PUBLIC REVIEW ARTICLE

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PUBLIC REVIEW ARTICLE

Lara Taylor-Pearce Is Unmoved By Media ‘Kamajorism’

By Mohamed Sankoh (One Drop)

I may be wrong. Maybe. Or what I’m about to write might sound, or look, controversially controversial. Professional Krio women, generally, have some traits which you will notice when you work with them in an office or offices. Most of them are easy-going, well-cultured with sound unshakable Christian beliefs, and respectful of work ethics. But one thing that always stands out about them is that when push comes to shove, they are not afraid of rocking boats or ruffling feathers. 

Most professional Krio women are not afraid of courting controversies. They do not allow their male counterparts to frighten them into abusive submission. They show stoicism whenever they are being bullied or harassed in the workplace. They hardly play the Roman fool and die by their own swords. Instead, most professional Krio women will usually take the Claude McKay-ian stance of facing “…the murderous, cowardly pack” with courage and determination. And even when they are “pressed to the wall” they will die “fighting back!” (To borrow from McKay’s poem: “If We Must Die”.)

That brings to mind Lara Taylor-Pearce, the Auditor General at Audit Service Sierra Leone (ASSL). For the last four months now, she has been a subject of consistent intimidations, harassments, threats, and campaigns of calumny simply because she is doing a thankless nationalistic job. Since the publications of the “Audit Report 2019” and the “Report on the Audit of Funds managed by the National COVID-19 Emergency Response Centre and other Ministries, Departments and Agencies-March to June 2020”; a group of misogynists has made it a duty to attack both the personality and professional efficacy of the Auditor General. They have used every trick in their “Paopagandistic” playbook to get at her. But as expected of her, she has always been unshaken like the Rock of Gibraltar! 

Late last week, the ruling Sierra Leone People’s Party (SLPP) unleashed its media “Kamajors” just like how a sadist would have thrown a bleeding pregnant woman to starving sharks. Based on a memo supposedly authored by the Solicitor-General dated 22 February 2021 to the Financial Secretary, Sahr Jusu, on the topic “Legal Opinion on the Transfer of Audit Fees by Audit Service Sierra Leonean; the SLPP media goons had salivated and gyrated like starved dogs that had suddenly chanced upon fresh meat in a locked cage! Prior to that, Sahr Jusu, whose current status was fathered by the All People Congress (APC), had led the pack by trying their first intimidation tactic by asking the Auditor General to transfer to the Consolidated Revenue Fund audit fees collected by ASSL for and on behalf of Government. But again, Lara Taylor-Pearce treated Jusu’s request just like how a well-balanced woman would have done to a man who appeared to be on the formative stages of developing an ailment in the head!

And for having her wits about her, the entire SLPP-dom now seems to be up in arms against Lara Taylor-Pearce, the most revered Auditor General who has been helping President Julius Maada Bio to fight corruption. But what is shockingly shocking, and surprisingly surprising, is the reticence of State House or State Lodge in all of this. If one of President Bio’s 2018 campaign promises was, and still is, to “plug the leakages” in Government spending and make huge savings for the country, and the Auditor General has been identifying those “leakages” for plugging, then I think it should be morally befitting for the Head of State to come out openly in support of her.

In pre-2018 Sierra Leone, when this same Auditor General was picking the same holes in Government spending, those who are now screaming blue murder were gleefully gloating and popularising the Auditor General’s Reports year-in year-out. Now that the SLPP is being asked to account for their financial stewardship, members of the SLPP are now engaged in what I will One Drop-nize as Media Kamajorism! Engaging in character assassination against Lara Taylor-Pearce, for merely doing her job patriotically, is like an undertaker being sentenced to death for simply preparing a corpse for funeral! Or in Mass Communications speak, shooting the messenger because the message is unpalatable!

Methinks the problem which Lara Taylor-Pearce has with senior members of the Bio administration is her doggedness in maintaining her institution’s independence and doing her job professionally. She has repeatedly shown that she is a woman who cannot compromise her professional ethics even if a sword is placed on her throat. And the SLPP chauvinists are not used to seeing a woman who refuses to be bossed around by men wielding political power. And because she has been refusing to budge from her professional uprightness, she is now scaring the “drunkardnomists” and “Paopagandists” out of their wits. And the SLPP Media “Kamajors” now seem to be on the prowl—engaging in character assassinations to the extent that they are appearing to look like assassins-for-hire!

I can understand why the “drunkardnomists” and “Paopagandists” are still unable to gather their wits. Their SLPP government has been able to achieve the unachievable through intimidation and bullying tactics. They did that in both the selections of the Clerk and Speaker of Parliament. They sliced the APC majority in Parliament through judicial sleights of the gavel. They have been wining by-elections through intimidation and bullying tactics. And they have been getting their ways through these same tactics. But with Lara Taylor-Pearce, they seem to have faced a concrete wall because she has refused to be intimidated and bullied.

Since the Media “Kamajorism” started in both the traditional and social media, I have been trying to put a finger on the reasons for these anti-Lara Taylor-Pearce media vigilantisms. And what is beneath the surface is now being scratched by Chernoh Alpha M. Bah, of the Africanist Press, who notes that members of the Bio-led administration “…do not want [her] to preside over the 2020 annual audit exercise and the remaining special audit into the use of coronavirus funds…” So, the “drunkardnomists” have given blunderbusses to their Media Kamajors to engage in voodoo journalism. Yet, the Auditor General is still unmoved. In fact, she is not scared of them because she has refused to be bullied!

It is on that note that I will end today’s One Dropian dropping with a quote from Josh Billings, the pen name of the 19th Century American humourist Henry Wheeler Shaw, that says, “There are people so addicted to exaggeration they can’t tell the truth without lying.” That’s exactly what the “drunkardnomists”, “Paopagandists”, and Media Kamajors are now doing to Lara Taylor-Pearce. But she is that professional Krio woman who is made of steel.

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