By Sorie Fofana………
Since the death of former President Alhaji Dr. Ahmad Tejan Kabbah was announced by the Government on March 13, 2014 some people have tried to politicise the funeral ceremony. Some of these people have forgotten (or are pretending to forget) that the former President is being accorded a full state funeral.
To his credit, President Ernest Bai Koroma declared seven days of national mourning and ordered all flags to fly at half mast in honour of the late former President. He visited the funeral home on Sunday (March 17) and paid glowing tributes to his predecessor.
President Koroma assured the bereaved family that the state will take full responsibility for the funeral ceremony. His Party (the APC) sent a high-powered delegation, led by the National Deputy Chairman/Leader, Minkailu Mansaray to sympathise with the family.
The APC Party presented Le 100m (One hundred million Leones), fifty bags of rice and ten cows to the bereaved family of the late President Ahmad Tejan Kabbah. The Vice President, Alhaji Chief Sam Sumana is coordinating the state funeral on behalf of the government. The government has approved a budget of Le 2 Billion (Two Billion Leones) for the funeral ceremony.
The SLPP, instead of taxing themselves to raise Le 40m (forty million Leones) to host a simple memorial service in honour of their former Leader, had to turn to the Government to provide them, with such a ridiculous sum of money. What a shame!
Even when he was alive, President Kabbah always told some close friends and relatives that, he was not really keen on where he was finally laid to rest after he would have passed away. He, however, said it was up to the Government of the day to decide on what to do with his remains. That was his wish!
Today, some people are jumping all over the place claiming that the APC government was trying to demean the former President by refusing to bury him in the forecourt of either Parliament or at State House.
Whether Pa Kabbah is buried at Parliament or at the Kissy Road Cemetery, the fact of the matter is that, President Koroma has paid a fitting tribute to the late former President of Sierra Leone, Alhaji Dr. Ahmad Tejan Kabbah.
We have to thank President Koroma for the way he treated his predecessor since he retired in 2007. President Koroma treated Pa Kabbah with respect and dignity. He did not stop any of his entitlement as provided for by law. He allowed the former President to stay in the country peacefully.
To be fair to the late former President, he never openly criticised his successor. Pa. Kabbah never left this country on any official trip without writing to officially inform President Koroma about his mission.
There was, to a very large extent, a cordial and working relationship between President Koroma and the late former President Ahmad Tejan Kabbah.
In his tribute to former President Kabbah, President Koroma said, “His Excellency Alhaji Dr. Ahmad Tejan Kabbah was a great Sierra Leonean’.
Those trying to politicise the funeral of the late President should spare a thought for what the late man actually stood for – Peace and National Reconciliation.
Rest in Peace, Pa Kabbah!