Freetown, Baby!


April Full by jc2010sl
April 1, 2010, 3:28 pm
Filed under: society | Tags: ,

I wanted to put up an April Fool post today. The outlandish tales which came to mind, though, had the distinct disadvantage of being “true”. Take a radio report from a couple of days ago: three people were charged with turning a child into a deer. I asked my driver how you could establish a) that a child had been turned into a deer and b) who was responsible. He murmured something about “bad people”, and said that witch doctors were very powerful.

I turned to the papers for inspiration, wondering if the Salone press went in for hoax stories. I wasn’t disappointed.

The front page headline of the Independent Observer ran: “Ernest Koroma [the President] orders arrest of Sam Sumana [the Vice President] and 2 Ministers”. By way of context, the VP is overseeing the Health Ministry because the previous incumbent was arrested for corruption. The Ministry is increasing health workers’ salaries as part of a package to deliver free Health Care for mothers and young children. The workers went on strike last week, demanding bigger pay rises, as the BBC reported.

The report alleged presidential frustration at having to “beg striking health workers” to go back to work. It also claimed he was frustrated at the Information Minister for failing to communicate the Government’s message.

The seemingly incredible is presented as fact, and that which could be plausible is in fact hoax. So believable was today’s story that the author was compelled to conclude, and I assure you I reproduce faithfully; “This is an April full story”

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