The old year 2017 has quietly but effortlessly slipped into the New Year 2018. Since many have been preoccupied with New Year resolutions, it goes without saying that “Change” is inevitably the flavour of the month. Many will have plans for changes in their jobs, finances, and personal lives. As a country, Sierra Leoneans will be going to the polls, to decide who takes control in shaping the destiny of the country for the next 5 years. The available options will be between a change and more of the same. Irrespective of the outcome of the general elections in March 2018, there is going to be changes in the political party or the personnel. One way or the other, things are going to change. Whether it’s for better is for worse, will be anyone’s guess. In the meantime, the electorate is breastfed on the concept of change for the better. That is the hope of all Sierra Leoneans; irrespective of our political inclinations. In the meantime, some politicians, or those who masquerade as one, including the so called KAMARAINBA, have been accusing other politicians of changing their political tunes, as if this is a new concept in our political DNA.
Mohamed Kamarainba Mansaray has been known to be an ardent voice of opposition against the APC ruling party. He had gained respect from many quarters, for daring to stand up to the APC and criticising their policies and shortcomings. But like all opportunists, he failed miserably recently, when he turned his political cannons on the NGC; accusing KKY of changing his political allegiance. He even had the audacity to offer KKY some political advice; that he should have stayed with the SLPP for at least this term and vie for the presidential ticket in the future. To all intents and purposes, he was telling everyone and anyone who cared to listen to him, that KKY should not have deserted the SLPP. Talk about the kettle calling the pot black. Kamarainba is now living in a world where finding fault in others seems to be his favorite blood sport. In the meantime, the message that KKY seems to take to the people is that, “the first step in saving our liberty is to realize how much we have already lost, how we lost it, and how we would continue to lose it, unless fundamental political changes occur”.
If Mohamed Mansaray needs any reminder, he entered the Sierra Leone political discourse as the presidential candidate for APC. Despite every attempt to sell himself as the answer to Sierra Leone’s social-economic woes under the APC, the doors were shut in his face; lock, stock and two smoking barrels. Left with no option, he formed the Alliance Democratic Party. With such a breadth of fresh air, one would have expected him to attract those with alternative political views. Instead, he ended up as a “one man geng”. With just the usual suspects on the political chessboard, his party was seen as the new kid on the block, getting all the attention that his theme of change could garner. His brush with the APC party, which has seen him arrested for alleged possession of a Taser, his car vandalised etc. made him the talk of the town.
But all that was before KKY burst on to the scene. It goes without saying that as the KKY movement continues to gain endless realms of media print, countless hours of air time on broadcast media, and perpetual presence on social media, Kamarainba has found himself relegated to the bottom tier of the Sierra Leone political premier league. The limelight he used to enjoy no longer exists. It is no wonder that many have concluded that his recent outburst against KKY was borne out of his frustration from his political relegation. Unfortunately for Kamarainba, there are no January transfer windows in politics. Left with little room to manoeuvre, he has since resorted to make himself politically relevant by attacking KKY, just to stay in the political discussion. And all this is coming from a man who tried to force his way into the APC cabal, failing which he formed his own group that is erroneously described as a political party. To all intents and purposes, the audacity of someone like Kamarainba to even consider himself as a presidential material for our country is nothing short of a national insult to our intelligence. Let’s turn to serious matters here and avoid giving any relevance or oxygen to Kamarainba; self-proclaimed at that. But there is one lesson in politics that Kamarainba has failed to learn; that “Some men change their party for the sake of their principles; others their principles for the sake of their party”. KKY chose the former. What are your criminal charges for doing so?
As change is the theme of this piece, the APC has not passed up on the chance to be involved. It is obvious that the party is struggling to sell its presidential and vice presidential candidates to the people. Dr. Ernest Bai koroma has been heavily involved in the marketing exercise across the length and breadth of the country. It is also obvious that this is unprecedented, and it’s a reflection of how unwise it may have been for the party to impose/select a presidential candidate, against the conventional wisdom. The fallout from the convention does not only continue to cause rancour across the rank and file of the party stalwarts, but there are strong indications that this feeling is seeping through the cracks at grass roots level. Social media has been washed with video clips of youths burning APC flags and banners; because their preferred candidates for positions of councillors and other political positions were not selected.
The issue of selection, as a political process in the APC party has been one of the main talking points in this cycle. Many would recall the APC’s failed attempts to promote the prospect of a 3rd term for Ernest Bai koroma. The Ebola crisis was conveniently but unsuccessfully used as an excuse for a 3rd term, or extra time. Many excuses were peddled by way of Chinese whispers to the populace but failed. It is therefore not surprising that many see the selection of Dr. Samura as an extension of Ernest Koroma’s reign. There are those who have accused Samura of being dull, wooden and suffering from charisma deficit. There are those who feel that he is so docile in manner, that he will just be a figure head with Ernest pulling the strings, as if by remote control, if he becomes the president of Sierra Leone. With Ernest declared as the lifelong chairman of the APC party, very North Korean-esque, there are those who feel that Dr. Samura will be subject to the whims of the APC party and Dr. Koroma by default. Remember who disrobed VP Sam Sumana from his VP Post? It was the APC party, not the government.
Let us continue with the wind of change that is taking place in our political stratosphere for a minute. It is interesting to note that it took the APC 10 good years to recall that our sacred constitution does not allow for people with dual citizenship to contest political positions in our country. Many are wondering why the APC party had not thought of this or invoked this until now. This must be rich, considering that this is coming from a party that had its VP serving as both ambassador and VP at the same time. Many have seen this latest political manoeuvre by the APC as either an attempt to throw a spanner in the works, or a case of abject desperation. So what happened to all those serving members of parliament, which at the last count was rumoured to be about 46 that hold dual citizenship?
We all know that the basis of our political system is the right of the people to make and to alter their constitutions of government. But there are many people who would want to know; WHY NOW? If this was a provision in the constitution, why was this not invoked when the going was good for the APC Party? There is no doubt, that the APC is finding itself in an unenviable and unfamiliar territory of being challenged by a formidable opposition. If situations on the ground are anything to go by, there is no doubt that, the traditional loyalty from its supporters can no longer be taken for granted and that the diet of TOLONGBO is fast becoming a putrid taste. The NGC genie is out of the box and someone needs to tame it. But is it too little too late?
The current political gymnastics that have been employed by the APC has left many wondering whether the APC has one last throw of the dice. Many would be wary of any irons left in the fire. It is not surprising that a lot of people are now turning to the NEC for divine protection from the antics of the APC. The hope against hope is that our country would be given an opportunity to participate in a FREE, FAIR & PEACEFUL ELECTION, come the ides of March. The hope is that Dr. Koroma would recall that the people of Sierra Leone gave him a mandate, not once but twice, to lead our country from the wreckage of a decade long war. You owe it to the people of Sierra Leone, You owe it to Posterity, You owe it to Humanity, You owe it to the Children unborn, and you owe it to your LEGACY, to deliver a FREE, FAIR & PEACEFUL DEMOCRATIC ELECTION. The people of Sierra Leone, the History of Sierra Leone, and Humanity will not forgive you, if you fail in this noble duty. Lonta.
Our lives begin to end the day we become silent about the things that matter (M. L. King).