From the Editor’s Keyboard

Our Stance

By  | 2 May 2015 at 09:26 | 1405 views

Recently, a man I respect, somebody I could call a friend, Professor Sheik Umarr Kamarah, who teaches at a university in Richmond, Virginia, tried to draw me into a Facebook fight over the Sam-Sumana (former Vice-President) affair which has now become an SLPP or opposition affair. Sheik says my newspaper, after years of good journalism, has now become an APC mouthpiece, like Cocorioko, edited by my colleague Kabs-Kanu simply because the Patriotic Vanguard has simply refused to publish incendiary articles from pro-SLPP writers when the Sam-Sumana issue raised its head.

Now, I have known Sheik since 1979 (36 years) at Fourah Bay College, University of Sierra Leone where I was one year ahead of him. I was already a student at the university since 1978 after my A levels at the Albert Academy. He and his friend the late Bah arrived on campus in 1979 after their Higher Teachers Certificate (HTC) studies at the then Milton Margai Teachers’ College, having taught at Secondary school level for some years. They started at what was then known as Prelim or PreliminaryYear class.

Sheik and Bah were a phenomenon in those days with their Afro hairstyles and everybody quickly became aware of them. I think they were the only people with Afro hairstyles on campus at the time; it (the Afro) was slowly going out of fashion even downtown. Bu they were nice guys and very friendly although in my opinion Sheik was the extrovert and Bah was the introvert. Sheik did English and Bah did History.

I was particularly drawn to Sheik because he was in the English department with me but as I said earlier I was a year ahead of him and graduated before him. I reconnected with Sheik later when I relocated to Canada after some years practising journalism in Liberia, Sierra Leone and Ghana. Fast forward to 2015.

I was particularly surprised therefore when Sheik launched his recent attack on me on Facebook. Those who know me in both Sierra Leone and North America know I am not afraid of personal attacks but not from people I consider friends. So, I did not engage Sheik. Professor Dumbuya, another friend also tried the same thing a couple of weeks ago and I swiftly waved him off. I don’t like fighting with friends especially on a stupid issue like the Sam-Sumana affair which is now in the hands of the country’s court.

From the foregoing, I would like to make this known to ALL my friends who might be tempted to follow the Sheik and Dumbuya path to desist and back off because of the following reasons:

1. The Patriotic Vanguard is pro-APC but not anti-Sierra Leone. This means we will do everything possible to promote the aspirations and well-being of the people of Sierra Leone under the banner of an APC government which we think is the best Sierra Leone can hope for in the present circumstances with an opposition full of ethnic bigots up to their necks with hatred, severe internal divisions and a history of extreme violence and incompetence.

2. The Sam-Sumana affair is now a Supreme Court affair and we would therefore not entertain any articles or opinion pieces suggesting or calling for civil disobedience or social unrest on a matter that is already before the highest court of the land. Our people have suffered too much from the horrible and gruesome civil war and now the Ebola pandemic which, thankfully, is about to end. Some of us, unlike Sheik and Dumbuya, lived in Sierra Leone during the war; we experienced war and know what it can do; we experienced SLPP rule and KNOW who they are and what they are capable of doing.

3. There is nothing wrong with a journalist or newspaper supporting a particular party as long as they stay within the ethics of the profession. Any intelligent person in America and the West in general knows which party major newspapers like the New York Times, the Washington Post ,etc, support. I won’t even talk or write about the BBC or CNN. Most Sierra Leoneans, including some highly educated ones, seem to think journalists should not support a political party. That is utter nonsense. Journalists can be or do anything; it’s ethics and the professional code that matter. Things like fairness, objectivity, accuracy, etc. Most important: Avoid personal attacks, do not create or support chaos or instability, and...love your country. Be patriotic.

I will leave you with some wise sayings by Master Sun-Tzu, also known as Sunzi, the renowned Chinese military strategist and philosopher:

1. Know when to fight,

And when not to fight.

2. Understand how to deploy,

Large and small,

Numbers.

3. Have officers and men who,

Share a single will.

4. Be ready,

For the unexpected.

Ladies and gentlemen, let’s hope and pray and fight to save our country, Sierra Leone (the land that we love), from further anarchy and bloodshed.

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