Insurgent candidate for chieftaincy of APC has party establishment to contend with – politics
If the United States Democrat Party experienced a revolution in the nomination of anti-establishment candidate Barack Obama in 2008, Sierra Leone’s All People’s Congress Party (APC) will soon undergo the same if Mohamed Kamarainba Mansaray, affectionately known to his supporters as MKM, has his way in 2017. (MKM comforts a sick child at Connaught Hospital)
The youthful MKM who has appropriated the US president’s “Together we can” campaign slogan, looks good in photographs and on television. And like Obama in 2008, MKM is brimming with 21st century ideas that he believes will lift Sierra Leoneans out of poverty.
In a recent weekly message, an MKM novelty in Sierra Leonean politics, he called on Sierra Leoneans to take personal ownership of their pitiable country and its problems. He spoke about a combination of “competent, incorruptible leadership” and a strengthened private sector, the biggest source of employment in developed economies as Sierra Leone’s best path out of “hand to mouth existence.” To achieve these goals, MKM outlined an ambitious program of restructuring agriculture, the tax system, banking, education, and technological innovation to attract more private investment and enterprise. But will the APC old guard allow MKM, a non-career politician to get to the helm of the party?
An alarmed APC secretariat has already sent a letter to MKM ordering him to play by the party’s rules and to desist from using its logo and President Ernest Koroma’s name in his campaign. A defiant MKM retorted that he will not be intimidated and continued outlining his vision for the country to eager audiences in Sierra Leone’s marketplaces, hospitals, and schools.
According to Mohammed Barrie, a spokesman in the USA, MKM has been a party member since he was born forty years ago in Port Loko and prefers to remain within the APC fold and become its nominee in 2017. As a citizen and devoted Sierra Leonean whose only concern is the national interest, MKM has the right to represent his party and country and has no plans to form a new party or run as an independent. Barrie emphasized that MKM aims to introduce a more accountable, transparent and energetic style of leadership to Sierra Leonean politics.
Careful not to antagonize the current party leadership, MKM has refrained from criticizing the government and has vowed to selectively improve on some aspects of President Ernest Koroma’s twin agendas for change and prosperity when he wins the presidency.
Tucker Drive, a street in western Freetown had been turned into a refuse dump that blocked vehicular and pedestrian traffic and threatened the health of residents. Petitions for assistance fell on deaf government ears until MKM organized the community and spent thousands of dollars of his own funds to clear the road. That, according to Barrie, is a taste of the kind of strong leadership that Sierra Leoneans can expect from MKM who holds an undergraduate degree from Howard University and a post-graduate degree from the Chicago School of Psychology.
When Sierra Leone celebrated her 50th independence anniversary in 2011, MKM as leader of APC-WMC Youth raised and presented about $18,000 to the APC party as contribution toward the festivities. That, according to Barrie, is a demonstration of MKM’s patriotism. In addition, about 250 primary, secondary and college students are currently benefitting from a scholarship fund set up by MKM.
When his permit to hold a rally in Kono District was recently revoked because of a “phone call,” from higher authorities, MKM urged his followers to disperse peacefully. Barrie called that a sign of MKM’s commitment to the rule of law.
Once upon a time, another politician faced obstacles on his way to the leadership of the APC. Today, that politician is the toast of Sierra Leone. That politician’s name is Ernest B. Koroma.
With his message resonating among students, unemployed youths, and market women, MKM just might become the Barack Obama of Sierra Leone in 2017.
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