“People who know. don’t talk anything; and those who talk don’t know anything” Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg commenting on the recent Supreme Court decision of the Health Care Mandate known as “Obama Care”.
Hindolo was not only a friend and brother but also the God Father of my only son. He used to call me Bra like the rest of them, meaning the “Boss” The Boss obviously is not going to sit like a potted plant without being able to tell the world when one of his own took a U Turn to the world beyond what a small man with a big heart Hindolo was.
Our relationship was based on mutual respect for Human Dignity and did go beyond tribal lines. Definitely, not the kind of nonsense I read sometimes about people claiming to be krios, Mendes, Temnes, Lokkos, and so forth, just to gain political favors; those values that do not define their totality as Humans of some decency.
I first made contact with Hindolo in 1972 when he registered as a Fresh Man at Fourah Bay College doing his Preliminary Year. I was already in my Qualifying Year and must have carved out a name for myself as Leader and Chief Operations Officer of the Revolutionary Front at Fourah Bay College then. He was brought into my Den at
Block A by one of my men; probably the late Cleo-Hanciles. I saw a tall and lanky individual of not more than 125lbs with a heavy and commanding voice. I knew from the start he did not have any thing new to learn about the revolution and that he did meet the profile of the kind of individual we were looking for. Afterwards, our demonstation of that year in 1972 already failed during the State Visit of Haile Selassie and we needed to take a second look as to how things would be done differently in the future.. Hindolo was prepared to assume the leadership role where his masters had failed by injecting new ideas. Mental games were part of him and he used that to his advantage. His mission was very clear. and that was to tell the government that the economy did operate within the framework of political, social and cultural conflicts and not outside them.
The revolution was not to replace the government but to change it from within. The APC during its formative years was a Party made up Traders, Market Sellers, Teachers, Tailors etc.basically by people with some mediocre Secondary School Education.and we were not prepared having those folks continued to run the affairs of the country. The government very corrupt, though not much different than those before it or those which replaced it. Four years after I graduated,one man was to change the course of the political History in that country for generations to come and that was Hindolo Trye. He went into the arena of Siaka Stevens, a territory where no man had gone and returned unpunished. He took him on all fronts and it was even suggested S.I. Koroma was behind the demonstration. Hindolo actually told him S.I. Koroma to take over especially after Siaka Stevens chickened out. He became a Rock Star over night and was a House Hold name. We can even call him a modern day Jesus Christ with more followers than any individual in that country’s History. The government was forced to call for a General Election soon afterwards and it was as a result of his demonstation we saw the emergence of people like Abdulai Conteh, Thaimu Bangura, Joe Jackson, A.K.Koroma etc. a few educated minds. And names like Alimamy Konkoro Koroma, S.A Fofana, Bangalie Mansaray were forced to take a back seat, much to their displeasure.
A year after in July 12th 1978, the government called for a fake Referendum in which all the Boxes were filled overnight, at least at Port Loko where I used to live and got 97% support. This was to keeping with an Entrenched Clause in the 1961 Independence Constitution. For the benefit of those who may not be familiar with Political Systems, in a Referendum, people vote Yes or No on an issue and it is quite different from an Election. The issue then on the table was to change from a Multi- Party system to a One Party System.
Whilst I would like to applaud people who were friends of Hindolo to pay a fitting tribute to him, I also wouldn’t like the facts to be distorted. There have been many articles floating around that Hindolo came on exile in the United States as a result of his demonstration in 1977. The demonstration of 1977 did not have anything to do with Hindolo coming to the U.S. Hindolo came to the America in 1982 five years after his demonstation This was as a result of “The Tablet” joining forces with the Sierra Leone Labor Congress at King Jimmy to stage a strike against the government that left Mothers running to get their Kids from school, Market Women collecting their stocks and there was a complete break down of law and order. I.B. Kargbo now Minister of Information in the Earnest Koroma government got his first taste of journalism with Tablet. he was basically editing the news paper but did not go into exile though briefly detained at the C.I.D. and then got a warning “Don’t do it next time”. Frank Kposowa as I understand it now a Member of Parliament also did not go on exile. But both I.B.Kargbo and Frank were not Hindolo and may not have been in the bad books of Siaka Stevens. There was already a big ideological gulf within the ranks of the Tablet as to those who supported the strike and those who did not. Siaka Stevens sent his men that destroyed everything at Tablet and the Labor Congress. I believe it was a good idea on Hindolo’s part to have eloped especially at a time when Siaka Stevens was not only President of the Republic but was Minister of Defense, Grand Commander of the Sierra Leone Military Forces and Fountain of Honor and Justice. He was above the laws as all sentences were issued in his name. If Siaka Stevens said I should die at 5 am tomorrow, he was not violating any law or my civil rights because he was the law. The most draconian piece of document ever manufactured by mankind in these modern times was the Sierra Leone Republican Constitution.
Politics is a game of opportunism and intrigue depending which side of the isle you find yourself. In politics there are rules, laws like in Physics or Chemistry. Those who understand them have benefited immensely; whilst those who don’t have been destroyed . In the 1967 General Elections, there were three candidates for the Freetown West 1 Constituency. Little known Samura, a clerk at G.B. Ollivant, a Branch of U.A.C that used to situate at Rawdon Street and Siaka Stevens Street was the A.P.C. Candidate, A.B.Paila, Mende Tribal Headman in Freetown, S.L.P.P. and Barthes Wilson a Career Politician. United Progressive Party (U.P.P.) Samura the A.P.C. Guy, won the elections but was petitioned to the court by Paila for some electoral irregularity. In the Bye Elections that followed, the APC did not give their candidate Samura the symbol anymore, they instead gave it to his opponent, Barthes Wilson who contested and won. He Barthes later became Minister of Education, a position he held until he died in office. Ironically, Barthes Wilson was the father of Hindolo’s girl friend,Musu who should be somewhere in England. As History now has it, both Father-in Law and his Son in Law have died in office whilst serving as Ministers in that country. An amazing world indeed.
I should know Sierra Leoneans are very good at History; even the most illiterate is a very good Historian. But Rousseau one time said, “History only has a place for bad people; the good are often dead and forgotten; only bad men have a place in History” Life has a way of interrupting the best laid plans; Hindolo was a good guy and should have a place in the Political History of that country. Many of the younger folks grew up to look at him as their idol that was destined to rule in that country. He was a Public Servant, so the word “Privacy” did not seem applicable to him. Just any Jack and Jill believed they did have the liberty to write and say anything evil about another individual in the name of Democracy when they have not done any better in their life time.
I last saw Hindolo in March this year at his office but the meeting did not last long because I got a call from a Minister I was to see on that day. This was the last time I saw him in person because Freetown was not only over-crowded; it was over-loaded.
I should have stayed with him in Freetown but changed my mind because of my principle of not wanting to stay with people who are married. But two weeks prior to his death, it was him that woke me up at 5a.m. I promised to call back but never did.
I would champion a cause that a Trust Fund be opened up and managed by a respectable Individual on behalf of this great man so that we could have a Bronze Statute erected at the Student Union Building at Fourah Bay College. I would like to encourage Politicians and Non Politicians, Niggers and Non Niggers to contribute generously so that his legacy would not be buried with him. No amount would be too small. The government can also pay its respect by naming one of the streets in Freetown to his memory. After wards, ninety percent of the streets in Freetown do carry names of Colonial Imperialism.
Earnest Koroma is President of that country but as a friend reminded me, he is human as well. I am sure he would not like July 2012 to be back into his life anymore.
May his soul rest in perfect peace
Political Systems Analyst James Castro Webber was friend and mentor of the Late Hindolo Trye.
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