"YOU ARE NOT THE FIRST NOR WILL YOU BE THE LAST TO PUT
UP A GOOD CAUSE FOR SIERRA LEONE"
FOCUS has by now fully established from her rather incoherent and meaningless narrative, that Mrs Bangura believes that she is beyond reproach and owes no obligation to the people of Sierra Leone in her running of the CGG. She puts it succinctly to her friends at Transparency International that "…for the benefit of Transparency International and in the spirit of transparency I will give you an overview of our financial and general activities". She could not care a damn about the benefit of the citizens of Sierra Leone. 

We were grateful to Mrs Bangura for sending us a copy of her letter. She had no choice then. We would however like to know from Transparency International (TI) whether they have since published Mrs Bangura's letter inside Sierra Leone for the information of the public?  We doubt very much that they have, considering the CGG Chair's emphasis that it is for TI's benefit and that her overview of CGG's financial and general activities is solely for TI. There appears to be an incestuous relationship between these two which they will probably say does not concern us.

She also implies that because it was through her own single-handed effort that the CGG came into being and that it is her personal leadership of it that attracts funds, she can therefore happily continue to ignore our demands for an account of her stewardship. In other words Zainab Bangura has built from scratch a personal edifice which she wants us to believe is the sole answer to the myriad of problems that plague Sierra Leone.

But seriously, what has all this got to do with giving us a very basic breakdown of the CGG's receipts and expenditure?

To the contrary we say that she has amply demonstrated to those of us who follow these matters fastidiously that she has never fully appreciated the nature and extent of the responsibilities that she assumed when she became Chair of the Campaign for Good Governance.

As chance would have it, Focus' delay in publishing its own response allowed as many people as possible to read and digest Mrs Bangura's report, thus avoiding being influenced by any comments that we were going to make.

Not surprisingly, the letter has proved to be an eye opener for many people. We have been overwhelmed by the comments that it provoked, some of which we would never repeat on a respectable site like this one. The consensus points to the impression of an individual who lacks understanding of accountability and transparency both in theory and practice.

One writer said that if "her yardstick of accountability is the number of workshops she organises"  - she does not say (even) roughly how much it cost her to run these - then it might as well be argued that peace in Sierra Leone depends on the number of peace agreements signed by the rebels. Nothing, said our writer, could be more daft than that!

Another comment which we particularly liked, confidently exhorted Focus to "Tell Zainab Bangura that she is not the first person to have created or led an organisation for the good of Salone. Nor will she be the last to do so. Only modesty prevents most patriots from loud-hailing their individual efforts for our country. She however thinks a world of herself and believes that she is indispensable".

Now, simply because Mrs Bangura claims that she built  the CGG out of nothing (even that is not true!) does not make the organisation her personal property. How does she think people like this editor and scores of men and women of goodwill who have consistently tried to advance the cause of Sierra Leone feel about her behaviour? 

Mind you, most people do their bit without fanfare and do not go around soliciting funds from other people. They use their own hard earned resources. It is their sacrifice for their beliefs and country. Even then most of them are often prepared to give account, without prompting, because in their activities they often claim to speak for and on behalf of the people of Sierra Leone. This editor obliged  not so long ago. (See here).

As for the International Crisis Group (ICG), on which Mrs Bangura heaps so much praise, this editor knows enough about them. As their name implies, they would not exist if we did not have crises in our countries. When you look at their Board of Directors you can see some of the guys sitting on it who have been responsible for economic policies and decisions that contributed to some of the terrible economic crises that have hit us periodically in third world countries.

But that aside, it may interest Zainab Bangura to know that possibly 6 months before she had even heard about the ICG, I was approached by their London representative for a briefing about the country. I did so, spending half a day of my precious annual leave from work in their offices. The representative later told me that my briefing had helped in their production of a project plan for Sierra Leone. Not long after that she travelled to Freetown armed with her project, whereupon she probably first stumbled upon the likes of Zainab Bangura. Which only goes to reinforce the point made by our writer (above) that Zainab is not the first nor would she be the last to promote a good cause for Sierra Leone.

We have followed closely the role that the Sierra Leone Women's Movement has played in advancing the cause of women, but especially also the cause of democracy in Sierra Leone. We remember the role that Zainab herself played in those heady days against the NPRC. She did very, very well. But evidently her success went into her head and she has since put on airs of arrogance.

But we know that her success with  the women's movements was not achieved single-handedly. There were many others who were senior and more experienced than herself  who played an equal or even bigger role. But they were self-effacing and humble people who did not shout their deeds from the rooftops.  For example, Mrs Nana Pratt, Dr Fatmata Boi Kamara and many others including the late Mrs Dillsworth.

We also singularly know the role that grass root leaders of the mass community of ordinary women played in mobilising the women folk. Most of them came from upcountry. But most disconcertingly, because the majority of them were deemed to be illiterate and lacking in formal education (by which the elite mean they cannot speak the Queen's language) they were margnalised and kept in the background. It did not matter that these women were wiser, had more common sense and had influence in a bigger constituency than the Zainab Bangura's of this world. The so-called educated ones like Zainab who had the clout, opportunistically seized their chance to advance their persona and hi-jacked the organisation.  Since they were the speakers of the Queens English, they became the public face of the women's movements, putting themselves forward to be interviewed by the BBC and CNN. Thus the interface with the international community became their sole monopoly.

Who had ever known about Zainab Bangura apart from her very ordinary sojourn at Fourah Bay College and the fact that she is married to one of President Kabbah's best friends who was rejected by Parliament as his nominee for a Cabinet post? Some say she became a bitter and disgruntled person after that …which is understandable even from our own standpoint.
 

22/03/00