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Democracy's Foe in Sierra Leone

By Abdul Suhood Komeh (pictured),
London, UK.

At the start of his tenure, Ernest Koroma was the epitome of grace, promise, equality and freshness. ‘I want to make politics better’, he once said.

But it was a lie. Once he realised the enormous power at his disposal, his real personhood was revealed: a power-hungry bully with an insatiable lust for wealth. And above all, democracy‘s staunchest foe in Sierra Leone.

He holds the country and prospects for its democratic development to such contempt that he not only chose the candidate, but a demonstrably poor one too, in Samura Kamara as his replacement.

Samura has proved so incapable, he says nothing, does nothing and has nothing to say. He lacks even the most basic social skills to make a mark on any contest without being cheated for. So brazenly, Koroma wants to catapult him to the Presidency without a serious opponent. Just like he shamelessly plotted his rise at the now infamous 2017 APC convention in Makeni.

I never expected much from Koroma. Never. In my opinion he’s the worst president in Sierra Leone’s history. Forget international metrics on development - too complicated, too much jargon. Let’s go local.

Just last August, the Auditor General’s office in Freetown reported that at least 25 state institutions, including providers of water and electricity, consistently fail to submit books for audit. And Koroma did nothing. Just as he’s done nothing on every corruption scandal. And you know why, right? ‘Oosai dem tai cow nar dae ee go eat’ (a cow is expected to graze where its tethered) - effectively continuing with perhaps the APC’s most enduring addition to administrative language in Sierra Leone.

Last week, supported by the APC, Koroma callously destroyed the political aspirations of tens of Sierra Leoneans, including some from the APC. Casualties in an attrition against the opposition NGC’s presidential candidate, Kandeh Yumkella whose international pedigree and campaign for change he fears might derail his hopes of becoming a ventriloquist to his puppet president-to-be, Samura. His reasoning? Dual citizenship. Even though his government is unclear on constitutional merits; even though it’s pointed out that his current cabinet is bursting at the seams with dual citizenships.

But in the dying days of his administration he doesn’t care about those who work/worked for him. And cares even less about the country’s democratic escutcheon to the world. It’s the protection of his loot that matters.

And his party members in turn, especially the so-called ‘Diaspora APC’, now former aspirants he kicked in the nuts, still love him with remarkable optimism. ‘De Pa say next tem’, after the dispatch of no less a person but the Everlasting Chairman’s self-proclaimed Apprentice and chief recipient of the most corrosive humiliation Koroma ever meted, to eloquently deliver sweet-nonsense to them. And it worked.

That Koroma lodged and lost a formal objection against Yumkella’s candidacy was never out of adherence to the rule of law. It’s classic Koroma, a manipulative trickster of a politician trying to get his way.

What’s most stunningly disgraceful is the silent acquiescence of the other opposition parties, especially the hopelessly, Bio-led SLPP. The SLPP is in cahoots with the APC on trashing the constitution because they are no better and without credible arguments. The SLPP is silent at a time of gross subversion because they hope to benefit from Yumkella’s absence from the ballot. The SLPP, like its ideologically corrupt brother the APC, wants to win an election not with arguments, but by scavenging for loopholes to disqualify an opponent. Which only lends further weight to the argument that Sierra Leone needs a change. A real change. 

Outrageous. An insult, the way the APC allowed Koroma to singlehandedly chose, and force-fed his manchurian candidate on the country. It shows a lack of ambition in themselves and for the country. But, it’s their gig, it’s their party. However, for them to support Koroma’s efforts to also want to pick who challenges that candidate, should, and ought to be beneath even them. Sierra Leone isn’t the APC or SLPP.