By: Andrew Keili
First some disclosure. I have known Abu Abu Koroma a long time as a very respectful person. He was a guest at my house in Bo on several occasions during SLPP flagbearer campaigns and other events. The one thing I respect about him is his belief in President Bio. As a Northerner he was the subject of intimidation on several occasions in the APC dominated North, but he became unshakeable in his belief and support for candidate Bio and in SLPP flagbearer elections, abandoned Northern candidates for Bio. I was however surprised by his “fire and brimstone” speech, talking about killing and breaking legs. His punishment for his inflammatory speech was probably caused by poor timing. Doing this, just after the Presidents spat fire talking about “terrorists” in his speech was ill timed indeed. Even the NGC has come out is support of Abu Abu-well not quite! The Leader and Chair of NGC, during a press briefing said they consider the action taken by the President as selective justice. He opined that the suspended Resident Minister should have been treated equally as other people that are being investigated for similar offences. “The words of Abu Abu are very frightening and scary. Whether it comes from any political party, those messages are dangerous and should be addressed equally,” Dr. Bright maintained. Well-ehm ehm, not quite support for my man! This endorsement does not save my man from the gallows!
But I like Abu Abu who has always been the proverbial “Borbor pain”. Not deterred, he was recently seen preaching peace to SLPP youths in Bo atop a vehicle, invoking what he said was President Bio’s thinking-“De Pa say e want peace-E say mek una nor fet. Na only when we get peace we go kerr dis country go the new direction way we want.”
Thank you Abu Abu for your Saul to Paul conversion on this Damascus (Bo?) Road. We pray say de Pa en hat go cam down. I hope my mother in law’s assertion that anybody with a double name like Abu Abu or Johnny Johnny is a “calamity Jane”, prone to disasters. Let’s hope on this occasion she is wrong.
APPA’s “FAKE REPORT”
The All Political Parties Association (APPA) is what the name says- an association of the political parties. For a long time now, APPA has been a tool of the party in power, with Chairpersons coming from opposition parties pliable to its whims. It would appear that with its recent report on the violent incidents at Tombo and Lunsar, APPA leaves no one in doubt as to who is responsible-APC. Their report, one critic told me works from “answer to sum” and does not hide its bias on the findings, which seem to be totally detached from its recommendations. It is not so much the report that interests me however but the shady characters mentioned.
The report states “Two individuals commonly known as “million pound” and “two bible” led the attack on Police Quarters in Lunsar. There was also “Shabalala” who was one of those who is said to have led the attack on the residence of the Paramount Chief. With names like these, no wonder there was trouble. APPA left no one in doubt that both attacks were against SLPP members.
As expected, APPA’s Secretary General, APC’s Karamokoh Kabbah cried foul. According to Kabbah, the Chairman and Deputy Secretary General of the Association who signed the report did not have the mandate from the organisation to undertake the exercise. He stated-“As the duly elected National Secretary General of the Association, I write to inform the general public that the Association has conducted no such study and has published no such findings captioned above as claimed by the authors of the fake report.” Kabbah dissociated himself and the other members of the Executive from the report, saying- “it is surreptitiously designed with an ulterior motive of misleading and misinforming the public on very important happenings in the country.” An audio making the rounds on social media about APPA Officials involved in the “fake report” talking about monies received under the table confuses the situation even further. This needs to be clarified by APPA.
APPA will sort themselves out and decide whether or not it is fake. What a disappointment! I however rather like the colorful characters in this “fake report”-“Million pound”,” two Bible” (there should only be one Bible!), “Shabalala” and Oh, I almost forgot-they named “Karankay” as the ringleader.
POLICE COMEDY SHOW
The only people that beat the Sierra Leone Police (SLP) in their recent comical behaviour are the comical duo of Veebe and his partner in Holland who went on the chase for Adebayor. With detectives like those, Adebayoh will stay away from the long arm of the law for a long time. The SLP comes a close second.
I reproduce part of a report I saw on the now infamous picture seized at Dr Sylvia Blyden’s house by a CID Policeman:
“Head of CID, AIG Brima Jah says the picture frame of former President Koroma that was retrieved from Dr. Sylvia Blyden’s residence is of no importance to the investigation of alleged incitement against the opposition politician. He said the Police Officer who took the photo and said it will be used as an exhibit to the investigation was just “trigger happy.”
OK now we understand! But since he was not carrying a gun should we not coin a new term “picture happy”? I now breathe a sigh of relief as before the clarification, I had tucked away a picture in which I was receiving a national award from President Koroma.
And again, just imagine this. People are now impersonating our new Inspector General of Police
A newspaper reported on thus:
“Undoubtedly people have been going into shops and businesses claiming they have been sent by the Inspector General of Police (IGP) demanding monies, goods like fuel and even cell phone credit. They claim the IGP is engaged and not available and has therefore sent them.”
But trust the Police. They gave a stern warning to impersonators, describing them as criminals and fraudsters.
I wonder what was wrong –is it the impersonation of the IG or the very act of people thinking the IG would even have the temerity to ask for favours even through his official channels? The Deputy Head of Media and Public Relations did not make this clear. The statement made in the report that, “The Police said the IGP has people assigned to “undertake official and personal assignments on behalf of the I.G.” Muddies the water. Perhaps the Police should shed more light on this.
NATCOM UNDER FIRE
Natcom has not exactly showered itself in glory and it would seem from recent happenings that they have called in some helpers to help regulate the sector-rival operators in the sector!
Qcell complained that Africell and Orange, at the behest of Natcom had stopped all calls emanating from Qcell. According to Qcell, they had been compliant with Natcom regulations and had not broken any laws. They said further they were surprised this was done on a Friday just before the weekend. Seems like many people are now learning from the CID on Friday lockups- get my drift!
Well Natcom replied in another Press release but did not address the issue. The Natcom release merely said Qcell had not been compliant on the floor price issue even after repeated warnings and promised to “bring the parties together”. But the question many are asking is-why leave the matter of regulating a company to its rivals? That is what my friend Alpha Khan would term “you mama in mate day mark u exam paper.”
Anyway Natcom and NRA really need to look into this whole issue some more.
Natcom needs to make its case in a more forthright fashion and with greater clarity if it is to avoid the accusation of being in the pocket of the big boys.
The reason stated by Natcom and NRA that free promotions were losing the government revenue could be countered by the argument that this revenue will ultimately be recouped by having a much higher user base with higher taxes paid government in the long run. One could however envisage a case in which Natcom may not want a new company to “cream off the top” by having clients mostly in the Western area and major cities who are much more affluent and not extending its coverage to poverty stricken rural areas. In that case Natcom could set a progressive coverage target as it probably did for the older companies who spent a lot on infrastructure. Natcom is however basing its argument purely on taxation and having a floor price as a solution.
To compound the problem, it would appear that it is Qcell’s competitors that are regulating them-a very confusing situation.
They really need to allay the fears of many who were paying much less for telephone and internet facilities from Qcell, including one of my friends who have referred to them as “dunderheads”.
I will paraphrase her statement-with her permission.
“What the dunderheads should figure out is that tax revenue as a percentage of company revenue could actually increase, if those promotions increased the consumption of cellphone services and brought in new consumers! The only people who are losing out on this are us hapless consumers, whose interests justifies the very existence of NATCOM.” Strong stuff!