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Gbanti Kamaranka, allow the people’s choice

Gbanti Kamaranka, allow the people’s choice

Political representation in governance is a social contract between the governors and the governed.  I have observed for years, the way politics is being practiced in Sierra Leone, with specific reference to the aspect of representation in our House of Parliament. When Sierra Leoneans queued in 2007 for the election of Members of Parliament, it was done out of the desire of getting developments through those elected. And this is part of the political social contract.

A practical example being Safroko Limba Chiefdom; the representation people in that Chiefdom are getting at the moment is, in my view, not adequate. A Member of Parliament is elected to serve as a direct link between government and the people at the constituency level. But this is not so in Safroko Limba. But with the election of a new Paramount Chief, there is light at the end of the tunnel. In fact, I am particularly perturbed that this trend of political representation across the country has not created the needed impact in some constituencies, and this is where I think political parties would need to review the conditions being used in giving symbols to candidates for elections.

I am today narrowing my attention down to the President, Dr Ernest Bai Koroma and other Executive members of the ruling All Peoples Congress party. I am doing this because; it has often been argued that this is a party that cares for the common man, and above all one that has respect for the youthful age, and one that believes in the concept of ‘allowing the young folks to grow through politics’. There is a constituency that should, and must serve as a test case for the APC in terms of making the younger folks to grow politically.  Hon. Edi Turay served as Parliamentarian for constituency 33 in the Gbanti Kamaranka Chiefdom, Bombali district. He has be appointed to served as High Commissioner to the  UK by President Koroma and this is great, taking into account the role played by Edi Turay in giving political life to the APC.  But who should replace him, is the biggest of all questions. A youth should be tried this time round. My reasons? Simple …

Whilst doing a research on what I was going to write on, I searched the internet for the youngest leaders the world has got since 1945 and these were their ages at the time they took office ordered youngest first:

  • Hussein I, King of Jordan, 16 (succeeded to the throne after his father’s abdication),
  • Jigme Singye Wangchuck, King of Bhutan, 16,
  • Mswati III, King of Swaziland, 18 (succeeded to the throne after a 3-year regency),
  • Bhumibol Adulyadej, King of Thailand, 18,
  • Ntare V, King of Burundi, 18 (succeeded to the throne after deposing his father),
  • Jean-Claude Duvalier, President of Haiti, 19 (became president after his father’s death) 
  • Baudouin I, King of Belgium, aged 20. He succeeded to the throne after his father’s abdication),
  • Hassanal Bolkiah, Sultan of Brunei, 21 (succeeded to the throne after his father’s abdication),
  • Moshoeshoe II, King of Lesotho, 21 (succeeded to the throne after a 19-year regency),
  • Valentine Strasser, President of Sierra Leone, 25 (became president after a coup),
  • Her Majesty Elizabeth II, Queen of the United Kingdom, Queen of Canada, Queen of Australia, Queen of New Zealand, Queen of Jamaica, and Her Other Realms and Territories, 25,  and
  • Rainier III, Prince of Monaco, 25.  

Source: http://en.wikipedia.org

Let us look at the rule of Strasser; though he was a very young boy when he became a junta leader, he performed well, but a point that the ‘old men’ ,who became advisers came from nowhere and ‘messed’ up the hearts and minds of the NPRC hierarchy. 

From the above example, we could conclude that age should not be used when it comes to allowing people to show their talents insofar as governance and state politics could go. In our current parliament, we have people like Hon. Chericoco of the ruling APC, Hon Robin Falay of SLPP, et. al, all young, but performing well. Robin Falay will literally put the ruling party on its toes in Parliament when it comes to debating national issues, and he has lived up to expectation; Hon Chernor Bah is head of the Legislative Committee in Parliament and  has also been on the good side of things, and these are all young men. There is now the struggle between and among party members on who should replace Edi Turay in Parliament. I started this piece by listing the 10 youngest leaders in the world, and also by analyzing what, in our own case, Strasser did, though he was a young leader.

Names have come up as possible replacements to Edi Turay. Among them, one Minkialu Sesay who from my understanding contested against Edi Turay under the SLPP but now wants the APC to give him symbol to contest against the SLPP. There is also another name, Pa Suliaman Sesay, who is the Board Chairman for SALPOST. He may be an elderly man, but it would advisable he continues to serve Salpost and see the changes he could help bring in that parastatal, mindful of the fact that this was a parastatal that was in moribund. Of course, I know him as an uncle, but Pa Sesay is more needed at Salpost now than ever.







Abdul Rasdhid Mumu

Abdul Rasdhid Mumu




Munu, young but the people’s choice

There is also another name, a young fellow, a former college mate at Fourah Bay College, though in college we had our political differences. He was a brilliant follower on FBC, from where he graduated with a BA degree.  If I had my way, I was going to advise the APC to allow this young fellow  to show what he can do  in not only representing his people, but in also selling the image of his party to non party members. He is Abdul Rashid Munu, who must be chasing his 30s.  I have been observing the local media in recent times, and I must inform the APC, that there are indications Munu is the choice of the people, and if am right, the APC, a party that believes in the will of the people, and a ‘combra’ party, should not betray the people of Gbanti Kamaranka, by imposing a candidate on them.

As we have seen, based on the list of young leaders above, age should not always be used to determine who should represent people in Parliament. The people’s candidate may be poor, not having money to give out, in an effort to ‘buy’ a symbol, but if he is allowed to represent his people, there is the likelihood for him to make a difference.

I have, as a journalist, spoken to Munu in the most critical of manners; I have asked him several questions, ranging from his plans for the people of Gbanti Kamaranka, to how he intends undertaking development activities; he has demonstrated some political sincerity, and there is the need to give him the chance as a young man, coming up.  I would love to see young people excelling in positions of trust.  The APC may be contemplating on a possible successor to Edie Turay, and as warned by Edi Turay himself prior to his departure, there should be a committed and dedicated person who should be able to properly represent his people in Parliament.  The APC should not repeat the mistake of giving symbols to people based on their money or age or because they come from overseas. Let the APC listen.  

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  • You may be right about the ages of young rulers. But what you do not seem to explain is that all the names mentioned are all underage and were therefore ruled for on their behalf until they reach the age of majority, which today is 18+. A Queen Elizabeth 11 was already old enough to assume the reins of government. But in most cases, there is a regency council until the new ruler comes of age.
    Beside all this, all the young rulers mentioned are or were hereditary rulers whose succession is or was determined by the principle blood. They are non politicians. They are not voted for , but simply allowed to succeed. Every country the world over has an age minimum to be eligible for membership of the national Legislature, which normally is 25.
    President Ernest Koroma attempted to enter parliament in Makeni in 1973 when he was about 20. The APC central Committee disqualified him on grounds of age. He knew he stood no chance, but attempted for publicity stunt. Even in chieftaincy elections, if a fifteen year old is elected, an uncle would have to be regent until he is mature enough to take over. This is normally the case.

    25th January 2010

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