Written by Hadi Bah    PDF Print E-mail
Siaka Stevens' luxury dacha in the woods has been reclaimed by the shrubs
News - Society

Supporters of defunct Siaka Stevens, the undisputed leader of Sierra Leone for decades like to remember him as a great builder. The Congo Cross Bridge, Aberdeen Bridge, Youyi Building and the National Stadium were all constructed during his reign. But Dr. Stevens was also a great builder of private residences, not for the masses, for himself.

stevenshouseA good example of Stevens' good taste in housing can be found at Ka Fanta Junction, a very isolated intersection on the dirt road between Kambia and Madina in the Kambia District. Set a few hundred yards from the main road, there was a big main building surrounded by other structures, like an aircraft carrier encircled by her support ships.

To the right, there is the guard shack. To the left, a big circular gazebo where Stevens probably relaxed and entertained guests. Inside the main building with a wrap-around veranda, there was a huge master bedroom complete with a toilet and space where a bathtub once stood. In the back of the main building was a long structure divided into many rooms, the barracks for Stevens' security entourage according to villagers. Set about a quarter mile away was smaller building which housed the generator that provided electricity to the compound. A water tank atop a tower to the left of the main building supplied water.

Although villagers claimed that one of the late president's sons keeps an eye on the property, it looked like it had been thoroughly vandalized. The roofs on all the buildings except the main one were gone, so were all the fittings in the presidential villa. Trees are growing inside the barracks and parts of the main building.

But not all of late President Stevens' properties have been abandoned to the ravages of nature. His sprawling compound at Yongroo, Lungi is home to the local radio station. Some of his fellow countrymen also now live in his beautiful seaside mansion at Shenge.