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Page added on July 29, 2012
The political temperature in Sierra Leone is at its highest level, with barely four months to the Presidential and Parliamentary elections. And within these four months remaining, what we have continued to witness is total and complete display of political misinformation, falsehood and a display of the tool of character assassination, all in the name of gaining political power. Whilst President Koroma’s resolve and determination to continue with the country’s development efforts remained unruffled, we have also witnessed political opponents, using the backdoor to discredit not just the Presidency, and that of the Vice, but also presenting the image of the country in a rather unacceptable way. (Photo: John Pa Baimba Sesay, IA, Beijing, China)
Political thermometer: But forget that which is now being employed as a political weapon to discredit the government, take into account the level at which Sierra Leoneans have been using the social media in their campaign for the different political colors. When you continue to monitor what is said or written about Sierra Leone on places like Facebook, you know for sure that the political thermometer in Sierra Leone is high.
But I am worried about the use of political misinformation as a tool to seek political power. And for months or years, and especially in recent months, this has been centered on the nation’s Vice President in the person of Sam Sumana. And this is not new, and going by what even the Deputy Information Minister of Information, Sheka Tarawallie said of the President President, he (VP) has always been running away from controversies, but interestingly, controversies keep chasing him. I have met with Chief Sam Sumana on a number of occasions. One of such meetings was during an interview, when I had asked him whether he was worried about his chance of retaining his current job. He was more of a religious person (http://www.sierraexpressmedia.com/archives/31515) that the politician I saw in him when I listened to him addresses the media few days back. He has always tried to maintain his cool, whenever he is faced with series of challenges in his job as the country’s Vice President.
Konos happy: But from all indications, the point must be made, that what Sam Sumana has been going through has to do with the fact that Kono, the place he comes from is as strategic in Sierra Leone’s geopolitical makeup as the need to secure whatever vote may come from that part of the country. And this gives more the reason why the Konos, should be seen united in support of their son and brother. The last time I visited Kono was to talk to people on what their views were, about the presence of their brother in governance and that was almost a year ago. Councilor Kai Gbongbor of ward 84 in the Kono District Council was full of praise for his ‘brother. For him “Sam Sumana has demonstrated to be a loyal Vice President that has always worked in line with the agenda of his boss.” A Councilor representing the SLPP in the Kono District Council, Councilor Safea Paul Kanda of Sie Chiefdom, even agreed, that the ruling party has done some goodies in his chiefdom when he stated, “… I am grateful to them (APC) because they have fixed my road… Lei chiefdom is now connected in terms of communication…” Aiah Abu, along Sunshine Restaurant, at Gbenseh Gumbu street strongly holds the view that “Sam Sumana has done a lot, to support his Boss…. Kono is now seeing feeder roads being reconstructed… we are sure of getting electricity since the generators have been brought to Koindu…” For one Kelfala Kamara, a Mandingo okada rider in Koindu city, who has spent most of his lifetime in Kono, with the presence of Sam Sumana in the APC, “Kono is now seeing development though at a slow pace…but it is better, than for such development to have never been brought for us…” (http://africayoungvoices.com/2012/01/guest-writer-bringing-kono-into-sierra-leone%E2%80%99s-political-center-stage/) This is what people could say of him and if they are happy with Sam, it means implicitly, they are impressed with the government of President Koroma.
Loyalty not questions: Practically the Vice President has proved to be loyal to President Koroma. No one is denying such. We are yet to be told of a situation where he had wanted to be more power than his Boss, and this was also confirmed by the country’s able Deputy Minister of Information and Communication. But what about the urgent need for him to be seen getting the support of his people and the need for Kono to remain united towards a common goal and the need also for them to give their best to President Koroma in terms of casting their votes for him, come November 17th this year? No matter what we say, it is only when the Konos come together that Sam Sumana can continue to make more impact in that part of the country.
But there is another angle we should now look at happenings in Sierra Leone, with specific reference to the Kono vote, from the perspective of its crucial importance. If opponents of President Koroma have their way today, all they would want to see is a divided Kono, in the sense, that a punctured Sam Sumana in governance will lead to a divided Kono, knowing very well, that Sam Sumana has been able thus far to take the ruling APC into the Kono mainland, coupled with what President Koroma has continued to do not just for Kono, but for Sierra Leone as a whole.
Traditional votes: Given the traditional north-west APC stronghold as compared to the south-east SLPP, it is but factual that with the pace at which development is occurring in Sierra Leone, especially in terms of infrastructure, health care delivery, fight against corruption, we are bound to see more successes scored by the ruling party in the predominantly denominated SLPP south-east regions, in terms of winning votes. With more south-easterners in governance now, there is the likelihood that the south-east will give more to President Koroma and his party, during the elections of November 17th. In fact , the geopolitical traditional taboo of strongholds was broken in 2007 when President Koroma successfully made political inroads in winning parliamentary seat in Moyamba and wining political votes in a place like Bonthe.
No need denying the very fact, that the 2007 elections brought new meaning into Sierra Leone’s politics especially for places like Kailahun, Bonthe and Moyamba. It is my political belief that this will also be the case in November. Kailahun in 2007 gave to the SLPP 111,695 votes, with just 11,631 to the APC, which at the time was in opposition. Bo is a traditional SLPP stronghold and no amount of gold roads taken to Bo, as in Kailahun, will make a complete change in this political arrangement. However, President Koroma can still score some votes there, with the efforts of people like the Resident Ministers, just as in Kenema. In fact Bo, in 2007, gave a total of 105,459 to the SLPP at the time and only 37,006 to the APC, with Bonthe giving 28,313 to the SLPP only 20,018 to the APC. In Moyamba, the APC got 26,485 during the run off and 49,886 to the then ruling SLPP. Pujehun provided a total 38,107 votes for the SLPP and 2,875 for the APC. Now I have deliberately refused to look at what the places like Kambia, Port Loko, Bombali and Western Area provided for the then opposition party, in terms of votes, because these are its strongholds.
A united Kono: Come to look at Kono. It traditionally has always proved to be a battle filed for all political parties. Now, at a time the APC were not in power, Kono gave 52,908 votes to them in 2007 and provided 74,458, for the SLPP. But there has been different trend in that part of the country, with not just a serving Vice President coming from that part of the country, but we also have the first and second ladies all coming from Kono. And again, given the fact that politics is all about numbers, the main opposition would do all in its best to capture those votes given to the APC in 2007, come November and this is what should not be allowed to happen.
But it behooves all and sundry to rally behind their Kono brother. Kono’s strategic nature in Sierra Leone’s development cannot be overstated. It accounts for a larger portion of the country’s mineral resources. We also saw how the civil war did not only account for the dead of thousands of Konos, but also devastated the entre district. And what was even discouraging was the total neglect that the district was neglected by our recent past government. Little attention was given to Kono. It is high time that the Konos came together and work towards a common goal of supporting not just their brother who is our current Vice President but at the same time, see to it that the first and second ladies are fully supported. They should now know that all what the political opponents of President Koroma have been doing regarding Sam Sumana are efforts aimed at diving them in Kono.
When President Koroma came in 2007, he has taken his development efforts to each and every corner of the country. Sam Sumana needs your support and now is the time to give him that support.
President Koroma has been destined to rule, he will win the November elections but those of us in love with him should be seen working as a team. This is the time for Konos to come together for the good of their children yet unborn. If Kono is for the Kono people, then, it implies, the Konoman should be seen supporting his Kono brother.
Rising tigers: Kono is a rising tiger. The body politics of Sierra Leone will one day shift to having a Konoman running the affairs of the state and this, we have been witnessing under the government of President Koroma. And it therefore would be good if the Konos see to it that their son-in-law, President Koroma is reelected. This can be possible when they remain united. Let common sense work here. Your votes are crucial and they are needed in November. Kono is for the Konoman.
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