THE OSWALD HANCILES COLUMN : We’ll NOT allow ‘The Tormentor’ to Derail ‘The Comforter’
This is a passionate appeal to all patriots – especially our vulnerable youth population. We are just about three months to presidential, parliamentary, and local government elections on November 12, 2012 in Sierra Leone. In feverish outbursts, the most incendiary and outlandish statements are popping up in real time and on cyberspace – being spouted, or, orchestrated, by the political opposition to President Ernest Bai Koroma’s APC government. In a democratic dispensation, political competition between and among political parties almost demand that government is lampooned by the opposition and government defends itself. In countries where patriots predominate, there is a fine line drawn between uttering words to score political points and spewing out invectives and outright lies aimed at destroying the very fabric of one’s country. I call the desperate attempt of some of the political opposition to grab power at all cost, at pouring fuel to ethnic sentiments, as the RUF ‘rebel tactic’. Between 1991 and 2000, the RUF rebels were engaged in wanton murder, arson, mutilation, rape of babies and grandmothers; and other atrocities of nightmarish proportions. The RUF’s strategy was not to win any war. They aimed to coerce the SLPP government in power then to ‘share power’ with them, then, they would ‘trick’ their way into ultimate power. The main opposition appears to be on this same RUF-type trajectory. That is why the SLPP has aptly dubbed its presidential candidate, Brig. Maada Bio (retired), as ‘The Tormentor’. In an appropriate response to the sobriquet of “The Tormentor” of the SLPP’s candidate, Hon. Alpha Kanu, on radio 98.1 F.M., this past Sunday, July 22, 2012, referred to the APC’s president, H.E. Ernest Bai Koroma ….as “The Comforter”. There, we have it!! The 2012 presidential contest would be between The Tormentor and The Comforter.
The Tormentor’s ‘Ba Nya Fakie’ Investors
Read the words of ‘The Tormentor’, Brig. Maada Bio (retired), when he recently returned from a tour of Europe and Canada, where he apparently met on a one-to-one basis only ‘small fries’ of the global power circuit: “I had a very successful tour. I met with some of our members in the Diaspora; had discussions with relevant officials of government and the legislature, CEOs of multinational corporations and with potential investors who are ready to come and invest in this country once the type of government and the conditions in the country are appropriate. I was also invited to deliver public lectures in such prestigious institutions as the Royal Institute of International Affairs (commonly known as Chatham House) in London and the International Economic Forum of the Americas, also known as the Conference of Montreal. The dividends and networking I gained from these meetings shall soon be reflected in the type and volume of investment that shall come to our country once we regain the seat of power after the elections in November…..”
Such words were meant to pull the wool over the eyes of some of the illiterate and/or mal-educated fanatical supporters of the SLPP who, through no fault of theirs, don’t know how the ‘real world out of Sierra Leone’ functions. Brig. Maada Bio (Rtd.) did not (could not!!) tell his supporters the caliber of those he “ had discussions” with; nor elaborate on the “ relevant officials of government and the legislature, CEOs of multinational corporations” and “potential investors” that he met. Ha…ha…!! It is all part of the ‘bya nya fakie’ campaign of Maada Bio – even as he struggles to wash away the blood on his hands by describing reference to his bloodied image as “attack” on his person.Okay, let’s shift gaze from the antics of The Tormentor – to the ‘gee ta reality mia’ of The Comforter, H.E. President Ernest Bai Koroma.
‘Ernest Gee dien Ta, Reality Mia, O’
It was at Lunsar, Port Loko District, on April 25, 2012. London Mining Company (LMC) was launching the iron ore company it has invested over $300 million in. I quote from an article I did on the event: “Those who listen better with their eyes closed would not have seen Graeme Hosse with his dark suit, white shirt, and brilliant yellow tie. They would have heard Graeme’s extolling London Mines philosophy thus: ’Taking action: words and intention are not enough… Results are what is needed….Delivering on our Promises’; and they would have marveled how Graemie sounded too closely like President Ernest Bai Koroma punching home the philosophy of his party and his presidency. (Greame’s words was ) almost a carbon copy of President Koroma’s boast that his APC government is strong on ‘action’, implicitly deriding the ‘intention’ of the main political opposition led by Retired military brigadier, Maada Bio….”
And, don’t gloss over the words of Graeme Hosse spoken on that day: “….With stability and good government, investment will come – it is coming now – I know this – and you can see it – for 6 years I have been helping investors to become confident about backing this mine in this country. And we have done this, with over $300m here… I said one year ago in Freetown on the celebration of 50 years of independence, that I believe Sierra Leone holds the potential to transform itself into an economic powerhouse, and become the jewel of Africa – to attract the investment to make the dreams and possibilities of Sierra Leone’s people into reality……This transformation is happening. This is the country that smart people are coming to…. Where opportunities are starting to blossom – on every level in many industries, with business big and small. Investment looks for the combination of opportunity and stability – that place is Salone. That is why London Mining has come, that is why we have backing throughout the global investment world for what we are doing. I can tell you that the smartest and best investors in the world are investing now into London Mining in Sierra Leone… and that makes our success Sierra Leone’s success. The hundreds of millions of dollars rapidly become billions and expand to new industries, new areas…I have always heard a lot about Sierra Leone’s potential, about hope for the future… when I first came here – the government was telling me, as a capital investor, that Sierra Leone was ‘open for business’. Please look around… you can plainly see that Sierra Leone is IN BUSINESS. The future is indeed bright, but the future is happening now….”.
That was not like Brig. Bio’s pie in the sky. That was a CEO who has pumped in over $300 million of ‘other people’s money’ into London Mining in Sierra Leone. And why?!! Not only the iron ore underneath our soils. It is confidence in the leadership of President Ernest Bai Koroma.
Hear the words of Graeme Hosse: “ ….We are here and can prosper because of the leadership and vision the government of Sierra Leone has – that of building a prosperous nation and of building a relationship with business that fosters trust, confidence and because of this, investment, involvement and mutual success. ….It is a true privilege to work with such a forward thinking government that through its strong vision and leadership, is making such a difference and which understands the needs of the nation and the needs of businesses and investors – and in doing so provides a welcoming playing field where international companies – who have other choices – can invest and operate with confidence. You can see the fruits of this approach coming to bloom all over the country….”. This is not a man who is a fly-by-night CEO, or, investor, hoping for a quick buck. This is big time. He handles the money of big time investors.
London Mining Means Big Time Investors
Among the ten top shareholders in London Mining Company is UBS AG, a Swiss global financial company headquartered in Basel and Zurich. They provide services for investment banking, wealth management, and asset management. Their clients are all over the world – as they utilize ‘old money’ in Europe and U.S., and ‘new money’ in the Arab gulf region, and Asia. UBS – which was originally known as the Union Bank of Switzerland – is the largest bank in Switzerland. It traces its heritage to 1854.
Another of the shareholders of London Mining is F&C Asset Management Plc. It is one of the world’s leading asset management companies. Unlike many asset managers which are divisions of large financial firms such as banks, this London Stock Exchange-listed company founded in 1972 is a standalone publicly-listed asset manager. The company has offices throughout the world, and from its principal investment centers in London, Amsterdam and Edinburgh, manages the money of more than three million private and corporate clients on whose behalf, as at 31 March 2010, it managed over 101.5 billion pounds of assets. In 2007, 2008 and 2009 the Company was a recipient of the Gold Standard Awardswhich are designed to help restore consumer confidence in financial services.
Another London Mining shareholder is BlackRock, Inc. an American multinational investment management company. Chew this slowly: They are the world’s largest asset manager – as of June 2011, the company has over $3.65 trillion in assets under management. According to Ralph Schlosstein, CEO of Evercore Partners, a investment bank in New York, “BlackRock today is one of, if not the, most influential financial institutions in the world.”
Given the realities of investors above, these words of Brig. Bio (retired) are simply outlandish: “The dividends and networking I gained from these meetings shall soon be reflected in the type and volume of investment that shall come to our country once we regain the seat of power after the elections in November…..” What Brig. Bio (rtd.) says he will do is what President Koroma is doing. But, then, watch The Tormentor. He has other designs to not only torment the APC government, but, like with Brig. Bio’s (Rtd.) history of mutating ordinary soldiers into ‘sobels’ (soldiers of our military who behaved as brutishly and nastily as the RUF rebels in the 1990s), he has the lurking diabolical design to ‘torment’ all Sierra Leoneans. Comfort is that The Comforter, President Ernest Bai Koroma, will not allow him. Millions of youth and people stand ready to stand with, and ‘fight’ for, the Comforter – once they are thoroughly and imaginatively educated using audio and video drama – and ensure that The Tormentor will not have his demonic way. The people would not be de-focused by cheap propaganda tactics.