100 Woman Dem Done Marrade ‘Ernest’ Nar State House
At State House about midday, January 25, 2012, there was a unique ceremony laden with symbolism that captured the essence and joy of being ‘Sierra Leone an’, and would be highly promotional of one of the most globally marketable character of our Sierra Leonean-ness – our religious tolerance: over one hundred women clad in pure white long flowing dresses and white headscarves from the Brookfield Central Mosque and the Old Railway Line Mosque in Freetown went through a symbolic ‘marriage’ to a fervent Christian, H.E. Ernest Bai Koroma, President of the Republic of Sierra Leone.
A calabash and mat, tied with white cloth – traditional symbols of marriage within nearly all the indigenous tribes in Sierra Leone – and a six year old girl (the ‘little bride’), also clad from head to toe in Islamic white clothes, were handed over to President Koroma by the APC Women’s Congress Leader to ‘seal’ the ‘marriage’ between President Koroma, a serious Christian, and the Islamic women, who pleaded with President Koroma to worship in their mosque.
President Koroma promised to worship in their mosque in his speech accepting the 100 ‘brides’.
The still dashingly handsome President at 58 years of age said with a smile: “Leh God put blessing pan di marrade” (Let God bless this marriage between me and the 100 women). There were chants of “Allahakbah” from the women!!
President Koroma then heaped praises on Lansana Fadika, a former SLPP executive in Freetown, who had marshaled the women – many of whom said they used to be SLPP members - into performing the politically significance and culturally symbolic ceremony:
President Koroma said that since Lansana Fadika switched over from the main opposition SLPP to the APC he has “added value to the APC” in his actions, his passionate supportive statements for the APC, and, his display of “organizational drive” for which he has been rightfully given a ‘doctorate degree’ by his passionate followers.
The President said the wholehearted acceptance of Lansana Fadika by the APC sends “a clear message by the APC that anybody who works hard for the party we will appreciate and will acknowledge”.
President Koroma further went on to describe Lansana Fadika as “Big Catch” for the APC, which is obviously causing “a lot of dissatisfaction” among opposition circles; and it is the failure of these elements to express their “dissatisfaction” in a proper way that has resulted into violence.
For the second time in one week, the President stressed that his government operates by the “rule of law”; and all those who have fallen afoul of the law to resort to violence would face the full force of the law, and if found culpable by the law “may not be around to take part in the November 2012 elections”. There were shouts of supportive “Allahakbah” from the assembled Islamic women as the President talked tough.
The Women’s Congress Leader of the APC, Elizabeth Mans, assured the President that with women organizations such as the Islamic group firmly behind the President, there is not going to be any runoff in the November 2012 presidential election.
She said that the continual streams of women supporting the President is largely because the President has governed Sierra Leone is such a way that there is “total absence of fear” in the peace and tranquility which the country now enjoys; and this is because the President is “God fearing” and this spirituality of the President “exudes in his peaceful aura”:
“Women are more than conquerors; now we are determined to support you, Sir, we are absolutely sure we will get you back to power in 2012”, Elizabeth Mans said.
This was punctuated with loud chants of “Allahakbah” by the veiled women.
Lansana Fadika, who was recently wounded and hospitalized after violence erupted in an alleged clash between APC and SLPP partisans during a by-election in the East end of Freetown, thundered: “whatever evil they are planning against the APC will never work”.
Mrs. Nanette Thomas, the Deputy Coordinator of the Attitudinal and Behavioral Change (ABC) Secretariat offered Christians prayers – and, each sentence of hers were punctuated with murmurs of “Amina” (‘Amen’) by the Islamic women; and even when she ended her prayers with the name of “Jesus Christ”, the women, who are aware that the Islamic faith recognize Jesus as a Prophet, responded with ‘Amina’.
Special Assistant to the President (Media Outreach)