Ernest Bai Koroma APC. Julius Maada Bio SLPP
The presidential elections in Sierra Leone are in November 2012 and by all accounts the main actors are President Ernest Bai Koroma of the All Peoples Congress (APC) and Rtd. Brigadier Julius Maada Bio of the Sierra Leone Peoples Party. The People's Movement for Democratic Change (PMDC) which became the king maker in the 2007, though still a formidable presence is on a precipitous decline, being hit over the years by a spate of defections to either the ruling APC or SLPP. The inconsistent nature of the leader Charles Margai, eating with SLPP one day and drinking with APC the next has sent mixed signals about the future of PMDC and most political commentators believe that their influence this time round will be minimal as most of the party top brass have bailed ship.
Julius Maada Bio SLPP
2007 Kingmaker Margai
November should have been an easy election for President Koroma to clinch if only he had over the past four years attempted to infiltrate opposition strongholds. On the contrary the president decided to rule as a leader of his party rather than as a president of the entire country. His appointments and actions over the years have endeared him to APC loyalists, but have sown much resentment against him in opposition strongholds. In spite of attempts by friendly journalists to paint a picture of president Koroma as a leader with strong national support, a confluence of internal and external factors have connived to make opposition to him strong and formidable. Increased prices of basic foodstuff, persistently high fuel prices, an uncontrolled acceleration in youth unemployment, and a spate of revelations of official corruption involving people close to the center of power have all contributed to the steep decline in the president's popularity in many areas of the country outside his party strongholds.
Last week the vice presidential candidate of the main opposition SLPP Dr. Kadi Sesay embarked on a tour of the same areas the president had just visited in the preceding weeks and she was mobbed by enormous crowds wherever she went with people saying that in November they will vote their conscience rather than listen to all the sweet talk of a government that had promised them heaven only to deliver hell.
Massive Turnout for Dr. Kadi Sesay around the country
The campaigns have been relatively peaceful given the intensity of emotions on all sides, but some evil and sinister forces are at work to destroy this relative peace and plunge the country into disaster and uncertainty. Some journalists in Sierra Leone who for personal reasons are opposed to the candidacy of Brigadier Maada Bio are busy trying to convince the president to use the politics of the past, especially the period of NPRC rule, to somehow prevent Maada Bio from running in November.
Over the past few months a gullible Sierra Leone leadership was convinced into arresting the formidable former Secretary General of the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) Dr. Abbas Bundu under whose leadership the regional bloc effectively prevent further bloodshed in Liberia and Sierra Leone, accusing him of selling passports years ago, just because he reportedly refused to defect to the ruling APC. His case is being tried in Sierra Leone's notoriously corrupt Kangaroo courts which have always been controlled by whoever was in power.
Dr. Abass Bundu victim of political intolerance
Now the same journalists, having seen the effect of their devious recommendations on Dr. Abass Bundu are now hell bent on having the APC leadership arrest and try Brigadier Maada Bio for actions committed when Valentine Esegrabo M. Strasser was president of Sierra Leone, even though Maada Bio was neither the head of state nor the deputy at the time and the past and current governments had not taken action on these acts until in an election year. Given the massive support that SLPP enjoys in the country and the fact that Brigadier Bio, just as the president is also well liked, any attempt to arrest and detain him as has been done to other opposition politicians in recent times will be a recipe for disaster and political instability of gigantic proportions and for the sake of the country's fledgling democracy and recent stability, most patriotic Sierra Leoneans are hoping that President Koroma does not listen to the voices of these menaces to society parading as journalists.
Frenemies Blyden and Bio
One such reprehensible so called journalist is the sensationalist gossip columnist Sylvia Blyden. Having lent muscle to RUF political ideology with Omrie Golley and others in their NINJA group without success, Blyden and some of her peers, who failed at controlling Sierra Leone through rebel means are now busy fanning the flames of tribalism, political hatred and intolerance with the diabolical aim of setting the formidable SLPP and APC at each others throats and finding ways to control the situation to their own advantage.
Over the past month, Blyden's insanity has taken on a new dimension. Launching tribal attacks against people from southeast Sierra Leone, a veiled term for the Mende majority in the region and seeking to deliberately set the Powerful Temne and Mende tribes against each other by writing provocative and incendiary articles, only God knows what the diabolical snake charmer wishes to achieve.
Most sane individuals who saw first hand the evil that political instability wrought on Sierra Leone in the 90s are quietly praying that president Koroma does not go down the path that is being suggested for him by these satanic and sinister forces that seem to be goading him into plunging the country into chaos.