MR. President, “Your House is on Fire”! Stop this madness.

As the drama unfolds….

By Journalist Amadu Lamrana Bah (filed on Friday July 5th 2013)

The Minister of Information and Communications Alhaji Alpha Khanu has in an interview with Journalists at the State House Credentials Hall described the Special Executive Assistant to President Koroma, Dr. Sylvia Olayinka Blyden, as a dangerous demented rumour monger…(Awareness Times)

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The Special Executive Assistant (SEA) to the President at State House has stoutly refused to directly react to last Friday’s numerous public insults against her person by the official Government Spokesman, Alhaji Alpha Kanu. Shortly before last Friday July 5th 2013’s press conference called by the President, the Minister of Information had summoned a team of notorious pro-SLPP journalists right at the environs of the State House Credentials Hall and publicly wasted all sorts of words against the SEA to the extent of urging the local journalists to quote him using those unfortunate words. (Awareness Times)

“Quote me, quote me!” Alpha Kanu was saying wildly as he used unprintable words against the SEA. Many SLPP journalists present had their recorders, pens and paper as they vigorously took his statements down whilst laughing their sides out at the spectacular scene akin to madness. Not surprisingly, as soon as they could, many rushed to Facebook and other social media and posted the insults of Minister Kanu against the SEA to the amazement of the whole world. Oswald Hanciles, a presidential Media Outreach staff, went to Facebook and posted a photograph of the amazing scene of the Minister as he insulted Sylvia Blyden with Sorie Fofana of Global Times laughing loudly as he wrote the insults down.

It is a fact that many citizens and foreigners who observed the spectacle on Facebook have blamed President Ernest Koroma to be presiding over a regime where his appointed Government Spokesman can publicly use such reckless words against another senior official appointed by the President.

Indeed, many people from overseas and locally tried to goad Dr. Blyden to react in similar manner but she refused to do so saying she was “waiting to see what the President would do”. (Awareness Times)

I used to think that politics was for grownups, until the country was subjected to political circus. Yes, the circus has come to town. Since the conclusion of the last general elections, the results of which were controversially challenged by the SLPP Party, many have come to see the opposition party as rudderless and not fit for purpose. The case was recently dismissed by the courts (so I heard), following some legal gymnastics to which I am not privy. But if you think that this should be the death knell of politics as we know it, spare a thought for the political tsunami that is brewing right at the heart of the Government.

Since the appointment of Dr. Sylvia Blyden, as Special Executive Assistant for presidential affairs, there have been lots of controversial happenings spewing from the monastery lately. Judging by the public row that is being played out among officials, it is safe to conclude that Sylvia’s appointment has been seen as “throwing the cat among the pigeons”. The impression you get from the numerous public rows is that “someone must be throwing some spanners in the works”; the theory of “Nor cam poil ya o”. But all that is little change as compared to the kind of potential damage this might be causing for the image of the president’s office.

It is an open secret that the President is in his second and “final” term of office, although some political spin doctors had tried to sell the idea of a third term; until the president came out and revealed his retirement plans. With this in mind, it looks like some people have already started to jostle for positions, even before the President bows out of office. And you think the SLPP has a problem with leadership? This reminds me of my childhood days, when we used to jostle for positions in the line, during “match past”. You can tell that not many people raised a glass to her appointment as SEA.

I am not playing the devil’s advocate here, or better still, not a disciple of Sylvia’s, but what is her crime? Yes, we know of the reportedly misquoted donation. We know that she is trumpeting the need for a review of the Public Order Act 1965. On her way to her current position, we know that she had ruffled a lot of feathers by virtue of her job as a journalist. She can be controversial by the nature of her job. But what is it that some people find so nauseating about her job or otherwise? Okay, stop counting now.

 Jokes aside, the kind of atmosphere that is being paraded for the world to see, is nothing short of indiscipline. It looks like some people are no longer content with fighting across the aisle. Words like “overzealous”, “loose cannon” “controversial”, “emotionally unstable” and” personality disordered”, etc have been used to describe her. Most recently, the “New Daily Nation” newspaper reportedly revealed that she was an RUF Operative, and that she was considered a “traitor” by Foday Sankoh. Not many people will have a problem if they decide to take their personal battles down the drain.

The worrying aspect of all this, is the fact that it is apparently happening right in the office (not literally) of the President. This is happening among the people that are expected to be working “closest” to the President. By the manner of this battle which seems to run and run, it feels like an open season. To all intents and purposes, you would have expected someone somewhere to put an end to this madness. What may have started as a tittles tattle apparently seems to attract other political heavyweights. Why is no one calling a truce? For such petty mindedness to continue unabated, leaves one wondering if there are any monitors in the classroom; in the absence of the teacher. “I am neither bitter nor cynical but I do wish there was less immaturity in political thinking”.(Franklin D. Roosevelt )

 To sacrifice the credibility of the office on the altar of egos is in itself demeaning. These guys should remember that the public is never going to be impressed by their chest beating, ego baiting and brow beating antics. In the interest of the country, please take some lessons in diplomacy and put out this fire. Some people are wondering why the President has apparently not put an end to this. We know that he is well known for “taking his time” with very important decisions; cabinet ministers and even the VP will testify to that. We know how long it took to announce a running mate and the current cabinet posts; which is not a bad trait in itself. That may be the reason why many see his H. E as a “thoughtful person” who does not make decisions on a whim; as Political necessities can sometimes turn out to be political mistakes

 In case these guys are not aware, our country is gripped by the saga of “corruption scandals” at the moment, and we have reportedly earned the unenviable accolade of being the “most corrupt” nation. Sorry…we might not be the most corrupt nation; we are just too honest about being corrupt; for one in four people admitted to taking part in corruption according to a recent poll by Transparency International. So you see, we are not that bad; at least we are honest enough to admit.

Don’t forget to inform the janitor when you leave the room.

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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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