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GUY WARRINGTON: The Last Governor of Sierra Leone By Samson Koba

The first British colonist in Sierra Leone was Lieutenant John Clarkson – that was well over 200 years ago in the late 18th century. On his departure, in what would become the, depending on who you talk to, famous or infamous, “Governor Clarkson’s Prayer for Sierra Leone”, he prayed: “O Lord, the inhabitants of this vast continent, incline their hearts towards us that they may more readily listen to our advice and doctrines, and that we may conduct ourselves towards them as to convince them of the happiness we enjoy under thy almighty protection.” Governor Clarkson also asked God, “Guide them, O merciful God, in the paths of truth and let not a few wicked men among us draw down thy vengeance upon this Colony.” Indeed, our hearts have been inclined towards them; we listened to their advices as all 48 of them, after Clarkson, inculcated their doctrines in us for over two centuries until 1971.

God may not have guided us in the paths of truth; but we upheld their democracy and half of us their Christian doctrine as we endured sustained wickedness from them. For failing to uphold their own part of the covenant, we chose to man our own affairs – and so, we removed the last governor – at least, so we thought. But not that fast: In 2016, the British Government sent us Guy Warrington as High Commissioner to Sierra Leone. He came with all the attributes of a colonist. He is very loathed by us, his ‘so-called’ subjects, for his brazing imposition on our affairs. Unlike the lengthy prayer from Governor Clarkson, on his Twitter account, Guy Warrington tweeted a short prayer for his colony, “Time to go on holiday. Stay safe Salone”.

Guy Warrington’s unsavoury diplomatic relationship and knack for imperialism may be hereditary. The Warrington’s were mostly farmer-based families found in England and later in the USA and Canada in the 16th, 17th, and 18th centuries. As farmers, whereas they may have benefited from slave labour, one famous Warrington was conspicuous in diplomacy in the mid 19th century. Historical records state that George Hanmer Warrington was:

“An unresolved mystery surrounds the marriage of Hanmer Warrington to Jane-Eliza Pearce, who was rumoured to be the illegitimate child of the Prince Regent, later George IV. Although never proven, this tenuous connection may explain why Warrington was able to maintain himself in unusual style in a villa outside Tripoli, and why he was never recalled, in spite of repeated diplomatic infringements, particularly towards one French consul, Baron Joseph-Louis Rousseau”. George Hanmer Warrington, according to further findings, “Indeed, he was required to explain his sometimes aggressive behaviour to the Colonial Office on more than one occasion.” In Sierra Leone, Guy Warrington stands accused of meddling with the March 2018 presidential election. The All Peoples Congress (APC) in power then accused him of collusion with local Civil Society Organizations (CSOs) to rig the elections because of the APC government’s trade relationship with China and its insistent on subsidizing global commodities to cushion their prices against the earnings of low-income and jobless citizens.  Guy Warrington who was accused of had openly boasted on Saint Patrick’s Day, after a few drinks, that the APC will not win the presidential election made good of his promise through collusion with CSOs he heavily funded with Dfid and EU aids. A whopping three million Pound Sterling was paid out to a coalition of CSOs and media operatives under the guise of “Standing Together for Democracy”. This coalition was the main tool of false propaganda against the APC. What is more, Guy Warrington is further accused of imposition of a pre-programmed Dfid funded Tally 2018 software on a three million voting population. One local commentator wrote that, “Few primary school pupils could count the entire voting population of Sierra Leone in few hours and that Sierra Leone didn’t need expensive electronics counting equipment procured by Dfid if it were not meant for the ploy to rig the election”.  The only difference with the alleged Russia meddling with the US election is that the justice system in Sierra Leone is too weak to investigate the allegations of wrongdoing – the gavel has been held down tightly in place by the most powerful beneficiaries of the ploy. Instead, the CSO operatives, partners of the grand conspiracy to rig the election are now busy peddling fake reports to reinforce their position on the public that the elections were free and fair. They are now aggressively propagating on the Sierra Leone local media that polls reveal that we the “people have trust in the president”. It is worth observing that trust is not binding – how can we even trust a president who has no regard for the constitution, the rule of law, the acts of parliament and freedom of expression, the binding documents and principles between him and us? But we should have seen it coming when Guy Warrington started his diabolical plan against the country and its business relationship with China. In an article entitled, “After Brexit … UK/SL Commit To Free Trade” published by the Exclusive Newspaper on the 30th August 2017, he wrote. “This is a UK commitment that, after we leave the EU, trading terms will remain at least as good as they are now. But that is just the baseline. The UK government is determined to strengthen the attractiveness of the UK – already one of the easiest places in the world to do business – as a commercial destination, post-Brexit. A more Global Britain will also aim to strengthen trade and other ties with the rest of the Commonwealth, including Sierra Leone.” At another time, British High Commissioner, Peter West, the predecessor to Warrington brazenly asked the National Secretary General (NSG) of the APC party, “Why is it that the Chinese are winning all the contracts?” Not knowing the deep-seated reason behind the question, the NSG simply replied, “The Chinese are fast and cheap.” Recently, an audio broadcast, a product of western media has become suddenly conspicuous on Sierra Leone social media including WhatsApp, in which the narrator gripes over Chinese contracts and how the people are not benefitting from them. Just when the APC challenged the bias SLPP Government Transition Team (GTT) report, Guy Warrington became a frequent visitor to the State House and ministries. His words from the Brexit article, “improving revenue collection and infrastructure; respecting the sanctity of contract; clarity on land title; tackling corruption at all levels” must be implemented but in a very rude manner at the expense of human rights. Suddenly, the GTT report has taken a brand new dimension consistent with Britain’s Transparency International Unexplained Wealth Orders (UWOs). A commission of inquiry to investigate unexplained wealth of past APC government officials ranging from the former President, the former Vice President, former ministers and deputies all the way down to directors and commissioners to be headed by one judge Biobele from Nigeria. This is on the backdrop that Transparency International has been empowered to tender investigation of UWOs in the court of law: “A UWO can also be applied to politicians or officials from outside the European Economic Area (EEA), or those associated with them i.e. Politically Exposed Persons (PEPs). A UWO made in relation to a non-EEA PEP would not require suspicion of serious criminality”.

Transparency International has recently published five examples of UWOs PEPS of five developing countries including two from Africa; Libya and Nigeria, who owns properties in England that Transparency international perceives not commensurate to their income.

From above, “A UWO made in relation to a non-EEA PEP would not require suspicion of serious criminality” simply means that like the International Court of Justice, this too will focus on developing/third world countries’ leaders/politicians despite that UWOs situation exists in many developed countries.

Judge Biobele on his own part is known for questionable conduct of being used in Nigeria as a tool of vindictive pursuit of opposition politicians similar to his assignment in Sierra Leone. His commission was legally challenged and was barred from proceeding with the commission. With respect to subsidy removal the Briton Woods institutions are only deepening the level of poverty in Sierra Leone by design like in all other developing countries they have been to by suppressing social democracy and social capitalism initiatives. It has dawn on western nations themselves that communism, socialism, and capitalism are all anachronistic and obsolete. Knowing very well that social democracy and social capitalism is the world order, yet are forcing developing countries to remove subsidies from global commodities thereby deepening hardship and poverty to ensure that developing nations indebted to the World Bank (WB) and the International Monetary Fund (IMF) have capacity for debt maintenance at the expense of reinforced poverty.

Meanwhile, social democracy and social capitalism is supported and well funded in the West. In England, the UB40, which is now the Job Seekers Allowance (JSA) initiative, is still the statutory instrument of social democracy meant to support low-income earners and jobless citizens.

In the USA, free housing; free medical (Medicare) and food stamp for jobless citizens are equally statutory instruments of social democracy. In all of these nations in the West, large corporations are bound by law to embark on social capitalism through Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) and community development programmes. Nevertheless, double standard has been the order of the day in Africa’s relationship with the West. All in all, the people of Sierra Leone are very wary about their Last Governor in the person of Guy Warrington – the country is becoming mercurial under his watch.

Like Peter Penfold, the desire to involve in possible small arms and weapons from Bulgaria deal could not be dismissed. Like Sandline’s acquisition of Koidu Holdings during the civil war, the acquisition of the Ferengbeya iron ore deposits could not be dismissed as well especially that the Chinese businesses are folding up and moving out. It all may be in the Last Governor of Sierra Leone’s grand imperial plan. Only that we hope the British Government is not in cohort with him. And if not, we hope investigations of his stewardship in Sierra Leone would not be dragged under the carpet like in the case of Peter Penfold’s wrong dealings in Sierra Leone.

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