Political olympics in post independence Sierra Leone
Although political observers have often classed Sierra Leone as a country of corruption and administrative ineptitude, leaving out the most heinous crime, that of tailoring the process of transfer of leadership from one Head of State to another, the fact remains that political leadership, after Sir Milton Margai and Sir Albert Margai, has been according to the whims and caprices of the outgoing President, as was seen in the case of Dr. Siaka P. Stevens and Alhaji Ahmad Tejan Kabba (Momoh not being in the count, as a result of the abrupt end to his leadership).
Both Sir Milton Margai and Sir Albert Margai, like Momoh, were not opportuned to witness their own transfer of power as death, in the case of the former and circumstances, in the case of the latter, brought their tenure of office to an abrupt end.
But from what happened in the case of Dr. Stevens and Ahmad Tejan Kabba, one could safely conjecture the general trend of things regarding transfer of power from one president to another.
Siaka P. Sevens: His transfer of power to Joseph Saidu Momoh, a military leader, might have been prompted by the visibly intense rivalry between S.I Koroma and Francis Minah, the then first and second vice presidents, respectively.
The dilemma of Siaka P. Stevens in dealing with the two personalities, the one, a high profile party man and the other, said to be his nephew, culminated in ensuring that the constitution was bastardized to accommodate two vice presidents for the transfer of power when he grew tired of leadership, contrary to his slogan, “pass ar die”, The astute leader would have neither of the two to succeed him. He chose instead a Military personnel – J.S Momoh.
This situation finally drove a wedge between the political dynamics of the north and west against the south and east of the country, culminating in a bloody war that was to plunge the country into total voodoo economics from which it has failed to extricate itself.
In the case of Tejan Kabba, craftily ensuring that Charles Margai did not become the flag bearer of the SLPP was enough to plunge the party into confusion, creating hatred within the party hierarchy, with such cut-throat animosity that the party could hardly become the one piece it was in the era of Sir Milton Margai.
The nation is yet to see how Dr. Ernest Bai Koroma plans to do it, having already catapulted into prominence a true son of Mende land, not like the Margais who were more or less Sherbros only speaking Mende.
Because political powers, since the time of Dr. Siaka P. Stevens, has been largely in the domain of northern hegemony – Siaka Stevens – Momoh – Tejan Kabba – Ernest, it is everyone’s guess whether the latter may not wish to send it South, as recent events seem to point.
By Joe Nyangu
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