|MKM and the SEA|
"They will Pretend they love you now"
Having lived in the West he has notions of a fair and open democratic process. Over the last two years he has slowly built his support base in the diaspora and in Obama fashion, has worked on a massive grass roots campaign in Sierra Leone fueled by social media, word of mouth and strategic and tactical dissemination of information about his vision, his mission, his plans, his goals, and his strategies to attain these goals.
He is Mohamed Kamaraimba Mansaray and unfortunately, he just got a rude shock and an education in the basic primitivity of his country's politics. Or to be fair, a taste of the growing benevolent dictatorship that is gradually swallowing his party of choice, the All People Congress, which is slowly becoming a one man party, with a new slogan, "After U nar U."
|"After U nar U"-The Slogan of|
|MKM at Prayers|
Some months ago Mohamed Kamaraimba Mansaray went home to national adulation. Everywhere he went crowds followed him, hoping to catch a glimpse of the young man with a fresh face and a new message. He made the round of villages, towns, schools and talk shows. His support base grew as word about him spread, in a country in which people hunger for an escape from the mundane emptiness of ordinary life. T-shirts with his smiling and charming face proliferated all over the Western Area. He was carried around in a hammock in some localities, a mark of high respect. Respect reserved for chiefs, respect preserved for persons destined to lead.
Unfortunately, Kamaraimba's growing popularity, his surging magnetism, and his increasing name recognition did not sit down well with the local APC politicians. Unlike the opposition Sierra Leone People's Party (SLPP) which has a strong tradition of allowing every new person who is a Sierra Leonean to put their name forward, giving five minutes of fame to people like John Leigh, Sengu Koroma, Kadi Johnson Cole and a group of over 23 others just in the last election, APC has historically guarded the leadership of its party very jealously, as the the over enthusiastic Kamaraimba will soon learn.
Just after landing in Sierra Leone to officially launch his campaign, Mohamed Kamaraimba Mansaray, MKM, as he is known by his supporters received a stern letter from the APC secretariat expressedly forbidding him from using the party's insignia for his campaign. He was strictly warned by the party's secretary general, a man with no constitutional authority other than him being the secretary general of a political party, against using party logos, colors, flags, etc. Though somewhat ruffled and disppointed, MKM dutifully complied, his first major mistake.
|Cease and desist Letter|
MKM it is reported, also denied using the party symbol, even though in the preceding months there had been many of his paraphernalia with the APC logo. He also reportedly stated that he was just making a universal launch of his presidential flagbearer intention by connecting with Sierra Leoneans on a non partisan basis. This was clearly not reflective of literature that he had been putting forward in the past stating his intention to run for the leadership of the APC. Now that he had backtracked his campaign started to lose steam, though his popularity in the rural areas of the country still held steady.
|With the Kids|
Last week the APC local political machinery put the final nails in the coffin of MKM's ambition to run for the APC leadership in 2017/18 national elections. With much fanfare, pomp and pageantry, MKM on Tuesday of this week went to APC headquarters and paid one million, one hundred thousand Leones to pay for his level of membership, claiming to have been a party member for 17 years. The money was duly taken and he was issued a receipt with the promise that his card needed to be signed by the party secretary general and will be issued at a later date. Unfortunately the next communication he got from the secretariat was an order to return the receipt, his membership application had been denied! In a country where even the poorest man in the village has no problem getting a party registration card as long as they pay for it, MKM was now a second class citizen!
The next day groups of irate MKM supporters stormed the party office with chants that their leader had been unfairly treated, but unfortunately APC decided that MKM was persona non grata, unwanted and unwelcome. They were turned away and the party leadership has resolutely refused to treat him as one of their own. His protestations of his rejection given his stated history of service to the party has so far fallen on deaf airs.
The APC Deputy Publicity Secretary Cornelius Devereaux told gathered journalists that contrary to his public statements, MKM has never registered with the party. In order to correct this anomaly he said, MKM had come to the party office in secret to register as a member. After going through his documents, APC refused MKM's registration, as he could not provide a guarantor. He said that in the party's last national convention there had been an agreement that no one will campaign for APC leadership until 2016, an agreement MKM had gone against. He also said the party's 1995 constitution, party members must abide by any decision which is unanimously endorsed. MKM had also violated this provision and for that he was shown the door. He said that even if MKM should now produce a guarantor they would still refuse his membership on the grounds that he had gone against the words of the party.
MKM supporters are hopping mad at this turn of events, their ego deflated like a balloon out of air. The have even called on him to form his own party. Unfortunately, given the control APC now has over every facet of Sierra Leone politics, one wonders what type of stumbling blocks that APC would put in MKM's way, given his popularity in APC's traditional base of support, if he decides to form his own party. Many now question whether he even has the money. To compound the humiliation APC agents have now taken to social media calling him an immoral person and a womanizer, welcome to local Sierra Leone politics.
|MKM Supporters Deflated|
MKM's case is a classic illustration of the complex relationship Sierra Leone domestic politicians have with their Sierra Leone counterparts in the diaspora. After flag-bearer elections, these local politicians, urgent for Dollars, Euros and the Pound sterling to fund their campaigns, embark on foreign trips, making the rounds of America and Europe. They promise change and development, peddling thousands of promises and inviting members of the diaspora to go back home and join in the development of their country.
Their cries are usually, " ladies and gentlemen, we need you, we need your skills, come back home to Sierra Leone and join us to make it a better place, and ooh, don't forget, the donation basket is by the door, we also need your money!"
Sierra Leoneans in the diaspora, many urgent to go back home and escape the rigors of work in the factories of American and Europe and dreaming of comfortable jobs with coat and tie, fall for these calls, and are led like sheep to the slaughter. According to MKM, he was one of these "diasporeans," with years working on APC business. Unfortunately in his case, he has learnt the hard way that most of these calls to go back home are bogus, most of the plenty jobs waiting for Sierra Leoneans back home are mere illusions. When you go back home, as soon as the dollar or pounds run out, they no longer even pick up your call.