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.
A 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
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.