Letter to editor

Lunsar Four Blast Alpha Wurie Again

4 June 2006 at 01:27 | 387 views

Where are the Valuable Contributions to Marampa, Dr. Wurie?

In a letter protesting the naming of a public school in Lunsar after the late father of the current Minister of Education, Dr. Alpha Wurie(photo), we provided clear reasons for our position. We wish to make it abundantly clear that this is not personal; it is about holding our politicians or public officials accountable. This has nothing to do with the Wuries, and that is why we even recommended the late Pa Amadu Wurie as one who deserves such an honour. We also wish to let it be known that we would have responded in equal measure to this behaviour even if the school were built in Potoru.

We have read, very carefully, Dr. Alpah Wurie’s response in the Awareness Times newspaper to our opposition to the naming of a public school in Lunsar after his late father. After a close reading of both the front page article and the profile of Dr. Wurie’s late father, we are even more than ever convinced about the validity of our position.
Dr. Wurie, in his response, ‘firmly’ denies our charge that his late father was chased out of Lunsar during a worker’s strike. He, in fact, argues that his father deserves “the posthumous recognition of naming a school after him because of his Valuable Contributions to the Development of the Welfare of the People of Marampa.”
In this response, we have provided an authentic document to prove the Minister wrong, and we will show that there is nothing in the late man’s profile that constitutes what Dr. Alpha Wurie calls “Valuable contributions to the people of Marampa.”

One of our reasons for opposing this particular naming ritual is that the late A.D. Wurie was chased out of Lunsar for betraying the workers he was supposed to protect. Dr. Alpha Wurie argues that his father “graciously resigned” as a result of an industrial action. The report of the “Board of Inquiry” appointed by the then governor, published in the February 1951 issue of the West Africa magazine, clearly states that “...the house of the African Chief personnel Officer was burned down.” Gracious exit?
The Honourable Minister goes on to say that the strike was “machinated by certain individuals who misunderstood his position at the time when he suggested that salaries and wages of workers at the Delco be put in an envelope instead of the old-style cash pay over the counter while everybody looked on.” What a reason? Who in the world would organize a strike as massive as the one in question only because someone seeks to protect their privacy? Well, thanks to the West Africa magazine, now we know that Dr. Alpha Wurie was economical with the truth.

Let us remember that the workers at Delco came from every part of the country. Therefore, we are not talking only about Lunsar, but about the entire country. To have betrayed the workers at Delco was not only betraying a local group of people, but a national group of workers. That, in our view, does not constitute heroism.
We challenge the Sierra Leonean press to step up to the plate. As a neutral arbiter, the press should do further investigation of this issue and report their findings to the nation.

Dr. Alpha Wurie asks the question, “Is naming a mere school after such an outstanding citizen something to fuss about, especially when it came from the people he had worked with directly?” The phrase, “naming a mere school” shows that Dr. Wurie, a Minister of Education, does not understand the symbolic significance of a public or national school. Well, Sir, our public educational institutions, whether primary, secondary, or tertiary have tremendous symbolic importance to the nation. A school, like the flag, symbolizes our hopes and aspirations, our values, beliefs, mores, and our collective destiny. Thus, a school is larger than an ethnic group, a clan, and certainly larger than an individual citizen. This is the perspective from which we approach this issue.

Contrary to the Honourable Minister’s assertion, the naming of this school does not have the “full cooperation and support of the entire Marampa community.” Unless you want to tell us that we and many others opposed to this behaviour are not part of the Marampa community, it is absolutely untrue that the entire chiefdom endorses this act. But let us even say, for the sake of argument, that the chief and other people endorse this behaviour, does their endorsement make it right even if the honoree does not deserve it? If every citizen is accorded the same rights as any other, a single citizen can legitimately oppose a bad policy even if others don’t.

Honourable Minister sir, we have searched every corner of your late Father’s impressive profile but have not been able to find the “valuable contributions to the development of the welfare of the people of Marampa,” that you talk about in your response. We were looking to see one or two major decisions made, or policies designed and implemented by the late man during his ten year tenure at Delco, that advanced the lot of the workers at the mines, or improved the lives of the people in the chiefdom of Marampa. Unfortunately, what we found, as the document proves, is a betrayal of the workers’ interests by their chief personnel officer, Mr. A.D. Wurie. The workers asked for a pay raise and decent treatment at the pay station but got nothing. As Resident Director of Delco, the late man resided in Freetown, not Lunsar. Even there, there is nothing to prove any contribution to the welfare of the people of Marampa.
The appointment as chairman Board of Governors, Port Loko Women Teachers College is an important one. But it is even more important when one realizes that since his appointment, the late man has been “re-appointed yearly to-date.” Classic Sierra Leone style---appointment beyond life.

No one will miss the four appointments and one award between 1975 and 1977 that the late A.D. Wurie gained from the late Siaka Stevens and the APC. On these, we leave the nation to make its conclusions. We remain firmly opposed to the naming of the school after the late A.D. Wurie.

Dr. M. Saidu Kabia
Associate Professor of French and
Comparative Literature
Department of languages and Literature
Virginia State University

Dr. M. Ahmed Kabba
Visiting Associate Professor
Of African-American Studies
Oklahoma University
Norman, Oklahoma

Mr. Hassan Baraka, M.Sc. (Hons.)
(Agric. Economics)
Businessman (Franchise Owner)
Maryland, U.S.A.

Dr. Sheikh Umarr Kamarah
Associate Professor of English
Department of Languages and Literature