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Cornelius Hamelberg
Reply with quote  #1 


I’m probably going out on a limb, here: In the era of fake news, defamation, libel and slander , on first reading this last night, I thought that I should take the bad news with a nip of salt but for the fact that Africa Confidential’s reputation is unassailable and so here goes : IMF stops funds over 'election' budget  !

Since this has not been demented by iron man Samson Samura or the APC’s democratically elected King Ernest his boss, we have no alternative but to believe the ugly truth, confirmed and further amplified by the Sierra Leone Telegraph  :Sierra Leone ruling APC guilty of misappropriating public funds – IMF withdraws funding

I have since had a chat with James Dean Jnr, a Yumkella acolyte ( and since I have known him, he has never had a good word to say about Pa Shaki and never misses an opportunity to try to poison my mind against the Pa, but on the more positive side he is patriotic, a passionate nationalist and brimful of ideas about how to move the country forward. Additional good news from him is that the candidates have all agreed to a debate that’s scheduled to happen on  February 15th  - in which I anticipate ( if it is conducted along the lines of the Kenyan model) Samura Kamara is going to brag about how he is going to build on Ernest Bai’s legacy , whilst at least in this one instance Bio and Yumkella are going to be united in their two-pronged attack (verbal) in tearing apart / shooting down/ bombing any notion of legacy that can be boasted of by  crown prince Samura Kamara and then start beating their own chests about the miracles that they (Bio and Yumkella) are going to perform, if only the people of Sierra Leone would give then a chance to prove their mettle. Samura Kamara will roll out a long list of impressive data called facts ( at least impressive on paper) about Sierra Leone being one of the fastest growing economies, more or less a rehash of what he said in his maiden address at the United Nations about the resilience of the Sierra Nation...

I tell Martin Luther Dean Jnr.  that if it was only the Sierra Leone intelligentsia that was going to vote, once divested of every vestige of ethnic sentiment, Yumkella would of course win hands down. But to be mired in a messianic dream is also dangerous. Let’s suspend the “ Render unto Caesar the things that are Caesar's, and unto God the things that are God's" notion  but if someone like Abu Dhar al-Ghifari were to lead the APC  - or the SLPP - or indeed the “ National Grand  Coalition” what chance would he have of rectifying  that which could be rectified under a law and order system?  Can one man, just one good leader do it ? Perhaps he could , if he  could harness the goodwill of the nation, behind him ( everybody on board)   - in mind I have Sam Zoker’s favourite example : Lee Kuan Yew , although Sierra Leone is not situated  right next to  Malaysia and China, and unarguably, Sierra Leone lacks the Confucian  or the Protestant work ethic  and the likelihood of a similar transfer of technology as indeed was the case with South Korea (North Korea was more technologically advanced in 1954) but is it  Samura Kamara  or Kandeh Yumkella or Julius Maada Caesar that’s closer to Lee Kuan Yew?

About  the conditions that both produce and can support a good leader, there’s this very interesting discussion going on ,and we shouldn’t be distracted by any isms, or  theoretically highfalutin  intellectual mumbo- jumbo, love him or leave him as Pa Shaki said, “ capu sense” and there’s no harm in doing that...

I haven't read this over either. I'm sorry about that. I too am only human...
Spectator 007
Reply with quote  #2 
“I tell Martin Luther Dean Jnr. that if it was only the Sierra Leone intelligentsia that was going to vote, once divested of every vestige of ethnic sentiment, Yumkella would of course win hands down” - Corn

I get that impression with the diaspora based ones. But dem nor geh for vote. We go see ow moss influence dem geh on di ground.
Abu Sokolov
Reply with quote  #3 
"I get that impression with the diaspora based ones."  Spectator 007

The Diaspora-based intelligentsia?  It must be the intelligentsia from the minority ethnic groups.  I will not vow for Mende and Temne intelligentsia.
Most of them are still behind the two older parties.  They are not as talkative and as bragging as NGC folks hence they are the silent majority.
Blama Blama
Reply with quote  #4 
Cornelius Hamelberg
Reply with quote  #5 

“The secret of success is honesty and fair dealing. If you can fake those, you've got it made. There is only one way to find out if a man is honest...ask him. If he says 'yes', you know he is crooked. Those are my principles. If you don't like them I have others.” (Groucho Marx )

One way of looking at the mess:

One country, one people?

From the East, from the West, from the South,  from the North, nah di same people...

By hook or by crook, (some say, mostly by crook) the APC intends to win the March 7, 2018 elections. And whether by crook or not by crook,  I think that it’s not an impossibility. Yumkella and his so called  National GRAND Coalition   is the new kid on the block, at this point, Sierra Leone’s little David against the monolithic monster. Mahmoud Abbas versus Hamas versus Trump

Back in 2006 before the elections that brought this APC government to office or to POWER as they fondly label their newfound status, this is what Ernest Bai Koroma said:

ERNEST BAI KOROMA, PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: "The number one issue, I believe, will be corruption. And the people of Sierra-Leone are looking forward to a government that will put up a strong fight against corruption, a government that will be more accountable to the people, and a government that will open up and allow Sierra-Leonians to have equal opportunities irrespective of your political convention."

JIM CLANCY, CNN CORRESPONDENT: That's a very general assignment. Dissatisfaction with the government of President Ahmad Tejan Kabbah. At the same time, what are you offering the people? Their concerns are education, their concerns are jobs, their concerns are putting food on their tables and having a roof over their heads.

KOROMA: "What I believe I will offer to the people of Sierra-Leone is, in the first place, I will come with a real policy of zero tolerance against corruption. If this message goes out and clearly to the Sierra- Leonians, that this is the government that is going to put up a serious fight against corruption, I'm sure the leakages that are responsible for the poor delivery services in the social sector, like education, health and employment situation will be turned around."

SOLOMON EKUMA BEREWA, SIERRA LEONE VICE PRESIDENT: "When the APC or APC leader talks of corruption, it's very ridiculous. Because they institutionalized corruption. It was they who made corruption a way of life. (inaudible) were granted (inaudible), because they were very corrupt, and nobody was allowed to talk about it, nobody was allowed to say anything, because they were corrupt. It is (inaudible). Let us come and show them that corruption is not the right way to run the government."

( CNN Transcripts)

First things first: The first thing that Mr. Koroma’s  government did was to raise his own salary and the salaries of his cabinet ministers and MPs. We can be sure that there has never been any delay or default in paying their own salaries, special allowances and other emoluments

Fast forward : Roughly three weeks ago, I did observe in this thread :“About the danger/s - well, the IMF/ World Bank ritually demand submission to structural adjustment programs - devaluation, taking away subsidies - in the case of Jerry Rawlings subsidies to education.” Now it’s Sierra Leone’s turn precisely right now and  this could not have come at a more inopportune time  for the incumbent government,

The indices are clear : Conspiracy thinking could be quick to suggest that Yumkella’s alleged“connection to the global power elites, and his subscription to the neoliberal ideologies of governance” has at least partially contributed to a conveniently or inconveniently leaked cable suggests that not everybody  - at least not everybody at the IMF and  in the EU is happy with the way that  the current  government of Sierra Leone is running and has been running the country : it has been one corruption and mismanagement scandal after the other,  the list of misdeeds is too long to enumerate here, suffice it to say that even the Ebola funds have not been spared , indeed, even the Ebola funds succumb to corruption  due to incompetence , criminal neglect and gross mismanagement...

The prospect of  the APC government raising the level of discontent and the pangs of poverty in the country to another level  by taking away subsidies to rice, thus making the country’s staple food unaffordable to the masses and in addition to that, taking away fuel subsidies thus increasing the price of petrol and kerosene  just a few weeks before election day is not going to make the APC  government or its presidential candidate very popular when  the other two candidates and the disgruntled nation has no choice but to point  their accusing fingers at this evidence of gross mismanagement of the country’s economy  - this despite some prevarication from Sierra Leone’s Minister of the country’s ailing economy - you can hear how displeased he is with the persistence in the BBC’s Umaru Fofana questions .

Here’s the story Sierra Leone’s  IMF Loan Payments Suspended - the EU is also making similar noises.

Are we to understand that  the government  would like to fool the people that all is well , until after the elections when the subsidies should then be taken away and greater poverty thereby be imposed on the long -suffering people of Sierra Leone?

The other question that’s on the tip of everyone’s tongue is : Would  Bio  or Yumkella with his background in management, be capable of this kind of mismanagement - not of  his own personal economy, but the economy of the nation , Sierra Leone?  

So, “ The International Monetary Fund has suspended loan payments  after the government broke the conditions  for the disbursement “

That’s exactly what happens when you default a creditor  or don’t fulfill your part of the bargain: Wham - Bang

Of relevance ; Brother Nathanael on How the IMF really works

Spectator 007
Reply with quote  #6 
@Honorable Abu Sokolov. I agree with the shortened version of my quotation of Bra Corn if that is all he wrote, but there was a bit more which when added, changes the statement.

Here is what he wrote

““I tell Martin Luther Dean Jnr. that if it was only the Sierra Leone intelligentsia that was going to vote, once divested of every vestige of ethnic sentiment, Yumkella would of course win hands down”

The part that continues with “.....once divested of every vestige of ethnic sentiment.....” was left out of yours.

Cornelius Hamelberg
Reply with quote  #7 


Re - “We go see ow moss influence dem geh on di ground.”.  

Apparently, they have a good idea about the suffering  that the good people of Shierra Leone are suffering on di ground.  And that's why they want to change the suffering to at least  “not-suffering”.  If all the people who are suffering in Sierra Leone voted for Bio/ Kamara/ Mansaray/Yumkella, how soon would their suffering end?

Please bear with me ( “experience teaches a lot”)

I remember the Nigerian elections of 1983. In the Riverine area where I was on election day with my Kalabari folk on the island of Bakana, ( the Rivers State minister of agriculture Levi Braide, an N.P.N. man lived on the island), voting was over by 2pm  and then the party began, spontaneously!  There was much dancing. Why ?, asked I, “ Isn’t it a little early  in the day to start dancing?”  I was told, “ N😋:N: Magic!” I was also told that later, when they finished the vote counting in some other areas, they threw the excess ballot papers into the river.

When I got back to  Sweden, I read through the four years of news that I had missed ( reading old newspåapers as history is fun ) I got to the coverage of the 1983 Nigerian Presidential elections and one of the main Swedish newspaper ( DN) had carried the headline “Triumph of Democracy!” They had no idea, hadn’t a clue those elections had been deeply flawed , that Nigerians had been shuffering some of the ills that the long-suffering people in Sierra Leone  are now suffering and not smiling ( so I’m told )  - but in Nigeria, exacerbated by austerity measures - the cost of rice  and other basic imports had gone up something like 80%  and government workers were being owed over four months arrears in  salaries (just imagine at the beginning of 1981 the official rate of exchange of the Naira was roughly a naira to the £1 Sterling and by Xmas 1983, the Naira was going for about  ten p . It was no wonder to me that just as Jerry Rawlings struck on 31/12/1981, so too Brother Buhari and his crew struck on New Year’s Eve of 1983, when the corrupt elite was making merry. SOme say that then  Democracy in Nigeria got screwed, Those who feel it know. Others said, cheers!

For Zimbabwe it was a lot worse of course: IN 1980 when Zimbabwe became free,   a Zimbabwean dollar was being exchanged for the $ 1 and by the time Mr. Mugabe’s war veterans had started invading and confiscating the White Man’s farms, the  rate of exchange had dropped to One Million Zimba dollars to the $ of USA , by which time Sam Zoker proposed that since the Zimbabwe dollar wasn’t worth the paper that it was being printed on, why didn’t they ( the bankers)  just find some leafy tree  that only grew in Zimbabwe and use that as the national  currency. Not funny.  When I was last in Sierra Leone ( ten days in April 1970)  it was two Leones to the British pound. Have Bio, Kamara, Mansaray and Yumkella been promising that they will miraculously  restore the Leone and the FBC  to its former glory? Let us pray !

It’s the same phenomenon, when it comes to diaspora-mainland relations if we are talking about Iran or e.g. Israel about whom the diaspora is fully informed through a media coverage that’s second to none - although the fact is that to capture the actual mood in the country, in any country, you have to be there; sometimes it’s like the difference between reading about heaven - whether of the mundane kind that presidential candidates are promising, if they win the election ( the end of poverty, riches for everybody, zero infant mortality, good hospitals, good schools, 24 hrs electricity and a fast internet connection for everyone, full employment and at least a day of rest for everybody) or the more spiritual abode of the 72 holy virgins per suicide-bomber shahid - some more heavenly sex after death and the graveyard. Faith is OK,  reality is OK , but you’ve got to be actually there to know - its the tension between knowing and not knowing what is yet know,

“The undiscovered country from whose bourn

  No traveler returns..."

Faith is OK , but as the bard said,

“Ya either got faith or ya got unbelief and there ain't neutral ground”

( You’re either with ( in alphabetical order) the APC, the NGC or the SLPP  amongst whom there are those who pray that the first shall be the last.The usual prayer of course  is to be the head and not the tail…

Bio wants to be the head, not the tail.

Kamara wants to be the head, not the tail.

Mansaray wants to be the head, not the tail.

Yumkella wants to be the head, not the tail.

Each one says  the first verse of Psalm 143  and each one knows that

Two bulls can't reign in one pen

Two lions can't roar in a small den

Two kings don't wear the same crown

Two beauties don't have the same gown on ( Bad Man)

We don’t know what the church prophets, the local seers  ehn di murray-man dem who are on the ground in Sierra Leone are saying but it seems that the Honourable Мистер Abu Sokolov is essentially echoing the same understanding of other diaspora folks like his comrade Alpha Bah who is of the opinion that  “This election will provide us with two presidents: a President of Sierra Leone and a social media president for some section of the Sierra Leone diaspora.”

Of course, as they say, “Faith can move mountains” and on a more practical level there’s the “ 'If the mountain will not come to Muhammad, then Muhammad must go to the mountain

Some of the Diaspora intelligentsia ( of every tribe and stripe) believe in Yumkella, the way that Paul believed in Jesus ; some of the  APC and SLPP folks have yet to undergo the conversion experience of a face to face meeting with Yumkella, on the road to Damascus to become true NGC believers, with Yumkella as their saviour  - as for me  it’s only if he wins and fulfills all that should be fulfilled by the Messiah, that I will believe, that Yumkella is the man. In the meantime, I ask, where are his twelve disciples and who are they? ( Next you will be wanting to know, “ and who is the Judas among them ?” Apart from his cabinet of twelve, are there any hungry wolves among them?Is Yumkella going to talk about austerity measures  ? Of course not !

Come  the post-election blues, among the losers , we will have those who will take comfort behind soothing balm  such as, “ a prophet has no honour in his own country”

Oh, 007 !


Spectator 007
Reply with quote  #8 

I left Nigeria (Port Harcourt, Rivers State) a few months prior to the 1983 elections. It was clear to me that the NPN would win a free vote but still expected them to cheat for extra insurance.

NPN’s biggest miscalculation was to cheat on Yoruba and Igbo states. The NPN candidate Akin Omoboriowo who won the gubernatorial election in Ondo dared not go to the capital for fear of being lynched by the angry pro Awolowo UPN masses. Igbo heavyweights like Gentleman Jim Nwobodo the incumbent NPP governor lost his election bid to the NPN candidate. Haba! Can you imagine the nerve of the NPN? They simply bit more than they could chew, created so much instability and conditions that most keen observers understood would lead to a coup. It was just a matter of time.
Cornelius Hamelberg
Reply with quote  #9 


Small world! I’m sorry that I didn’t meet you in Port Harcourt ! You must have been very very young then! So what took you to Nigeria? Much respect!

What can we learn, have we learned from Nigeria? Can your Nigeria experience throw some light on the way forward for Sierra Leone? Is the  North- South divide in Sierra Leone as unbridgeable as the North-South and the  East-West divide in Nigeria ?

I did meet and hook up with Geraldo Pino  - exactly once - he was on another wavelength , at some time also my POW classmate Omodele Wariboko briefly, just outside that biggest supermarket in Port Harcourt , exactly once, but lost contact, visited Feyi George at UPH ( Maths ) - a Mr. Din-Gabisi, did not travel to Benin in the then Bendel State to hook up with Sylvester Abimbola Young who was also teaching mathematics there and to Calabar to meet Akintola Wyse ( history) or to meet Dr. Mathias Offoboche, the then governor of Cross River State who I had been entrusted with showing around Stockholm, when he was on a visit here in 1980 and who had commanded me to get in touch with him as soon as I arrived in Nigeria. I didn’t.  A Mr.Davies travelled all the way from Lagos to see me ( unfortunately I could not remember having met him before) but  before I forget this very important  point  a pointer to  all of our presidential candidates : Ambrose Ali the then Governor of Bendel State (the former Midwest) devoted 50% of Bendel’s revenue allocation to EDUCATION - and up till today, his people are reaping the benefit  just like the beneficiaries ( and their descendants ) of universal free primary education under the premiership of Chief Obafemi Awolowo of Nigeria’s then Western Region.

Although I spent many weekends in Aba, Owerri and Umuahia (where I was subjected to a full immersion baptism in the river)  through some friends in the transport business from Ondo State I became a staunch supporter of AWO’s UPN which as you know did not have much of a following in Rivers State; If I had been entitled to vote it would have been for Fela’s “ Movement of the People” ( free grass for the cows etc) ;

Na wah O! It was painful to watch what happened to the  Igbos’ NPP Candidate in Bakana. He was dragged down the stairway of his house and given “a good beating” for daring to stand against our man the N.P.N’s Levi Braide and I was very surprised at that, because many Kalabari people have Igbo mothers (a reason advance when I enquired , how come, was that since Kalabari women - just like Wolof women are not subjected to any so called FGM , they are not so easy to “control” and as you know, the Kalabari have a female goddess Akaso…

And the big wow-o-wow from me ; Many thanks for your second paragraph. Although I thought that I knew  the terrain well enough, in my first week I had dinner  at the residence of Alfred Papapreye Diete-Spiff , knew the deputy commissioner of Police, the Chief Justice, Malla ,the speaker of the House of Assembly a regular Scrabble companion ( like Major Sandy Jumui in Ghana ) Senator Francis Ellah of Omoku , a couple of actors and musicians etc  - such as Prince David Bull, ( Romeo Hotel) I didn’t know any of what you have explained in paragraph 2….

Only in retrospect should I have known that there was a coup coming in Nigeria, the world champion in staging coups because

(1)  There was a big party for Abacha  in the officers mess in Port Harcourt  a little earlier that fateful December -  what was he doing in Port Harcourt ?  In retrospect Abacha the coupmaker and co-ordinator - that’s what he was doing there ?

(2)  A few days before  the holiday season kicked off in late December 1983, there was only one place from which I could phone outside Nigeria ; Scanastra, a Swedish- Nigeria  company  In Port Harcourt, through the courtesy of the manager …

007, still I didn’t put the 1 and 2 together….

BUT, even though Chief Obafemi Awolowo was detained etc, perhaps because Tunde Idiagbon was Buhari’s number 2 man the coup was more popular in the West than it was in Vice President Alex Ekwueme, Gentleman Jim and Sam Mbakwe’s East and up till today ( in post Goodluck Joe’s Nigeria  it looks like Kipling is  right:

OH, East is East, and West is West, and never the twain shall meet,


Till Earth and Sky stand presently at God’s great Judgment Seat;


But there is neither East nor West, Border, nor Breed, nor Birth,


When two strong men stand face to face, tho’ they come from the ends of the earth

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