ERNEST BAI KOROMA - THE MAN FOR ALL AWARDS...
The BBC's Network Africa programme on Friday October 1, 2010 carried a very interesting item relating to the Gambia's Head of State, His Excellency Sheikh Professor Alhaji Dr. Yahya Abdul-Azziz Jemus Junkung Jammeh the Commander In Chief of The Armed Forces and the Chief Custodian of the Sacred Constitution of The Gambia. (This is the title on his website and dare you envy him).
What got the international media rights organisation, Committee to Protect Journalists, CPJ on to him was an article in the Daily Observer of the Gambia, a well-known mouthpiece of the government, in which it was reported that His Excellency had bagged four new international awards and not only that, but that President Jammeh had organised a photo shoot at State House that shows him receiving these awards.
Apparently, the CPJ would have allowed this to pass but it was the additional item that United States President Obama (yes the 44th President of the United States) had written a special citation honouring the Gambian President for, among others, for helping to address the most pressing needs" in his community. One would suppose that those pressing needs would include his claim to have found a cure for aids and other serious medical conditions!!!
The President's gbatolites of the Daily
Observer did not bat an eyelid, could have felt extremely proud as they
announced that their god had among the awards one denoting him as
honorary admiral in the Great Navy of the State of
And as CPJ noted this Midwestern land-locked state has no navy, yes - no navy and the CPJ has noted this response from the Nebrasaka Governor's office with quotes from spokeswoman Jen Rae Hein
Well not to be outdone, a number of internet outlets dedicated to re-branding country and ruler of Sierra Leone have been doing their own bit in the award-garnering frenzy. In London, barely a year in office Ernest Bai Koroma was given a ....wait for it...Life-Time Achievement Award in London by a North London set-up, the African Children and Youth Centre, that has made it its duty to grovel at the feet of His Excellency despite the fact that on its web pages, creating awards for President Ernest Bai Koroma and the great First Lady Sia Nyama Koroma is just not one of its functions when applying for funding and other perks from the UK Charity Commission!!!!
While in South Africa, Ernest Bai Koroma received an award on behalf of the people of Sierra Leone for progress towards maintaining the peace and holding on despite all those years of brutal conflict. President Koroma in his acceptance speech made it quite clear that he was receiving it on behalf of the people who had fought so hard, lost lives and limbs and other trauma to maintain the peace in Sierra Leone.
The gbatolites never saw it this way for as far as they were concerned, it was Ernest Bai Koroma who had earned the award even though they knew that the war in Sierra Leone was officially declared over in 2002 by President Ahmad Tejan Kabbah.
Since assuming the reins of the Presidency, the praise singers have used every opportunity to create awards for President Koroma all the way across Europe and into the United States from where you now have a myriad of APC organisations, allies and affiliates pressing for the attention of President Koroma ever since they discovered that all what was needed to secure a government job or contract was to heap praises on the President with critics hoping that what is being thrown at the President would not turn out in the end to be ....dirt of a revolting nature.
At the recent session of the United Nations General Assembly, the award-manufacturing mafia too had their own ideas - that President Jammeh should not be the only one with a President Obama connection.
Before you can say Jack Robinson, the garbage factory of the Ernest Bai Koroma came up with this headline
Kindly read or re-read this bit - The Proclamation from Congressman Charles Rangle was presented to President Koroma on his behalf by Senator Bill Perkins in appreciation of the President’s promotion of multi-party democracy and open government in Sierra Leone and for his contribution to the world of modern leadership.
Deputy Majority Leader Leroy Comrie gave President Koroma a Proclamation on behalf of the New York City Council in appreciation of the President’s promotion of open government in Sierra Leone. According to the NYCC, “Deputy Majority Leader Comrie knows government must be responsive and provide opportunities for positive interaction with citizens. Therefore, he is focused everyday on providing quality education, guidance and support for youth; ensuring quality healthcare and services for seniors; and, creating economic development projects to create employment opportunities and affordable housing for all New Yorkers.”
And this is what pricked the ears of the Sierra Herald. Both awards were not presented by the person or head of the organisation conferring them. Both awards had someone else doing the honours and this line - According to the NYCC, “Deputy Majority Leader Comrie knows government must be responsive and provide opportunities for positive interaction with citizens. Therefore, he is focused everyday on providing quality education, guidance and support for youth; ensuring quality healthcare and services for seniors; and, creating economic development projects to create employment opportunities and affordable housing for all New Yorkers.”
Now this is something written on the website of the selfsame Mr Comrie so why has this bit been excised and added to the report without due explanation creating the illusion that President Koroma was given this award because of what was stated in quotes.
The next award, sorry proclamation is reported to have been from Congressman Rangle (read Rangel for in their haste the gbatolites mix things up) and this again was presented by Senator Bill Perkins.
The Sierra Herald awaits the response from these great people who have thought it fit to honour Sierra Leone's greatest, finest...all superlatives added as we try to get to the bottom of it all.
In the meantime, take a good look at some internet outlets on the dramatis personae in this unfolding drama of the race for awards between the Gambia's President Yahya Jammeh and Sierra Leone's President Ernest Bai Koroma.
Who will end up the winner?