All that is necessary for the triumph of evil is that good men do nothing’ - Edmund Burke


S I E R R A  H E R A L D

Vol 8 No 4

The tendency sometimes to protect perpetrators for the sake of peace...doesn't help society. Impunity should not be allowed to stand. - Kofi Annan on Waki report

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Tuesday August 26, 1997

Expo Times Special
Page 2 - Thinking Aloud with Ibrahim Seaga Shaw

One country, two Heads of State


Publisher and Editor-in-Chief - Ibrahim Seaga Shaw
Deputy Editor - A. Charles Robert
General Editor - Gibril G. Koroma
News Editor - Conrad Roy
Production Manager - Abu Bakarr Shaw
Contributing Editors - Isaac Range, Joseph S. Dumbuya
Senior Staff Writers - Alie Wyse Koroma, Max Jimmy


Since the May 25 military coup, the people of this country have been willy-nilly contending with two Heads of State, Major Johnny Paul Koroma who presently occupies the seat of power at State House and ousted President Tejan Kabbah currently heading his exile government in Conakry.

While Major J P Koroma's AFRC regime is still grappling with the problem of international recognition, Tejan Kabbah's ousted regime is fighting tooth and nail to bounce back to power at whatever cost.

While Tejan Kabbah's pirate FM radio station 98.1 continues to campaign for the restoration of his government and constantly refers to him as His Excellency the President "with occasional slots of the country's national anthem, Major J P Koroma is constantly in the news both on national television and radio as the de facto Head of State of the Republic of Sierra Leone.

While Major J P Koroma is given red carpet treatment and drives in presidential motorcade in Freetown, Tejan Kabbah is also treated as President with bodyguards and driver in presidential motorcades in Conakry, Republic of Guinea.

But the present reality on the ground is that having survived the mandatory 90 days stipulated in the constitution, the AFRC is soon expected to swim in a sea of international recognition.

This apparently uncompromising state of affairs has no doubt created a state of confusion in the minds of the people of Sierra Leone.

While majority of Sierra Leoneans in the country constantly tune in to our national FM99.9 others prefer Kabbah's clandestine radio.

Of course the idea of pirate radio stations is not a new phenomenon in Africa. In Nigeria for example there are three pirate stations: one named after late Kudirat Abiola, wife of the detained Moshood Abiola and another owned by exiled academic Prof Wole Soyinka. With all these stations Abacha's junta is still moving on.

Kwame Nkrumah also operated a pirate station in Conakry while in exile after his overthrow. This did not make much impact on the Ghanaian people.

What is however strange is that we are contending with two Heads of State. Major JP Koroma, apparently recognised by his own people in the country as the de factor Head of State since his swearing in by the Chief Justice Hon Beccles Davies while Tejan Kabbah is still recognised by the international community as the constitutional Head of State of Sierra Leone.

But the present reality on the ground is that having survived the mandatory 90 days stipulated in the constitution, the AFRC is soon expected to swim in a sea of international recognition.

What has however puzzled most political analysts is while ECOWAS has extended an invitation to Tejan Kabbah's ousted government to take part in the ECOWAS Heads of State summit scheduled this week in Abuja, the AFRC is still to receive an invitation.

Be it as it may, the setbacks which Abacha's recent shuttle diplomacy coupled with the failure of ECOWAS to reach a consensus on the use of the military option to reverse the May 25 have created rays of optimism that are slowly enveloping the people of this country who appear fed up with this apparent state of confusion.

This optimism is expected to gain more currency with the reopening of the American Embassy in Freetown this week which will definitely be interpreted in some informed quarters as a show of recognition for the AFRC junta.

If weaknesses in the Kabbah government rendered him incapable of protecting and defending the constitution of the land, then I see no reason why innocent people should be allowed to suffer by way of military option or sanctions or blockade.

Tejan Kabbah should be allowed to pay the price of his own weaknesses and not poor and innocent people.

After all life must go on, Tejan Kabbah or no Tejan Kabbah. Just that the speedy restoration of constitutional rule should be the watchword of the AFRC junta.


Yearning for the mother country?

The right choice is Kevin McPhilips Travel

©Sierra Herald 2002