A Message to Ethnic and non-Ethnic Konos
In all of Sierra Leone’s post-independence social, economic and political developments, Kono has not only played crucial roles in tilting the political pendulum in favor of the winning sides, it has and still remains the bread basket of Sierra Leone. Being the most ethnically diverse district in Sierra Leone; the social, political and economic relevance of Kono cannot be over-emphasized. Suffice it to say that in spite of the monumental role that Kono has been playing in the existence of Sierra Leone as a nation, we cannot but pat ourselves on the back for being very patient and tolerant with successive governments as the district benefits less than its fair share vis-à-vis its pivotal role in the politico-economic sphere of the country. Even as all religious and ethical doctrines have upheld patience as an honorable virtue, a virtue that often pays off, Kono is now seeing a bright light at the end of the tunnel. The appointment and the re-appointment of Alhaji Sam Sumana as the All Peoples Congress (APC) presidential running mate should not be relegated to only destiny, or taken for granted; but must be seen as a provision from Providence or God or Yataa or Allah, in direct response to the cries of our fathers and fore-fathers and a reward for our patience. (Photo: John Kanu, author)
Political historians will concur with me that during the political turbulence following the 1967 political stalemate that saw the ruling Sierra Leone Peoples Party (SLPP) and the opposition APC party in equal apportionment of parliamentary seats, the historic and bold decision of PC Tamba Songu M’briwa, an independent and influential Kono leader, to pitch tent with Siaka Stevens and his APC party, amongst other things, aided the ascendancy of the APC to power. Being a grateful man as he was, Pa Shaki held Kono very dear to his heart as was evidenced by his very frequent visits to the district to the extent that he established a vacation home in the outskirts of Koidu Town, Gandorhun. During his tenure as Prime Minister and then in 1971, President of the Republic of Sierra Leone, the only time Pa Shaki ever entrusted the Ministry of Defense to anybody was when he appointed Komba C. Gbamanja as acting Minister of Defense: a portfolio that was inextricably tied to the presidency. In fact in the history of Ministerial appointments, Kono at a time had all of its eight members of parliament appointed to Ministerial and Deputy ministerial positions; an unprecedented occurrence, disproportionate to any other district in Sierra Leone. Alhaji S.H.O. Gborie, of blessed memory, was Minister of Youth and Sports during the opening and the dedication of the National Stadium and the Ministerial building at Brook Fields. Dr. Fasuluku Suku Tamba was Minister of Health. S.R. Kesegama was Deputy Minister of Finance and Economic Development. Sahr Washington Gandi-Kapio was at the Internal Affairs, while Jon Moadeh Kamanda was Minister of Mines. S.S. Allieu was at the Ministry of Agriculture while Dominic T. Musa also had a portfolio. The list went on!
Thus the historical and traditional affiliation of Kono with the APC party has, up to this day, remained water-tight; and for those that are looking for a pattern, it is crystal clear that things should not be construed as mere coincidence. The resurgence of the APC party, after its political wilderness experience, only to have a son and a daughter of Kono as Vice President and First Lady respectively, defies mathematical probability. The prospect of that happening again without divine interjection will probably be after several generations! Putting on my sanctimonious cloak, I can safely ascertain that God is here to lift Kono from abyss, only if the people of Kono will put aside those age-old vices that have eaten into our very fabric as a people and as a district. Be reminded that in Biblical days, when God was leading Israel into the Promised Land, the journey was purported to last for only 40 days. But because of the impenitence of the Israelites; their refusal to put aside their debilitating vices, they moved in circles for forty long years, rendering the dreams and aspirations of most of those who commenced the journey unfulfilled.
In reverence and adherence to the prudent admonition of our fore-fathers, “Kono ea Kono faa” (meaning “a Kono does not kill—undermine, betray,–a fellow Kono); this appeal goes to all ethnic and non-ethnic Konos at home and in the diaspora that even as God is moving us to our cherished dream and aspirations, we should work assiduously to hasten His fulfillment in our life time. I do not perceive unfolding events as a tug between APC and SLPP as it pertains to Kono, but rather as a divine answer to our collective and individual prayers. Our contribution to these historic developments is as easy as heeding to the advice of our forbearers: let us put aside our differences, animosities, grudge, malice, envy, hate and self-destructive pride and collectively rally behind our kin, Chief Alhaji Sam Sumana. Let us bear in mind that Ernest Koroma had many qualified people he should have chosen to be his running mate. But because he has entrusted us with this mantle, we all have a responsibility and are under divine obligation to let the whole world know that indeed “Kono ea Kono faa”.
by John Kanu
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