By: Winstanley.R.Bankole Johnson


Over time I have come to accept that there are sections in this our Sierra Leonean society that relishes distorting historical facts to either suit their narrow political persuasions, to perpetuate their office tenures or as would to open them to unending favours from the powers that be. And they have an ability to concoct such dissuasions or distortions as artfully as would leave even the most enlightened perplexed and unable to discern lies from the truth.  As the late Dauda Mwakawago (RIP) former Special Representative of the UN Secretary General once said about this country, “lies repeated several times over becomes a Gospel”.



As I remonstrated at some Journalists over some obvious factual distortions about my Council administration during one meeting with former Vice President Solomon Berewa, the old man calmly advised me to ignore them (the Journalists) and to focus instead on my job because as he put it “They have lied upon me several times unnecessarily…………including publishing that my own late mother whom I had buried several years back had been resurrected and had been seen moving about interfering into politics in our village”. Such is the desperation; nay puerility of deranged minds intended to distort facts.



In recent times three separate attempts to distort historical facts about Sierra Leone have so far remain unchallenged. I consider all three abominable lies, but there is one that I have rated as the mother of all lies. They read as follows-:

  1. That our Independence in 1961 was achieved on account of the efforts of the Sierra Leone Peoples’ Party (SLPP) alone, and that the founding of that Party is synonymous with, and inseparable from our Independence struggles.
  2. That (Brig Gen. Rtd.) Julius Maada Bio is the “father of democracy in Sierra Leone” and that he “selflessly sacrificed his life” for peace to prevail in this country. So he now has the divine right to rule this country at all cost. “Na ihm turn!!” (It’s his own time)
  3. That (courtesy of the present Mayor of Freetown) the Themnes are the rightful owners of Freetown and that the Krios of all religious faiths have “handed back this City to the Themnes who are the original owners”. This to me is the “Mother of all lies!!!”


I shall now take time to address and correct each of those three (3) above lies.


LIE No.1

This fact would have sufficed indelibly had the All Peoples’ Congress (APC) Party not assumed power in 2007. By now all our history books would have been extensively obliterated as to reflect only cleverness, ingenuity, sacrifices and struggles of just one sect of peoples from the South-East as being solely responsible for our achieving Independence as a nation state.   It was a paid job and as the Mayor of an opposition-led Local Council then, I can still recall the ruthlessly naïve passions with which some policies totally counter-productive to national cohesion were being blindly pursued. That does not in any way support its continuity under any guise or for whatever reason though!!


As far as the SLPP was concerned, all other regions and tribes were dormant, inexperienced, disinterested or too uneducated to have made any significant input towards our Independence struggles in 1961. But thankfully the APC assumed power in 2007 and all attempts to craftily spin or arrogate sole ownership for those sacrifices to the SLPP or the South-East alone have since fallen into abeyance. And in the interest of national unity, may they never be resurrected.


LIE No.2

By some divine intervention, Lie No.2 has been jettisoned by no less a person than a doyen and encyclopedia of the SLPP as a Party, the “Great Puawi” Dr. Sama Banya who in several pages in his book titled “Looking Back”, succinctly detailed various manipulations by (Brig. Gen.Rtd.) Julius Maada Bio to perpetuate his stay in power as Head of State such as-:

  • Making “his preference for peace before elections his priority” abundantly clear during his extensive country wide tours to audiences immediately following the overthrow of Capt. Strasser towards the end of 1992 (P.502).
  • Castigating politicians whilst addressing large concourse of peoples in Bo and Kenema for “being in a hurry to assume office even as the war raged on” . (P.506)
  • Deliberate attempts by soldiers and rebels (Sobels) to mar the election processes on polling day by chopping off the index fingers of voters and instructing them to “go and show their stumps to Tejan Kabbah (RIP) as a message that the RUF and “Sobels” were opposed to democracy” (P. 508)


Nobody in his right senses would ever believe that anybody committed to democratic ideals would under his watch, have allowed such obstacles to the very democratic aspirations of the people like the (Brig. Gen.Rtd.) Bio did and as has been amply illustrated by the “Puawi” Dr. Sama Banya, unless of course, fanatics. And incidentally for God’s sake, if it was democracy that ushered in our independence in 1961, how can anyone born after that year lay claim to being the father of a concept that predates his own birth?  Another statement often made by (Rtd. Brig. Gen) Maada Bio is that “he has sacrificed his life so that peace may prevail in this country”. He “sacrificed” his life, yet the man is still alive and kicking.


We pride ourselves as elders and leaders, but allow such tautologically concocted lies to be artfully spun unchallenged, yet we continue to blame our university graduates for their inability to correctly analyze issues or express themselves. “Me ar tire sef!!”


LIE No.3

I honestly am still unable to fathom what momentary hallucinatory conditions influenced such unguarded utterances by someone occupying the sublime office of Mayor of the capital City of all places that (and I am quoting a Radio broadcast verbatim here) “…..the Themnes are the rightful owners of Freetown and that the Krios of all religious faiths across the country have “handed back this City to the Themnes as the original owners”.  I consider that statement unguarded, hallucinatory, disingenuous  and most unfortunate because -:

  1. It is the Mother of all Lies.
  2. The Mayor neither tendered the original documents from the Themnes ceding the Colony then comprising Freetown and Urban Bonthe Sherbro to the Krios in 1808, nor did he produce the fresh one abrogating that same 1808 document that has now reverted bona-fide ownership of Freetown and Urban Bonthe Sherbro back to the Themnes this 2016.
  3. It has genocidal implications for which the Mayor should be prepared to bear the greatest responsibility in the event of any backlash that might expose our Krio Clan to odium and contempt, especially by the followers of those among his audience who cheered him on as he spoke with choruses of “Yepee!! Yepee!!!”
  4. It has the tendency to sow permanent inter-ethnic seeds of discord in a manner that could arouse deep mistrusts, disrupt the peace, stability, good order and inter-ethnic harmony that successive governments have been working so hard to sustain against many odds in this country, all because of the desperation of one single person (possibly) seeking re-election. And that in fact is what makes the statement disingenuous.



My seemingly controversial reactions above are deliberately intended to publicly challenge the Mayor’s out rightly controversial statements head-on for two cogent reasons -:

(1) That characteristic Krio quiescence (silence) does not become misconstrued for acquiescence (consent) and to pre-empt implementation of a Phase2 to the Mayor’s statement (in case one is contemplated)

(2) Because to me it epitomized the best contemporary example of the English idiom of “Cutting off one’s nose to spite oneself”, which simply means “allowing one’s over-reaction to lead to self harm”. After all “What will it profit a man if he gains the whole world, and loses his own soul?”  (Matt. 16:26; Mark 8:36)


My profound reliance on the present political dispensation impels me to be circumspect, as I anxiously look forward to the Mayor being officially compelled to publicly rescind that unfortunate statement, with his profound apologies for the eternal good of our country.


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