after the closures of the SLIS, NUP and SIERRANET FORUMS  for the same reason. The level of bitterness and intolerance stunned the host and he lamented that citizens from the same country would be so bitter and verbally abusive to one another. We lost the SLIS, NUP and SIERRANET Forums for the same reasons.

Mr. Sesay is probably new online, unlike some of us, the veterans, who have been online since the mid 1990s  and have taken part in all the forums dealing with Sierra Leonean affairs. The situation is no less different from what is presently going on in the social media for which numerous well-educated Sierra Leoneans with good intentions have complained bitterly. I challenge Mr. Sesay to name me any Facebook forum , with examples of extended dialogues ,  where participants engaged  in serious debates on our national issues with educative  exchanges  and conceptualizing of the issues ( Without resorting to name-calling , verbal abuse and unsubstantiated attacks ).

It will surprise Mr. Sesay  to know that many Sierra Leoneans agreed with my remarks  that participants in our forums and the social media prefer insults and verbal abuse to cogent and issues-based discourse ? An elder citizen and a well-educated and experienced citizen, Mr. Israel Ojekeh Parpar not only agreed with me but he prefaced those particular comments and shared them on his Facebook page, where some  Sierra Leoneans agreed with me and even thanked me for bringing up the issue. I invite him  to visit his page and see for himself.

If he wants to be  honest,  Mustapha Sesay would acknowledge the fact that many Sierra Leoneans of “class ” are very disturbed about the abuse of online forums and the social media by Sierra Leoneans. The matter has become so bad that the Government was even mulling whether a social media policy should be put together to address the situation. Was the Information Minister  insulting Sierra Leoneans when accused them of abusing the social media ? Why do we loath the truth so much ?

I stand by my postulation that “If participants in Sierra Leone’s media interviews, talk shows, online forums and the social media had the moral will to be rational in their thinking , this would have been an interesting and educative topic of argument. But Sierra Leoneans normally do not argue issues from an analytical and coherent perspective . They depend on insults, verbal abuse  expatiation of their raw emotions and articulation of partisan beliefs during important arguments on forums and the social media.  From my experience, I have learnt that many Sierra Leoneans depend more on noise, sarcasm and  insults  to enforce their arguments, claims and positions. They do not rely on substance. ” It is the bitter truth . It is not the convenient truth  . Any honest person who participates in the social media would admit that it is a stigma we created for ourselves by the manner we handled the social media.

Instead of addressing the issues in my article, Mr.Sesay proved me right that most of our people care less  about issues during arguments by launching an unrelated and unnecessary attack on me to distract from the main issue, saying :   “Honestly, I can not recall any instance in which you have opposed, not to talk about challenged, any mistake or alleged wrong doing by the APC party or Government. ”  How can I challenge government policy while working for it ?  Did Sesay study Political Science ? I will have to resign first from government to do that. What a lack of understanding of political morality  ! ! !

Where has he seen a senior diplomat of a sovereign country publicly  “oppose ,  challenge any mistake or alleged wrong doing of his government “.  I am a fully-commissioned diplomat and media executive of my government . My role is to  defend government policies and programs and also highlight the achievements and activities of government, not to public oppose them. You would normally expect such an argument from an illiterate . I do not want to say that Mr. Sesay is ignorant of protocols and political mores . This much, however, I can say.  He has not displayed an informed  understanding  of political practice and diplomatic protocols.  To demonstrate this lack of understanding further , he  even went on to equate me with people who  are neither agents  nor employees of government and he missed it completely why  some of them are bitter with the government . How can I be working for the government and bitterly oppose government and party policies like the individuals named ? Is it part of normal protocol and practice ? But this is another classic example of the manner some Sierra Leoneans deviate from the main point when they have nothing sensible and substantive to say about the issues at stake. According to normal political principles, a government official who wants to publicly disagree with government policy resigns first .

I admonish him  to conduct a research and find out why some erstwhile rabid  supporters of the APC  are now virulently attacking the government and party .They are issues that have been dealt with before in many forums. Mr. Sesay has proved a penchant for dabbling  in matters without knowing the genesis of such issues, a big failure in somebody who is  a “media specialist” .

The reference to Ambassador Eddie Turay is misplaced, baseless , erroneous and  inconsistent   with the point he  want to hammer home.  The ambassador, ACTUALLY , was not attacking the government or party . He was   expressing  “his disappointment over those clamouring to lead the ruling All People’s Congress (APC) instead of focusing on maintaining the President’s legacy and called on the President to use his services to upload some of these politicians ( COCORIOKO, September 5, 2016 ) . I have done the same in many editorials in my newspaper, Cocorioko. Eddie Turay’s statement was true and it was favorable to President Ernest Koroma. To seek to twist it and regard it as an opposition to party policy is the height of ignorance and dishonesty.

Ambassador Turay, as a seasoned politician and diplomat, who knows what he should do and what he shouldn’t do,  apologised profusely to President Koroma and the Government in a special press release the moment  he thought that views he had expressed in a SLBC   interview were misunderstood as being at cross-purposes with the Government’s position. He wrote :“Subsequent to my appearance on the “Podium” programme on the Sierra Leone Broadcasting Corporation, on 7th January 2015, I have concluded that it is necessary for me to issue this Press Release so as to address the apparent ambiguity and misunderstanding some of my comments on said programme have inadvertently caused.””In this connection, let me at the onset unequivocally register my unwavering support for overall government policy and the prodigious stewardship of His Excellency Dr. Ernest Bai Koroma, on all matters, including the imposition of a ban on the use right hand vehicles.” ( COCORIOKO , January 30, 2015 ) . i  wonder whether you had ever availed yourself of these facts before making your wrongheaded statement.

I am a very busy man and normally do not encourage aimless and unproductive exchanges with people over my views in my articles.  If I were to always do that, I will waste valuable time and have no chance to do my work. I know that not everyone will agree with my views and I see nothing wrong in people taking the opposite viewpoint . I can live with that. But the dire need for issues-related  discourse in our online forums and the social media cannot be overemphasized. We need it desperately if we must find credible solutions to our nation’s problems.

I therefore stand by my views.

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About CEN 641 Articles
Critique Echo Newspaper is a major source of news and objective analyses about governance, democracy and human-right. Edited and published in Kenema city, eastern Sierra Leone, the outlet is generally referred to as a level plying ground for the youths, women and children.

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