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Hon. Tamba Sam laid to rest

March 11, 2015 By Mohamed Massaquoi

The atmosphere was carnival-like when members of the opposition Sierra Leone Peoples Party (SLPP) gathered to lay the remains of former lawmaker and National Publicity Secretary of the party, Hon. Musa Tamba Sam, on Monday, 9 March in Freetown.

The former opposition stalwart passed away on 2 March after battling with illness for a long time.

SLPP supporters and members, including relatives and friends from across the country converged in Freetown after the party was denied the option to take the corpse of the deceased to his ancestral district of Kailahun for traditional funeral rites.

The government, through the National Ebola Response Centre (NERC), suddenly announced strict adherence to rules they had eased after the death of the opposition strongman, who many say was a thorn in their flesh.

Hundreds of SLPP members had to form a human chain at the Connaught hospital mortuary on 5 March when news spread that the Ebola burial team was on the verge of burying the former MP “the Ebola way”.

They also insisted that the body should be conveyed to Kailahun for burial, but that request was turned down by the authorities. That decision has been criticized by a good number of citizens, with many making reference to funerals of relatives of politicians which went ahead in Freetown and the provinces.

The NERC and other state authorities later came to an agreement that they would not allow the remains of Hon. Sam to be taken to Kailahun, but gave the green light for him to be accorded a befitting burial.

Hon. Foday Rado Yokie, who represented both the party and family members in the negotiation, said he was happy that his late former colleague was given a befitting burial.

“Sam died in active service; that is why we want to honour him. His role in the party and the country as a whole is worth emulating. He was quite a good man and always worked in the interest of his people,” Hon. Yokie said.

After a well attended memorial service at the SLPP headquarters on Wallace-Johnson Street in Freetown, party supporters then converged at the Connaught hospital at around 1:30pm, where the corpse was being kept.

There was tension between security agents, including the police and military, and party cadres who wanted to handle the body themselves.

Vehicular traffic was diverted as the private security guards of erstwhile presidential candidate, Retired Brigadier Julius Maada Bio, took responsibility to control the mammoth crowd.

At the end of it all, the funeral cortege was peacefully marshaled onto the final resting place of the former opposition spokesman – Ascension Town cemetery – without any incident.

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