Samuel B Zoker:
Many thanks for your timely appearance with an honest and much needed message.
Somehow, when I think of you in political terms (which I do every now and again lamenting that you are sometimes missing in action (and yes, we know that you can’t be everywhere at the same time), I always associate you first and foremost with being a co-admirer of Lee Kuan Yew. If only we had such leadership since the passing away of Sir Milton Margai after whose demise Sierra Leone started the relentless slide down the slippery slope, Pa Shaki adding some more grease and some of his spittle to hasten the slide down into one-party cronyism and dictatorship, the mass hanging of those he foresaw as rivals among his nearest and dearest ministers and military commanders on charges of “treason” and then when he was about to croak and to face the questions in the grave he made sure that S.I. Koroma was out of the way so that he could crown big-wais Momoh as his successor. (Apologies to his son Jengo, who was my schoolmate)
Secondly, when thinking of you lately and I have been doing that with regard to ZImbabwe and your unforgettable suggestion that one way of printing cheaper banknotes for circulation in that country when they were facing the devaluation crisis, the Zimbabwe dollar which at the international rate of exchange was was the equivalent of one US dollar when Zimbabwe became Independent in April 1980 and just around when Mr. Mugabe started seizing White farm properties and donating them to party cronies who didn't know anything about farming or farm management resulting in the descent into hell of the value and rate of exchange then in excess of one million Zimbabwe dollars to one US dollar at which point I vividly remember that you, taking the cost of printing paper money into consideration, asked the kweshon : Why didn’t the Zimbabwe government adopt the leaves of a special Zimbabwe tree and use that as their currency? And I thought, “ What a marvellous idea !” I remember so vividly because your suggestion came to life immediately in my imagination and I could see leaves everywhere, some of them floating in the air like autumn leaves flying everywhere see people harvesting leaves, cassada liff, Indian Hemp & marijuana leaves, at least some value there for shmokers, and even poor people even farming money trees.
More seriously : Re what you just said : “Beware, SLPP, of any flag bearer aspirant whose major plank is to highlight his loyalty to country first as if the rest of you are inherently less patriotic because you belong to SLPP.”
Obviously, the opportunistic Kandeh Yumkella has conveniently taken the concept of “change“ from Barack Obama, MDC’s Morgan Tsvangirai, PMDC’s Charles Margai and Muhammadu Buhari’s APC success mantra of change, hoping that it will work for him too.
He has also taken “Sierra Leone First” out of the mouth of Donald J. Trump who is still popularising “ America First“ on the planet and of course the first to plant their flag on the moon) - now Trump is against “Globalism”. We may be further assured that it is the case that Yumkella is borrowing the idea from Trump the moment Yumkella starts talking about building a wall along the Sierra Leone - Guinea border, to keep out some of his Guinean brothers and sisters and when he starts telling Guinea that Guinea is going to pay the cost of building the wall - so that colonial or no colonial border, Yenga will never again be occupied by Guinean troops forcing Sierra Leoneans to lick their boots and to mine Sierra Leone diamonds for them
( BTW, I think that the occupation of Yenga was prolonged because of the rather timid and apologetic tone of President Kabbah’s letter to Guinean strongman Lansana Conté : As you remember, the letter started something like “ Dear Brother Lansana , assalamualaikum was rahmatullahi wa barakatuhu etc etc
My people asking people, why so many years after our civil war is over, your Guinean troops are still occupying Yenga, which is in Sierra Leone? “
Now if, a belligerent kind of guy such as General Little Axe Sengbe Konouwah had been Kabbah’s scribe , or Secretary of the War Department or Konouwah himself was the President of Israeleone, I suppose that he would have most probably started the quit notice letter with “ mordaphocker” now listen good: I give you twenty four hours to start withdrawing your troops from my country - OR ELSE!!!!!”
Understandably, Kabbah who hopped into the first helicopter out of town and took refuge in Guinea, altogether for ten months after Johnny Paul Koroma toppled him would have been in the position of not wanting to bite the hand that had been feeding him all those ten months and probably even extending to him some legal cover later after Paul Kamara’s accusation that he Kabbah had a house in Conakry, although perhaps the mildness of Kabbah not insisting on his rights to Yernga more forcefully was because he feared Armée Guinéenne
As you say, this matter of Yumkella deliberately giving the idea that he is the living greatest patriot by waving the flag of “ Sierra Leone First” is the backhanded way of accusing the others of treason, lack of patriotism.
As was famously said, “Patriotism is the last refuge of a scoundrel” and from that perspective methinks that Yumkella doth protest too much.. And that secondly it is a very uphill task to topple both the APC and Sierra leone’s oldest party , the SLPP - which has been maintained all these years, through the sacrifices of others on the ground
Anyway, I have not made up my mind fully, about Yumkella yet - so far, he seems to be making the kinds of appeals that resonate with the army of unemployed youths and the other disadvantaged in society with the mantra of change as the magic cure of what ails them all, presenting himself as the magic doctor. He should ask them the question before giving them the answer. He should ask them, “ Why are you unemployed? “ So much youths!
He says that he’s going to create jobs for all of them ( just as others before him have said ) but he doesn’t say how. Don’t Maada Bio and Samura Kamara say that they are going to solve the 70% rate of unemployment?
When I was last in Sierra Leone ( ten days in April 1970) the population of Freetown was 300, 000 souls. Today, because of the influx of people fleeing the rIF war and others moving in in the hope of finding employment, petty trading etc the population is around a million souls and has overwhelmed the facilities such as accommodation, enough schools, hospitals, clinics, garbage collection, public transportation, parks and recreation centres
Freetown has to be de-stressed by attracting people to other cities and to the freely available farm land where profitable farming can be done for a livelihood.
How the next president is going to run foreign relations is also a matter of concern. More China? More OIC?