From the Editor’s Keyboard

Who was Sorie Ibrahim Koroma?

11 May 2017 at 08:34 | 2332 views

Shared by Ibrahim Pat-Sowe, Freetown, Sierra Leone.

Former First Vice President of the Republic of Sierra Leone Sorie Ibrahim Koroma who also acted as president on many occasions during All People’s Congress (APC) regime of President Dr. Siaka Probyn Stevens, died twenty years ago. He died at his Wilberforce residence in Freetown on Saturday April 30 1994 after a lengthy illness. Surprisingly, S.I. Koroma outlived most of those who worked surreptitiously to thwart his chances of becoming President.

After 20 years of the passing away of S.I.Koroma, we should reflect on what he did and try to find out whether he was really power-thirsty as construed by many people, especially those in rival Sierra Leone Peoples Party. Some even called him “Agba Satani” because he was seemingly fearless and ruthless when it comes to dealing with political foes. In light of burdens he had to struggle with to ensure APC survives, was S.I. a tyrant, a dictator, a political steamroller, a megalomaniac or just a loyal servant of APC and the late Pa Sheki?

Who was S.I. Koroma? One of Sierra Leone’s most vibrant political figures, S.I. Koroma was born in Maforki Chiefdom, Port Loko District up north. He was educated at Government Model Elementary School in Western Area and Bo Government Secondary School in Southern Sierra Leone. After the death of his father, his mother, Ya Iye Wureh, got married to Sultan Dumbuya, the nephew of Paramount Chief Alikali Mela. Pa Sultan Dumbuya raised S. I. Koroma; and was able to attend Bo school at a time when it was an institution exclusively for Paramount Chief families.

After completing school, S I Koroma, who had a fierce determination to succeed in life, landed a job with the Sierra Leone Government Co-operative Department. He worked there from 1951 to 1958 and took a course during that period at the Cooperative College, Ibadan, Nigeria. On his return home, he resigned to set up his private transportation business and within a short time became Secretary General of the Sierra Leone Motor Transport Union.

S.I. Koroma was a founding member of the APC. He was the first National Propaganda and Organizing Secretary. As the party’s political strategist, he demonstrated untiring effort and energy in educating the people about their political rights, and he succeeded in bringing the party to the people. Founded as a mass party as opposed to the ruling SLPP which was more of an elitist party, the APC won the support of ordinary people because of its grass root politics. In 1962 S.I. Koroma was elected to Parliament as MP for Freetown Central One Constituency. He was returned to parliament for the same constituency in 1967. Following the return to civilian rule in 1968 after the military interregnum of 1967, he was appointed Minister of Agriculture and Natural Resources. On the attainment of Republican Status in 1971 and One-Party status in 1978, he was catapulted to the enviable position of Vice President and Prime Minister. One may wonder

Photo: The late former Vice President S.I.Koroma.