Tuesday, January 1, 2013

The Proof of Ernest Koroma's Pudding is in The Eating

During the last few days of December 2012, the privileged few in Sierra Leone joined President Ernest Bai Koroma in Makeni for a dinner of who-is-who in the country to celebrate his victory and honor him on a well run campaign. The usual crowd was there; current ministers, ministerial hopefuls, journalists, 'batoliners', APC stalwarts, northern JCs, beauties looking for partners, and celebrity gazers. Those who were privileged to dine with the president partook of a sumptuous feast and drank to their hearts content.

It was not all pleasantries however, as President Koroma used the opportunity to sow some fear in the minds of the gathered hopefuls and send a message to the nation at large that his second term would not be like his first term. He said that during his first term he had somehow been more lax and had allowed some element of lawlessness to remain unaddressed. He stated that during his second and last term he wanted to protect and solidify his legacy and may therefore soon be parting with some old friends as it was not goint to be business as usual. He further stated that during his second term he had not jailed any politicians or journalists, but this time round he would not hesitate to do so if they got out of line.

In my communications with a source close to the seat of power, I expressed some scepticism at the President's statements, as in his first term he had pledged to a policy of zero tolerance to corruption, but had not made any concerted effort to stamp out the rampant corruption that still bedeviled the small West African country. In fact some notorious corruption scandals had been unearthed and the perpetrators has mostly gotten off scot free. My source stated that this time round, the president was very serious and that all of Sierra Leone should watch what he does as he is very conscious of his historical legacy, given his long period of involvement in Sierra Leone politics.

As they say, the proof of the pudding is in the eating. The president and some people close to him may want to bring the country closer after a particularly divisive campaign and may want to ensure that the nation view him as a transformative leader. However, if statements on social media by Ernest Koroma's new publicity secretary Sylvia Blyden and others claiming to be APC mouthpieces represent the president's intent, then the future points to five more years of the same or worse. Sylvia Blyden continues to accuse those who did not support the president of tribalism and rain insults on Julius Maada Bio the SLPP candidate. If these are the new APC breed that Ernest Koroma is intending to make the new face of his administration and if they continue to view politics as a vehicle to create enmity and settle vendettas, then Sierra Leone by any measure has some very dark days ahead.

President Koroma has his set of able advisers and may not need to hear from those of us who did not support his second term effort in the first place. However, as a citizen I would ask him to use caution with his set of 'new APC' friends, many of whom are disgruntled malcontents who are never happy unless there is conflict. As all of these people mill around the president,  spreading their hate and malice in return for government appointments, President Koroma should realize that there are many upright, educated and credible members of APC he can choose from and does not need to reward these political chameleons who always want to be where there is honey.

It is time for Sierra Leone to close the door on these old recycled political Methuselahs and pretentious tabloid journalists and embark on an era of developing young, educated, credible leaders who believe in national unity, disavow tribalism and are only interested in moving the nation forward. This statement should hold for both the ruling APC, the opposition SLPP and other less well known parties.
President Ernest Bai Koroma


Joshua Joshua Murray said...

Great piece and a very good insight as well. I do want to assure you that this president's second term will be different and headed for the greater good of our nation, Corruption will hunted out and division will not be on the agenda.
However, I do hope that the other side will become constructive in their opposition and the SLPP drum beaters will become less partisan and more nationalistic than before. Let us try applaud the goods our leaders and also be respectful in addressing them. We must be mindful that destructive and divisive element in quest for political rewards will always exist, no matter which party reigns.
Let us all learn to be hopeful for our motherland even when our party of choice is not in power. Keep up your penmanship but remember that objectivity is more service to yourself than is subjectivity.
Once again, this is a great piece
Thank you and stay blessed.
Joshua Joshua Murray

Alpha Kamara said...

Mr. Murray,
Those of us who are old enough to have lived through many Sierra Leone leaders will rather sit and wait. We wish the president does the best for Sierra Leone, as be you APC or SLPP, Sierra Leone is still you country and last time I checked, hunger does not affect and APC stomach more favorably than an SLPP stomach.

Joshua Joshua Murray said...

Mr. Kamara, your memories may be longer than I could imagine but sitting by to wait and see, is not the best line of action to our national politics today. This moment is about our nation, and any region and/or tribe that alienates itself, because of its perception of the ruling party, is rendering nothing but injustice and disservice to its people.
One has to be party to course to effect a change. If my memory can serve me well, lots of northerners were very disgruntled during the SLPP tenure of office, but they did not sit by and wait for a miraculous change. They rallied around that government to effect the change they wanted. Why then should our people sit by and wait for a miracle that may not come from without? Why should we begrudge our brothers for taking up jobs with this administration? Why do we brand our brothers as "traitors" for their willingness to serve with the ruling party?
I do not wish to offend any feelings but I strongly believe that the dominant political belief and attitude among southeasterners, and my Mende tribe is a recipe for backwardness to our people. We need some open mindedness in today's politics. Sierra Leone today is nothing like, and, will never become what it was in the 70s. Let us also try to remember that the APC in the 70s was coalition of all, including most of today's Saints in the SLPP. We must learn to say no to a one directional politics.
Let me end by reiterating that "the joy of life is in the journey and not the destination" and if we have tried to sit by but failed to achieve our desired outcome, I do suggest that we journey along.