Mammy Bonga wins again?
A recent drive along Sani Abacha
St. in central Freetown offered convincing
evidence that Mammy Bonga is once again about to emerge
triumphant in her long-running battle against state authority.
and her supporters lined the streets four and five deep on either side of the
road from Clock Tower to PZ. They left barely enough space for a car to crawl
through. Progress was frequently interrupted by the need to give way to
pedestrians, omolankays and petty traders with
trays on their heads.
Gibraltar Church, Sani Abacha
In a brief interview she granted this medium, Mammy Bonga was confident of ultimate victory. She said she had
defeated every government since Independence
and she was confident of continuing to do so. She said the weight
of numbers were on their side and no President dared to oppose them
for long. She said they had the power to make the city ungovernable if they
wished. She said the Mayor was toothless and it was only out of respect for
the office of the Presidency that they had complied with his wishes for a few
All over the city Mammy Bonga’s
supporters have been bolstered. Whereas before when his Worship the Mayor and
Operation Wid were sweeping through the streets
Mammy Bonga’s people appeared despondent, they now
show nothing but defiance and are gradually returning to their old haunts.
The ultimate symbol of victory will be Wilkinson Rd,
which the government has vowed to defend at all costs against the mammy. For
His Excellency this is a flagship which he cannot afford to lose. If he
cannot prevent the hordes of Mammy Bonga’s supporters
from occupying his prestige project, then all his claims to development will
have been shown to be bogus. When told this Mammy Bonga scoffed and said she was just now, with her
lieutenants, planning for the final advance on the great prize. When asked if
she felt that petty street trading was the route to prosperity Mammy Bonga replied that she could not see prosperity ahead.
All she and her people were doing was living hand to mouth day to day through
their street trading, and the government had no right to deny them that.
We watch with great interest as the battle for
control of the streets continues.