One of the most depressing lessons of European colonialism in Africa, was that if the European colonialist liked a certain African individual, for whatever reason, then he would take this person into his confidence to the exclusion of all others.
European colonialists in the process would become blind to the transgressions committed by the favored Africans, thereby creating a class of such individuals who had no other qualification than the confidence and their likability by the Colonialists.
Those who fell in this category had some distinct attributes, for example they exhibited an exaggerated subservience to the wisdom and intellect of the Europeans even if it meant obfuscating their own, and additionally a measure of (often hypocritical) piety before finally, having to have a measure of literacy to allow a seamless communication and feeling of camaraderie with the Colonialist.
The colonialist in real sense wanted an African around him that was more inclined to be like him by virtue of education or exposure to Western values and life outlook.
In Africa, Isha Johannsen the President of the Sierra Leone Football Association (SLFA) sticks out like a sore thumb and epitomizes this sad stereotype.
Johannsen is still in the leadership of SLFA since 2013 without an elective congress in her country and whose first ever duly recognized congress or General Meeting of the SLFA since she took over its reins, took place only last week.
Johannsen ignominously presided over a shameful 5-year period wherein there was no (zero) local football activity. All the leagues and competitions had ground to a halt since 2014, first due to the Ebola epidemic and later because she was too pig-headed to put the interest of the ordinary SL playing youth above her own and compromise with the football owners (clubs) to resume playing.
When the Government of Sierra Leone opened criminal proceedings for corruption against Johannsen, FIFA quickly stepped in and banned Sierra Leone from all footballing activities and only reinstated the country and National team after she was exonerated by the Sierra Leone courts.
Coincidentally, the Nigeria Football Association (NFF) has been having similar problems where Government anti-corruption agencies have indicted at least 5 top officials of the NFF with graft charges in two separate processes.
See for yourselves the double-standards in FIFA, the top NFF officials who were indicted by anti-graft agencies were Amaju Pinnick (NFF President), Sunusi Mohammed (NFF Secretary), Seyi Akinwumi (1st VP), Shehu Dikko (2nd VP and Chairman of the NFPL) and Yusuf Ahmed Fresh (Executive Member).
At no point did Nigeria appear imperiled by a FIFA ban or such-like intervention despite the on-going legal proceedings.
In early November 2019 however, one of the anti-graft processes was dismissed on a technicality, and the country continues to wait with bated breath for the outcome of the second process.
You may wonder, what is so special about Sierra Leone to warrant this level of improper attention from FIFA, instead of direct intervention to permanently sort out a mess that has been quietly raging beneath the surface for six years?
Well, Isha Johannsen is your quintessential “teacher’s pet” to the white people at FIFA, where she appears to have even more clout than the confusion we know to be CAF led by its President Ahmad Darw.
Johanssen has cultivated an aura of likability with the white FIFA administrators by using her special arsenal and skills. First, by being the sole female FA President she is able to score many brownie points, which she accomplishes by regularly shouting from the rooftops of being targeted by her MALE detractors simply because she is a woman.
The gullible, liberal Europeans at FIFA fall for this ruse all the time!
In Africa, husband-beating wives have developed a technic to cover their crimes where they let out bloodcurdling screams and wails of being under attack by their spouses, while simultaneously proceeding to thump their hapless husbands to a pulp.
Their husbands have no response to this dual strategy of a woman screaming loudly and attracting attention while simultaneously giving them a good physical hiding.
Secondly, Johannsen has an air of sophistication brought on by a European education and her formative adult years back in Sierra Leone, where she worked as an editor in a social magazine and moonlighted as a socialite in the evenings.
The fact that she is also married to ‘mzungu’ diplomat appears to work in her favor and bolsters her persona when dealing with the clueless (white) technocrats at FIFA.
Finally, she has managed to raid FIFA and snapped up the friendship and comradeship of its SG Fatma Samoura, a kindred spirit from the African continent, who also has her own fight to be taken seriously within FIFA.
Samoura, a Senegalese who has reached the pinnacle of football leadership by utilizing her feminine wiles, finds comfort and sisterhood in Johannsen and in return acts as big sister protector to her.
This protection has enabled Johannsen to get away with the fact that SLFA has not presented its financials (budgets and audited accounts) since the 2013 elections and makes us wonder how FIFA has continued to disburse annual grants and FIFA Forward monies to SLFA without these.
It is the exact same way that CAF and its zonal unions have found a loophole around the stringent financial reporting and set-up requirements of FIFA to continue receiving millions of dollars annually in FIFA Forward grants.
Did FIFA write to SLFA extending the tenure of Isha Johannesen-led executive indefinitely? Because Isha now operates the SLFA as though FIFA granted her a tenure for life!
For the longest time, the amputee football team of Sierra Leone was the sole beacon of hope that the rest of the World saw from an obviously hopeless situation.
A situation caused by the madman Foday Sankoh and his Revolutionary United Front whose trademark was to ask a captured civilian to choose between “short sleeve or long sleeve”…a diabolical choice of where they preferred to have their hand or leg severed, at the wrist /elbow or at the ankle/knee.
The return of association football to the people of Sierra Leone would have gone a long way in restoring the lost hope among the citizenry, as was witnessed by the massive crowds that poured into Stadiums when the PL clubs organized their own league earlier this year.
Johannsen continues to use FIFA as an effective shield, and it appears that FIFA/CAF have borrowed a leaf from her in the running of its affairs.
Johannsen used her SLFA Executive in July 2014 to suspend indefinitely 15 football officials and players for various allegations including match-fixing. This has made them ineligible to contest elections or participate on football activities countrywide.
According to Rodney Edmond Michael, a former front-runner to the Presidency of the SLFA, the matter of the suspension was to be discussed last week at the first FIFA-sanctioned Congress of the SLFA and which was attended and overseen by FIFA’s Alexandre Gros.
Unfortunately, despite its inclusion in the agenda for this congress, the specific matter was never addressed.
The suspension of the 15 officials and players could not be appealed anywhere because Johannsen ensured that none of the judicial bodies of the SLFA were ever installed.
Attempts to rope in the “white people” at FIFA was met with cursory responses that it could not intervene in internal affairs of the SLFA.
Apparently Rodney Edmond also had occasion to make presentations before the FIFA task force, led by Mr Musa Bility in September 2017 and later a FIFA visiting delegation in October 2018. Both reports from these delegations were taken by FIFA and shelved under the “to do later” section of the department of African affairs, which is staffed by…you guessed it, “Mzungus!”
Apparently also, Isha Johansen confessed to the Parliamentary Oversight Committee for sports in Sierra Leone that the allegations made against Rodney Micheal were indeed fabricated to give her an unfair and unethical advantage and to discredit him prior to the 2013 SLFA elections.
She even admitted that she lacked any evidence to substantiate her claim and even used that opportunity to retract those previous misleading assertions right there in front of the Parliamentary committee.
This is exactly how CAF and FIFA have moved on their detractors by (for instance) handing down 10-year ban of officials like Musa Hassan Bility for his opposition to the hostile takeover of CAF by FIFA on the one hand, while on the other, the likes of Uganda’s Moses Magogo got a 2-month slap on the wrist for re-selling Uganda’s World Cup tickets for $50,000 to Americans, by way of a plea-bargain.
Would Isha Johannsen stand a chance in fair and level electoral competition in Sierra Leone? Pundits believe that she would be whitewashed by 10.00am, a fact that worries FIFA generally and SG Fatma Samoura in particular.
Why though, would CAF and FIFA support such a destructive and clearly clueless excuse for a football leader in Sierra Leone? Obviously because FIFA has accepted similar kind of leadership at CAF with the continued stay in office of the aberration in the name of Ahmad Ahmad Darw!
The white people in these organizations are truly trash!