In Sierra Leone: NDA running mate – my appointment is a blessing
National Democratic Alliance (NDA) party’s newly appointed running mate, Mohamed Sidiki Kabba has described his appointment as a blessing for the continued peaceful coexistence of the suave of tribes in the West Africa sub-region.
He spoke at length to former Editor of SEM, Abu Bakarr S. Tarawally and freelancer M S Biro on the changing tide of their 3rd force crusade. Read below what motivated Kabba to join the NDA.
Kabba: I choose NDA because it has great people with excellent vision who are willing, as it is expected of developmentalists to pursue posterity with special reference to the ideology of the party.
Talking of moving the country from its stagnant state of backwardness, fifty years after independence, what strategies do you have to achieve such a goal?
For every long journey there must be a giant step and this is the giant step I’m taking. First, we’ll target strengthening the education sector since we’ll like to let them know where the country is going and what role they would have to play in the challenge as development is no one man’s affair. Second we’ll wish to let the people know that the leadership of the NDA is not only competent but will also perform to meet expectations of the people if only they give us such an opportunity.
Of what help will you be to your leadership in the forthcoming November 17 elections?
First I’m popular. Though I was born in Kenema, schooled there and spent most of my youth age there when I was in this country, I have got a lot of development orientation and made my indelible footprint in the North, East, and South. I have been one of the most active Sierra Leoneans in the Boys Scouts Association. The history of scouting will never be discussed without the paramount measure of my name in this country.
What development orientation should one have to tackle the problems the country has?
First know the problem –the people are hungry; no means of transportation; and are deprived of knowledge and education. The once Athens of West Africa, Fourah Bay College – where are we today? Go to Calaba town in the morning to see the people fighting for transport and see how Sierra Leoneans are suffering to get to the central part of Freetown – you will be amazed to find elderly persons who have with them not more than Le 2,000 (less than $0.50) – its really pathetic. However, NDA is the hope. With its leadership Sierra Leone will have a new face, if not a heaven on earth.
Political analysts would say what you have just said is part of the daily political expressions.
Politics is a social contract between the rulers and the ruled; I will not deceive my people. If I wanted to do anything to get rich I have the means and I’m not a haggler. I’m not looking for somewhere to steal; I have more than three houses in this country – all I want to do is to simply have a role to play and be part of the forces that are seeking positive change in the country.
Do you have any reservation as to why you are like swapping the extractive industry where you are a household name, for politics?
Yes I do have. Like I said the only sure way of settling the wrong side of our country’s 51 years misrule is to become part of the governance system. Yes there is lucrative ways of making money in the extractive industry but our people will continue to suffer under bad mining policies devised by our wicked politicians who only seek the comfort of their own pockets above the general interest of the country.
Saying all of this, do you have already plans as to how you’ll prioritize the priorities in running the affairs of state?
Our first approach would be education, like I said – to bring awareness to the people. The laymen in the bush should be in a better position to know what is happening around them and what benefits they stand to gain at the end of the day, the role they should play as a people to facilitate development programs. We don’t need a pocket of politicians to run the affairs of this country to their own advantage.
What have you to say in terms of the politics of stronghold?
The NDA might not have had a stronghold before, but today it has, especially with me as a running mate. Like I stated earlier I have a string of development and job provision entities that I ran all over the country before my name surfaced for the running mate position in this party. Those relationships I have made over the time are enough to earn me better strongholds across the country, especially in Kenema where I was born, Port Loko where I provided jobs for over 500 Sierra Leoneans, and other places.
What policies do you have in place to ameliorate the situation of the youths and that of the women folks?
As long as the NDA exists the youths will continue to have hope as we remain the party that has absolute consideration and policies for the two sectors. We have a whole wing in our party called LOT (Leaders of Tomorrow) which are the youths. In our 2007 elections we had a female running mate, which signifies our immense regard and willingness to include women in our political dispensation.
You are a Mandingo by tribe and the party you find yourself in has been perceived as a Fullah party over the years – what is your perception to the politics of tribe (ethnocentrism)?
That’s why I said my appointment is a blessing – not only to Sierra Leone but Africa as a whole. There has also been a saying that the Fullahs and the Mandingoes are not united and can never operate together – we’ve just proved them wrong. People use one social problem to judge the other, like what happened in Guinea during their elections – this is Sierra Leone for God sake! NDA is not a Fullah party – I must emphasize. I saw very few Fullahs in the executive of the NDA – although names such as Jalloh, Bah… are prominent. There are more Mendes in the executive of the SLPP and more Themnes in the APC as there are in the case of NDA.
What act of patriotism do you have to boast of?
I proved myself as a patriot of this country when I went to represent Sierra Leone as a scout in South Korea. I could have fled like many did but I single-handedly returned with the flag of this country. When the NPRC was taking guns against me here in Freetown calling me an APC and all that, I ran away. The Saj Musas, the Maada Bios and Tom N’yumas – if I had wanted to sell my country or join the NPRC operatives for my own selfish promotion, I would have done so those days, but I did not. I met the late Foday Sankoh in Ivory Coast and told him to his face that the revolution he was heading had no vision, though he defiantly told me he was going to put vision in it, it stood in history that I risked my life doing such for my country.
Abu Bakarr S. Tarawally and M S Biro
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