I woke up to very sad news of the death of Hindolo Sumanguru Trye, Minister of Labor and Employment of the Ernest Koroma Administration. Mr.Hindolo Sumanguru Trye died this morning in a hospital in the Sierra Leone capital Freetown. It can be recalled that Hindolo Trye as student leader at Fourah Bay College, University of Sierra Leone was a major force that led the 1977 No School, No College demonstrations that nearly brought down the APC government of Siaka Stevens.
Hindolo Trye livd in exile in America during the late 70s to the 90s and returned home to Sierra Leone to give intellectual support and political legitimacy to the NPRC coup of 1992 that chased then President Joseph Saidu Momoh into exile and obscurity. Addressing a group of student at the Fourah Bay College amphitheater just some days after the NPRC coup in 1992, Hindolo Trye vowed that they would rather burn the capital Freetown and flatten it to the ground than have APC in power again.
As both a minister in the NPRC government and the current APC, Hindolo has kept a low key profile over the years that were a far cry from his firebrand rhetoric of his student years. He’s had health issues during the first three years of the Ernest Bai Koroma administration but when I saw him a few days ago at his office in New England Ville; he looked his usual self was very upbeat and cracking jokes about recycled politicians in both the current APC and the SLPP. He would joke around and call himself an “International Mende” meaning he has a much broader outlook on issues in the country.
|Mr.Hindolo Sumanguru Trye
Ironically, Hindolo’s last acts for me were to literally walk with me into the offices of his colleague Minister offices to help expedite the processing of registration of an International NGO in the country. He made calls to break down the usual Sierra Leone government bureaucracy and would say, please don’t forget to take your organization to my village in Moyamba for some of the educational programs you want to embark on.
We talked a lot of politics from a brotherly perspective and kidded each other about not being in the same camp. One thing for sure, Hindolo’s legacy is that of an incorruptible servant of the people of Sierra Leone and he would proudly say, “JK, I can walk anywhere in Sierra Leone and say anything I want because not a single person would say I am corrupt”. He told stories of a lot of journalists who would stop by his office on Fridays to complain about the tough economy and expecting money for the weekend from them. He would say to them, “Look at the type of phone you have in your hand and look at mine which is just a basic one and I am a government minister. You are here begging me for money but you carry three to four phones in your hand all of them very expensive. If I were to lose my phone, the thieves will return it promptly because it is not worth anything but you expect me to give you money?”
He told stories of corrupt people that bounced from one government to the other and said, “JK when some of these people start talking in my presence, I just walk away because I may something they would not want to hear and frankly don’t even want to be in their presence.” He called President Koroma “Alagba” the same term he had used for Valentine Strasser during the NPRC years and had enjoyed such a close and trusting relationship with both of them that regardless of the back biting from fellow colleagues, Strasser never relieved him of his duties and he was confident that Ernest Koroma would never do the same. He spoke sometimes arrogantly about all his relationship with Ernest and stated “JK, me noh dae worry bot waitin den man kin go say to Alagba, because ow den kin talk am, nah so di word dae comot nah Alagbaa en oda yace” meaning whatever gossip they take to Ernest Koroma about him, it just goes through Ernest’s other ears and out as if he never heard it.
Hindolo Trye would certainly be missed and my last conversation with him was last week Sunday when I called him from Atlanta to say I had arrived safely and could not see him on Friday as he was out of town when I stopped by his office to say thanks and good bye. He told me on the phone that he had an emergency trip to Bumbuna that Friday to speak with the community over the killings that occurred at the hands of African Minerals security personnel. He spoke to my dad and my wife and complained that I did not stay with him during my recent trip to Sierra Leone as I have always done and wondered aloud whether politics was the issue. I told him that it was in his best interest and that of mine that I stayed somewhere else as some people on both sides of the political divide would not understand our relationship.
My last physical contact with him was as we walked up the New England Ville government offices last Thursday to the Ministry of Education. He was wearing an Africana outfit and I kidded with him that I thought the norm was to wear Africana on Fridays. He gently reminded me that it was not in honor of Nelson Mandela’s birthday and that I should know he was first and foremost a Pan Africanist. That evening, I updated the New People’s video message on the front page with a You Tube birthday song video dedicated to Nelson Mandela
I am so glad I got to see him and spend some time with him over the last three weeks. Rest in peace brother Trye and may you have safe passage to the heavens.
© Copyright by Awareness Times
Newspaper in Freetown, Sierra Leone.