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More dark days in Kono – Part I

More dark days in Kono – Part I

Indeed, it is common knowledge in Sierra Leone that diamonds were discovered in Kono in the 1930s.  Since then, Kono as the bread basket of this nation, is still the most backward in terms of development, vis-a-vis infrastructural and other related development projects.

In my view as a Sierra Leonean and a Kono man, Kono is not as it should be in modern times. In the days of the Sierra Leone Selection Trust [SLST], scholarships were awarded to deserving students based on their merits from the 1960s to early 1970s, preferably children of Paramount Chiefs of the diamond Chiefdoms who enjoyed such benefits.

However, it is pathetic to note that Kono district, known to be the bread basket of Sierra Leone since the discovery of diamonds, from Sierra Leone Selection Trust [SLST] to the National Diamond Mining company [NDMC], to Branch Energy [BE], to Koidu Holdings [KH], and finally to Octea with South African background, De Beers to be specific, has not benefitted from all of these companies in terms of development.

The mockery Kono faces now is that the Vice President is a Kono man, Alhaji Samuel Santigie Sam Sumana, and the First Lady, Mrs. Sia Nyama Koroma from Kamara Chiefdom which is yet the most backward in Kono district.

My dear readers, I refer to this piece as more dark days in Kono as a way of informing this nation of people to understand that, “All that glitters is not always gold,’’ according to William Shakespeare .

Taking into consideration the development trends in present day Sierra Leone, Koidu town, the headquarter of Kono district, is far from being a city in the 21st century.

Koidu town is mosquito infested, it has no pure drinking water and it is infested with various epidemic diseases.

Koidu Town

About seven or eight months ago, there was an upheaval between the employees of the Octea Mining Company and management, leading to the death of two youths as a result of Police shootout.

 Circumstances leading to the Police shootout emanated from the demands of the employees of Octea Mining Company’s failure to honour their cooperate social responsibilities.

In the event, Vice President Samuel Sam Sumana was instructed by President Ernest Bai Koroma to go to Kono and perform a sacred duty of arbitrating between the management of Octea and the employees.

Upon his arrival in Koidu town, a meeting was summoned at the Koidu Community Centrefield. Unfortunately however, the mammoth crowd was taken aback when Vice President Sam Sumana asked them to sit down on the ground. That statement was considered to be an insult to the Kono people by a prominent son of the soil. This was indeed a dark day in Kono for both youths and elders who attended the meeting.

Suffice it to state that if Kono district is the bread basket of this nation from immemorial, then the district should not suffer from this uncalled for disadvantage at a time when Konos are yearning for peace, progress and development in fulfillment of the Agenda for Prosperity.

 Worse still the employees of Octea were under constant threats by management with dismissals without benefits and indeed hundreds of the employees within the age bracket of 20-35 years were laid out.

Presently the youths of Kono have kept sealed lips over the recent coalition elections in Koidu town.

It is a shame that even though the youth coalition elections were supposed to be conducted in a free, fair and democratic manner, the process deprived the youths of their civic right to choose the executive they wanted.

The powers-that-be dictated to the youths and forced them to vote in candidates of their choice. The evil attempts by some authorities both in Kono and outside Kono spearhead violence during the voting exercise.

It is reported that one Paramount Chief by the name of Paul Harba Saquee suffered a serious humiliation in full view of the public.

Look out for Part II …

By Felix Dauda Fofoh

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