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TRIBUTE TO A FALLEN FRIEND AND COLLEAGUE, THE LATE HONOURABLE FRANK KPOSOWA

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TRIBUTE TO A FALLEN FRIEND AND COLLEAGUE, THE LATE HONOURABLE FRANK KPOSOWA

By George S. Khoryama.

The cold hands of death have done it again, this time around claiming the life of one of the nation’s well known and decent journalists, Honourable Frank Kposowa. His tragic death once again reminds us the living of man’s fleeting sojourn on this mad world and the uncertaintyof that moment to come. Indeed so uncertain is man’s existence that no man knows when, where and how death’s sting would strike. So be prepared for the inevitable in the name of Jesus.

I had just graduated from a ten-day detention at the Criminal Investigation Division (CID) of the Sierra Leone Police in 1992 when my stars aligned and led me to work with this swashbuckling and ‘care for’ individual. Frank Kposowawas Editor of Unity Press newspaper, the official voice of the Sierra Leone People’s Party (SLPP) and I was appointed as Assistant Editor.

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It occurred earlierthat as Editor-In-Chief of government-owned Daily Mail newspaper and subsequently as Editor-In-Chief of the New Breed newspaper respectively, I had run into troubles with both the APC government of President Joseph SaiduMomohand theNational Provisional Ruling Council (NPRC) of Captain ValentineStrasser.In both separatecases I was taken to court and charged under the notorious Seditious Libel Law of 1965.Howeverthe cases died the death and I was on the road once again to find a newspaper to work with. Some newspapers that I chanced to work with turned me down understandably out of fear of the NPRC government. As for Frank Kposowa he chanced the opportunity, damned the consequences and engaged my service.

From Unity Press newspaper he decided to go private and thus extracted the name UNITY NOW from the name Unity Press with me as Assistant Editor.

By the professional standard of journalism Kposowa towered like a colossus in his own time, his name a household. Kposowa knew everybody that mattered in both public and private livesof this country by name, position and demeanorand could kick open most offices and homes without prior appointment. At both Unity Press and Unity Now Kposowa brought in advertisements through the front door by simple telephone calls.He commanded a ringof contacts in both public and private institutions.

Kposowa’s grasp of the English languageand gift of recalling the events of the day both national and internationalat press times werenothing short of the remarkable. He typed with two fingers faster than normal and turned out editorial materials in beautiful phrases and quotations. He spoke clean French and was a professional photographer as well.

He valued friendship, hard work and professionalism which accumulated resources made his newspaper officesa fancy for many young upcoming journalists.

Kposowa was generous and kind to a fault. He was such a free hand and sharing man that he hardly frowned on helping those in need. He cared for his people and friends so devotedly that when he decided to enter parliament in 2007 and 2012 respectively, he had no opposition in his constituency.

At UNITY NOWnewspaper food was prepared every day for the staff at the cost of the office. Kposowa loved to eat well and good food too. Monthly salaries were ready two weeks earlier and it remained with staff members to have it or wait.He paid the editors and reporters their transport allowances every week without reservation.

The Late Frank Kposowa was a simple man but resolute in his choices and decisions. By the status of Sierra Leone journalists generally, Kposowa because of hard work was a successful man in his own right even before he entered parliament. He had built a home in his southern Bo district Constituency 071, owned a large oil palm plantation which provided job opportunities for theyouth;he bought them musical instrumentsand provided other needs of his constituent on request.

Interestingly, Kposowa distanced himself from going to hospital anytime he took sick let alone went there to visit, at least not for the three years we worked together. He could be shivering under the baptism of malaria or other ailments for instance,but never bothered to seea doctor. In other words he was hospital phobia; and usually ‘pepper doctored’ himself to cure.

He was such a national asset of a man that death has snatched from us. Frank hadsuccessfully trail blazed in the journalism profession for over twenty years to become president of the Sierra Leone Association of Journalists. He added another ten years in politics as Member of Parliament. At the time he was to retire from the hustle andbustle of his life to enjoy the fruits of his labour, and probably to write his memoirs, the cold hands of death struck in a ghastly road accident.

But who are we to ask God why? May his soul rest in peace as we shall one day meet on that beautiful shore.

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