From the Editor’s Keyboard

Random Thoughts

By  | 18 May 2012 at 04:54 | 2003 views

So President Koroma is a Temne after all?

I have just read and published (see main page) the response of the Deputy Minister of Information, Sheka Tarawalie (aka Shekito) on the wild and very dangerous rumour that president Koroma recently declared himself a Loko at the Miatta Conference Centre in Freetown. I for one did not take the rumour seriously because I know, even if the president is really a Loko, the fact that he grew up and had most of his schooling in Temneland and probably speaks Temne (I have not heard him speak Temne yet) fluently and has a huge number of Temne friends should be enough to prove his "Temneness."

The reason why I thought it fit to write about the issue is that left unattended, it could be exploited by the opposition in ways the government might not even imagine leading to unexpected outcomes in the upcoming elections in November. Now, no matter what anybody would tell you, the Temne, the largest ethnic group in the country, are the backbone of the ruling APC. Without Temne support the APC will never be in power in Sierra Leone. That’s a fact and you better swallow it or take it to the bank.

So, if the news that president Koroma is a Loko gets into the ears of the Temne masses in the urban and rural areas without a rapid response (as the Deputy Minister has done probably through our prompting or mild zapping) then the APC might as well have forgotten the 2012 elections because what would have happened is that most Temnes would have stayed away from voting saying to themselves, Udat dey go vote for Lokoman? (Who is going to vote for a Lokoman?) not because they hate Lokos (one of their heroes, the late John Karefa-Smart, was a Loko) but they would feel deceived or betrayed by a man they had all along thought was one of them (President Koroma). The same thing would happen if the SLPP’s Maada Bio suddenly declares, for example that he is not Mende or has nothing to do with the Mende after all. Total chaos.

So, this should be a lesson to the president and to all APC agbagbas or top brass out there: Don’t mess with the Temne people. Lontha.

The Angry Diplomats

The other burning issue the minister and his colleagues should urgently address is that of some of our diplomats who had been recalled(a euphemism for dismissal) without suffcient explanation to the public and to the diplomats themselves. There is the case of Dr. Abdul Karim Koroma (former ambassador to China and High Commissioner to Australia), Dr. Salieu Turay, former ambassador to Russia and one one Funna fellow, a former deputy ambassador to China,believed to be the younger brother of the late Jim Funna, former Governor of the Bank of Sierra Leone and Minister of Finance.

Dr. Turay’s case is a bit complex because his recall had to do with his son who was allegedly involved with a Russian woman, an affair that ended badly, sufficient to upset the Russian government. But since Dr. Turay himself was not the real culprit I think the government should be magnanimous with him and review his status.

And this leads me to the other thorny issue. This government is considered a Limba-Loko government by many people with the top posts going to people from those ethnic groups. This is another issue the opposition is actively exploiting. Any explanation from the government? Explanation or no explanation, I will soon tackle this issue by examining the lists of ministers, deputy ministers and diplomats abroad for a start.

See you next week.