MC Bah – Why NDA will win 2012 Presidential/Parliamentary Elections
“Our esteem elder’s Council, Executive members, NDA members, friends, and Fellow Sierra Leoneans, good afternoon: Today marks a turning point in our part’s history since our emerging declaration to unseat the incumbent government through outlined national strategies and broader visionary plans for our beloved Sierra Leone. At Fourah Bay College (FBC) on December 15, 2010, we took bold new steps at the highest institution of learning to reawaken the moral conscience of our nation through national dialogue and sound pragmatic policy thinking. We renewed the giant promises of a Sierra Leone free from poverty and a nation ready to transform its deplorable human conditions into a more hopeful and brighter future for the next generation.
At the mountain of hope (FBC), we reminded a struggling nation that our economic situation can change. And time is on our side to move Sierra Leone from the era of aid and dependence to one of a new industrial, financial and agricultural revolution. Once again, we started dreaming like other industrial countries such as Ghana, Botswana, Rwanda and Mauritius that we can improve our human development index through visionary and pragmatic leadership of the 21st century.
Indeed, we are strongly committed to serving the people of Sierra Leone through good governance that promotes a consensus-oriented government responsive to the need of its citizens. We believe that our party today stands on the threshold of gaining victory in the 2012 Presidential/Parliamentary elections. Our guarded optimism comes from the political conviction that we are better prepared to turn around our troubling economy, revamp our declining educational system, increase trade with our donor partners and reduce the national debt that has denied us the international credit rating needed to attract and retain foreign direct investments.
We also plan to boost agricultural growth and alleviate the wide spread hunger that has affected the moral and mental capacity of our people. The creation of job opportunities through national and international investment strategies, the encouragement of technological advancement and the promotion of an affordable and quality education remains our master plan to remove Sierra Leone from the doldrums of poverty into the safe haven of economic prosperity.
The National Democratic Alliance (NDA) has drawn its political assets from the broader struggles it found itself and particularly from the reservoir of the resilient culture of the people of Sierra Leone. And the brutal civil war of the 1990’s compounded with the generational cycle of poverty has strengthened our resolve and commitment to building a prosperous nation for everyone. Thus, the Party’s transformational concept is the best way forward for a young nation eager to be full participant in the global society.
But the culture of an egoistic politics driven by the “self-centered” syndrome of individualism has undermined the national character of many good patriotic citizens. It remains one of the biggest obstacles to development and democracy in Sierra Leone. To quote my declaration speech: “it is time for a new political thinking and a new economic order that must lift us from almost half a century of poverty and social stagnation”
Invariably, we share a common understanding that a comprehensive approach to utilizing and mobilizing the wealth of our nation must be through transparent leadership and the participation of all stakeholders of our society. This is the central doctrine of our “nation first” political philosophy. It is also the new civic and public orientation that must be the guiding principles to a better Sierra Leone of the golden jubilee century.
I will now categorize my analyses on why my Party is poised to win the Presidential/Parliamentary elections come 2012 into 4 components: a) Political fatigue of the two dominant parties- APC and the SLPP b) A new focus on tangible economic developments against the ethnocentric divisions. c) Youth discontent and the need for social justice d) and the rise of post-conflict generational leadership. I will begin to look at each aspect but a historical perspective of the NDA is crucial to developing a case to substantiate our general contention.
The NDA which is headquartered in Freetown was founded in 1994 by an ethnically diverse group of Sierra Leoneans from all regions of the country. The geographical balance and the mixed composition of its founding members with its national executives adequately characterized its core values of promoting a nation free from tribal and regional dominance. NDA, the party of the people, has been stigmatized by the caricature politics that brand the leadership of any political party to representing a specific tribal group. But the NDA has glaringly been the only party that is open to marginalized people, embraces the principles of gender equality and speaks for millions of voiceless citizens. The party has maintained its continuity through the fundamental values of openness, integrity and inclusion. The party is a flag bearer to the guiding principles of Unity, Freedom and Justice upon which our Republic was founded.
Historically, the 1996 contested Presidential election saw the NDA gaining new political recognition. However, the protracted leadership infighting at the time of its first convention created a serious crack within the party. Hence, the NDA suffered colossal defeat both at the Presidential/Parliamentary elections. But the party became a new household name and established a strong footing in the Eastern region of Sierra Leone.
Subsequently, in 2002, NDA participated only in the parliamentary elections because it was marred by so many logistical challenges after the 1996 election. Infact, the party contested only in the western area of Freetown and selectively targeted small constituencies. With the urgent need to consolidate the peace and maintain permanent security to the people of Sierra Leone, the party joined the grand alliance with other major political parties to support the SLPP leadership under former President Alhaji Ahmed Tejan Kabba.
However, in 2007, the party subsequently increased its broad base support across the nation, restructured itself to better compete with new effective campaign strategies. The party inevitably attracted many Sierra Leoneans due to its peaceful participatory democracy and its good vision to improve tribal and regional divisions. About 80% of the constituencies were heavily contested. By then, the party had made significant political inroads in the South and the Eastern part of Sierra Leone. Politically, Kenema was the magnetic field of the NDA. Again, the Party suffered another defeat at the poll both the Presidential and Parliamentary elections.
I would now focus on why my party will win the 2012 Presidential/Parliamentary elections. First, the political fatigue of the two dominant parties, APC and SLPP offers some compelling indicators that the citizens of Sierra Leone need an alternative form of government. The 49 years of poor governance and economic stagnation with a polarized nation deeply divided across ethnic lines, it is apparent that political necessities dictates an emergent of a democratic “regime change” acceptable to the people. The people are desperately looking for a new government that is not the semblance of the two oldest rivals in our political hemisphere.
NDA has the political capital to present itself as the credible party to good governance and the only party capable of reducing the high inflationary rate of 17% to 5% and improving the GDP growth from 4.3% today to 9.5% in the next two years. NDA is the progressive party that has positioned itself as the inclusive force full of national ideas that can change the direction of Sierra Leone into a more hopeful and promising future.
Thus, the two dominant parties have exhausted their political ideas and offer no new way forward to a nation that has tirelessly given them so many opportunities to govern the affairs of our country. With the restructuring of the party’s inner team, the rise of a new dynamic leadership and the prevalent conditions of poverty and lack of economic opportunities, NDA today stand the greatest chance of becoming the next democratically elected government of Sierra Leone.
Another significant focus on the party’s spheres of political influence is the message of national cohesion and the visionary creation of a people’s oriented government. Many politicians believe that the erosion of public confidence and trust in government has increasingly weakened the capacity and competency of government to function effectively. Many citizens view government more as a problem rather than the solution to our national ills. Thus, the NDA’s core values of integrity and national service model on transparency and accountability will eventually give them the political edge to defeat the incumbent and the opposition party in the 2012 elections.
NDA’s immediate priorities are: bringing direct foreign investment that will create jobs for the ordinary citizens and generating income for millions of people. Such effort will propel the party’s favorability and electability chance in the next election cycle. Education also is a paramount agenda of an NDA administration, while trade, technology and global computer skills will transform a new work force capable of paying taxes that will increase our national savings as a country. Thus, a sound economic mission is the fastest ticket to winning the next Presidential/Parliamentary elections in 2012. And NDA is making giant strides in developing new fiscal and market oriented economic policies that will increase our GDP growth and build a new middle class society.
Furthermore, the post conflict generation has been the largest demographic group who are unhappy about the state of our economy. Many have been turned into weapons of violence through political party allegiance and disappointed about the false promises made by politicians after every election cycles. With the fear and the adverse circumstance that surrounds their future, millions of young people seek to build a new Sierra Leone that offers jobs and economic livelihood. The NDA party is ready to offer a post-conflict leadership that will provide an affordable housing, good schools, better hospitals and a secured future for everyone. The party is well solidified to establishing a trusted partnership with the youths, who are stakeholders and participants to our democratic political system. Since, the party has not renege or broken any previous agreements with the youths like the ruling and opposition party, its stands on a high moral ground to capture significant votes from the largest voting segments of our society.
Another defining factor of an assured NDA victory is the rise of a new post conflict generation of young leaders, who are open to new ideas and represents a break away from the politics of place and tribe. This new generation of leaders sees a different Sierra Leone where inclusion, national allegiances, patriotic vision and collective national unity are the way forward for our democratic nation. This generation of Sierra Leoneans lived under poverty and distrusted the motives of older politicians, whom they identified as the impediment to the long overdue progress in Sierra Leone. The element of a divergent political thinking, the absence of the hate culture and the importance of social responsibility will usher a new post conflict attitude of political tolerance and reconciliation that will move Sierra Leone from aid and dependency to trade and economic developments.
In closing, the NDA has suffered many political set backs but the light at the end of the tunnel seems visible and reachable. The old political doctrine that promotes the ideology of regional and tribal strongholds are gradually fading away and the new reality of an issue-oriented politic is quickly emerging. Today, the NDA is better prepared politically, well funded and financially strong to win the next election in 2012. And its victory will surely comes from grass roots Sierra Leoneans, who believe in the promises and possibilities of our founding principles of: UNITY, FREEDOM and JUSTICE.
May God bless you and May God bless the Republic of Sierra Leone.”
Mohamed C. Bah, National Democratic Alliance Presidential Aspirant, NDA Party Office
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