Kenema residents plan big demo against Bernadette Lahai
SEPTEMBER 25, 2014 By Mohamed Massaquoi
Residents of the eastern provincial headquarter town of Kenema have threatened to take to the streets for what they refer to as the ‘unnecessarily crackdown’ on the Chief Executive Officer of Star Line Radio, Sidi Yayah Fofanah, by Hon. Bernadette Lahai and her colleague Members of Parliament from that part of the country.
Residents claim that the decision by Hon. Lahai to have Fofanah summoned was ‘malicious, undemocratic and a political ploy’ to close down the radio station for being critical of her activities, more so with regards the Le62 million disbursed to each lawmaker to sensitise constituents on the fight against Ebola in their respective constituencies.
Ahmed Bockarie, a resident of Kenema, said they are ready to challenge the embattled Minority Leader for suppressing their views on state matters, adding that Star Line is a community radio established in 2006, and that the station has been very helpful disseminating issues relating to sexual and gender-based violence, politics, agriculture, and social issues.
“[Hon.] Bernadette has been using Star Line radio even during her campaign for the position of MP. We have been reliably informed that two days after MPs invited the President of the Sierra Leone Association of Journalists, the CEO of Star Line Radio has been summoned for scrutiny by Bernadette Lahai,” Bockarie averred.
“Our concern is that Hon. Lahai has figured out Star Line Radio only because she has personal grievances for Fofanah. Star Line broadcasts for 24 hour and they have good programmes on the radio like ‘Blow Mind’, ‘Radio and the People’, ‘Community Watch’, ‘Hospital Hour’ etc. These are very good programmes that are geared towards shaping the development process in our respective communities; that is what Hon. Lahai and her cohorts do not want,” he further fumed.
Haja Kamara, another concerned resident, said parliamentarians were elected to faithfully and diligently represent them, but some MPs, especially in Kenema, have been very suppressive.
“I am sure government will strongly look into this matter. Fofanah has been one of the active journalists in this part of the country. I will join hand with others to actually bring some of the MPs to book when they shall come for symbol,” she said.
It could be recalled that Hon. Lahai moved a motion in Parliament for the House to summon Fofanah to answer to allegations of propagating “hate messages” against some MPs in that part of the country, with the motion seconded by the Majority Leader Hon. Ibrahim Bundu.
The Kenema-based journalist is due to face Parliament tomorrow (Friday).