Senior UDM members spent the past two days requesting for space in Awareness Times to refute the serious allegations levied against President Ernest Koroma’s State House, the Anti Corruption Commission and the UDM itself. As Publisher of this paper, I have personally told the UDM to count us out of the ongoing morass because neither UDM nor President Koroma is serious about their image or reputation concerning allegations of financial cash flows between the two. Let me explain.
The political suicide moves which President Koroma has been encouraging under mistaken belief he is upholding press freedom is astounding! Fiti Fata Libel is now the norm in this country!
First of all, what is Fiti Fata? Let me explain for our foreign readers. Fiti Fata is a term in the local Creole language explaining a seemingly ceaseless repetition of a usually frowned-upon action. For example, repeated actions of illicit sex will be described as Fiti Fata Sex.
Now, what is the meaning of title of this piece? That is ‘Big Dance Na Tight Parlour’? This basically describes a situation where persons are being forced to engage in a dance involving much gyrations of the body but in a room too small to contain all the moving dancers.
Such a situation is like the one whereby politicians have to manoevre and operate in a climate where they cannot do much against media persons whom are blackmailing them from taking actions against such media persons. They would’ve boxed themselves into a situation where they have little space to wriggle within.
Now, having explained the Creole terms used. Let us examine the real issue for today which is the UDM and APC’s inability to counter despicable journalism being launched against them.
In October last year, Radio FM98.1 allowed the opposition SLPP to use their radio station one weekend to propagate a so-called Live Discussion Programme on an alleged US$800,000 (equivalent of Three Billion, Six Hundred Million Leones!!) which SLPP alleged President Ernest Koroma had by then given to the UDM Leader in cash. SLPP spoke of how the President should have used the money to save the lives of unborn babies, create jobs for youths and help boost education but he instead gave such a chunk of cash to Mohamed Bangura for UDM.
Immediately, the week following, the usual suspects in the media (Global Times & Independent Observer amongst others) alongside their SLPP allies who chartered their services, filled newspaper pages with a lot of tripe about the said sum of US$800,000 of the country’s money.
Awareness Times jumped in and effectively and logically pointed out all the flaws in the allegations to the extent of revealing the existence of a prior tape which had been released but without the ‘cut-and-paste’ US$800,000 section.
Now, having done the ground work for UDM and President Koroma, one would have expected them to take it to the next step and force the errant media houses to retract and apologise.
Well, neither UDM nor the Koroma Government Spokesman I.B. Kargbo or Koroma State House itself bothered to lift a finger to debunk those outrageous allegations. They still stand unchallenged! Three Billion, Six Hundred Million Leones is not a small sum of money and the voters are listening and reading.
If you do not force errant media houses to retract such dangerous allegations, do not forget Nature abhors a vacuum. Voters will absorb all these lies as truth in the face of your silence. It is now clear Ernest Koroma is surrounded by persons who watch him defamed needlessly; we are five months to elections and all sorts of FITI-FATA LIBEL are today the Norm! Shioooorrrr!
Failure of the President & UDM to debunk the US$800,000 allegation is also of personal concern to us at Awareness Times. It makes us look ridiculous as persons affected do not seem to care a bit whilst we are busy correcting. So, UDM should now count Awareness Times OUT of any media morass in which they find themselves; unless it is something that hinges on national security in which case, we will come in. In the interest of the State, we will work to help the President refute certain allegations but only to a limited extent. Surely, in a funeral, an outsider cannot cry more than the bereaved persons?
If President Koroma and UDM cannot get the IMC to get blackmailers in the media to retract the outrageous US$800,000 allegations, do you think anyone cares about a mere one million leones allegation? It is all about morals and ethics. Whether One Million or Three Billion leones, morals and ethics are the issues here.
This is not Press Freedom; This is Political Suicide! Politics is a game of intrigues. You have got to be able to know if your associates and designated aides are loyal or disloyal. If you are unable to decipher this out, then you are not in the correct seat.
President Koroma, his Government Spokesmen & the UDM itself all seem to be too much afraid of small-time, blackmailing, cheap hustlers running slimy, two-bit newspapers.
So, as the wise old Creole grannies will say, Una nor mix we pan una big dance na tight parlour! Count us Out! Good morning.
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Newspaper in Freetown, Sierra Leone.