A Tribute to “COMRADE” Ambassador Ibrahim Bakarr Kamara (Orsoya)

By Ambassador Siray Alpha Timbo, Sierra Leone Envoy to the United Arab Emirates

Yes, our “Comrade” has gone! And it’s hard to accept it. But whether he had died some years ago or his death had occurred in Kuwait, we would still have grieved our brother, friend, dad and husband, Amb. Ibrahim Bakarr Kamara, aka Orsoya. Yes, we would wish it would have happened as late as possible. For a heart that loves, it is hard to accept the death of a dear one.

On transit in Paris, at CDG airport, on my way to Freetown to pay my last respects to a brother, friend, senior colleague Ambassador and a “special comrade”, I felt compelled by my inner voice to pay a tribute to a fallen hero, Ambassador Ibrahim Bakarr Kamara, affectionately known as “Orsoya”. Our last telephone discussion, focusing on the bilateral frameworks of some of our infrastructure project financing, was about 4 pm UAE time on Tuesday, February 8, a day before the tragedy struck. Going by that privileged conversation, nothing by any shred indicated that a week later, I will be writing a tribute to his colorful legacies.

Many a time, humanity gets confronted with commonplace routines of hiccups, hurdles and disappointments. None of these challenges compare to the finality and mystery of mortality. This is because death is non-negotiable, irreversible, unpredictable and profoundly cold. It is the most unfathomable game changer of our collective lifetime and one of man’s most defining moments.

Orsoya’s sudden death reminds one of humanity’s constant dates with the transience of life which is in stark difference to what we perceive our loved ones as energetic, animated, cheerful and dynamic.

I vividly recall with a heavy heart on the evening that I first met him in Makeni, on the eve of the Christmas of 1986, a little over 30 years ago. The young man then was very popular, with a strong presence, humble disposition, and extrovert and generous, to the extent of being known as a man of the people. He would cherish and protect his friendship with then school mates like His Excellency, President Ernest Bai Koroma, Frank Kargbo, Alie Fornah, Martin Bangura and late Sidique Dao. His loyalty to them, up to his death, was unquestionable. You could see the pain and grieve in the President. He was my “Special Comrade” and only a few friends like Balla Kamara, Kemoh Sesay and A P Koroma know the meaning of “Special Comrade”. As a senior colleague Ambassador, he mentored me a lot and paid me two visits  in the UAE, assisting in my many diplomatic ventures. He was to make another visit on February 24, on his way to Jordan on a diplomatic assignment. But alas!

We will pay our last respects to a fallen hero on Friday, February 17 in Makeni. Funerals will always be a time of mourning, sadness and personal reflection. Nonetheless, we should also have time to celebrate a life that inspired emulation that was a living proof of how fine and generous a person can be. Ambassador “Orsoya” was by all measure a committed patriot, a kind hearted, selfless, bridge building and a compassionate friend, a true brother. His friends included the whole spectrum of the society, regardless of tribe, religion or political affiliation.

He was a natural diplomat. And diplomacy is all about reaching out, connecting, marketing, networking, adding value, amity, cooperation, collaboration and more. This fine diplomat was responsible and instrumental to several bilateral and multilateral agreements that have enhanced diplomatic relations between Sierra Leone and Kuwait. Prominent amongst them are the Lumley- Tokey Peninsula road; the ongoing four hospital projects in Lumley, Macauley st, Waterloo and Samuel Town, to include medical equipment and furniture; the Islamic Cultural Centre, soon to be constructed in Makeni; hajj support and many more.

Ambassador Kamara will be severely missed by wife, Kadi (who’s  fruitful relationship with her dear husband spans over 40 years),  children, his immediate family, the President, the APC party, his old school mates, friends and his several political and social constituencies.

To be born a gentleman is an accident but to die as a gentleman is an accomplishment. Orsoya could not control the length of his life, but he controlled its breath, depth and height. The song is ended but the melody lingers on.

May his worthy and gentle soul rest in perfect peace as his sterling legacies continue to reverberate in our collective memories.  May Allah grant him His mercies. Ameen.

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