Mismatch and not embodiment of Kono political representation
This article was motivated as a consequence of what I perceive as an erroneous assessment of the political situation in Kono in relation to the relevance of the Honourable Vice President, Alhaji Sahr Samuel Sidiki Sam Sumana in galvanizing the people of Kono towards the All Peoples Congress (APC) party come 2012 Parliamentary and Presidential elections, in an article published in “Sierra Express Media”, titled, “Of Party Politics And Issues At Large,” by one Pa John Baimba Sesay. In the said article, Sesay argued that it will be unwise for President Koroma to ditch his current Vice President, Sam Sumana as his running mate for the purpose of the 2012 elections, his reason being that such a move will result in the loss of the Kono votes. Such a reasoning presupposes that the said V.P. is very popular with his people, who will be angry with the President for such actions and thus translate their anger into not voting for the APC. Much as I agree with the writer that it will be suicidal for him to remove the position from Kono, I consider it erroneous that he believes Sam Sumana is the right man to continue holding the position on the behalf of the Kono people. I believe it will do the President and the party a wealth of good if he is replaced by someone else from the district, because, rather than being an asset to the party in terms of winning the Konos over, his presence as VP will only chase people away from the APC, a process that is already unfolding. In this respect, if the intention of the President to have him as Vice President was among other things, to have the Kono people fairly represented, then it is hard time he started considering kicking him out and searching for potential VP materials in the district, which I believe is there in abundance. If the president is to stick with him, it will be considered by most of us Konos as him being concerned with having any Kono politician by him with little or no consideration of whether he is the true choice and representative of us.
In his brilliant article, Mr Sesay mentioned two criteria to be considered in assessing a leader that is worth his salt; ‘popularity and performance’. I very much agree with him on those but do not believe the honourable VP has any manifestations of those attributes that deserve the envy of any sane judge of character. In relation to the former attribute, if anything could be said about the VP he could be best described as notorious for acts that are inimical to happiness and peaceful co-existence in the entire district. He has transformed himself into a petty overlord presiding over gangs that go about in the district perpetrating all forms of lawlessness ranging from disrespecting local elders to undermining developmental ventures undertaken by other well meaning indigenous sons of the soil and authorities. In relation to the party itself, he is at war with almost every other top executive member and endeavours to undermine them even at the detriment of the party, a recent case in point was his frantic move to make sure that the incumbent Chairperson of the Kono District Council, Diana Konomanyi, lost the bye elections that brought her to office. So instead of serving as a cohesive force within the party, the honourable is always at his best manifesting those traits that negate the basic principles of cohesiveness not just within the party but in the district as a whole.
In the domain of performance the least said about the honourable VP the better the situation. After being in office for well over three years, the honourable VP can hardly point a finger at any tangible developmental project he has undertaken or patronised in the district. If anything, he has at least succeeded in acquiring luxury vehicles for himself and his close associates and motor cycles for his band of hoodlums locally tagged as “long bench”, for the purpose of expediting their swift movement in and around town in furtherance of intimidating and perpetrating all sorts of unspeakable deeds on people he believe to be his “enemies”. It is heart rending that a man expected to be at the fore of developmental ventures in his home district by virtue of his privileged position as the second most powerful man in the Republic, fails to do so but on the contrary prides himself in willfully disrupting those initiated by others in less privileged positions as his. If the VP is someone with a conscience or any modicum of sympathetic feelings towards the people of Kono, with particular reference to the inhabitants of the areas flanking the Kimberlite blast zones, the last thing for him to have done was to act as a stumbling block to the ongoing resettlement program being undertaken by Koidu Holdings under the watchful eyes of the Village resettlement committee headed by the Paramount Chief of Tankoro, PC Paul Ngaba Saquee V. The best he has done in this respect as his contribution is to incite his paid thugs and misguided pseudo student activists to put up rowdy behaviour whenever meetings are scheduled to educate the people about the venture. He sees this as punishment for the Paramount Chief of the affected localities for failing to help him in working towards Diana Konomanyi losing the past bye election for the office of Chair Person for the Kono District Council. What a bizarre and unpatriotic move.
I agree with Mr. Sesay about the North-South dichotomy of the political terrine of Sierra Leone, with the north tending towards the All Peoples Congress (APC) and the south tending towards the Sierra Leone Peoples Party (SLPP). I also agree with him that prevailing in Kono, which is traditionally allied to the south, at least, since the return to multi party democracy, will to a large extent be a giant leap in bagging 2012. I also agree with Mr Sesay that by President Ernest Bia Koroma having an ethnic Kono as his running mate will indeed be a sensible means of achieving this goal. But my bone of contention with Mr Sesay’s argument is the idea of the retention of the the honourable Samuel Sam Sumana in that capacity. Instead of enhancing the chances of the APC, his retentions will undoubtedly be counterproductive because he lacks what it takes to spear head the crusade to grab the district from the SLPP. Besides, much as it is important to the Kono people to have one of their sons in the top echelon of power in the country, it will become meaningful to them if that son is one committed to the development of the district at this point in time, against the background that the district is in total ruin as a result of the ten years of a war that hit it hardest of all the districts in the country and thus in urgent need of rehabilitation of all the structures that will go to improve their well-being.
On a very serious note, I stand convinced that in case of any eventualities, be it accidental or natural, that warrant a competent successor to the President of our beloved country, the honourable VP does not have what it takes to carry the burden, except we chose to go down the drains. In the light of what myself and most people from Kono make of the honourable VP, Alhaji Sahr Samuel Sidiki Sam Sumana, he could be best described as a mismatch and not an embodiment of Kono political representation in all its ramifications.
By Samuel Tamba Musa Saquee, Las Vegas, USA
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