From the Editor’s Keyboard

President Koroma’s forthcoming oral exams in the USA

21 September 2010 at 02:06 | 282 views

By Gibril Gbanabome Koroma,


Vancouver, Canada.

Well, it seems president Ernest Bai Koroma will soon be here in North America to speak at the UN (a usually very boring exercise) but less boring and more exciting will be his meetings with fellow Sierra Leoneans to tell them what he and his government have been up to back home.

Prezo Koroma has been doing this since he came to power in September 2007. Former president Kabbah loved talking at the UN and meeting his former colleagues (he spent his best years working for the gargantuan Talk Factory)
but one thing he hated with all his heart was spending time in a crowded hall listening to and answering questions from his compatriots. My friend Lans Gberie recently described him as "aloof"; other people say he is arrogant, stubborn, naive, stupid, etc. Another friend of mine once called him a Schmuck (Yiddish for a stupid, dull person; a jerk or dork) and I have to apologize for that. I don’t like insults; but my friend (who will be extremely upset if I out him) may have a point here, all things considered.

Yes, Kabbah was simply too full of himself and many Sierra Leoneans in the diaspora would never forgive him for that. Many of them vented their anger on his hapless former Vice President Solomon Berewa when he (Berewa) launched his whirlwind campaign tour in the United States (he forgot Canada, bless him) in 2007. He wanted to be president of Sierra Leone and he was badly treated by some Sierra Leoneans who threw at him some very offensive comments and observations about him and his government. Some journalists and writers were also vicious.

Karamoh Kabba, a writer now working in some kind of position in the current government, wrote that Berewa (a chain smoker) was smoking in the limousine of the Sierra Leone mission in New York and was burning and littering the car’s carpet with cigarette butts. One writer called him Tabaca Mot (Tobacco Mouth). Ibrahim Sheriff, writing from Philadelphia, ridiculed Berewa with some very powerful prose. Oh, they had their fun with Solo Bee (Berewa’s nickname).

They wanted a piece of Kabbah too but he (Kabbah) was smart enough to stay away. Some people would say it’s foolish for a leader to so carefully avoid his people but I’m sure Kabbah would have something to say about that considering the way diaspora Sierra Leoneans tend to do their thing. Who born dog? Na dog.

As I said, Ernest is never afraid to face any group of Sierra Leoneans. He seems to have enough self-esteem and confidence, buoyed most probably by the fact that he has something to show for his time on the job so far. Kabbah and Berewa never had much to show, poor guys. Show and tell.

Only a fool would say Prezo Koroma is not going to face tough questions in the United States this time. Three years are enough for people to gather solid evidence to throw at him. Here are some of the tough questions he will most likely face in the forthcoming "oral exams" in New York and other places:

1. Why are there so many northerners in your government? Are you a tribalist?

2. We in the diaspora want to vote in the next elections. Can you do something about that?

3. Why are most of your appointees from Bombali district, your home district?

4. Why don’t we have constant and uninterrupted electricity in the country as you promised?

5.Why don’t you publish the London Mining/African Minerals contract or agreement for us to see so that we can examine it? Is it true that you have been cheaply giving away our minerals to hustlers from Europe and North America?

6. Is it true that oil has been discovered in Pujehun? Is it true that some foreign companies are already fighting over this oil? What are you going to do about this?

7. Why did you re-appoint Christiana Thorpe as Electoral Commissioner even though the SLPP asked you not to?

8. What have you done to eliminate corruption? Is the ACC dead? We have not heard of any arrests since Tejan-Cole left.

9. Is it true that you are running the country as a family business?

10. Tell us about the Office of Diaspora Affairs. What’s going on there? Why did you not tell us that you have appointed a new ODA director?

11. What exactly is this OGI thing? What are its benefits?

12. When are we going to have the next cabinet reshuffle? Some of your ministers have disappointed you, haven’t they? Why are you afraid to sack them?

13. Any news about Yenga? When will Yenga be liberated?

14. Any jobs for the youths? When?

15. Why are the roads in the country so bad?

16. When are we agoing to have a substantive Health minister and why is there so much corruption in the Health ministry? Why are some health officials stealing and selling drugs purchased by donor money and meant to be free for pregnant women, lactating mothers and kids?

The above is not an exhaustive list of the questions His Excellency would soon encounter. No, this is not a vacation, this is a Working Visit. Prezo is going to take a series of oral exams presided over by DIASPORA as invigilator and examiner at the same time. Good luck, Prezo.

PS: See in the video below President Koroma’s meeting with Sierra Leoneans at Rutgers University, New Jersey, USA, in 2008: