By Pastor Mohamed Sesay…..
It was 2012 and the ruling All People’s Congress party had just won a second term in office.
The day was sunny and journalists from all areas in the country were gathered at the headquarters of the Sierra Leone Association of Journalists at Campbell Street to march to the CID headquarters at Pademba Road.
The march was no ordinary march but one organized to escort Managing Editor of Global Times newspaper, an opposition organ then, Sorie Fofana and other journalists who had been summoned by the Sierra Leone Police to appear on allegations of Libel and Defamation which charges then carried penalties of 5 years imprisonment each.
The march itself had that somber feeling yet it was, to the journalists marching, a moment of victory, a moment of solidarity where all journalists cutting across the political divide could march together in one accord and with one mind to show the government then that enough was enough. Persecution of journalists must end there and then.
The song for the march was a Negro Spiritual titled “Freedom” and as the journalists marched they solemnly sang: “Oh oh freedom, oh oh freedom oh oh freedom over me. Than before I be a slave, I’ll be buried in my grave and go home to my Lord and be free.”
Though the placards were few as it was an impromptu march arranged to meet the deadline of the police for Sorie Fofana and others to present themselves, onlookers waved and expressed solidarity with the marching journalists.
The gigantic figure of Sorie Fofana stood tall in the middle of the marching journalists, unmoved, unbowed and unafraid.
Reaching the gates of the CID Hq, it was found locked after the police might have been informed that mass of journalists were thronging towards their Hq.
A few hours later Sorie Fofana and the other journalists were out having made statements and released on bail.
The remarkable thing about the march itself was the fact that ALL journalists including those having leanings with the ruling party then, gave their unflinching support to this man called Sorie Fofana not caring if they were going to be ostracized by their own political party.
If that same march were to take place today, the result could be the same as nothing has changed with Sorie Fofana who is now also Chairman of Sierra Leone Cable Ltd and because of him the word “Chairman” resounds in every media house all over the country with most journalists speaking very kindly of him and his ability to gather them all in one place if he so chooses.
Standing tall is an ability that Chairman has nurtured over the years and that’s exactly what makes him very popular among all journalists in the country.