Your trusted place for Sierra Leone and global news
HomePoliticsWhy blame the Sierra Leone press?

Why blame the Sierra Leone press?

Why blame the Sierra Leone press?

Last week was a turbulent one for both politicians of the ruling APC and some sections of the press. The infamous Al-Jazeera  documentary by Sorious Samura  on the alleged  corruption scam in the country sparked a frenzy of frustration,  heated debates and rancor amongst the press. No sooner the documentary hit the internet, thousands and millions of  Sierra Leoneans were agog with castigations and innuendos about the ruling party and its cohorts. It is good for democracy and the people ofSierra Leone. There are two sides to the documentary; the role of the press and the fate of Sam Sumana (Sierra Leone’s Vice President).

Two large developments have made the implicit, yet huge, claim that journalism, our way of knowing what is happening in our complex world, is essentially a matter of competing high-decibel political dispute and total transparency.  The revelations about governments around the world from the Wikileaks website, and the “ Timbergate” documentary are manifestation of the potency of the press. Each of the two has demonstrated that the line between public interest and moral indefensibility is thin and getting thinner.

The role of Sylvia Blyden in exposing the flaws of the documentary through the internet has exposed the mighty stock of journalism. It shows how the press can easily overthrow an incumbent government through the artistry of the pen. It was an irony that it took the ruling government hours and days to strategize counter offensive mechanisms about the documentary. Though Slyvia Blyden has been denounced from some sections of the press, many people would treat her work as outstanding and emulation  for other journalists and even the government.  Though the documentary exposed cracks within the party (which I will address later), it also shows how the press, especially in a country like Sierra Leone where millions rely on hearsay and public judgments can overturn good intentions into rebel antics.  In the latter days of the SLPP, a newspaper edition allegedly informed the country that  the government of former President Kabbah  had sold  a consignment of rice to the people .  The rice in question was a gift from the late Gadaffi of Libya . Though the former government of the SLPP had informed the public of the gift, yet the persistent story of the editor in the newspaper became a hot potato and it contributed immensely to the downfall of the SLPP. The above story demonstrates how powerful the press can develop a personality into a martyr or villain.

Investigative reporting has been one of the strongest developments of postwar journalism inSierra Leone, illuminating government deceit, corporate fraud and criminal activity. The reporting of Sorious Samura, though some aspects are not credible, is a wake up call to our politicians in the country. The bible states: “Do evil that good may come”, though some have denounced the documentary as not a good image of our country (which I agree), it will serve as a warning to some of our leaders that the whole world is watching their steps and their actions. Let us assume, the documentary was not a hoax and all the players caught in the act were genuine, what would have been the perception of investors about the country?  If the Vice President had recited his subr (Morning Prayer) on that day, then God answered him by guiding him to desist from saying any word that would have incriminated or implicated him. That is what it means to believe in God and do the right thing for the people.

One common claim of the two great issues I have discussed here is that the public can gain a greater grip on the actions that are taken in their name through being an audience for untiring media polemic and huge revelations. There are many unanswered questions about the ruling APC about this documentary and the Vice President, Sam Sumana in particular.

Did I hear a member of the government called on the Vice President to explain or resign after the airing of the documentary? With all the media moguls in the government, why did it take so long for the government to easily see the loose holes in the documentary and issue a statement? Had it not been Sylvia Blyden’s intervention, what would have been the fate of the Vice President?  I am in no way insinuating that Sylvia Blyden did her work to save the face of the government (Astar fullahi), rather, she must have done it to prove her journalistic acumen and out of patriotism.  Why did the Vice President fail to react immediately? There are two powerful courts inSierra Leone; the official judiciary and the people’s court. Trust me, the people’s court is the most powerful as they judge from hearsay and deliver verdict which will take years to redeem.

These questions are painful and especially when it deals with life and death. This is where the Vice President’s position comes into play. As politics is dirty and full of foul play, the Vice President should have issued a statement denouncing the video and citing instances to prove his innocence. This has nothing to do with principles but saving the name of his family and his life. Does the Vice President know the potency of false stories in politics? Is he aware of the downfall of certain politicians inSierra Leonewhose demise has been as a result of false stories? (Just turn around and ask those 80 and 90 years old)  Have you not seen Barack Obama responding to false stories about his dealings with lobbyists appropriately and swiftly?  Maybe the Vice President is waiting to be taught the African politics where machinations and orchestrations are the handiwork of opponents.

I pity and sympathize with the Vice President. As a new comer into the APC  party, there are tides swaying against him. That is my bone with both parties inSierra Leone. There are old folks in both parties who think they should not give way to the youths to demonstrate their skills. The APC, like the SLPP is still infested with old old politicians who think they should always be in the limelight. Politics is not a profession but a duty, it is an art of studying the situations and respond to what needs to be done. Some of the old folks have contributed their share to the country and this is the time they should retire from politics and do something else. As stated earlier,  the running mate issue in the APC is hitting up with the President yet to announce his running mate. Is it a ploy to eliminate the Vice President from the race by placing him as a sacrificial lamb? Only time will tell.

This “Timbergate” documentary should serve as a blessing in disguise for the Vice President. In the first place, if he has been dealing with rogues, he must now know his left from his center these days. Secondly, if he had abandoned his constituency (support base), then he should know that no politician succeeds without a power base. Thirdly, this is a wake up call to show the people ofSierra Leonethat he can stand to the challenge and display leadership skills when President Koroma’s term ends.

As always, those who have demonstrated patriotism towardsSierra Leone, may God continue to bless  them as there is only oneSierra Leonein the world.

May God bless Sierra Leone.

Ibrahim Sourie Mansaray,USA

Stay with Sierra Express Media, for your trusted place in news!

© 2011, https:. All rights reserved.

Share With:
Rate This Article
No Comments

Leave A Comment