Momodu Bangura (AKA Mbangs), Atlanta, Georgia —
It is indicative of African presidents to manipulate their state constitutions or their party by laws for their selfish reasons. Such autocratic and totalitarian behavior became conversant in our political institutions since the reign of the late Siaka Probyn Stevens, the first president of the Republic of Sierra Leone. The late Siaka Stevens manipulated members of his All People’s Congress, APC political party and sent fear in the minds of every Sierra Leonean, who had dare to oppose his political views until the day he finally declared Sierra Leone a one party state.
Subsequently as the country went through the process of transitioning from a multi party state to a one party state, and ended up losing so many good statesmen like the Honorable Kerifa Smart, Pat Maddy, and John Akar, just to name a few, who went on exile during the early 1970’s. The country was in a state of pandemonium as there were military road blocks on every main motor road; stopping vehicles and searching them for political escapees fleeing persecution from Siaka Stevens. The political nuances had caused the country to loss other great men like Brigadier John Bangura, who was executed, Hon. Ibrahim Taqi and Mohamed Sorie Fornah and 13 others. The tribe that suffered the most from Siaka Stevens’s persecution was the Mende tribe. The Mendes have dominated the opposition party, called the Sierra Leone Peoples Party, SLPP.
While we examine the human atrocity caused by Siaka Stevens during his entire reign, I will consider it quite in place to throw light on the long term cause of the bloody civil war experienced by Sierra Leoneans from 1992 through 2002. Whatever happened from the time the late President Joseph Momoh was handed power by Siaka Stevens from 1985 up till the time he was over thrown by a military Junta, which became the NPRC was just an immediate effect of the political fiasco caused and developed by Siaka Stevens.
Immediately after Siaka Stevens declared Sierra Leone a one party state in 1980, Sierra Leone hosted the Organization of African Unity, OAU Summit disregarding the Economic hardship the country was going through. Prices on our staple foods and imported goods started flaring up the market as the country started experiencing inflation. Sierra Leone’s export in the world market started taking a steep fall to its lowest: the country economy started experiencing low Gross National Income, GNI and low Gross Domestic Product, GDP.
Siaka Stevens ruled Sierra Leone from 1967 till 1985 when he handed power over to Joseph Saidu Momoh, the head of Sierra Leone army. Siaka Stevens knew he was on the CIA list as one of the World’s notorious dictators, and he knew that he would not be granted pardon in America nor in any country in the European Union; therefore, he picked out the late president Momoh as a stooge to protect him in Sierra Leone while he decided to play on the two late Vice – Presidents up against each other, Sorie Ibrahim Koroma (AKA S.I. Koroma) and Christian A. Kamara-Taylor (AKA C.A. Kamara-Taylor).
By 1988 Sierra Leone was in a great depression, and Momoh could not acquire loan from either the IMF or the World Bank Group to fund his government because he could not repay the enormous debt he inherited from his autocratic predecessor, Siaka Stevens. He could not even get any aid from any of the industrial nations.
The economy was in shambles due to bad governance, and as things began to catapult, which had led to the beginning of the ten years bloody civil war, which also led to some junior military junta to seized the opportunity to oust the Momoh government when he flee the State House as they were marching up to request their supplies. That was a tip of the iceberg, the war we ever experienced in Sierra Leone.
Inflation was rising higher and higher: The Leone was devalued by the IMF due to our enormous debt. Families went to bed without having their meals, and everywhere in the country, families were in hunger and starvation. Children and lactating mothers suffered from malnutrition, and poor health. The lacking of jobs resulted to the cause of high crimes and prostitution, which was the ultimate result of bribery and corruption among government officials. These are all agents of poverty, and they have caused the ruins of our society by obstructing progressive democracy.
My fellow Sierra Leoneans and comrades of the All Peoples Congress, APC: I urge that we all rise up and stand firm to reject the political brain washing by our senior party officials in Freetown, because history is about to repeat itself. When Siaka Stevens created all that mess, he was not around to see, feel, and even suffer from the scourge of the war. Not even anyone of his children or grandchildren had a scratch; but all woes fell on the poor, who cannot afford to flee the country.
I remember when I was the Public Relations Officer for the APC Georgia chapter before we won the election in 2007 we organized a town hall meeting for the then APC Leader, Ernest Bai Koroma when he visited Georgia. The town hall meeting was at Cleveland Avenue in Atlanta, Georgia. I can remember when some Sierra Leoneans used to say they don’t trust him because of fear that he might act like another Siaka Stevens; and he used to reply, “First of all I want to apologize for the actions of my predecessor. I also want to apologize, especially to those who have lost their loved ones in the war: I want to ask for forgiveness. I want to let you know that I respect the Rule of Law, and I will apply the Rule of Law to every Sierra Leonean.” Having said those words, I will observe Sierra Leoneans nodding congruently, and after a day or two after the town hall meeting, I will receive calls from some of my fellow citizens, who have bought into his story, and told me that they accept his apologies. Some told me, he does not appear honest; therefore, they still have their reservations. At the end, some will give their donations and some won’t give a dime.
I love the fact that, our Sierra Leonean culture has groomed us to easily forgive and easily forget, but what I don’t like is when someone tries to take our kindness for weakness.
I will not say much at this time, but I want to encourage each and every one of us in the APC –USA to look at the MKM issue and give it a serious thought: place yourself in his shoes, and then ask, what would happen when you will be ready to contest for the highest office? Will your party deny your membership? It is scary, isn’t it?
I know some of us only care about the fifteen minutes lime light to hold positions in APC-USA and be pushed around like children?
As from now on, if you have never thought about this to yourself, please take a minute to do so: ask yourself, where do you really want to be in the All People’s Congress? Do you want to grow, or do you just want to be in the Diaspora to carry the Honorable Ministers’ briefcases or their belongings whenever they visit us in the United States? Do you just want to be here and ask them to do you favors? When do you want to get up there and get the same position just like them?
Well, I don’t have to quit the APC party to disagree with a member or the leader of my party on issues affecting our Diaspora. If the Americans and democrats don’t have to stop being Americans and democrats to disagree with President Obama, then I will do likewise, because that is how a true democracy operates.
Therefore, I will appeal to every person in APC-USA to write, speak up and make your voice heard. Let them know that we let them treat us like second class citizens or rather watch them manipulate the Sierra Leone Constitution in order to obstruct our country fragile democracy our people enjoy. We want our country first, then our party.
Let us wake up Diaspora.
Thanks. Let us stay bless in the land of the brave and the free. God bless America and the age of technology. There is no monopoly of news these days.
Thank you all.