Attack John Benjamin’s political views, not his parentage

Published on October 18, 2010 by Cocorioko News   ·   No Comments
John_Benjamin,_IMF_2006

By Leeroy Wilfred Kabs-Kanu :

I have received many letters from Sierra Leoneans , who while not supporting John Benjamin for his unfair attacks on President Ernest Koroma, believe that the matter of Mr.Benjamin’s parentage must be left out. I agree with them. The fact that John Benjamin’s father was said to have been German, is of no relevance today in Sierra Leone’s  geopolitical configuration.  I attended college with Mr. Benjamin and he is a bona fide Sierra Leonean like any of us. He is a Mende and he used to go to Sebwema to spend his vacations and had a large support group of family members and colleagues from the South/East . Even if his father was German, it means nothing  today because his mother is a Sierra Leonean and he was born and bred  in Sierra Leone . What if his father naturalized ?  Does that still make JB a German ?  No. John Benjamin is our own kith and kin. We may have our political differences but let us not deviate from the issues at stake and begin to bring in elements that will destroy our own case . Most of my  children were born in Liberia . Can anyone tell me that they cannot be Liberians, if they want, because I am a Sierra Leonean ? Except the law has been changed universally,  a man is citizen of the country where he is born. I stand to be corrected. My last son, Joshua , was born in the United States and therefore he is a U.S. citizen from the day he came into this world.  His citizenship is not affected by whatever citizenship I  or his mother decide to hold. He was born here and he is a citizen of America. Period.

It has also not been established that his father was a Nazi. I am  therefore appealing to all those intending to send  articles to COCORIOKO  to refrain from attacking Mr.Benjamin’s parentage. or describing his late father as a Nazi .  Please let the old man enjoy his restful bliss . There is no reason whatsoever for his name or nationality to be mentioned in attacking his son’s political views.

John was my college mates and we were friends but my biggest problem with him is his refusal to acknowledge the achievements of President Ernest Bai Koroma. I think his attacks on the President are too harsh, unrealistic and unfair. Sierra Leone may still be saddled with many socio-economic and political problems but President Ernest Koroma has done a marvellous job in the three years he has ruled Sierra Leone. Though John Benjamin is a member of the opposition Sierra Leone People’s Party ( SLPP ), he should try to gain credibility by acknowledging what President Koroma has achieved in power . President Koroma was our college mate at FBC and John Benjamin should be proud of the fact that one of our own has lived up to expectation as President of a difficult country to rule like Sierra Leone. How many of our post-Independence leaders attacked Sierra Leone’s problems with the kind of urgency, vibrancy, sincerity and steadfastness like President Koroma ? How many of them boasted of such a catalogue of achievements in three years like President Koroma ? NONE.

Nobody is saying that as opposition leader John Benjamin should not highlight the shortcomings of the government. It would be naive of anybody not to expect an opposition leader to try to poke holes in the record of a ruling government. However , we demand honesty and sincerity from John Benjamin and other SLPP operatives in doing so. They must try to give the President and the government credit for the things that have been  achieved . When Sierra Leoneans see a lot of positive changes in their country –like the electricity and water supply that have been missing for decades, the modern highways, brilliant architecture and the the extraordinary efforts to achieve food security , not to mention the revival of mining activities and the opening up of the country to more trade, investment and commerce–and they hear John Benjamin speaking like the government is doing nothing , then a credibilty problem arises.  When Sierra Leoneans see the government allowing its own top officials to be punished for corruption , most of them people very dear to the President’s heart , they cannot take John Benjamin seriously when he describes the Ernest Koroma government as the most corrupt in the country’s history. John Benjamin’s logic is shamefully flawed when he is quoted as saying that the fact that many of this government’s functionaries have been found guilty of corruption shows how corrupt the government . This is simply not true. What it demonstrates, rather, is that this  government ,unlike those we have had before, is living up to the promise made by President Koroma that there will be no sacred cows in government. SAMUEL HUGGINS, who it has been learnt , has also been found guilty of corruption by the Anti-Corruption Commission ( ACC) was a college mate of the President’s and this writer. If President Koroma condones corruption, he would have sheltered Huggins and others .

John Benjamin’s reasoning and his motives are wrong . There are sufficient facts to prove that and there is enough canon fodder to make the opposition leader look foolish for his untrue  statements against the government . This is what we call on writers to concentrate on in repudiating the opposition leader’s insane attacks on President Koroma and his government.I will not mention anything about his parentage because it is not relevant to the issues at stake. Aman is citizen of the country where he was born. Unless , as I said earlier, the law has changed universally , Benjamin is a Sierra Leonean because he was born in Sierra Leone .

HERE IS ONE OF THE LETTERS OF PROTEST SENT TO COCORIOKO.WE ARE PUBLISHING IT BECAUSE WE WANT PEOPLE TO KNOW THAT WE ARE SINCERE ABOUT WHAT WE WRITE.

Kabs, this silly article was forwarded to me by a friend and former Peace Corps volunteer in Sierra Leone. I am embarrassed by it. Must the APC have enemies to be content? First it was the Fullahs who were dismissed as citizens. Then the Madingos, when Kabbah ran for president, which took me by surprise because mt grandmother was born and lived in Kenema her entire life was Mandingo. It never crossed my mind that she was not a Sierra Leonean until the APC raised the possibility. Recently, it was Sierra Leonean who are part Lebanese that were the enemy de jour. Now John Benjamin! Aye Bo, when will this stop?
 
John Benjamin is my Kailahun brother. I know him well, and I know his mother well. I can assure the APC that John Benjamin is not only 100% Sierra Leonean, but can in fact contest for the chieftaincy of Jaluahun chiefdom if he so wishes. After all the posturing about the accomplishments of EBK, I hoped that for a change the APC would leverage those accomplishments as strategy for 2012. Instead the same old APC is at play again.
 
Kabs, this is the reason I gave up on having a discussion with APC supporters. They make up facts to suit their needs. But frankly it is now very embarrassing. This sort of nonsense on the Internet is bad for the image of Sierra Leone. It is coarse and primitive and you as Rebranding guru should discourage it.
 
Much Obliged,

KEN KALLON

© 2010, Cocorioko Newspaper. All rights reserved. – For the Latest News on Sierra leone

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