Bringing Kono into Sierra Leone’s political center stage
The 2007 Presidential and Parliamentary elections witnessed a dramatic twist in Sierra Leone political set-up with the removal from power of a ruling party by an opposition party. Berewa’s chances of winning those elections were slim, taking into account the manner in which he was catapulted into the SLP leadership in Makeni. (Photo: John Baimba Sesay, author)
Let it be known also, that notwithstanding the political commentaries and interpretation that have been given to the 2007 elections by political pundits and, especially regarding Christiana Thorpe’s decision to invalidate a number of votes in Kailahun, there was willingness on the part of Sierra Leoneans to effect a change. Ernest Koroma’s victory came as a result of a plethora of factors; from his fitness, in terms physical appearance, to his ever smiling face, and his ability to relate with the grassroots and last but not least, the fact that the party he was leading was a party for the common man, not an elitist party.
What we saw in 2007 when a particular political party decided to cheat on the people of Sierra Leone by ensuring over voting in a particular district perceived as a stronghold will be a thing of the past this time round with the conduct of the pending November elections. This is so because, the introduction of the Biometric system of registering will not only prevent electoral fraud as was in the case with the famous Kailahun Court Barray, but it will help in making the elections very credible and acceptable, in line with international standards.
Christiana Thorpe’s determination will not be undermined by whatever type of political gimmicks like intimidation and the rest. The decision she took in 2007 was, in my view in the interest of the country and a way of bringing more accolades to Sierra Leone as a country that knows the value of transparent and fraud free elections. So when Sam Banya keeps complaining like a child, that President Koroma never won the elections, that Christiana Thorpe ‘robbed’ him of victory, I wonder what he has always tried to achieve. But that is not the point any longer, as President Koroma is not only finishing his first five years in power, but he is now going a landslide come November 2012.
But as President Koroma, has, himself, stated, the ICC has been alerted and whosoever thinks violence is a way to winning elections should begin to have a rethink.
Now, there is still this Kono issue that has always captured my eyes whenever I read online newspapers, published from home. I have always argued that a divided house, in this case, Kono will not be able to speak with one voice and as such, irrespective of what strategies and modalities that are in place, aimed at winning the November elections, if the Kono people are not united, there will be a difficult task on their part in returning their sons and daughters into governance. It was prior to the 2007 elections that President Koroma, in his wisdom, brought in a gentle Konoman to be his able Lieutenant in the person of Sam Sumana.
But again, there are a series of issues that have always come-up especially from his native hometown of Kono and one of such issues had to do with the then seeming animosity, that was existing between his supporters and those perceived to be against him, being the Vice to President Koroma. I recall, doing a piece recently, calling on the Kono people to see the need and be united for a common course and speak up with one voice. One fact that cannot be disputed is that Kono, just as Kambia, is as strategic and significant politically as is Kailahun and Pujehun to the ruling APC and to the serving President. President Koroma’s re-election demands the support of even those in perceived opposition strongholds. And this is where Kono should be seen taking the lead, having not just a Vice President, but both first and second ladies.
Sierra Leone is in a transformative stage, with President Koroma leading that transformation. The provision of electricity, the fight against corruption and the country’s infrastructural development are all but now very impressive. The President Koroma led government has a lot to offer the people of Sierra Leone. Kailahun, a district once neglected, is now beginning to see light at the end of the tunnel. In 007, the strategic nature of Kono was felt when the APC was able to get a total of 52,908 votes and that was a time the party was in opposition. But with President Koroma now in power, and Sam Sumana serving as vice and both first and second ladies coming from that district, I am certain that there is a lot in store for the people of Kono when once they return the President Koroma to power.
When I read Awareness Times of how Diana Konomani and Sam Sumana have come together and when I also followed media report through Sierra Express Media regarding Veep’s recent visit to Kono to launch the national registration exercise and the statement delivered by Diana Konomani, I was impressed and came to the conclusion that, at last Kono is now set to re-elect President Koroma come November 17th this year. You also need to follow Awoko online to get a clear picture of what Sam Sumana said in Kono and how the District Council Chairperson was happy with Veep’s call, for people to register and work for the good of the country.
The importance of being united in political endeavors like winning election could not be overstated for obvious reasons. Let me again re-state therefore, that there is a great potential in Kono that should be unlocked and it would appear, such a potential which was once literally sealed, is now in the process of being unsealed. This therefore means, Kono will go the direction President Koroma has taken by not only voting him again for another term, but by bringing more parliamentary seats under the control of President Koroma.
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