Dr Samura Kamara Speaks The Truth

Let me start with a little disclaimer: I’m a typical unadulterated “Freetong Boy” who can rightly claim to be a De-tribalised Sierra Leonean simply because of the circumstances of my birth, upbringing, and blood relations. I cannot speak my father’s tongue, Temne, or my mother’s tongue, Sherbro. My wife, whose mother was a Krio-Loko (nee Williams), cannot speak her father’s tongue, Kono, but can only speak the Mende language—albeit falteringly!

Added to that, my late grandfather was a Sherbro-Mende (Blake) born and bred on Bonthe Island. My late grandmother was a Limba-Limba (nee Conteh) also born and bred on Bonthe Island. My mother, who was born on Bonthe Island and bred in Freetown, has cousins who are “Contehs” from Binkolo. I have a cousin who is a “Mustapha” from Kenema Town and another one, the late Joseph Hindowa Sandy (aka Jaco), from Bo Town. Another cousin is a “Jarrett” whose late grandfather owned the “Southern Pharmacy” in Bo Town. And my immediate younger brother married a Fullah-Fullah from Kabala; so my two children have cousins who are half-Fullahs. This means, I can discuss tribalism freely without me being accused of being tribalistic!

Now, coming to the issue of Dr Samura Kamara’s home truths which he spoke in Makeni recently and which a handful of tribal bigots from the ruling Sierra Leone People’s Party (SLPP) are saying are “factually incorrect”.

It is only opinionated fools who will pretend that when the SLPP took political power, in 2018, citizens who were perceived to be supporters of the All People’s Congress (APC) were not sacked indiscriminately in droves.

Were people not sacked for the unspeakable crime of having what appear to be North-Western names? It is only tribal chauvinists who will feign ignorance of the fact that citizens were basically employed by the Bio-led administration, in 2018, simply because they could fluently speak the “Mammy Language” of the ruling elite. And you and I know that most of those sacked at Statistics-Sierra Leone had resemblances of northern surnames!

My argument is simple: If what Dr Samura Kamara said is “factually incorrect” then let the so-called Civil Society activists do a Tribal Audit of all the presidential appointments including the heads and deputy heads of all Government Ministries, Departments and Agencies (MDAs).

If people do not want tribalism to be discussed, then the SLPP government must not be perceived to be practicing it blatantly. As Barack Obama notes in his book the Audacity of Hope, “an argument of whether it is raining can be settled by stepping outside”. Equally so, the argument of whether Dr Kamara’s statement is “factually incorrect” or not can be settled by doing a simple Tribal Audit of all MDAs.

But the SLPP government cannot be perceived to be practicing tribalism in the open yet the hypocrites in its fold do not want it to be discussed openly. That’s double standards.

This issue cannot be flung under the carpet by scaring us with references to the pre-Paul Kagame Rwanda. It is the SLPP government, through the former Chief Minister now Foreign Affairs Minister Professor David Francis, which started the discussion on tribalism in its “Report of the Governance Transition Team 2018”.

In this Report, the SLPP government yanked tribalism from under the carpet and flung it on the table for discussion (check the “Executive Summary” of the GTT Report). Most citizens now hold the view that tribalism has been given prevalence by the Bio-led administration comparable only to Sir Albert Margai’s!

And I’m glad that the tribal bigots have accepted that a unifying leader is what Sierra Leone needs now. By this acceptance, the SLPP tribal chauvinists are indirectly telling us that President Julius Maada Bio appears to be a divisive politician.

That’s why I’m still trying to figure out why these same tribal   hypocrites didn’t even cough when President Bio told Asmaa James, of Radio Democracy in an interview about two years ago, that: “The country [has] always [been] divided. The Whiteman divided it into the North, South, and East. We [have] also divided it into Temne-Line, Mende-Line. We have this and have that…” And why didn’t these tribal bigots raise their fingers in protest when President Bio told the nation, in that same interview, that he was only comfortable with the “work ethics” of his tribesmen (Which is why his cabinet looks more like “a gathering of the tribe” than a national one!)?

And probably, Dr Samura Kamara might have taken the cue from President Bio by simplifying that Radio Democracy interview with Asmaa James. He is trying to talk about the Bio administration’s seemingly supremacist agenda. He is telling the SLPP tribal bigots that if they are practicing tribalism people will not shy away from flinging it back on their faces. And he is telling them that the Head of State’s “work ethics” are inimical to national cohesion.

Unlike President Bio, Dr Samura Kamara’s “work ethics” have always had national colorations. Instances of that abound. The current Financial Secretary in the Ministry of Finance Sahr Jusu, the Principal Deputy Financial Secretary Matthew Dingie, and the Director of Budget Tasima Jah (all south-easterners) will tell you that while he was Minister of Finance, he protected them all from being sacked.

In fact, when Sahr Jusu went to Harvard University to study, Dr Kamara kept his job for him and sealed his office until he returned from his studies from whence he continued with his job untouched!

And on a personal note, Dr Samura Kamara has always been at home among south-easterners. He attended the St. Andrews Secondary School (UCC) in Bo. He married a southerner from Pujehun, which means his children are half-southerners.

So, those SLPP tribal zealots who are now trying to rejuvenate their battered Civil Society-ness at Dr Samura Kamara’s expense should accept the fact that his fair comments (in my journalese), in Makeni recently, are fairly commented. In fact, who is better placed to speak some home truths to his in-laws than an in-law himself. Dr Samura Kamara’s comments are based on facts, honestly and, truthfully stated!

 

MORE ABOUT: Maada Bio | Samura Kamara

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