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Infiltrators and Saboteurs of the APC

Infiltrators and Saboteurs of the APC

Disappointed and frustrated APC propagandists and especially those wishing to get Ernest’s attention to their zeal and commitment have developed a new tactic of pointing fingers at those whom they perceive to be behind their recent bye election setbacks as infiltrators and saboteurs. They are advising his Excellency to either expel such characters back to where they came from or to keep them at a safe distance. Unfortunately for their victims these characters have the means at their disposal in the form of newspapers or radio with which they carry out their treacherous acts. One such group is those on the editorial of the African Champion newspaper who have continued to refer to spies from the SLPP among the ranks of the ruling APC. Names have been mentioned including the hardworking Munda Rogers, Managing Director of the Sierra Leone Roads Authority and of course Philip Lukulay Executive Administrator of the Maritime Organization. I can understand their anger at Lukulay who is reported to have poured a lot of public funds and resources into the Pujehun bye election campaign. But Munda Rogers? Why, it was only yesterday that the same paper was extolling his virtues as a dedicated hard worker and just because the APC failed to win that seat in Pujehun he has now been turned into public enemy number one. Both the editor of the newspaper and its eagle columnist referred to these people by name even on Tuesday.

In the eyes and minds of the newspaper staff I am the epitome of betrayal, undermining or sabotaging the APC which in their narrow and shallow minded ignorance was the reason that I Sama Banya had joined or, in their words infiltrated the APC some thirty three years ago. A little education is necessary to clear the minds of these ignorant people, that unlike the Kaikai brothers, Musa Koyas, Isatta Massalays or Musa Tarawallis, the Makayas, Arthur Harveys, Sylfanas, Ibrahim Seseys, Bankie John, Fatmata Hassan and the rest of the APC converts, this here Puawui did not “magigi” or stampede to join the APC. I did not even apply to join. I was invited, repeatedly at that, by the founder and leader of the party back in 1976.

After the Mafanta affair I had distanced myself from him; he visited Kenema quite often in those days but I never went to see him. While he was opening the Kenema Show one year, a police rider took a message to me that the President intended to visit my hospital. I was amazed but my staff and I gave him a warm welcome and he wrote some flattering remarks in my Visitors’ Book. I paid him a return visit that evening and our relationship began to warm up.

We recalled the 1960 constitutional conference in London when he was on his own and how I had invited him to my flat for me and some of my associates to hear his side of the story as Sir Milton had referred to him as a man without a constituency. He recalled how I had refused to travel to Sierra Leone and give evidence against him in a case of sedition. “And you detained me even after all that?” I asked him. He disarmed me with one or two of his anecdotes of which he had quite a repertoire.

On another visit I had had a very hectic day in the hospital and did not call on him until next morning. He appeared relieved on seeing me and handed me a thick envelope of documents saying, “Read them; we shall discuss them on my return from Daru.” The documents contained a series of ‘intelligence ‘reports on the clandestine activities of some prominent Kenema citizens including BS Massaquoi, AH Demby, Dr. George Panda, MK Vangahun  and some others including me. They were prepared by John Kuyembeh (later Paramount chief) of the Mines Ministry.

Stevens remarked later how strange it was that people who wanted to overthrow a government would drive in their vehicles 52 miles to Zimmi then walk in the bush for another 2 miles to hold  meetings. But the fellow and his associate had maps and diagrams of our alleged plot.

It was on a subsequent visit that he invited me to join his party. When I replied that I already belonged to the “Disease Party” he replied that he was serious. “People accuse me of having illiterates and ruffians in the APC; this time I plan to bring in some intellectuals.” And he named a Dr. Abdulai Conteh, AK Koroma,  Abu Kamara, Gbessey Kanu and a few others; only Abu Kamara was known to me. That year I received the award of Order of the Rokel for my medical work and Nasiru Tejan-cole and I were invited to join him in the Lagos Art Festival.

Decision time came and I informed Salia Jusu-Sheriff, BS Massaquoi and Dr, Drissa Yilla. They were all skeptical but left the decision to me. Stevens had one more hurdle which was to persuade me to leave Kailahun central constituency where I was very popular to contest in Kailahun South comprising four chiefdoms, only one of which was my maternal home. The campaign was initially peaceful and interesting as my opponent and I were quite friendly both in the UK, in Njala and in Kenema. It got rough one night in Mobai where my brother and my cousin were shot dead. I received gun-shots in my head for which I was eventually flown to the UK on the Surgeon’s recommendation.

The APC was still in power under President Joseph Saidu Momoh when I tendered my resignation from the party. All the talk about infiltration and betrayal is a lot of nonsense based on ignorance of the facts.

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