After all, if every economic issue is framed as a struggle between a hard-working white middle class and undeserving minorities, then workers of all shades will be left fighting for scraps while the wealthy withdraw further into their private enclaves - Barack Obama

News Links:  Sierra Herald  Sierra Leone Telegraph Al Jazeera English: Live Stream Sorious Documentaries

  [Sierra Leone Websites] [Disclaimer][Contact Us]

Message Board

  Author   Comment  
Cornelius Hamelberg
Reply with quote  #1 

We should thank God that there is freedom of speech in Sierra Leone and pray that the blessings of this freedom will continue.

This article “Demo-Crazy in Parliamentby the one who is currently my favourite commentator on Sierra Leone issues ( since circa 21st of March this year) the seminal, level-headed Rev. Alfred Munda SamForay, should provide a talking point as it raises a few issues that we have been discussing and debating in this forum :

Demo-Crazy in Parliament

The attempt to elect a Speaker – second in line for the presidency – and Deputy Speaker during the First Session of the Fifth Parliament of the Second Republic on Tuesday April 24 and Wednesday April 25 can best be described by William Butler Yeat’s poem, The Second Comingpopularized in part by novelist, Albert Chinua Achebe:

Turning and turning in the widening gyre * The falcon cannot hear the falconer;
Things fall apart; the centre cannot hold; Mere anarchy is loosed upon the world,
The blood-dimmed tide is loosed, and everywhere * The ceremony of innocence is drowned;
The best lack all conviction, * While the worst are full of passionate intensity

Lost in the jungle after the bloody food fight in and around Parliament is the fact that the outgoing All Peoples Congress (APC) wanted change. The incoming Sierra Leone Peoples Party (SLPP), the oldest continuously running political party in West Africa, wanted change. The newly begotten National Grand Coalition (NGC) advocated for change. And the Coalition for Change (C4C) wanted, what else? Change, of course. So they all came together in Parliament to carry out the will of the electorate for change. But according to Ghanaian novelist, Ayi Kwei Armah, Sierra Leoneans and the rest of the world soon realized that “The Beautyful Ones Are Not Yet Born”.



At issue was whether sixteen parliamentarians of the All Peoples Congress should be sworn-in and take part in the First Session of Parliament. Earlier on an interim court injunction had been issued against the APC MPs on behalf of the SLPP. These members were subsequently asked to leave the well of Parliament. They refused stating that no ruling on whether they were disqualified to be in Parliament had been issued. A fracas ensued and suddenly there was an appearance of militarized security forces with riot batons to keep order – or perhaps one might argue, to intimidate members of Parliament? And who ordered all these security forces into the hallowed halls of Parliament anyway? It is believed that in the absence of the outgoing and prospective APC candidate for Speaker of Parliament, the onus fell on the obviously young and largely inexperienced bureaucrat, the Clerk of Parliament, the Hon. Paran Umar Tarawally, to call in the riot police with the usual “orders from above”.  I do not expect that such orders come from God Almighty. God is presently too busy trying to keep President Donald Trump of the United States from wiping Syria off the map for using chemical weapons against its own citizens. Whoever gave these orders must have confused Abraham Lincoln’s “government of the people, by the people and for the people” with government by brute force. Certainly the Clerk of Parliament whose job is to ensure that members thereof have all the amenities, tools and personal safety necessary for the smooth running of the House appeared to be well over his head to carry out his orders from above. According to management expert, Professor Laurence J. Peter, people keep getting promoted until they reach their level of incompetence. This is known in organizational management as the Peter Principle. Mr. Tarawally besides being unable to keep order and serenity in the House, was reportedly extraordinarily arrogant and outright impolite to Opposition MP’s ordering some to sit down and be quiet even when it was their turn to speak. He seemed quite oblivious of the fact that according to Section 73(1) of the Constitution, the President himself is a Member of Parliament.

Also lost in the jungle warfare masquerading as parliamentary democracy were the reasons Parliament was meeting in the first place. Sections 79(1) and 80(1) of the 1991 Constitution of Sierra Leone stipulates that at the first seating of Parliament following a Dissolution, Parliament shall elect a Speaker and Deputy Speaker, respectively. And following a General Election, the first order of Parliament, of course, is to legalize itself by swearing in its members. But the Constitution does not require a member to be sworn in before voting for the Speaker or Deputy Speaker. According to Section 83,

“…a member may, before taking an oath, take part in the election of a Speaker”.

So there was absolutely no constitutional mandate to throw the petitioned APC MP’s out of Parliament. It was uncivil and unnecessary vexation of the spirit. In any case, before getting to these noble missions, MP’s and supporters of the two senior political parties, the APC and SLPP known in other circles as Alusine and Alhasan (twins of different mothers) decided to resort to some form of blood sacrifice in full view of the hallowed burial places of Sir Milton Margai, Father of the nation, and Siaka Probyn Stevens, father of the Republic. Then they proceeded to possibly violate the very Constitution they were been sworn-in to preserve and to protect. Section 79(2) of the Constitution says,

The Speaker shall be elected by a resolution in favour of which there are cast the votes of not less than two-thirds of the Members of Parliament.(Emphasis are mine).

Accordingly, in order to elect the Speaker and Deputy Speaker, a quorum consisting of two-thirds of ALL 144 MP’s including twelve Paramount Chief Members of Parliament needed to be present to vote for the resolution. If my numbers are correct, then there should have been, according to Section 79(2) of the Constitution, a minimum of ninety-five (95) members, two-thirds of the entire membership – not two-thirds of members present at the time – would have been required to form a quorum for the purpose of electing the Speaker and Deputy Speaker. But on the day in question only seventy-six (76) members were present. And in full view of the whole world, the Constitution was subverted and the Speaker and Deputy Speaker were elected with far less than the required quorum. What bothers me most is that the only cabinet member presently approved, Attorney-General & Minister of Justice, Charles Francis Margai, who suffered so much under APC unconstitutionality is now the very person overseeing this blatant violation of the national constitution under his father and uncle’s “party of lawyers”, the SLPP. In protest the entire parliamentary delegation of the National Grand Coalition (NGC) including Hon.Foday Mario Kamara (Const.057), Hon. Bai Sama Kamara (060) Hon. Abdul Titus Kamara (061), and Hon. Kandeh Kolleh Yumkella (062), Leader of the NGC, abstained from voting. And I will resist the temptation to ask why 75 percent of the NGC delegation from four different constituencies of Kambia are all surnamed Kamara, or why His Excellency the President, Minister of Finance and the Honorable Attorney General & Minister of Justice are all ancestrally from Bonthe District. Probably just a happenstance of birth or parentage. Members of the Coalition for Change voted in concert with the ruling SLPP to elect the Speaker and Deputy Speaker. As a result, the NGC parliamentarians became either the pariah or the conscience of Parliament, depending on where one stood on the constitutional provision for parliamentary quorum electing the Speaker and Deputy Speaker.

Throughout this unnecessarily long and tedious election process both APC and SLPP behaved badly – very badly. There was extreme rudeness at SLPP Headquarters such as the well-documented insult and assault on the mother of now Member of Parliament from Kambia, Hon. Kandeh Kolleh Yumkella. There were several reports of stabbings and fracases between APC and SLPP members in the Western Area leading to loss of life. There was the attack on then presidential candidate and now His Excellency the President Julius Maada Bio in Kamalu, Karene District, the home of then APC presidential candidate, Samura Kamara. Mr. Bio is said to have escaped only by resorting to his former military ingenuity, the sort of things legends are built on. Then there was the most famous, (or infamous) stabbing death of one Daddy George, a supporter of former SLPP flagbearer aspirant and former SLPP Chairman, John Oponjo Benjamin. The alleged culprit was said to be a ward of President Bio. All of the above misbehavior, violence and assault on individual liberties were done with impunity. Not much disciplinary actions were taken by the leaders of either the APC or SLPP. It is as though none of the leaders of these chronically ill-mannered supporters of these two ancient political parties ever heard of Bo Government Secondary School, where I am told, Manner Maketh Man.

Both the APC and SLPP cheated, stole votes, stuffed missing and re-appeared ballot boxes, and possibly hacked into the database of the National Electoral Commission to change votes many of which came in different from what was posted at the poling stations. Their actions were documented and reported to international elections observers and nothing of consequence was done about it. Now that William Yeats “ceremony of innocence is drowned” and things appear to have fallen apart in Parliament suddenly the conscience of the international community is awakened. Since then a high level delegation from ECOWAS-UNOWAS has visited Sierra Leone with the aim of returning things to normalcy in Parliament. And as a result, all sixty-eight APC MPs have returned to Parliament. In my opinion, the honorable Clerk of Parliament, should relinquish his office for the unnecessary vexation of our national spirit.

At no time in my nearly seven decades as a natural born citizen of this great country have I seen the extreme tribalism and regionalism as was practised by both APC and SLPP in the past elections.  The results were obvious. People in Kono voted for native son and deposed Vice President, Samuel Sam-Sumana. The South-East voted 95 percent for Brig. (Retd.) Julius Maada Bio of Bonthe District. Nearly 70 percent of Kambia District and a significant number of other Northerners voted for native son, Kandeh Kolleh Yumkela. The rest of the North voted for their other native son, Samura Kamara of the APC.

Now the elections are over and done with. The President, Vice President, members of Parliament and local government officials are either in their respective offices or waiting to take office. We can only hope that those who lost will have the courage to work with the victors to carry the burden of the extreme poverty and deprivation known as Sierra Leone to better and more prosperous days ahead. We also hope that those who won realize with humility that less than sixty percent of the adult population of this country voted for them. That no one party or individual, no matter how talented or capable is able to move this country from a beggar nation to a more prosperous one. To do this end, we must at least attempt to practise real democracy – not the madness the world saw in Parliament on April 25 that can best be called Demo-Crazy. We must learn to listen to one another, work together and live together as brothers and sisters That blessing and peace may descend on us all. As the Reverend Martin Luther King, Jr. of blessed memory observed, either we live together as brothers and sisters or perish together as fools. This is the best we can do after fifty-seven years of under-development and under-achievement as a nation and as a people.

To our brothers and sisters of the All Peoples Congress, there is a difference between uncivil rebellion and civil disobedience as practiced by Mahatma Gandhi of India and Martin Luther King, Jr. of the United States. Both also paid the ultimate price for what they believed in. To our brothers and sisters of the Sierra Leone Peoples Party, there is a difference between democracy – majority rule – and tyranny of the majority. Revenge politics in a country less than the population of London or New York City is a very, very bad idea. To our brothers and sisters of the Coalition for Change and the National Grand Coalition, the reason your people sent you to Parliament was to provide a real democratic alternative to the two senior and often disharmonious political parties. Whenever and wherever “The best lack all conviction, while the worst are full of passionate intensity” as Yeats describes it, the inevitable outcome is chaos as we saw in Parliament last week much to our collective national disgrace. You have to stand up for what is right no matter what the cost and speak for the voiceless. And finally to both APC and SLPP this country does not belong to either one of you. It belongs to all of us, the people of Sierra Leone. The time to redeem yourselves for the jangling discords you have both sown through the tribal and Regional politics you have supervised for the last 57 years of national existence is now.

NATIONAL CLEANING DAY: As the Republicans said after the 2016 national elections in America, “Happy days are here again”. According to a recent proclamation by His Excellency President Julius Maada Bio, Saturday May 5, 2018 and every last Saturday of the month thereafter shall be national cleaning day. In the absence of a seating Parliament, presidential proclamations are the law of the land. I have no problems with this per se. It has been said that cleanliness is next to Godliness, although God never said that. In the Bible, holiness, not cleanliness, is next to Godliness. My problem with presidential proclamations is that as King Nebuchadnezzar, King Darius, King Xerxes, King Herold and much later President Abraham Lincoln, whose Emancipation Proclamation essentially abolished slavery in America, all found out, Executive Proclamations are irreversible even when somebody has to die in the process. Americans went to a bloody civil war, John the Baptist was beheaded, Prophet Daniel was thrown into the lions’ den, and three young Hebrew men were thrown into a fiery furnace because no one – not even the King – dared reverse his own proclamation. I was talking to my internet service provider from Bo. She was crying on the phone suffering from severe stomach pain all night. She could not go to the hospital, she said, until after national cleaning at noon. Reminds me of the Scribes and Pharisees in Jesus’ time who would not permit their animals to be rescued on the Sabbath because, according to them, God said “Honor the Sabbath Day and keep it holy”. So if people or animals decided to die during the Sabbath, tough. Speaking of internet service, I have not been able to get one for almost a week because some hopeless nincompoop apparently still angry about the outcome of the elections decided to set fire or otherwise destroy cables of the Sierra Leone Telecommunications Company (SierraTel) at Jui and Aberdeen, I am told.  So if I were to advise the President I would tell him to declare a National Cleanliness Day – every day of the year – like they do in Rwanda and America. That will be the day when Sierra Leoneans will not urinate on the streets, throw garbage in their neighbor’s yard or in the gutters and streets at night. I lived in the United States for 45 years and I never heard of national cleaning day in America. If we don’t throw garbage on the streets and verandas we won’t need six hours a month for national cleaning in the first place. I advised President Bio – then Brig-Gen. Bio during the days of the NPRC – that rather than complain about garbage in Sierra Leone, we should convert it into energy. Guatemala City in Central America converts its garbage into natural gas used for cooking. Germany imports garbage from Italy and elsewhere to burn and convert heat and mechanical energies thereof into electricity. But I am not a politician, neither do I advise governments for a living. So that is as far as I go. GOD BLESS THE REPUBLIC OF SIERRA LEONE.


Rev. Alfred Munda SamForay

Cornelius Hamelberg
Reply with quote  #2 

There are of course several points of agreement and disagreement about a number of assertions made by our dear Rev, which I will take up later, but for now let me start with an obvious point of disagreement ( religious) that has to be clarified, re – when true to his cloth, he says that

In the absence of a seating ( sitting) Parliament, presidential proclamations are the law of the land. I have no problems with this per se. It has been said that cleanliness is next to Godliness, although God never said that. In the Bible, holiness, not cleanliness, is next to Godliness.”

My dear maternal grandmother could not have been wrong for telling us times without number that “cleanliness is next to Godliness”, and so it is, it  all begins with cleanliness:

It's quite a journey. As Rabbi Pinchas ben Yair put it, “ Study leads to heedfulness, heedfulness leads to cleanliness , cleanliness leads to cleanness, cleanness leads to abstinence (restraint) , abstinence (restraint) leads to holiness, holiness leads to modesty ( humility) , modesty (humility) leads to fear of sin, the fear of sin leads to piety, piety leads to the Holy Spirit, then Holy Spirit leads to the resurrection of the dead, and the resurrection of the dead comes through Elijah, blessed be his memory, Amen.” ( Mishnah tractate, Sotah 9:14)

Of course there is the fundamental difference between the Almighty saying, “ You shall be holy, ; for I am holy” and Jesus saying, “ If you would be perfect, go sell all you have and come follow me”

An interesting discussion of this matter in “ a Rabbi talks with Jesus “ by Jacob Neusner

For now, it's three cheers to the current administration which has taken the bold step ( taken the bull by the horns) so that as if by a miracle Samba gutter and Kroo Bay are now much less of the environmental disaster that has been thriving in the midst of the city civilisation and threatening everybody with their pollution....

Abu Munku
Reply with quote  #3 
Whatever happened to Sam Foray's prediction that Bio was unelectable. They were in the forefront of urging Yumkella to resign from the SLPP, and form his own party. He predicted that Yumkella was going to be the next president, and Bio will never come near state house. Tell the Munku Sam Foray to go butt cotton tree.
Sheikh Mans
Reply with quote  #4 
Abu Munku,

Well said.  Sam Foray are others were very sure of a Kandeh Yumkella presidency and were very active in lambasting the candidacy of Julius Maada Bio.

Guys like Sam Foray are well in their seventies and have seen the window on Kandeh Yumkella's presidency being shut with a big bang .  So what do they do?  They try to make themselves relevant by writing useless articles.
Cornelius Hamelberg
Reply with quote  #5 

We have come a long ways since Mrs Lulu Wright wrote “Most Wretched Country

We must congratulate the New Direction SLPP for success in clearing the garbage which has been around for a very long time - ten long years of progress under APC management , right up to election day. Health is wealth, right? So, The Minister of Health and Sanitation has to work something out with the Mayoress and the Freetown Municipal Council about keeping our capital city, Freetown, clean . As has been pointed out , citizens have to be educated about their civic responsibilities, about not dropping litter in the streets and of course there simply has to be dustbins provided for the disposal of everyday little litter ( in the Cairo underground you pay a heavy fine for dropping a cigarette stub on the ground)

Now that the garbage has been cleared, apart from Brother AFK, is there anyone else (any garbologist) who should take offence or who would like to bring all the garbage back and compel President Bio and the relevant minister for garbage clearance to first of all (a) give a clean bill of health to the garbage cleaners (our national heroes) and (b) some health insurance premiums to them , that would cover them (work hazards) in the eventuality that they become victims of the garbage that they have just cleared or will be clearing in the future?

Indeed , no matter the religion, the idea that cleanliness is next to Godliness is easy to accept ; to suggest the opposite would be somewhat satanic, but we also have to be careful about what we regard as Satanic – who knows, as I read on pages 77-78 of The Trickster and the Paranormal about Nityananda of Ganeshpuri, “Occasionally when a cow would pass by he would wait for it to defecate and then grab the cowpat and eat it. Nityananda once smeared excrement over his entire body and then sat with large piles of it, offering some to passers-by as sweets, again mortifying his followers. Yet he was famous for miraculous healings, prophetic powers and even weather control...”

Whilst talking about spirituality, along with the emphasis on material cleanliness we could also point at the value of cleanliness and cleanness in speech.. As Jesus of Nazareth is reported to have opined, “ It’s not what goes into your mouth that defiles you; you are defiled by the words that come out of your mouth...Anything you eat passes through the stomach and then goes into the sewer. But the words you speak come from the heart—that’s what defiles you. For from the heart come evil thoughts, murder, adultery, all sexual immorality, theft, lying, and slander. These are what defile you...”

Elsewhere , from his lips, “ “It is what comes from inside that defiles you. For from within, out of a person’s heart, come evil thoughts, sexual immorality, theft, murder, adultery, greed, wickedness, deceit, lustful desires, envy, slander, pride, and foolishness. All these vile things come from within; they are what defile you”

Rev. Alfred Munda SamForay has voiced his concerns and even if these are dismissed as nothing less than his “trying to make himself relevant by writing useless articles” he may even be at liberty “to go butt cotton tree “ but the substantial issues he is talking about can be given some serious consideration, since , “ one country, one people”, we are all striving for nothing less than the betterment of the one Sierra Leone

Previous Topic | Next Topic

Easily create a Forum Website with Website Toolbox.