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EILEEN WEST – Creole to the backbone

October 5, 2015 By Titus Boye-Thompson

There has been some recent writings on the Creoles in Sierra Leone to which yours truly has contributed, but the question of who the Creoles are exactly has not been attempted. Now that a by-election is looming in Constituency 107, the question was raised as to whether we have a Creole candidate in Mrs. Eileen West, or whether the whole process is yet another guise to circumvent the Creoles from active parliamentary participation.

I have just written a flowing treatise on why the Creoles should be given particular attention by the APC for a symbol in that constituency. The historical context is clear enough. The area has an uncontestable Creole dominance and history with some of our more energetic leaders coming from there. To deny a Creole in such places reduces the potential for their participation in mainstream politics, and that would tend to send the signal that the APC is prepared to forgo the long-standing relationship of collaboration and trust that the Creoles have for that party.

Having said that, to make a call for Creole participation in mainstream politics should not be a marker for tribalism but a clear indication as to the willingness of the Creoles to belong. They invariably are counted as traditional supporters of the APC but nonetheless, their loyalty cannot be taken for granted. Most times, the complaint is heard that we do not see Creole people coming forward for political positions. It is for that reason that it is sad that even on this occasion, some still berate the credentials of Mrs. Eileen West to stand as a Creole candidate. They point to the fact that because her father is Temne, she is therefore not a truly Creole candidate.

It is interesting that such an issue should come out at this time. For one, Mrs. Eileen West benefited from a truly Creole upbringing and socialization. She was brought up in her grandfather’s house, the late J.A. Gibson, who was a senior engineer at Ports Authority. A proud Creole man and pew owner at St George’s Cathedral Church, you cannot get more Creole than that. As could be expected, when a man of such repute has to deal with the pregnancy of a young child, his judgement would only be by the grace of God and some of our forebears made the Godly decision to draw their kith near, close ranks and take full responsibility for the offspring. Thus for a Creole mother and a child of any other tribe to conduct herself in the interests of her family and bring up her child within the confines of her home and under the support and love of a doting father, the incidences of birth in such circumstances should not obliterate the Creole identity of the offspring. Creole, in its entirety is a way of life, and the child who has been groomed in that way of life should not feel less of a true Creole than any other.

So the question of who is a Creole is well and succinctly answered. That Mrs. Eileen West is a Creole goes without saying. That the Creoles as a people have for a long time come to terms with the reality that inter-marriage and other events cause our heirs to have mixed identities. It is that cultural and “mixed assorted” nature of our ancestry that made us a great people in Sierra Leone. That Mrs. Eileen West should take on the mantle to advance the cause of the Creoles generally and the peoples of Constituency 107 in Parliament is to me the guiding principle of what is best amongst Creoles. That the Creoles are a welcoming and open people, ready to be an integral part of Sierra Leone. They may have no right to a Paramount Chief but yes, it is clear that Mrs. Eileen West is qualified without question to represent the Creoles in Parliament this time around. Nar Godwin.

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