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Politicorial: Sierra Leone Sports Minister is an Albatross...

We have great respect for the man who is Minister of Sports and Youth Employment of Sierra Leone, Paul Kamara. But certainly not because of what he has done as minister. We believe he has done tremendous things for this country in the past as a fearless and opinionated journalist who stood for what his conscience told him was right. He may have got some of it wrong some of the time – obviously he is human – but by and large he showed some level of patriotism for which we will always salute him.

That said, we are disappointed, concerned and perhaps worried, at some of the public statements made by Paul Kamara especially lately. His last sojourn at the Pademba Road prison, which we believe was heavy-handed at best and probably even unjust, may have had a huge toll on him. But we believe he is overstepping tolerable levels of an excuse for his sometimes irrational utterances and behaviour unbefitting of anyone let alone a government minister.

It was he, a government minister who projected himself in the past as a human rights activist, who said recently that a Sierra Leone woman was worth less than a chicken. If the content of that statement is despicable the context is even more so and we will not bother to dilate on it. It is called MISOGYNY which civility spits on. We were both shocked and surprised that the numerous women’s groups in this country did not utter a word in retort.

To shorten the litany of gaffes and puerile actions of the minister, we will now mention what are probably his most contradictory and foolish remarks which were repeated last week to perhaps the largest sports audience anyone can get in Freetown today – Eagle FM’s weekday morning sports show hosted by Pa Allie.

In an interview with Jida Kiz-Kamara, Paul Kamara spoke like someone who has hated journalists all his life despite being one for most of his life. He cussed the interviewer. He referred to a highly respected sports and entertainment journalist and media manager Abu Bakarr Kanu (ABK) as “lacking in intelligence”. He derided virtually all sports journalists when he referred to them as “DJ journalists” which in itself demeaned Disc Jockeys. He insulted all Sierra Leoneans, except himself, when he said “Salone man den dae kapu word...but den get small sense”. Loosely translated this means that all Sierra Leoneans – perhaps excepting only himself – are small-brained. All simply because they challenged his decision to sack the national football team captain and suspend a top striker. It is their right to agree or disagree or challenge, however we are of your decision!

Then the biggie: he drew a wedge between one Sierra Leonean and another simply based on the difference of their skin colour. He classified Rodney Michael who is running for president of the Football Association, as a “White Sierra Leonean” and Isha Johansen who is also gunning for the same position as a “Black Sierra Leonean” and, obviously, asked delegates to vote for the Black. We are shocked with utter consternation by this. We are not interested in whoever becomes the next president of the Sierra Leone Football Association, but we are deeply concerned about ensuring civility, justice and fairness in our society.

This is a despicably RACIST comment and coming from a government minister makes it even more abhorrent. Only a RACIST could have uttered such a word. It is sickening! And for a man who has been professing to be a human rights activist, it leaves a whole lot to be desired. And we await a reaction, if any, from the Human Rights Commission of Sierra Leone.

We appreciate the fact that our country’s citizenship law discriminates against people born here simply because of their skin colour – which is a tragedy in itself. But it does not apply in the case of leadership of the FA.

Paul Kamara’s utterances do no favours to his boss – President Ernest Bai Koroma or his APC party or what they both stand for. And his consistency in being contradictory in word and behaviour seems unending. He is picking up a fight with virtually everyone; even the Vice President of the country let alone ministers. This is clearly a behaviour not the least expected of a public official – however lowly. We call on Government to speedily and publicly dissociate themselves from his utterances. They must also publicly call him to order. We know it is an election year but the earlier Paul Kamara was re-railed the better for this country. As a public official he has betrayed that very public. We know what consistent presidents do in such cases. So we wait and see.