Reports reaching Awoko over the weekend indicate that the community radio station in Pujehun town, Radio Wanjei was unilaterally shut down by an Sierra Leone People’s Party (SLPP) parliamentary aspirant while the opposition party People’s Movement for Democratic Change (PMDC) were having a live discussion program.
According to members of the PMDC resident in the UK and USA who are also Pujehun descendants they had paid for air time ( 2 hours) which started at 8:00 pm on Friday to the management of the station to “sensitize” the people of Pujehun on the August elections.
According to Kortor Kamara, Chairman of Pujehun descendants in the diaspora “after 45 minutes of fruitful discussions on the way forward for the district and why the people of Pujehun should vote PMDC and not SLPP this time, the radio suddenly went off the air.”
He went on “we later learnt that one of the SLPP parliamentary candidate for Pujehun, Ansu Kaikai who is facing an uphill task to retain his seat called the station Manager and threatened him to either stop the program or he will be taken to the police station for questioning.”
The program he said “was immediately stopped and the panelists informed they cannot continue the broadcast because Ansu Kaikai said so.”
Sylvester Suarray another member of the PMDC, who was one of the contributors calling in from London, stated that “all we were doing was to tell the people that what the SLPP did not do for them in 10 years, they will not now do it in another five years.”
He stated further that “we reminded our people of the fact that our district was the first to be free of rebels but yet there has been no rehabilitation in the district. The houses are falling down despite the fact that the SLPP promised them roofing to rebuild their houses. We also asked our people to remember when several villages were flooded a couple of years ago; all the President could offer them was 4 bags of rice and a bag of sugar,” he alleged.
An informal complaint they said was immediately made to Isaac Massaquoi the Director of Community Radio Network (CORNET) the organization that established Radio Wanjei.
Asked for his reaction to the allegations Ansu Kaikai revealed that there were eight PMDC members from the diaspora, including residents of Pujehun who were doing live broadcast about their party.
Mr Kaikai explained that he listened to the programme for some time and then noticed that the topic and language they were using in the programme was “a complete fabrication against the government.”
He went on “I then tried to get onto the Station Manager Melvin Rogers but he was not around, and so I called the guy who was moderating the programme who told me that the program was live.”
Mr Kaikai stated “I told the man that because of the nature of the program he should therefore tape it, but he refused saying that he can’t afford to buy the tape. So I informed him that if he was aware of the Public Order Act and as a member of the Board of Trustees in order for me to protect the station I will take the necessary steps which I took.”
Ansu Kaikai disclosed to Awoko that in as much as the radio is a community radio station, “I registered the station myself, paid the rents, signed the lease, even when the building was going on I contributed local materials and also paid the solicitors. These PMDC people are bogus.”