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The vagabon  king

Simon Akam Published 02 February 2012

When 25-year-old Valentine Strasser seized power in Sierra Leone in 1992, he became the world’s youngest head of state. Today he lives with his mother and spends his days drinking gin by the roadside. What went wrong?


There are two ways to drive inland from Freetown. The first is to go through the eastern, poorer quarters of the Sierra Leonean capital. There decrepit vehicles jam narrow streets lined with mouldering clapboard houses. With such heavy congestion, it can take many hours to make the journey. The alternative is to take the so-called mountain road. You drive up into the hills, past the camp of the British army-led training team left over from Tony Blair's little war in 2000. Soon the tarmac ends and a dirt road threads past straggling villages into the forest. The track of reddish laterite – which bypasses the city and its traffic – is treacherous after rain, and traces a route down into a broad valley. A mile or so before it rejoins the main highway leading inland, a side road branches off to the left through a quiet village. At the far end of the settlement stands a faded sheet-metal advertisement for Goodyear tyres. And there, most afternoons, a tall man with close-cropped, greying hair sits on an open porch by the side of the road, often dressed in just a pair of shorts. If you arrive late in the day he may be drinking gin from a plastic sachet. His name is Valentine Strasser; he is 45, and was once the youngest head of state in the world. It is ten years since the end of the 11-year civil war in Sierra Leone. In 2007 power changed hands at the ballot box – and yet, to the outside world, the iconography of that long war – child soldiers, violent amputations and conflict diamonds – is ineradicable. The story of Strasser, who seized power in a military coup at the age of 25 in 1992 and ruled for four years until he was deposed by the same method, is unusual even by the experience of West African dictatorships. His improbable rise to executive power and his precipitous fall to roadside penury is a parable of the human consequences of premature kingship. Strasser says he was born on 15 September 1966 in Freetown. His father was a teacher, his mother a small-time businesswoman. After attending the Sierra Leone Grammar School (founded in 1845), he became an army officer, serving in neighbouring Liberia as part of a regional peacekeeping mission, the Economic Community of West African States Monitoring Group (ECOMOG). Like Sierra Leone, Liberia was established as a colony of freed slaves. Civil war had broken out there in 1989, and in 1991 ECOMOG was attempting to secure order in the capital, Monrovia. "Fighting was going on every corner from three factions," Strasser told me one evening, speaking softly and with a slight lilt. After seven months in Liberia, he returned home. The war followed him. In March 1991, rebel fighters crossed over from Liberia into the remote eastern part of the country. This incursion of as many as 2,000 men, most of whom were on loan from the Liberian warlord Charles Taylor, marked the beginning of Sierra Leone's decade-long conflict. Led by Foday Sankoh, the rebels came to be known as the Revolutionary United Front (RUF). Sankoh was a former army corporal and one-time jobbing photographer and, like others among the initial RUF leadership, he had received training at al-Mathabh al-Thauriya al-Alamiya, Muammar al-Gaddafi's World Revolutionary Headquarters in Benghazi, Libya. By 1991 Sierra Leone was close to ruin. After independence from Britain in 1961, there had been a brief period of relatively functional democracy under the leadership of Sir Milton Margai. He died in 1964 and was succeeded by his less respected stepbrother Albert, who disbursed vital positions in government to people of the Mende tribe regardless of qualifications. The decline accelerated under Siaka Stevens, a trade unionist who was elected in 1967 but did not become prime minister until the following year because of a series of coups. In 1971, Stevens declared himself president. Charming but spectacularly corrupt, he systematically degraded state institutions and operated a system of personal patronage. He plundered Sierra Leone's diamond wealth and even entered into negotiations with an American company to have toxic waste dumped in the country in exchange for a fee of $25m. “At the age of 80, Stevens left office with an estimated fortune of US$500m," says Sareta Ashraph, a London-based lawyer formerly at the UN-backed Special Court for Sierra Leone who is now working on a history of the civil war. "The sheer corruption and violent repression of the Stevens regime extinguished the hopes of an entire generation and laid the foundation for the country's brutal civil war." Following riots in Freetown, Stevens stepped down in 1985. Two years later, at a ceremony held in the grounds of parliament, a local preacher compared the former head of state's reign to a "17-year plague of locusts" in an address that was broadcast on national radio. The next president was Joseph Momoh, a military officer. Despite his initial promises of reform, corruption persisted under him. He acquired the nickname Dandogo, which means "idiot" in the language of the Limba people of northern Sierra Leone. By 1991, Momoh had been in power for six years and the nation was ripe for revolt.

Wounded in action
On Strasser's return from Liberia, he joined a unit fighting the rebel incursion in the east. The conditions for the government troops were wretched. Logistical support was poor, supplies of weapons and ammunition were limited and there was scant medical provision. On 1 May 1991, he received a shrapnel wound to the leg while defending a bridge.
“I was inside a bunker and I got blasted," he said. "It was a shell that actually landed on the sandbags." On another occasion when we spoke he said: "No casevac [casualty evacuation] procedures were made. In terms of helicopters or ambulances to shift the casualties . . . the problem was not with the level of training, but with the equipment that was available and the manpower. My disgruntlement stemmed from the fact that after I got wounded in action, I could not be evacuated, either by an ambulance or a helicopter."
Aware that they were fighting a war that their political masters would not resource properly, Strasser and other junior officers began plotting a coup. On 29 April 1992, they launched Operation Daybreak, raiding the office of the president in central Freetown as well as the lavish old presidential lodge off Spur Road in the West End of the city. They found President Momoh hiding in the bathroom of the lodge, wearing a dressing gown. He was bundled into an army helicopter and taken over the border to Guinea.
Strasser emerged as the public face of the uprising, in part because of his language skills – he spoke English well enough to read out a statement on the radio. As a captain, he was also of a higher rank than his co-conspirators. Some argue, too, that Strasser got the top post because those around him felt that he could be manipulated easily. "He was chosen in spite of, not because of, his leadership capabilities," says Joe Alie, a professor of history at Fourah Bay College in Freetown and the author of a 2007 history of the country since independence.
Joseph Opala, an American historian who first came to Sierra Leone in 1974 as a Peace Corps volunteer and has spent much of his adult life in the country, witnessed the wild early days of the new regime. Avuncular and bearded, he runs a project to restore the former British slave fortress on Bunce Island, near Freetown. Shortly after the 1992 coup, Opala was rounded up by soldiers and taken to State House, the white-walled seat of power in the city centre that bears an odd resemblance to a lighthouse.
The windows in the president's office had been shot out. Momoh's staff stood erect, in abject terror. Sitting around wearing camouflage fatigues and Ray-Ban sunglasses were the young officers who had mounted the insurrection. They were cleaning their Kalashnikovs and were stoned.
Strasser turned to Opala. "A wan know if America go recognise we gobment?" he said, speaking in Krio, the Sierra Leonean lingua franca. Krio is built on an English chassis but has a distinct grammatical structure and uses borrowed words from a plethora of other sources. In response to
Strasser's question ("I want to know if America will recognise our government?"), Opala asked him in turn if he had spoken to the American ambassador. The new leader replied that he had, but that he had not understood what the diplomat had told him. "En English too big," he said. "A no undastan natin way e talk."
An extraordinary scene ensued. At Strasser's direction, Opala left State House and walked through deserted streets to the US embassy, which at the time lay one block away. There he told a jumpy marine guard that he had a personal message for the ambassador from the coup leaders. He was allowed in and explained to the head of mission that the heads of the new government wanted to know if Washington would recognise it. The ambassador, a black American named Johnny Young, said that he had spoken at length to Strasser and had outlined the position of the US administration – that in general it did not acknowledge regimes installed by force but, in this instance, because the previous government had also not been democratically elected and considering the dire condition of the country, it was prepared to make an exception.

Ukrainian connection
In the early days, Captain Strasser's coup was popular. There were promises of a fresh start for the country. Young people mobilised to keep Freetown clean. Celebratory murals and other street art flourished. The new rulers of Sierra Leone called themselves the National Provisional Ruling Council (NPRC). Strasser was the council's chairman.
For all the jubilation, there was still a war to fight. Out in the bush, the army continued fighting the rebels. The junior officers who formed the NPRC had experienced the wretched conditions of the government troops. They wanted to improve matters, so besides tripling the size of the army, they went shopping.
There have been few better periods in history to buy guns than in the early 1990s. The Soviet Union had disintegrated, leaving huge arsenals in the hands of often unpaid and unsupervised officers. Dollars went a long way and official documentation was circumnavigable. Crucially, too, Sierra Leone's new leaders had a Ukrainian connection. During the cold war, the Soviet Union had funded scholarships for students from the developing world. Sierra Leoneans were among those who took up the chance to study in the USSR. One such was Steven Bio, who had studied in Kiev. A cousin of Julius Maada Bio, a member of the new junta, he had useful connections with gunrunners in Ukraine. He would be the go-between.
However, as the arms bazaar began to thrive abroad, the jubilation that had greeted Strasser's assumption of power at home began to diminish. In October 1992, the RUF took Koidu Town, capital of Kono District in the diamond-mining east. The capture of the town marked a step up in the conflict. In Freetown, the NPRC government announced that it had uncovered an attempted coup and disarmed the instigators. Executions followed on a beach on the outskirts of the city, but the 29 people executed were considered to be innocent, and soon afterwards Strasser declared a nationwide period of mourning. "To people who were politically savvy, what it meant was there was no coherent government," Opala told me. "The conclusion was obvious – no one was in charge." (Nineteen years later, the mention of the executions stirred Strasser to anger. "Fuck off, man. In Texas they kill people every day," he said when I pressed him on the subject.) Power in Sierra Leone was now in the hands of a group of very young men. "The children are running the country," it was said. A photograph of Strasser at the 1993 Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting in Limassol, Cyprus, shows a young man in sunglasses and a T-shirt, emblazoned with the words "Sunny Days in Cyprus". There were parties, too. Strasser made Valentine's Day a great national celebration, along with Bob Marley's birthday. The junta favoured pale-skinned women, creating a craze for bleaching among girls in Freetown. Women who tried to lighten their skin tone with chemicals were called "wonchee girls". Older Sierra Leoneans still mention that phrase readily when asked about their impressions of the NPRC. But perhaps the most telling indication of the onset of decadence in Strasser himself was his choice of accommodation.
Kabasa Lodge is in many ways the embodiment of all that is wrong with post-independence Sierra Leone. Built by the kleptocratic Siaka Stevens, it is a monumental structure the size of a missile silo or respectable late-medieval castle, and squats on a hilltop in Juba, in the West End of Freetown, with expansive views both out over the Atlantic and to the forested hills of the peninsula south of the city. It was here that Strasser chose to live. The 1992 coup had decapitated the command structure of the army; brigadiers were expected to take their orders from captains and lieutenants. In the countryside, both rebels and the poorly trained soldiers were often more interested in looting property from civilians than in fighting each other. The line between the resistance and the rebellion became blurred, reflected in the neologism "sobel" – soldier by day, rebel by night. By late 1993, though, the much-enlarged government army was close to defeating the rebels. In December Strasser called a ceasefire, but that turned out to be a mistake: the RUF regrouped and began setting up jungle bases around the country in 1994 and 1995. The rebels were a threat once more and the government was losing control.

Glittering prizes

In the south, the RUF attacked the facilities of Sierra Rutile, a company mining titanium ore, cutting off a crucial source of state revenue. The rebels set up a base in the town of Moyamba which put them within a day's striking distance of Freetown. Vehicle ambushes left few people willing to travel upcountry. With the security situation deteriorating, the NPRC was becoming increasingly unpopular. It was then that Strasser turned to foreign fighters. White mercenaries are a charged subject in Africa, conjuring up a host of associations, from "Mad" Mike Hoare in the Congo of the 1960s to Richard Burton and Roger Moore in the 1978 film The Wild Geese and, more recently, the farce of the 2004 "wonga coup" in Equatorial Guinea. However, in Sierra Leone, shortly after South Africa's first multiracial elections in 1994, ex-apartheid enforcers re-engaged as soldiers of fortune and ended up saving huge numbers of lives. They nearly saved the country, too. In February 1995, the NPRC engaged the services of a company called Gurkha Security Guards (GSG), which employed Nepalese ex-British-army troops led by an American, Robert MacKenzie. MacKenzie had fought in Vietnam and, in spite of an arm injury sustained there, he later passed selection for the Rhodesian SAS. He also worked as a correspondent for Soldier of Fortune magazine. His masterminding of GSG's involvement in Sierra Leone was a debacle: he was quickly ambushed along with Strasser's aide-de-camp, Abu Tarawalli. It is still not known for sure if those responsible were the rebels, or whether he was betrayed by Sierra Leonean army soldiers he was meant to be assisting. After MacKenzie went missing, his wife asked Al J Venter – a writer with a long interest in mercenary affairs – to visit Sierra Leone to investigate what had happened. Venter discovered that a group of nuns had also been captured and taken to the camp where MacKenzie was held. The nuns were eventually released, but before then they saw the American strung up, and his heart cut out. The next group of white mercenaries to land in Sierra Leone was Executive Outcomes, which blazed a trail for private military companies of the modern era. Composed the civil wapredominantly of former South African special forces troops, Executive Outcomes was active in Angola during r there, fighting both for and against Jonas Savimbi's South African-funded rebel army, Unita. The brokers of the deal that brought Executive Outcomes to Sierra Leone included Simon Mann, later of the botched "wonga coup"; Tony Buckingham, who now runs Heritage Oil, a company whose prospectus hints at the risk that the media may mention his previous mercenary adventures; and Eeben Barlow, a former South African special forces officer. The role of Executive Outcomes was to combat the rebels. The mercenaries would be paid in diamond concessions and cash. They arrived in Sierra Leone in small numbers – about a hundred on the ground at any one time. Most of the operatives were black but theleadership was white. They used helicopters, they had their own logistical train and they were fearsomely competent. "These people knew Africa," Venter said. "They set up their own supply units . . . they brought everything with them. They drove [the rebels] well away from Freetown, then they launched an operation into Kono. They did it; they turned the war around in record time." Joseph Opala recalled how Executive Outcomes would give a radio to each of the paramount chiefs, the leaders originally appointed from the ranks of local kings and queens by British colonial administrators at the end of the 19th century. "They said: 'If you call us we will be there in 15 minutes.' And they were." The mercenaries achieved what thousands of UN peacekeepers five years later were unable to do: they stopped the war. "At a total cost of $35m [just one-third of the government's annual defence budget], the fighting in Sierra Leone had ceased and over one million displaced persons returned to their homes," wrote P W Singer of the Brookings Institution in his book Corporate Warriors: the Rise of the Privatised Military Industry. “They did what they were here to do – that I can assure you," Strasser told me. "In fact, fighting stopped. It was a war machine that was capable of handling the security difficulties there at the time." But the mercenaries were soon forced out of Sierra Leone by other countries' disapproval. There was substantial international support for a peace accord that was negotiated in Abidjan, Côte d'Ivoire, in 1996, and the RUF made withdrawal of foreign forces a provision of signing it. Executive Outcomes left in January 1997. Without a disarmament programme in place, the Abidjan agreement proved ineffective. Clashes continued and after another military coup in May 1997 the violence escalated once more. In January 1999, the war reached its nadir when RUF fighters sacked Freetown in Operation No Living Thing. As for Strasser, he was deposed in a palace coup on 16 January 1996. He had gone to inspect a passing-out parade at the military trainin academy in Benguema, less than 30 miles from Freetown. In the afternoon he went, without a substantial security escort, to a meeting at the defence headquarters at Cockerill, back in the capital city. There he was overpowered and bundled into a helicopter and flown to Guinea, just as had happened to Joseph Momoh four years earlier. Strasser's successor, the leader of this second coup, was Julius Maada Bio. The new leader was still only in his early thirties. When I asked Strasser why his reign ended as it did, he refused to accept there had been a coup. He claimed he had merely stepped down at the end of the ten years of military service for which he had signed up. That statement is fantastical, and must be discounted.


Anything for a quiet life

The post-deposition period is perhaps the strangest in Strasser's unusual life, taking him from West Africa to Coventry in the West Midlands. When the international community had negotiated with the NPRC over the reintroduction of civilian rule, one of the incentives offered to members of the junta in return for relinquishing power was the opportunity to study in the west. And even though Strasser had eventually lost power by less graceful means, he was able to take up this chance. Warwick University's decision to consider admitting him was controversial. "When it became known who he was, there was a lot of disquiet in the law school and the university," recalls Roger Leng, an expert in criminal law at Warwick who later taught Strasser. There was a fierce internal row over whether he should be allowed to enter as a student, despite assurances from reputable sources to the university that Strasser was not responsible for human rights violations. Eventually he was accepted and took a foundation course to compensate for his lack of formal qualifications. The intention was that he would then progress to a law degree. Leng was surprised when he met Strasser for the first time. "He was quiet. I don't think really he was equipped to study at this level," he said. "I'd expected a swaggering, arrogant guy and he was quite the opposite." Strasser's second life as a civilian in England did not go well. His unwanted celebrity was a problem. He took up residence in an anonymous red-brick terraced house at 47 Poplar Road in suburban Earlsdon in Coventry, the city nearest the university, but the local and national press began to take an interest in him. He claims, too, that his stipend was inadequate. It even turned out that among Strasser's fellow students in 1996 was a niece of one of the victims of the extrajudicial killings of December 1992. According to him, the woman spoke against him on television and lobbied against him. The archives of the Boar, Warwick University's student newspaper, mention inquiries launched into his presence. "The university's belief that Strasser's studies will contribute to the democratisation process has been attacked by those who consider that an individual with such a brutal background should not be afforded acceptance within wider society," the Boar reported in October 1996. Later he had an unsuccessful affair with a supermarket checkout girl. "She knew who I was, because the papers in Coventry had things about me," Strasser said. "She knew I was a former dictator." Warwick University closed its file on Strasser in January 1998. A spokesman for the university, Peter Dunn, believes he left campus before then. "My recollection was that he wrote to the university staff saying that he was leaving," Dunn said. "One of his concerns was that he was fed up with his history in Sierra Leone being constantly brought up." Strasser corroborated that account. "I saw front-page articles saying 'former dictator' and 'human rights violations'," he said. "It was impossible." After dropping out of Warwick he moved to London, but there he found no peace. Albert Mahoi, a Sierra Leonean who goes by the nickname of Carlos, was running a business in south-east London that offered cosmetics, money transfers and international calls when he met Strasser. Mahoi recalled encountering him at a nightclub in Camberwell; another Sierra Leonean exile was abusing him and Mahoi felt he had to intervene. “I said: 'Don't do that – he was our president,'" Mahoi told me. "I talked to Strasser, I told him to calm down." He bought the former head of state a bottle of Courvoisier. "He was stressed up; you know when someone loses everything. There was no respect for him." With the Guardian newspaper questioning why a one-time West African strongman was living in London, Strasser left the country. The Home Office would not comment on whether his visa had been revoked. In December 2000, he went briefly to the Gambia and then back to Sierra Leone. And he is still there.

Moving with the times

The civil war finally ended in 2002 after a Blair-led British military intervention stiffened a floundering UN peacekeeping mission. The peace has held, and in November the country will hold its third multiparty election since the war's end. Large iron-ore mining projects are coming on line, and the IMF predicts massive GDP growth of 51.4 per cent this year. Yet Sierra Leone remains impoverished; it ranks 180th (out of 187 countries) in the UN's Human Development Index and per-capita GDP stands at just $325 a year. The country also has a large pool of marginalised ex-combatants and other young men who continue to pose a threat to stability. Despite enormous expenditure of foreign aid, corruption remains endemic and progress on infrastructure frustratingly slow. Desmond Luke is a former chief justice who trained at both Cambridge and Oxford. "One of my biggest sadnesses is when I travel out of Sierra Leone and I come back," he told me recently at his house in Freetown. "The only change one really does see is it seems to get dirtier." Some of the figures from the war years are still in politics, too. Maada Bio, who deposed Strasser and was briefly head of state, is now the candidate for the main opposition party in the November presidential election. Strasser lives quietly with his mother, Beatrice, in the house he built at Grafton, east of Freetown. The once-elegant white villa is run-down and the walls are stained. Across the potholed road stand the burnt-out ruins of another house that Strasser had built while in office, but which was bombed by Nigerian fighter jets during the civil war. He receives a government pension of 200,000 leones (£30) a month. That is a recent improvement on the 64,000 leones (£9.40) he used to get. He is desperately poor and does not even have a mobile phone to hand as he sits by the roadside in the afternoons. "It's a new set of circumstances and I've got to accept them," he said of his life with his mother. I asked Sheka Tarawalie, Sierra Leone's deputy minister of information, why the former leader receives such meagre support. "You know, Strasser was not an elected head of state," Tarawalie said. "That is one of the problems. He came in as a military man."

"Bad dictators"

One evening last summer, at the start of the rainy season, I arranged to meet Strasser for a final dinner. I went to see him with a friend and a British researcher resident in Freetown. We drove over the mountain road and picked Strasser up from his house. He sat in the front seat of my Land Rover, wearing trainers and cut-off jeans. At his suggestion, we went to eat at a Safecon petrol station on the main road upcountry. There we sat at a table outside in the evening light. It did not go well. He was drunk at the start of the meal and became agitated. When I raised his time at Warwick, he raged at meI was his assassin, he said. I was the president of America. He became increasingly unstable and threatened to have us arrested, only to change his tone. "I'm not going to arrest you," he shouted. "Otherwise you'll say I'm Idi Amin or another bad dictator like Colonel Gaddafi." Then he wrote this, in block capitals, in my notebook: "Europe still continues to underdevelop Africa. Africa's raw materials are Europe's tool to keep black Africa under so that western Europe continues to improve. Answer, 3,500 words." There was something of Lear in Strasser that evening, the broken king raging at the injustices of the world. I met him again several times after that and he was always sober and lucid. Yet that night I had seen a different Valentine Strasser and begun to understand something of the burdens he carried. As we drove back over the hills in the tropical dark, it was clear to me what a terrible misfortune it was for him to have been crowned by accident.
James Appleton contributed additional reporting from Warwick University

1 comment from readers

Kadija xxxxx 02 February 2012 at 22:53

In reference to your article "THE VAGOBOND KING" BY SIMON AKAM.. i am sorry to say that this man had an unfortunate encounter with his destiny... but i believe it is not the end of his life... it is an absolute shame that Sierra Leonean are ignoring someone who was once a Head of State.... no matter what happened the name Strasser will forever be in the history of Sierra Leone.. It does not matter how he was elected, it was destined by God.. If we read the story of Job we saw exactly what happen to him, and how God use satan to destroy him and later brought back total restoration with double portion of everything he lost... I believe this man need to be treated with dignity as how other country threats their ex president or head of state.... in the article it stated that he was not elected, that's is true but he was known world wide as the Head of State of Sierra Leone..that alone should make think that this man should be treated with compassion instead of letting him be a fool around town, rwith every one watching him destroy his life...journalist from outside interviewing him.... He was not the only culprit in his rigime,there were others also, who are very successful, something his wrong... where are they? why are they not helping? Why is the government not helping...the country that I was born and raised are full of loving, caring, compassionate, helpful and forgiving people.. we are open minded, like strangers.. why can't we stand and help this man...Our God is the only one that can judge, and he is the one that can render punishment... How long will you see your fellow brother suffer... Let us remember that God is able to turn things around for this man because he is our Yaweh( our God of deliverance and salvation... he lifted one and putteth another down... Go out the lord is before, help him and you will what the Lord will do for You.... This is written out of compassion.

Day of take over-

NOTE: All coloured photos added by me. Black & white photo in originnal article by Simon Akam . My thanks to Ade Daramy for bringing this article to my attention and Simon Akam for writing it



   THURSDAY 16/02/2012


SIERRA LEONE: Ex-Sierra Leone president stripped of all power trappings.
"According to Sierra Leone’s minister of Information Ibrahim Ben Kargbo, various regimes had failed to give him support.
Speaking to the Africa Review on phone from Freetown, Mr Kargbo said that the current government of President Ernest Bai Koroma was aware of Mr Strasser's situation and was working to assist him.
“President... Koroma asked me to contact Mr Strasser and after we got in touch with him, the President met him two weeks ago and they discussed modalities on how his situation can be addressed,” he said."

Click here>>>>

Monday, 13 February 2012



First Strasser, Now Nyuma sees reality and follows the path of National Truth. Other SLPP Chiefs also begining to see Bio as a BURDEN and backs away from him following his recent intimidating Lies.   


“Looking at developments all over the country it is easy to infer the President has a good initiative; all patriots must support it,” Mr.Tom Nyuma's words on day of defection from SLPP


Tom Nyuma has confirmed that he has given up on his previous ambition of running for a second term as Kailahun District Council Chairman under the SLPP. He announces he is quitting politics for good and will be going into private business after November 2012. He has also withdrawn his previous open support for Julius M...aada Bio and has lately been seen by my correspondents as he earnestly pushes for President Ernest Koroma's development strides to be given a second chance. Meanwhile, the APC Campaign Team is foraging into Kailahun - hungry for some green supportive food AND THEY ARE BEING SUCCESSFUL IN QUITE A FEW PLACES. Some few surprises are coming up in the Kailahun district. At least four(4) of the current sitting Paramount Chiefs in Kailahun have made it clear to me this weekend that they can not support Julius Maada Bio for the presidency of the country. Three of them told me that his recent press release has now totally convinced them he is dangerous for this country whilst the 4th one says he has always been APC even before 2007 elections.... WATCH THIS SPACE...


This is getting comical just as I told you guys it will get to be. The SLPP is yet to provide a scrap of evidence for their serious allegations in the Bio release. But guess what they did this morning in their newspapers? Instead of publishing the evidence, they published an old 2007 letter from Ernest Bai Koroma to the former American Ambassador in which Koroma, as opposition leader, complains a ...litany of complaints about the SLPP planning to use ex-combatants to disrupt the September 2007 run-off elections. Back then, Koroma cited Maada Bio, Tom Nyuma and John Benjamin as being involved. Well, the SLPP which is still to provide us the evidence of their outlandish claims, now allege that since Ernest Koroma made similar claims in 2007, it means Maada Bio can also make the same claims and get away with it. They praise former Police IG Acha Kamara for ignoring Koroma's letter back then and lambast current Police IG Francis Munu for inviting Maada Bio to clear the air over supposedly similar claims. However, the fault in the 'logic' is that Koroma's claims were not overtly inciting a tribal and regional call to arms and MOST IMPORTANTLY, as Jarrah Kawusu-Konte of State House just informed me on the phone, "Ernest Koroma was saying the truth back in 2007 whilst in 2012, Maada Bio is lying". According to Jarrah, "if the President had not been saying the truth about the SLPP back then, you can be sure the SLPP would have come out swinging against that letter but even though the letter was well publicised in 2007, the SLPP did not say anything to deny the allegations. This shows you the President was saying the truth about the SLPP's plans". And Jarrah also had a word or two for the "red herring gimmick" which he says "still does not provide answers to the questions the whole of Sierra Leone is asking which is, Where is the evidence to support Maada Bio's serious allegations he has requested to be sent to the U.N. Security Council and the ICC?"
An opinion article I published in today's Awareness Times can be read at the link below


"Lt. Col Tom Nyuma who was recently deported by the Homeland Security and Naturalization Services has been implicated in an assassination attempt on the life of the APC Presidential flabearer in the city of Bo........".

" Tom Nyuma was deported as a result of domestic violence, a very serious offence in the United States of America. He was employed as a security officer in Texas and later relocated to Ohio until his deportation to Sierra Leone. It was as a result of his violent behaviour that led to the action taken by the American government coupled with his unpalatable Human Rights record......" [----Standard Times------].. CLICK LINK




Following my status update on this issue, I can now affirm that not only is Tom Nyuma not running under the SLPP ticket but to help increase the chances of APC in Kailahun, Tom Nyuma is presently considering to run as an independent candidate and SPLIT the SLPP votes in Kailahun for the position of Kailahun Local Government Chairman... PK, NA LIE AR DEY LIE BACK EHN? Watch this space brother!

Friday, 10 February 2012


SLPP Man (Baboon) Caught Impersonating the Hard Working Monkey  ;   In Foday Marris  Post
SLPP Baboon Caught Impersonating the Hard Working Monkey.

For over four years now, the government of president Dr. Ernest Bai Koroma has been telling Sierra Leoneans that Sierra Leone is a construction zone. Under the president’s agenda for change massive construction IS going on all over the country. The evidence of hard-work can be seen all around the 12 districts of Sierra Leone. However, it seems as if some Sierra Leone Problem People are determined to take the country back to the old days of political violens, underdevelopment and retrogression.
As if the president’s call fell on deaf ears, a former resident of New Jersey, USA decided to go to Sierra Leone and disturb the work in progress. The said individual traveled from the United States to Burkina Faso, then traveled by road through Liberia, into Kailahun where he was received by senior members of Sierra Leone’s most Senior Problem People (SPP). Upon his arrival, KJM as he was nicknamed was informed of the operation codenamed PPSLD (Problem People for Sierra Leone Destruction).
When he was ready to begin his clandestine mission, KJM disguised himself as a monkey by dipping himself into raw acid to get rid of his hair. His main objective as prescribed by Senior Problem People was so that he could look more like a monkey than a baboon. He wanted to blend in with the working monkeys. Unfortunately, for him he was identified by vigilant voters who are determined not to allow any Problem Person to disturb the peace, tranquility, progress and development of Sierra Leone.
Through another Sierra Leone Problem Person, KJM filed the following falls report regarding voter registration at Constituency 111.
“This morning, February 10, 2012, while voters were peacefully standing in line trying to register, the notorious Lansana Fadika pulled up in a few trucks loaded with thugs and escorted by Siarra Leone Police and tried to force his way ahead of the people already in line in order for him and his Thugs to register ahead them. When objections were raised by the people in line against Fadika’s brazen attempt to register ahead of the people already there, he and his thugs started harassing, intimidating, threatening and verbally assaulting the people.

Fortunately one of our most powerful and fearless supporters, Mr. Kathos J. Mattai was already in line waiting to get his registration form. He also complained about the brazen audacity of Fadika and his men, and then they threatened “to deal with him” for voicing his objection. As the thugs tried to pounce on him, he warned them of their misbehavior and breach of peace and even threatened to alert the American Embassy since he is also an American citizen. That was the only element of restraint that stopped the thugs from physically assaulting him.
Some of the complaints by the people in line was that Fadika did not even belong in Constituency 111 and so he should not be registering there at all. STAY TUNED, MORE NEWS TO FOLLOW ON THIS VOTER REGISTRATION INTIMIDATION BY FADIKA IN CONSTITUENCY 111.”
This false report comes after Flag-Bearer Baboon, Murder Bio, raised a false alarm when he issued a press release that said; “It has come to the attention of the Sierra Leone Problem People (SLPP), that the ruling Action Progress and Commitmern people, (APC) has embarked on transporting ex-combatants from different parts of the country to register in towns in the South and the Eastern Provinces, the strongholds of the Opposition SLPP. Ex-combatants armed with weapons and other offensive instruments have already been ferried to Moyamba, Bo, Kenema, Pujehun, Kailahun and Zimmi. In addition, foreign nationals and ex-combatants from neighbouring countries are also being transported by Sierra Leone’s Ambassadors accredited to those countries for the purpose of swelling APC votes in the elections.”
The Sierra Leone Problem People, whohave caused most of the Sierra Leone Peoples Problems will not succeed in their political strategy of violence. This is why KJM’s moves were tracked by government and he has been finally caught. The people of Sierra Leone are on the look out for two more suspects they believe are Alpha Saidu Bangura and Jeffrey Macarthy, two men who paralyze their opponents with profanities Sierra Leonans refer to as “mammy cuss.” Both men have a striking resemblance with KJM. If you see them, please do not confront them because they are armed with the worst kind of profanities. Contact the nearest law enforcement agency for their arrest.
Photo: Courtesy Mirror News


Thanks to Dr Sylvia Blyden for this update.
Please CLICK link below

Now we begin to know where all the monies that came into the hands of the NPRC post 1992 COUP went.. The IMF, WORLD BANK, EUROPEAN FUND  and such like International funding bodies were in 'post haste' in releasing large amounts of monies to the Military Government of Captain Strasser and his "PIKIN SOJAS", when they overthrew the legitimate government of President Joseph Saidu Momoh. I recall even a $50,000 million Special Drawing Rights (SDR) facility, which had been approved during President Siaka Stevens time in 1983 or thereabout, (when Hon Salia Jusu Sherriffe was Finance Mininter,) frozen all that time was also released to them. Equally a Deutsche Mark 70 million by the Germans, for which the City Council was connected..
 The records of all those heavy amounts must now be investigated. These 'boy soldiers' of which Maada Bio became a one time second in command, and men like John Benjamin must account for these funds which were dissipate (FITYFATA) with no trace until now that we begin to see where these monies went.

There was no proper control of these high class financing, and these BORBOR SOLDIERS simply had a free hand to ROB the state with no fear or thought. Yes, they instituted Saturday cleaning of the streets, and engaged in prayer days every now and then. They spent some money in projects like building/ re-furbishing Round Abouts and painted images of some past heroes, here and there and driving up and down in big cars wasting monies on 'bleached skin" girls and showing off.. Now we begin to know and see the PAPER WORK of the slick ways these International Finance bodies developing funds where coveted and hidden in overseas accounts of these TIFF MAN DEM. So what do we do now?
 Looking closely at the document below, provided by Awareness Time Proprietor, Dr Sylvia Olayinka Blyden, the details can clearly be seen of this one transaction - date of transfer, 9 December 1994; from Overseas Trust Bank Limited. This does not look like a Sierra Leone based Bank - perhaps a Hung Kong Bank. The account number at this first leg of the transaction  shows 003101601; The name of the officer semms to be  a Mr FRANK YIU. The Bank reference number as: 60042/60023 530 with Julius Maada Bio's name clearly visible in the document. The amount is stated as: HKD 387,000 (Three hundred and eighty seven thousand Hung Kong Dollars - converted at the rate of 7.7400HKD to US$1( now this was 1992).

 The second LEG of the transaction, is a movement from Overseas Trust Bank Limited in Hung Kong to  TSB ( Trustee Savings Bank  (NOW PART OF LLOYDS BANK - and now owned by British Tax Payesrs and British Government):
 The address is clearly seen as TSB Channel  Island Limited, OFFSURE CENTRE, PO BOX No 597, ST. HELIER, JERSEY, JE48 XW.  ACCOUNT NUMBER 503400 - NAME: JULIIUS MAADA BIO. 
Note that this account number is different from the one in the Overseas Trust Bank. These accounts are created to facilitate TAX AVOIDANCE - hence OFFSURE - They are TAX HEAVENS . 
It is clear from this document that the TSB Jersey holds a correspondent account for the Overseas Trust Bank with account number 3101601-  The instuction rom the Hung Kong Bank, to debit their account held at TSB Jersey can be visualise at the bottom of the document with a check box "TICKED"

 On the bottom right side of the document from Overseas Trust Bank Limited marked "Remittance" (at the top right) one can see the words " APPLICANT'S SIGNATURE: followed by the words " "CHAMPION INVESTMENT LIMITED" signed by two 'AUTHORISED SIGNATURES' underneath with the telephone number (I guess Hung Kong's) as 8020163. 
QUESTIONS: WHO ARE CHAMPION INVESTMENT LIMITED? How did they get involved? Were they facilitators or Transfer/transaction Agents? Where did the money come from to end up with them so that they may pass it on through the Banks. What was the FULL value/amount of the funds? How many 'dealers' were involve? What was thier commission in this deal?

 The Government and ANTI CORRUPTION MUST NOW STEP IN. This is only a scratch- the krowkrow go big jes nor. (The wound will soon open wide)

Sierra Leone Opposition Threatens to Kill Journalists Before Polls: Staunch members of the Sierra Leone Peoples Party (SLPP) have yesterday promised that come November 17th 2012, they will be embarking on a mission to kill journalists they perceive as being against their party. The SLPP members made the threats yesterday whilst molesting two journalists from the Awareness Times who had gone to the party offices to seek clarification from Julius Maada Bio concerning monies alleged to have been stolen from the State and paid into his overseas accounts at the time he was Deputy Head of State in the NPRC military junta. (ONE OF NUMEROUS BANKING DOCUMENTS CURRENTLY IN POSSESSION OF AWARENESS TIMES IS ACCOMPANYING THIS UPDATE)
The Awareness Times had initially fruitlessly tried to contact Mr. Bio on his phone lines but having failed to get him, we got his Personal Assistant John Tucker who said his boss was “tied up” and “busy” but he would find time to speak with him.
Awareness Times then informed Tucker that we were sending two journalists and we dispatched Edward Tommy and cub reporter Mariama Bundu to speak with Mr. Bio.
It was whilst the two journalists were patiently waiting to talk to Mr. Bio that they were pounced upon by supporters of Mr. Bio who accused them of being spies listening to the SLPP secrets. They clearly knew Tommy to be a journalist and when he reminded them that he was waiting to speak with Bio and he was from Awareness Times, they went enraged and ordered Tommy and Mariama to leave the premises. They frog-marched them all the way down the three sets of stairways with one of them even bundling up Tommy’s trousers whilst shouting and threatening them.
They rudely insulted the journalists all the way to their party gates whilst openly making threats that they had certain journalists they would be killing as soon as they won the elections in November.
“We just dey wait for the bell for ring!!” a violent SLPP lady promised as she said they will deal with journalists as soon as the bell is announced that they have won the elections.
Many citizens are fearful that with the growing violence originating from the SLPP during which they do not even spare their members, the Sierra Leone Police needs to be on proper alert and with a good state of mind to avert any pogrom and massacre of citizens especially journalists. Meanwhile, most independent journalists no longer have confidence in the ability of the President of Sierra Leone Association of Journalists (SLAJ) to protect them from SLPP partisans as he is widely believed to be heavily compromised on the side of the SLPP. Yesterday, the SLAJ Offices were closed and when journalists phoned up Umaru Fofana the president, he said he was too busy attending to a report he was filing for the BBC to attend to SLAJ matters.
It can be recalled that the opposition has made a lot of noise over the Government’s decision to arm the Sierra Leone police after years of the police using obsolete weapons. An arms embargo on the country was lifted in late 2010 which was when the Government started a process to order the weapons to ensure the country’s internal security was well guarded.
“Only criminals and murderers and those planning to undertake very bad things will oppose a country arming its legitimate police force. If the SLPP was not full of criminals and thieves, they would not be fearful of armed policemen,” said Mohamed Bockarie Fofana, a youth activist from Karina, Bombali District. His sentiments are being widely re-echoed all over the country.