Kono ae Kono faah … the case of a misinterpreted adage
The adage, “Kono ae Kono faah”, a one time binding doctrine of the Kono people, is being very much abused and removed from its context by people wanting to solicit unquestionable solidarity of the Kono people, more so for political reasons, be it negative or positive. This saying, literally translated means “a Kono should not kill a Kono”. For a better understanding of the implication of this aphorism, it will make sense to take a look at its origin. Back in the days of tribal warfare, which pitched the ethnic Konos against their Mende and Temne adversaries to the south-east and north respectively, “Kono ea kono faah” was the guiding principle of the Kono warriors on the battle field. Consequently, it was forbidden for a Kono to kill another during war because the only perceived enemies of the Konos in this ere were the Temne to the north and the Mende to the south-east and as such, were the only ones to be killed in times of war. This adage was so sacred to the Konos that it even prevented the various Kono Chiefs from waging war on one another in spite of the many disputes about chiefdom boundaries that usually came up, some of which still persist today. Simply put, there could be no justification for the killing of a Kono by another. This explains why the Konos were very cohesive and enjoyed internal peace unlike their northern and south-eastern adversaries.
On Sierra Leone’s attainment of state hood, and in the absence of tribal wars, the adage came to be interpreted more on the literary than on the literal level. This means that it became customary understanding among the Kono people that they should always pitch their tents together. In other words, an ethnic Kono must always give a helping hand to his ethnic Kono brother or sister. Knowing the Kono for their great respect for moral uprightness, that is honesty, justice and fair play, it is without doubt that the adage was intended to be positively interpreted to mean that an ethnic Kono should always give a helping hand to his compatriot when once he or she is on the right path, and that no Kono should willfully comport themselves in a manner that will have negative implications for the community. So I am usually confounded by the assertions of certain individuals, mostly political sycophants and praise singers, that no matter what, an ethnic Kono must always take sides with his or her compatriot in whatever endeavors undertaken, even though they might out rightly constitute blatant manifestations of criminal and unethical conducts.
The Kono that I was born and bred in is fundamentally different demographically from that of my forefathers who coined this noble adage, “Kono ae Kono faah”. This being the case, I deem it necessary to omit the word “ethnic” from the logical interpretation of the same. Kono as I know it today could be better described as a cultural and ethnic amalgam. Consequently, it is prudent that “Kono ea Kono faah” be interpreted as”… every individual or group of individuals that are born and bred or descend from Kono should always stick together as one and must put the interest of the district above all petty sentiments. Should a situation arise that may hinder the progress and development of the district, the perpetrator(s) of such unsavory situation must not be given succor but their dastardly moves must be thwarted and nipped in the bud”. It is only by doing so that we might truly give proper accounts of ourselves as true and patriotic sons and daughters of the soil.
Of late, I have been subject to unjustifiable attacks by the Reverend Kemoh Sulimani in the United States on the one hand and Mr. Tamba Gborie in the United Kingdom on the other, individuals who believe I am in contravention of the the “Kono ae Kono faah” adage, for the simple fact that I am being critical of the incumbent Vice President, Honourable Sam Sumana and keep on making the case that he is not living up to the expectations of the Kono people and as such cannot make them tow the line of the All Peoples Congress (A.P.C.), while at the same time fomenting trouble among the people both directly and indirectly through his surrogates. The Reverend Sulimani does not even mind stepping outside his professional obligation of preaching the truth, by telling concocted lies against my person, to the extent of accusing me of colluding with my elder brother, Paramount Chief Sahr Paul Nagba Saquee V, to swindle the people of Tankoro of Billions of dollars meant for the development of our people and ascribing to me life styles that people who know me will hardly believe, viz.that I am a drunkard, womanizer and gambler. He alleges in his trumped up accusations that my excessive bacchanalias is being funded with monies meant for the development of Tankoro and given by Koidu Holdings mining company. The Reverend even goes a step further to curse the Saquee family to perish and his political godfather, the honourable Vice President to excel. A typical preaching of the devil’s philosophy by a supposed Christian Reverend.
To the likes of the Reverend Sulimani and Mr. Tamba Gborie, all I can confidently say to them is that it is they and not me that are behaving contrary to the tenets of “Kono ae Kono faa”. They are shying away from the reality that the well being of the Kono people stands above that of any dubious politician. They are killing the Kono people by not only failing to put it to their Godfather, the honourable Vice President that much remains to be desired as far as his contribution towards the development of the district is concerned, but they are making conscious efforts to suppress all forms of opposition and genuine criticisms of the ineptitude of the former, by attacking those who have the courage to do so, albeit for the sake of satisfying their insatiable quest for recognition and subsequent material benefits. It is only when they manifest selflessness and honesty and put aside their political sycophancy and praise singing will any sane mind be convinced they are comporting themselves in strict accordance with the noble adage, “Kono ae Kono faah”.
Samuel Saquee, USA
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