Salone News

Congratulations to Mohamed and Bayraytay!

By  | 17 March 2016 at 00:42 | 1366 views

Commentary

On behalf of the Patriotic Vanguard I would like to publicly congratulate two prominent members of the PV family, Mohamed Bangura (seen first right in photo with other APC activists), popularly known as "Black" or "Black Man" in his second home of Toronto, Canada, and Abdulai Bayraytay, popularly known as "Gboom Gboom", or "Jinjinji" also a former Toronto resident, for their recent appointment by President Ernest Koroma of Sierra Leone as Minister of Information and Communications and Presidential Spokesman respectively.

Both men were founding members and writers of the Patriotic Vanguard newspaper who, like many others, returned home over ten years ago to contribute to national development with the education and skills they had acquired in Canada where they relocated during our country’s devastating civil war.

Apart from their connection to PV, both men were with me and others at the now defunct New Breed newspaper (1992-95) where I was one of the editors. The two of them were the ace reporters of what was then the best newspaper in town. Mohamed specialised in political news (he knew all of the leading politicians in the country, some on first name basis) while Bayraytay was the guru of anything to do with students and youths in general. He was also a specialist on Kono district in the east and Makeni in the north. He would sometimes use his own money (later refunded) to travel to the interior of the country just to get some hot news. That created a bond between us that has lasted for nearly 30 years.

The New Breed was shut down by the NPRC military junta of Captain Valentine Strasser in 1995 after we hit the streets with an explosive story on diamond smuggling by Strasser himself and others. The newspaper’s owners (Dr. Julius Spencer, Alie Bangura (now Ambassador Alie Bangura ), the charismatic Thaimu Bangura (leader of the PDP-Sorbeh political party who was accused of leaking the story to us) and some journalists including Mohamed, Bayraytay and the late Donald John were detained for one month at the Pademba Road maximum security prison. Luckily for me I was out for lunch when the soldiers stormed our offices and arrested everybody including the office manager and receptionist AP Conteh who they probably thought was me. Those were very tense and very violent days in Sierra Leone.

So, I have no doubt that these young gentlemen, backed by their older colleagues and people like Dr. Sylvia Blyden, a friend and colleague, Nanette Thomas, who used to write regularly for the Patriotic Vanguard when she was an APC party activist in Texas and others in the new team will not disappoint the president and will perform their various roles with alacrity, good judgment and decorum to attain wonderful results.

Good luck to you all, ladies and gentlemen!

Abdulai Bayraytay (centre) speaking to Sierra Leoneans in Washington DC last year at the Sierra Leone embassy.

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