Make your own free website on Tripod.com
THE POOL NEWSPAPER
Opinions' free; Facts are sacred


Fish for the news in The Pool

Here is the forum where the Pool Staffers and the Pool readers meet and socialise. Feel free to drop your letter or personal opinion to us.

Dear Pool,
You guys are simply the best. Keep the news rolling and the drums beating. Our land will be rebuilt and our people will stand tall once again.
Your admiring reader,
Salifu Johanna(West Virginia)

TO THE MANAGEMENT AND STAFF OF THE POOL:
THANKS FOR GIVING US AN IN-DEPTH LOOK OF THE CURRENT SITUATIONS IN SIERRA LEONE. I REALLY ENJOY YOUR THOUGHTS AND CANDID COMMENTS ON GRADUAL CHANGING CONDITION ON SIERRA LEONE. KEEP IT UP AND THANKS FOR YOUR HARD WORK AND COMMITMENT..
PLEASE BE SAFE.
Robert Sir Johnny.

IN THE POOL WITH OF-KAY
WEEK OF JULY 3RD TO 10TH
Necessity is the mother of invention

Have you read page three? If not, stop reading this piece, go to page 3 and enjoy the marvelous invention we have come up with.

Have you finished reading the new leisure page? How did you enjoy it? What is your feeling about it? You know The Pool cares a lot about you. That is why we acquiesced to your numerous demands that we introduce a new weekend entertainment column. Trust us, you will always enjoy The Pool.

But of course you know it is never easy to implement an innovative idea except when the necessity is great. Do you know Musu had to use the last of her creative acumen to design this column? Yes, she had to as big Fish Ojuku was head over heels about it. Musu could neither sit nor stand until she had done the trick. She fretted and fussed but at the end she produced a perfect page. Adizatu too was right at Musu’s heels as she wanted to earn something new. Adiza forgot about her basket and put all her attention on the page designing. She was so occupied that when I tapped her shoulder and reminded her about the ‘fry-fry’ basket, she sat upright and whimpered. She got hold of it and hurriedly went out.

Faridatu, the new-found Secretary/Adverts Managress, could not help herself to laugh. She did not yet know the daily routine of the fishes in the pond. So, admiration was all hers. I was miles away from the computer when Ojuku and Musu were doing their innovation. It was not that I was not interested. It was just that the flair and finesse with which the work was being done captivated me so much so that I mistakenly patted Musu’s shoulder and as error occured. I left them in peace and not in pieces.

Sayoh Kekus had left early that morning to conduct an interview. He came back three hours later, only to leave again for the daliy UNAMSIL press briefing. On his return, we bombarded him with a plethorah of questions ranging from the war to the humanitarian situation in the country. Kekus was bewildered by the sort of questions we were asking. Little did he know that we wanted him to tell us what UNAMSIL said about the fall of Masiaka Town to the rebels. Well, just as Sayoh was about to tell us, the BBC aired it up. Our faces assumed different shapes, all pointing to disappointment and frutration. Sorie fell ill as Masiaka is his home town. Its fall to the rebels was therefore killing him slowly. But thanks to UNAMSIL for helping us out.

Abu Whyte was out by then but when he came in, his face was full of contours and ridges. He wanted to talk but words could not come from his lips. Our new reporter, Yayah Bilal Turay, was worried-sick with this latest development. He looked up the sky in solemn supplication. Osman Tolo, the new Production Assitant left early that day for the production place. So, he could not share the grief and pain.

In the midst of all these unpalatable developments, we were cognisant of the fact that you the reader are out there waiting for a copy of your favourite newspaper, The Pool. Here it is, enjoy it to the maximum. Have a nice day.
OFKAY.

Dear Pool Newspaper, please be kind to allow me space to air my views below. Thank you. Musa Madina in Europe.

HISTORICAL PERSPECTIVE ON THE CIVIL WAR
by Musa Madina(walaih_dumbolo@yahoo.com)

Chairman Foday Sankoh of the Revolutionary United Front Party (RUF[P]) does not trust the United Nations (UN) because his first encounter with them was in the Congo in the 1960s. He was part of an African force that was supposed to protect the Congolese Prime Minister Patrice Lumumba, who was murdered with the complicity of the UN and the CIA. It was the same UN and President Kabbah that convinced Phillip Palmer, Faya Musa and others to renounce their allegiance to Sankoh and break away during the 1996 Abidjan Peace Accords. Kabbah and Finance Minister James Jonah – both worked for the UN-- are colleagues of Secretary-General Kofi Annan. Consequently, his ardent interest in Sierra Leone must also be questioned.

Where was the international community when under Stevens, Momoh and the All People’s Congress (APC) administrations political executions, oppression, arbitrary arrests, corruption, massive unemployment, sky rocketing inflation and high interest rates were the norm? During this tyrannical era all the social institutions were destroyed and basic amenities such as education, health care, clean drinking water, sanitation, electricity and transportation degenerated.

It was the RUF’s incursion into Sierra Leone on March 23, 1991 that led to the overthrow of Momoh and the APC in 1992. This finally culminated to the elections in 1996. Some Sierra Leoneans are associated with the RUF[P] not because they condone violence, but because of the injustices of the past three decades where there were neither an independent Judiciary, nor free and fair elections, or freedom of assembly, association and the press and also the lack of accountability and transparency.

A Beoku-Betts Commission of Inquiry in 1968 found President Kabbah guilty of embezzling government fund, which is a felony, when he was a Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Trade and Industry. His sentence was that he should never be appointed into a position of authority. Both the APC and the Sierra Leone People’s Party (SLPP) introduced atrocities into Sierra Leone’s body politic during the General Elections of 1967 and elections thereafter.

For many Sierra Leoneans there is not an iota of difference between the APC of yesterday and the SLPP of today. The APC had a militia group the Special Security Division (SSD); the SLPP has the Kamajors, an ethnic dominated -- Mende -- militia.

The APC was guilty of executing their political rivals mostly from the North -- Temnes. Of the 24 military officers that were executed by the SLPP for being collaborators with the Armed Forces Revolutionary Council (AFRC) junta regime 17 were northerners, 7 Temnes. But, President Kabbah, Finance Minister James Jonah, and Attorney General Solomon Berewa were all advisers to the National Provisional Ruling Council (NPRC) which had deposed Momoh’s APC. In a series [Reflections: Agony of a collaborator Part XXI] by a Sierra Leonean newspaper the Pool “The SLPP though would not be distracted from carrying out their plan to obliterate all prominent Northern opposition leaders by the ‘insignificant’ successes of the ‘ragtag’ AFRC/RUF rebels. After all, the war was largely confined in the North, a region president Kabbah had blamed for starting the rebellion.

In fact Tejan Kabbah had gone further to demand an apology from Northerners for “the suffering they brought on other Sierra Leoneans”. That unfortunate statement was made in Makeni, the headquarter town of the Northern province, in 1996. The truth was that Northerners have been the special object of the SLPP’s repression”. Sierra Leoneans who were guilty of repression and plunging the country into anarchy were now part of the Kabbah administration.

In March 23 1967, Lieutenant Samuel Hinga Norman currently the Deputy Defense Minister orchestrated the first coup when he disrupted the then Governor-General, Sir Henry Lightfoot-Boston from handing power to the APC which had defeated the SLPP in the General Elections.

Siaka Stevens, leader of the APC, some of his members and the Governor General were placed under house arrest, the Constitution was suspended, a Marshall Law -- rule by decree -- was invoked, and a dawn to dusk curfew was imposed. Shirley Gbudjama, an Ambassador to Ethiopia under the dictatorial one party rule of the APC was the initial Foreign Minister. Dr. Sama Banya, the present Minister of Foreign Affairs also held various ministerial positions in the APC including vice president, and development and economic planning. The leader of the SLPP in the House of Representative S.B. Marah was also a minister in a Siaka Stevens one party administration. The late Thaimu Bangura, who was a Minister in the tyrannical APC regime in the 1970’s and 80’s, committed the worst atrocities in Sanda, Bombali District during the 1982 elections. His party’s --People’s Democratic Party (PDP) -- alignment with the SLPP which was predicated in him being Finance Minister, which he was, sanctioned victory for the Kabbah and the SLPP in the 1996 election. And according to the Economist magazine less than 25% of eligible voters participated in those elections.

The International Crisis Group's analysis in May 1997 declared that "A 'culture of corruption' is removing the gloss from a government that was heartily welcomed just a year ago. Stories of excesses and kickbacks are common. Many argue that part of the problem is that the new government is dominated by the SLPP party, which for the past 30 years has not been involved in any power". Also in the analysis was the fact that 80 percent of the population still lived below the poverty line-estimated at $18 per month-and 50 percent were living in extreme poverty.

The BBC's Mark Doyle, reported from Freetown on Friday May 19 [Rebels accuse Britain] that “Despite horrific rebel atrocities against civilians, many Sierra Leoneans blame the government for failing to address the widespread corruption that is the root cause of the war”. Doyle also said that the accusation by RUF’s spokesman Gibril Massaquoi that Britain was supporting a group of criminal politicians in the capital reflected a significant strand of public opinion in the capital.

For many Sierra Leoneans there is also the issue of Britains neo-colonialism. Britain and the SLPP have a long-standing relationship, which goes way back to independence. During the Africanisation of the army after independence, the position of the head of the army was given to a member of the SLPP clan even though the deputy was more qualified -- a Sandurst trained officer who had graduated at the top of his class. Some believed it was because the deputy was a northerner and David Lansana was a Mende. The Blair government gave president Kabbah a million dollars to set-up shop in Guinea after the May 29, 1997 coup. The Labor government was also highly involved in the controversial arms deal “the Arms to Africa Affair” which included a mercenary group Sandline, providing arms and services to the Kamajors in return for diamond mining concessions. The Canadian Broadcasting Corporation (CBC) did a story which implicated Kabbah, Norman, British High Commissioner to Sierra Leone Peter Penfold, Tim Spicer Executive of Sandline, and Tony Lloyd Britain’s Minister of State for Africa. The evacuation of British citizens was a pretext of the Labor government once again to bail out their “colonialists sons”.

Being students of history their involvement can also be attributed to the striking physical resemblance of Foday Sankoh and Bai Bureh, a Temne warrior who waged a war against the British from 1896 until 1898. Dubbed the “Hut Tax War” Bai Bureh and his followers refused to pay the hut tax of 26 pence to the colonialist because they were not represented in the colonial government. Attorney-General Solomon Berewa alluded to this when he defended a military’s court decision -- on October 13, 1998 -- to impose the death sentence on 34 military officers, for being collaborators of the May 1997 coup saying that the death penalty was part of Sierra Leone’s colonial heritage. “Exactly 100 years ago this year, the colonial masters in 1898 executed 96 people for refusing to pay the hut tax of 26 pence. So the capital sentence is not new to Sierra Leone. It is part of our history and a legacy from colonialism”.

The latest Economist magazine of May 20-26 [Sierra Leone What to do next?] also wrote that “The country is wrecked and Mr. Kabbah’s government does not look remotely capable of rebuilding it. It is hard to find any politicians or civil servants who are not on the take”.

Eliminating the RUF will return Sierra Leone back to the days of one party rule, because those that are opposed to the SLPP despise the APC and the other political parties. This is due to the fact that many of them were advocating for peace before elections. Northern officers in the Army will also be suppressed because it will be déjà vu 1966.

In November 1966 the SLPP administration of Prime Minister Sir Albert Margai incarcerated all senior northern officers for an alleged coup plot. This was a pretext by the SLPP to intimidate their opponents because the APC was regarded as the party of the north during this epoch.

IN THE POOL WITH OF-KAY

A Single Finger Can’t Pick A Kernel

When my father first told me a proverb concerning unity, I dismissed it with a pout of my lips. I did not want to take it with any iota of salt until recently when the big fish in the pond, Chernoh Ojuku Sesay, travelled to Cape Verde for the Zone II tournament. It was only then I realised that indeed my dad’s proverb was and still is, in place.

What did he tell me? He said to me one quiet evening, “Osman, don’t you ever do things in isolation as a single finger cannot pick a kernel.”

So when the big fish was planning his trip, I thought I could handle the administration effectively and efficiently in his absence. But on yah, though I played my part, I found myself in a quandary. I had to provide lunch for the secretaries, give the production money, and so on and so forth. I became so fed up that I wished the big fish could return early and take up his Herculean task.

This notwithstanding, Musu and Adiza were very cooperating. They were as puncutal as ever, except that day when the unfortunate incident happened.

Musu became so afraid that she did not come to work for three days. Well, to say the truth, I was also the more apprehensive.

Sorie Ibrahim, in his jersey shorts and sweater, came up the steps one by one languidly and swam into the centre of the pond. “Is there anything for me?” he asked me noncommitally. I did not even bother to look at his face as Adiza was asking me for their “lunch”.

I grudgingly extracted a thousand leones note from my bag and passed it on to Adiza. She smiled broadly and put the note under the computer keyboard.

Sayoh Kamara, alias Kekus, was the next fish to enter the pond on that terrible Wednesday. The News Editor wryly asked me what the next step should be after the cancellation of the publication of the paper. “For now,” I said “let’s wait and see which way the wind blows. Besides the big fish has asked me not to do anything until he returns.” Abu Whyte, the whiteman in a blackman’s land, was noncommittal. He seemed to be preoccupied by the whirlwind that was sweeping through the political landscape. For him, paper or no paper,what must come to pass has to come to pass. The photo-journalist, with his immaculate tie sitting uncomfortably on and his heavy bag hanging loosely on his shoulders, peeped into the computer room and jeered at the secretaries who were already packing their bags for home.

On Friday of the same week, I borke the news that the big fish would be flying in that day. The news was received with mixed feelings. Some of the fishes, for one reason or the other, wanted Ojuku to stay away for the time being.

I almost toed their line as news after news kept filtering into the pond about the precarious nature of the political situaiton. Came Saturday, and the big fish was right in his office as immaculate and cute as ever. When I met him along the veranda, I kept or rather suppressed my joy. “Osman”, he said to me, “We are coming out on Monday”. I kept with joy as the news was beyond expectation.

Readers, say what you may, The Pool is now stronger than it was a few weeks ago. So, those who were saying that The Pool could not come out because there was no news for us to publish are just fooling themselves. The least they can do is for them to go to blazes.

Good morning, OFKAY

*****************************

Dear Sir:

Only recently have I become aware of Sierra Leone's terrible conflict, and the tragedy it is causing. I had been hearing a little of it now and then, but the import of it was lost to me. I believe that the battles faced by your citizens are apparently being played down by the media in the Western World(USA). I have seen several minor articles about the turmoil at www.foxnews.com, so I was curious as to the causes. I began to research.

After hours of reading, I know I cannot comprehend the matter in its entirety.But I can understand who is who in the Rebel, SLA, and Peace-keeping forces, and I find myself etremely frustrated at being so helpless over the situation. Seeing what your country, your friends, your children are going through moved me to write you and give you encouragement. To let you know that what the world, what I see, is a people fiercely determined to be free, fighting against a terrible anarchy and evil, and brave beyond belief.

I believe that the United States could help a great deal more than they are, and I am embarrassed by the small, token steps we have taken to help you. We stick our noses into other the business of other countries, when we should leave them alone, yet when we could be of great service, we appear almost timid. We should be in it as much as the British, whom I salute for their determination.

I believe that people here think that Sierra Leone is so far away that what is happening there is only a bad dream. It is easy to feel that way when you live in the luxery of complete security. Security for yourself, for your family, and for your freedom. I am driven to shame whem I read your local newspapers, and see the selfless heroism mixed with grotesque bloodshed that is commonplace in your streets. I will be reading your reports with great concern.

I end by saying to you I will pray for your country. And I will write to my representatives. And I will enlighten my friends and relatives, and anyone who will listen, about your brave country. Have we become so big we cannot see another who needs our help?? God Bless Sierra Leone, and God bless her people.

May God be with you and yours.
Johnny Roosa Iota, Louisiana, USA
******************************

Dear Pool, can you please publish this opinion piece for me? Thank you in advance. From a faithful reader,
Alimamy(gbanarbhome@ooway.net)

Sierra Leoneans Should Applaud Rev. Jackson’s Role In The Peace Process. This piece explains why I feel so. If anyone thinks otherwise, let them write and challenge this piece.

If the RUF did not have support in Sierra Leone how did 400 “rebels” that attacked Bomaru on March 23, 1991 expand to about tens of thousands?

Some Sierra Leoneans are associated with the RUF not because of their dastardly act of atrocities which should have never occurred, but because the only way to have eradicated the police state of the All People’s Congress (APC) was through the force of arms.

It was the RUF incursion into Bomaru, Kailahun District that forced the Momoh administration to rearm the military-- only the pro APC para-military group the Special Security Division (SSD) carried arms-- which led to his overthrow a year later in April.

Consequently, it was the RUF’s attack at Bomaru that led to the Proportional Representation elections of 1996.

Contrary to popular belief atrocities is not unique to the RUF. Violence and atrocities were first introduced into Sierra Leone’s body politic by both the APC and the Sierra Leone People’s Party (SLPP) before and during the General elections of March 1967.

This had manifested itself in every general and local election thereafter.

It was the same SLPP after having lost the elections of March 23, 1967 to the APC orchestrated the first coup. A young Lieutenant Hingha Norman-- currently Deputy Minster of Defense and Head of the CDF (Kamajors) -- placed the Governor General Sir Henry Lightfoot-Boston, Siaka Stevens and his supporters under house arrest, suspended the constitution and declared a state of emergency and a dawn to dusk curfew.

After subsequent coups it was the “Sergeants Revolt” on April 18, 1968 which encompassed Corporal Foday Saybana Sankoh, that finally led to the restoration of the democratic process after their junta had ruled for only nine days. This was the first time ever in Africa that a military regime handed the reins of power to a civilian government.

But with the APC one party administrations of Stevens and Momoh phantom coups and political executions, oppression, arbitrary arrests, corruption, sky rocketing inflation, massive unemployment and high interest rates were the norm. During this tyrannical era all the social institutions degenerated and the press was muzzled. The seeds had been sown for a violent uprising. The elections of 1996 should have never taken place because the country was in turmoil and the proportional representative form of elections was alien to our people who were more familiar with the Constituency model. And according to the Economist magazine less than a quarter of eligible voters participated in those elections.

A Beoku-Betts Commission of Inquiry in 1968 had found the eventual winner President Kabbah guilty of embezzling government fund, which is a felony, when he was a Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Trade and Industry. His sentence was that he should never be appointed into a position of authority. To be victorious the SLPP had to forge an alliance with the late Thaimu Bangura, leader of the People’s Democratic Party (PDP [Sorbeh]) who had committed one of the worst atrocities in Sanda Chiefdom, Bombali District during his re-election effort in the 1982 elections.

In President Kabbah’s initial administration Thaimu Bangura was Minister of Finance, and Norman was and is still the deputy defense minister. To those who voted against the SLPP and those who did not it was deja vu APC all over again. The Kamjors were going to play the same role as the SSD during APC’s reign and there was not going to be a new dispensation in terms of corruption, accountability, transparency and tribalism. The army has also been marginalised for the Kamajors. Claire Short, Britain’s Minister for International Development said during an interview that had Kabbah had managed the disbanding of the army appropriately there would have been no coup.

The International Crisis Group's analysis in May 1997 acknowledged that "A 'culture of corruption' is removing the gloss from a government that was heartily welcomed just a year ago. Stories of excesses and kickbacks are common. Many argue that part of the problem is that the new government is dominated by the SLPP party, which for the past 30 years has not been involved in any power".

The similarities between the SLPP and the APC was finally apprehended with the execution in October 1998 of 24 of the 34 soldiers found guilty of being members of the junta the Armed Forces Revolutionary Council (AFRC). But, interestingly though, Kabbah, Finance Minister James Jonah, Attorney General Solomon Berewa and deputy Defense Minister Norman were all advisers in the National Provisional Ruling Council (NPRC) which had deposed Momoh.

There was and is no way that the RUF can be defeated militarily. This was demonstrated when a bunch of “rag tag” rebels destroyed a well-disciplined Nigerian led ECOMOG force. This campaign which even BBC’s correspondent in Sierra Leone Mike Doyle called spectacular started in Kabala in July 1998 and ended in Freetown in January 1999.

Sierra Leone should be thankful that the Clinton administration and Reverend Jesse L. Jackson are involved in bringing perpetual peace to our country. It was Rev. Jackson who in November 1998 encouraged the Kabbah administration to negotiate with the “rebels” to no avail. It was with his great conscience and good offices that he was involved in the negotiations that produced the May 1999 cease-fire agreement in Lome, Togo, which finally led to the Lome Accords of July 7, 1999.

Alimamy Kamara.
**********************

Thanks guys for keeping us informed about current trends in our country.

As an African, I'm proud that in a cyberspace age we're in, journalists like you guys from our beloved country have taking full advantage of exposing your journalistic talents to the world.

Please keep it up, you guys are the voice of the now troubled Sierra Leone, it is our beloved country we pray for peace to finally reign on it.

Please keep the presure on, your writing and reporting is the only weapon true peace loving S.Leonean's now have. Be fair and consistent, we applaud your efforts.

May god bless you all! Thanks.

Sammy J.

****************************

Dear Editor, How often do you guys post news on the web I am always eager to get to your site to get the latest news on whats going on back home. I always find your report very thrilling and interesting thanks God bless.

RayAll

********************************

Has the pool been dented or have they drown in their own pool? The pool promised to resume publication on the 19 th April, 2000 but since then, the pool has been running dry.

Journalism is an art which involves endurance and tolerance. When rookies decide to jump into the profession without adequate training, they exit with their tails folding between their legs. Letter writing or composition writing should not be mistaken for journalism.

This misconception is driving some Sierra Leone "Newspapers" to live in a state of delusion.

Be ready for the cyber traffic or stay mute if you can't bear the heat.

Nyakeh

*************************

Of the three Sierra Leone online newspapers, yours stand out distinct in facts, presentation and layout.

I do personally commend you. Please keep up the good work.

Umaru Labay-Kamara
Maryland USA

*************************

I have never been aquainted with Sierra Leone untill I saw "Cry Freetown" which aired on the cbc. To say the least I was horrified even though I could only stomach ten minutes of viewing.

From there i found this newspaper online and have kept up to date on the current situation.

I must tell you that i can't even begin to imagine how life must be for the people there.

I find myself many times unable to sleep,i worry and wonder if there will ever be peace and how is it possible that people will ever be able to live normal lives again.

For me ,reading these stories, listening to how you have no freedom to denounce anybody or anything sounds so unreal but my God i say this is all real, too real.

This is life in Sierra Leone.

I cry for you all.

Cathy White (scuba01@telusplanet.net)

*************************

Ain't you guys the most powerful ninja's? The ninja's was my favourite read a few months back. Even my friends thought I was one of the ninja,s. I hope I have not offended you.

The tone of your writing is similar and your web page as well as Concord Times is the first sites I look for. Oh and definitely Peter Anderson's SL news.

Keep up the good work.

Arthur Ebun Davies.

*************************

Dear Sirs:

Please print the following letter in your wounderful newspaper:

"I am a 45 years old male living in the United States of America and I am interested in obtaining penpal friends from Sierra Leone. My address:

J. Kpandu
P.O. Box 645
Coraopolis, Pennsylvania, 15108

Thanks, and God bless.
Sincerely, J. Kpandu.

*************************

Dear Pool I read your pool newspaper everyday since you entered the internet.

Thanks for keeping us informed. the same goes for Concord Times and of course the Sierra Leone Web by anderson. keep up your good work.

Exiled,
Charlie Haffner.

*************************

Boys,

When did SLPP give me scholarship? You have to stop this man, this is not right.

Me try and block your reports to Africa news or whatever you call it? My "SLPP thugs"? This is a joke.

Cheers and you take care,

Lans Gberie.

*************************

Dear Pool,

I witnessed your crucifixion in Freetown. But the truth prevailed and you survived.

I am glad you are now in cyberspace. I hope you remain faithful to the truth, and nothing but the truth. So help you God.

Thank you.
FOR HUMANITY!
Kenday S. Kamara

*************************

Hi Guys,

I`m impressed about your unbiased reporting.I learnt about The Pool only very recently, but already me and my colleagues know that you are promising.

If there is anything we could do to contribute to your potential success from the UK please let us know.

Regards,
SOLO BUCKIE.

*************************

Dear Editor:

I am so proud as a Sierra Leonean to see 'The Pool' newspaper, a home-based publication on the World Wide Web.

I have been away from home for a long time and cherish the opportunity to keep up with the news of and viewpoint of my compatriots through a local product.

Congratulations to you and your staff and let us all resolve never to return to the dark days of our recent history. You have already demonstrated your determination in that direction by persevering through all the difficulties that were thrown in your path vis-a-vis remaining a voice in debate.

Sincerely,
Muc Kabba.

*************************

As a Sierra Leonean overseas, your news paper will hopefully provide me with unbiased news from the point of view of local journalists. I wish you success with this venture.

Can you put me in contact with some organization from whom I can buy books, dictionaries, and Bibles in the local languages? Your help will be greatly appreciated.

Sincerely,
Augustine Walker.

*************************

Hello Pool,

Congratulations and welcome online. My name is Ahmed Multi-Kamara jr. and I am resident in London UK. I am a computer-graphics design consultant.

I commend the efforts you are making to provide information online for Sierra-Leoneans online to get accurate and breaking news over the internet. I am also impressed by the articles I have read.

Keep-Up the good work. You can visit my personal website at http:www.amkonline.freeserve.co.uk the site will be updated soon.

Thanks and goodbye.

Ahmed Multi Kamara

*************************

Thanks for the good job that you have done in launching a site that Sierra Leonean based in London will use to know what is really going on in the country.

It is a tremendous job done because we the people living out of the country seriously rely on the internet for current news about the on going peace process.

I hope you are not going to be another government puppet that will only open your mouth and shout when you are instructed by the one party multi-party government of the day back there.

I promise to be contributing to articles for your publication and I will be also be sending you some foreign news concerning the Sierra Leonean people.

Long live the Pool!
Long live Sierra Leone.

I hope the "one party" multi-party will soon be over.

Yours Faithfully,
Kande Fofanah

*************************

Dear Editor,

Just want you to know how proud I am to be reading contents from a Freetown newspaper on-line.

I shall continue to "fish for the news" - keep the water fresh and multiply the fish.

Bravo!
Gus Christo-Baker

*************************

This was an average interview by my standards. Where would Sankoh find the hands to put together when his thugs and beasts have amputated the hands of innocent children and poor villagers who does not even know what a Government does?

Sankoh's answers to questions that pertain to the peacekeepers, individual Sierra Leoneans calling everybody my brother is ridiculous. I cannot accept everybody as my brother.

I can assure you, the only countries that he can step foot on are those banana republics in Africa. We dare him step his foot in the west and he will receive a welcoming ceremony similar to Pinochet.

Ahmed Sesay

*************************

Please continue your efforts in posting the Pool Newspaper on the Internet as it is important information to communicate to the world. Thanks

Greg Berry

*************************

Wishing you well and hope to follow your progress of reporting.

James Horton

*************************

Congratulations on your website going online....

I am a Sierra Leonean living in Nothern California.....

This can be a very useful source of information for the African population here in the San Francisco area.

Thanks Again, and keep up the good work.

Jon Wright

*************************

Hello from France

Excuse my English grammer

Compliment for your paper and virtual version

... I guess I will become one of your distant reader so to keep in touch a better way (than those last years) with what is happening in freetown and SL. Anyway Mr Anderson site was a help to try joining people there.

Once, about 10 years ago the first time I went in Freetown from Conakry I discovered a certain politic situation ... but news paper in the streets even with some opposition expression

I was at that time pleased of this because it was not the same in all other African countries ... And just meeting a street news boy with a French journal was very special ... I still have it

So I hope you will have to repport emprovement day by day ...

So your nice country will restore tourism and economy and may will see me an other time

... just arround the cotton tree and museum, place I feel like beeing my derest place ...

I have no explaination for this Freetown and people where just like if I was living there since 1000 years ...

Good luck

Xavier Barrere

*************************

WELCOME!!

ABU B. MARRAH

Network translations

*************************

Dear Editor,

I am a Sierra Leonean, currently living in London.

As an "IT" professional- in the areas of Computer Programming, Data Comminications & Computer Networkings- I have a keen and dedicated interest in the INTERNET which you now utilise for your news media. Bravo!!!!!! You are now in the right direction to catch up with the challenges of the NEW MILLENNIUM.

Let us utilise the "ELECTRONIC MADNESS", otherwise referred to as the INTERNET, to achieve our desired goals- but use it cleverly and smartly. There's currently no better alternative, and hardly any substitute for it. It is the "imperative" of our time.

God bless Sierra Leone.

Alfred Syl-Turay.

*************************

APRIL 7TH 2000

In the Pool with OfKay...

Saturday was not a good day for the fishes in the Pond as two unfortunate things happened.

One was that I fell ill and had to abandon my sacred duties. I was so sick that I could not even get up from my bed. Chief Ojuku rang incessantly to my house to enquire about my health. Little did I know that problem number two was already in the offing. The computer that has the internet programme went berserk and refused to work. Ojuku wanted me to jump from my sick bed, come to the office and play a little magic.

There was another thing: Some Criminal Investigation Department personnel came to the pond and requested that the chief report to the CID headquarters. That was however put off till Monday this week. Monday came and things went on well: no hiccups, no problems.

I reported for work, fully charged with vigour and zest. Ojuku, Augustus, Sorie, Sayoh and our new found guy, Osman, commonly called “Tolo”, had come to the office the previous day which was Sunday, to do some internal arrangements involving the transfer of the computers from where they were to the Reporters’office which was more spacious and well ventilated. The cumbersome task was done with tact and finesse.

Musu, the Graphic designer came the following Monday. She was so elated that she hugged and patted me on the back.

“I like the new set. It will give me the opportunity of doing my work without let or hinderance,” Musu gleefully said.

Adizatu Bangura slowly climbed the stairs with her basket weighing her right shoulder. The indefatigable Secretary did not hide her feeling when she saw the new set-up. She smile beautifully and peeped into Chief Ojuku’s office only to be greeted by another smile from the lips of the boss.

However, during the course of work, we realised that the set-up in the new office was cumbersome. It was difficult to entertain customers while our work was going on. Musu therefore suggested that the computers be pushed against the wall, a task I did immediately, much to the pleasure and satisfaction of the other fishes.

The day passed on peacefully. This peace was almost shattered when late Tuesday afternoon Mye, alias Agony, gave me two sets of papers. He did not at first say what they were until I had gone through them. They were writs of summons asking me, the Editor, and Ojuku, the Publisher, to appear at court No. 4 the following morning to answer to charges of defamatory libel.

To be candid I was jolted out of my seat as I have never appeared in any court to answer charges. All the fishes were alerted and the necessary contacts made for the big day.

Well the day came and passed; we went to court and came back. What happened there and what will happen afterwards will make an interesting reading.

Good morning,

OFKAY.

Weekend Perspective

March 24th 2000


By Ronald MacDonald

Congratulations on getting online. I would like to raise a few issues with you which I hope as an objective paper you will publish for your readers. I would also like to advise that you don’t get into slanging matches with other newspapers and editors when they criticise your medium because you end up bringing yourself down to their level. Just publish the news as it is and leave us the readers to judge for ourselves.

Many papers in Sierra Leone are guilty of this and fill their front pages with slander and gutter stuff which, to be honest, we are not interested in at all. We are more interested in what is happening to our beloved country which brings me on to the points I would like to raise. United Nations

We have to face the reality of the fact that Sierra Leone is classed as the most backward nation in the world with the lowest human development index possible. Can we sink any lower than this?? We need solutions to our problems. We have become a nation of dependents on handouts and international aid. Where has our pride gone?

We are constantly crying foul about the international community not helping enough and using the money on themselves and their white brother countries like Kosovo. Tell me Mr Editor, when will any country give another country money for free?

Why should Sierra Leone benefit more than anyone else...because we have nice beaches, gold and diamonds?? NO!! This is the year 2000 and I guarantee you that as long as the UN keeps its people in S/L, it will spend millions a day and achieve very little. They don’t expect to achieve much because history will tell you that peace keeping missions all fail to achieve their objectives and just prolong the suffering of the people. Let us face the reality that if we do not help ourselves come out of this abyss, no one will do it for us, not even the UN. Government

Is the Government of Kabbah going to save Sierra Leone? In the four to five years that the SLPP has ruled Sierra Leone, they have nothing of note to write home about. They have not put a single policy in place to promote the development of the average Sierra Leonean.

They have in the meantime committed economic atrocities and deprived the people of a decent life, education and basic rights. Rebels and Sankoh

Sankoh and his band of marauding rebels are not the answer either.

In their misguided campaign to “save” the country from corruption, nepotism and tribalism, they have succeeded in displacing half a million, killing and maiming tens of thousands of the very same people they are supposed to be “saving”- the innocent Sierra Leoneans.

Sankoh cannot claim any victory in his ridiculous crusade because the establishment he has been fighting to remove is the very establishment he is part of now, and accountable to.

What we need is to get our pride back. We need people power. We need to say to all these so -called leaders and warlords that we have had enough of this shit. Enough suffering, Enough killing, Enough bullshit politics!!

They have spent thirty years degrading our lives and our respect and displaced all our dignity and pride. We need to get that back ourselves and we cannot rely on the government or Sankoh to do that.

All we are asking for is a life of peace so we can get back on our feet and live like human beings again. We have to collectively lead ourselves out of this hole and not expet the UN or Sankoh or Kabbah to do that. They use us as tools for their own personal gain.

What has Sankoh done for the rebels who spilled blood for him all these years. Nothing!! Kabbah’s ministers do deals on the side whilst he sits at home listening to Focus on Africa for the latest news on Sierra Leone.

Mr. Editor, I hope to God Sierra Leone can find a way out of this through the people. A change of attitude is a good start on the long road to recovery for us. Thanks for your time and space!!

In the Pool with OfKay...

March 24th 2000

What A Day It Was

I woke up earlier than usual and sleepily trudged to the office only to realise that I had left the keys at home. Well, needless to say it was both tormenting and nauseating. Thank God, it was not yet the official working time.

I went back and collected the keys, rushed to the third floor of Komeh building and, oh, the door was already open! Musu, the computer doyen, stared at me and turned her face.

“How long are we to wait, OFAY? I was here about an hour ago”.

I looked at her and said sorry. But it took Musu an hour of factual grumbling before she calmed down.

“One of the keys should be given to the Secretaries,” Adiza quietly put in. “This will save us from further embarassment”, she said.

The big fish, Chernor Ojuku Sesay was noncommittal. He was glued to the internet, looking for possible sharks to fish out of the Pool. He gave deaf ears to all the rantings and grumblings.

But this was not the case with the News Editor, Sayoh Kamara. He was the least comfortable with the situation. Signing the Attendance Register, Sayoh corroborated Adiza’s suggestion that the Secretaries handle one of the keys, a view I shared.

Sorie Ibrahim Sesay zoomed into the pond like an Alfa jet and sat heavily in his chair.

“Sorie, where is the key to this office?” I asked.

“I left it at home,” he replied.

I was not very pleased as office keys are not meant to be left at home. After a little altercation, Sorie promised to surrender his key.

What a hectic moment it was! And it continued like that until it reached a crescendo. The usually punctual and of course regular ‘baskit’ quietly swam into the pond, much to the excitement of the fishes.

However, it was an unfortunate day for the most popular writer, Columnist and Political Editor, Augustus Mye-Kamara of ‘The Agony of a Collaborator’ fame. He was out of the pond when the ‘baskit’ came and he did not return until it had left.

Agony, as Mye is fondly called, yawned and gaped and grumbled, much to the discomfort of the other fishes. He did not give a damn to our discomfort. He was very particular about making his message heard and felt.

He continued grumbling until I told him that it was Sorie Ibrahim that played him false. Mye went berserk as he realised that there was nothing in it for him again.

But there was one solace for Mye! The ‘baskit’ maker was around and there was the promise that everything humanly possible would be done to ensure that he stop yawning. Indeed it was done, and the grumbling subsided.

Readers, this thing happened just after Musu and Adiza had left. So they missed the fun, laughter and excitement.

Earlier that day, the News Editor Unisa Deen Kargbo who is reading a course in Journalism at Mount Olympus, Fourah Bay College, swam into the pond and heaped praises on the fishes for their wonderful job.

“I am very proud to be a member of this paper. You guys are making me feel big, amongst my colleagues up Mount Aureol. Our website is the best Salone website.” Unisa told his colleague fishes.

“Don’t worry UDK, when you shall have finished your course and come back strong, you will see the marked difference.” This was the neatest photo-journalist around town Abu Whyte Fofanah, the whiteman in a blackman’s land, as he is fondly referred to. Unisa took leave of the fishes to attend lectures.

Chief Ojuku clicked our website to see if our latest stories had been mounted.

“Man, this is no joke. We are growing bigger and bigger every day. What! five thousand clicks? Bo man, let’s continue the crusade. Let’s continue the job of providing our readers with objective and professional reports. They like it, they love it,” I said after going through the website.

Well, my dear readers, we are what we are because of you. You made us The Pool by giving us the courage, the inspiration and the succour needed during our turbulence. We are very much aware of this. So we will continue serving you.

One thing about us is that we accept criticisms, corrections and suggestions. We believe that a single finger cannot pick a kernel. It is you and you out there.

We therefore welcome your comments as long as they are geared towards the improvement of your favourite newspaper - THE POOL. Have a nice day! OFKAY.

pool@justice.com
The Pool Newspaper
Third Floor Suite,
No. 1 Short Street
Freetown
Sierra Leone, Africa.
Tel/Fax: +232-22-220102