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I have always felt that a lot of the pro APC pen pushers often huff and puff without living up to their own threats of the exposures of the evil doings of the likes of us who constantly remind them to forget their highfaluting titles and threats and to stick to simple facts. (Photo: Dr. Sama Banya)

In his introduction to the “KING SOLOMON’S MINES” Sir Rider Haggard reminds us of an African proverb which says that “A sharp spear needs no polish” and clarifies it by adding that “a true story no matter how strange it may be need not be dressed up in fine words.” In  the same way I take pride in the fact that there is never an attempt on my part at creating sensation or making up stories in this column simply to attract the attention of my readers.

The unofficial state house gazette the Torchlight newspaper recently published one of those headlines for which it and a few other allied tabloids have become notorious. “SLPP SHAMES SIERRA LEONE.” it screamed on its front page. All I did was to publish the facts surrounding the tragic crash of the Paramount helicopter which was conveying the Togolese contingent to the Lungi International airport and asked how the SLPP government had shamed the country. The editor pumped extra adrenalin into his system and went on the attack; it started as all of them do by referring to me as being senile adding that the relatives of the deceased “cuss Sama Banya,” and promised its readers the full official report which he hoped would shame me. Anyone who read what the editor presented last Thursday would certainly have wondered what the fuss was all about, or was it that I had dared to ask where the SLPP had shamed Sierra Leone? His story confirmed that there was indeed an official enquiry and its main recommendation was that the government was to bring back the owner of the company or else pay compensation to the families of the crash victims. That was in July 2007 a few weeks before the Parliamentary and Presidential elections. I had in fact written that because all attention at that time was diverted from everything else until the APC came to power there a non deliberate oversight of the incident. Again I must ask this state house pen pusher in what way the SLPP had shamed the country. Between him and me who has demonstrated signs of senility? Should the SLPP have said hey, don’t forget the helicopter case?

When it comes to objectivity, reliability and a dogged determination for impartiality, the BBC is second to none. I listen to many of its news broadcasts, discussions, interviews and even its music.  A programme that I found so educative and interesting was “Letter from America” by Alistair Cook which ran regularly for more than sixty years until the author’s death at an old age. Two other favourite programmes are “The Interview” and “From our own correspondent.” I have picked bones with the corporation over its weekend presentation of the last programme. It was about increased food production in developing countries generally with Sierra Leone as an example. Sadly, the programme was all about the country’s Foreign minister Zainab Bangura, her work with civil society and her “having actually gone to the bush to meet the rebels” and about her philanthropic work. In addition there was to be a separate programme about her today with which I have no problem. But the programme on food production was a blatant and undisguised propaganda for Zainab, and I wonder if the intention  was to call attention to her as a future successor to Ernest. Copy of the letter which was addressed to Peter Horrocks head of the BBC world service and Jerry Timmins head of Africa and Middle East respectively appears elsewhere.

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