SAMSUMANA FEELS THE HEAT
Special Assistant To The VP
As the elections in November 2012 draw near, every politician is feeling the squeeze to demonstrate why they should be considered for retention or conscription or otherwise for selection to occupy a coveted office of State. No one however is feeling the heat at this moment more than the Vice President Chief Alhaji Samsumana. The pressure on him is understandable. His tenure in office will officially come to an end once the election campaign starts and until he is confirmed by His Excellency President Ernest Bai Koroma, on his sole prerogative, there is no security of a continuance by VP Samsumana in office. Whilst others will have come to the realization by now that their political career will have to change, mostly for the better, it appears that the Vice President, if his career changes imminently, it will not likely be for the better other than for him to remain in the same position he has occupied for the past four or more years.
It was always with frantic exuberance in the old school days when at the end of a school year, remarks such as “promoted,” or “promoted on trial” were conceded to students whilst the penalty “to repeat” was seen as a malevolence. How interesting indeed that for a man like Samsumana, the anticipated remark he would wish to see in his report card is that which says, repeat! Others will understandably wish to see themselves being promoted from relative obscurity to new offices such as Councillors, or Members of Parliament (MPs), in some cases, we would even experience promotion to the post of Mayor for Freetown and other major Municipalities. Some MPs who have put in lackluster performances may get the nod to be promoted on trial, simply because for some, their support locally may out-mask their individual performances or otherwise residual credit accruing from some Government project such as new investment programmes, road building projects or enhancement of local economies may mean that they ride on the popularity of the party and not on their own outputs. For those, the phrase promoted on trial may well suit them, albeit they may face serious remonstration from the party hierarchy for better performance next time.
In the case of Samsumana, he has already started feeling the heat because the determination of his fate may come earlier than for the others. However, once he is confirmed to repeat the same position, he is sure to continue in his role as an able lieutenant and a trusted and worthy adjunct to His Excellency President Ernest Bai Koroma. No mistaking the fact that Samsumana then rides on the record and the ticket of Ernest Koroma, in his own stead, he has to enjoin a demonstration to the President and the Party hierarchy that he brings solidity, statesmanship and loyalty to the position. The question of whether he has done enough to exacerbate that proof is an open secret. He has done what is required of him as a Vice President and his loyalty is unquestioned, his commitment to the President’s Agenda for Change undiminished. He however still needs to deal with some pertinent and personal issues, some more necessary than not in order to guarantee the President’s confidence reposed in him. That he is a master of his own destiny should be well and truly accepted by him at this point and for those reasons that make him somewhat of a mystical figure he needs to address and quickly.
Firstly, Vice President Samsumana is unlucky not to have been able to attract formidable, worthy and skilled aides around him. This has affected the way he conduct his affairs and consequently, he has not benefitted from a robust dissemination of his activities, his successes in executing tasks in a manner conducive to good governance, especially in the support role that he accords the President. There is no doubt that he has acquitted himself in an exemplary manner throughout but he has fallen short in articulating how well he has performed in office. The reason for this lapse in communication is not without a very credible and substantive reason. The office of Director of Communications even at State House is a relatively new office and it took the vision of President Ernest Bai Koroma to introduce such an office. Since its inception, news reports, presidential briefings and information on the President’s diary engagements have been flawless, with steady, constant and credible information ably disseminated by Jarrah Kawusu-Konte and his team. That the Vice President should have benefitted from such an office is without doubt and it is incumbent that some priority be given to that aspect of his administration in the very near future.
Secondly, the perception of the man in the office has taken a very bad turn, mainly because of a dearth of credible and substantive information of him and what he stands for. This has been a Vice President, who unlike SI Koroma of old, have failed to drive an independent but contributory path, engaging on development projects or initiatives such as the Self Help Projects that made Maforki famous in the old days. Vice President Samsumana could not have acted like a doyen like S I Koroma for very good reasons. However, his open and vociferous support for the President’s Agenda for Change would have been much more vocal, more forceful and much more co-ordinating. That he has not been able to do these is down to the fact that he has a thin supply of practitioners within his inner circle to the extent that no one pays much attention to his Gazetted responsibilities but rather pontificate on the grandeur of office. This again, through no direct fault of the VeeP has caused some consternation in certain quarters.
Finally, the perception that his commercial background has echoes of wrongdoing combined with a perception that he is thrifty also causes damage to his persona. The notion that the Vice President is a bad person simply because he has a background in commerce in the USA is very far from the truth. Yes, the USA is a country where even your children can sue you for divorce let alone your wife suing the pants off you for child support and alimony. The USA is a very disgruntled society where people resort to litigation to settle an argument rather than seek arbitration by other less costly means. On account of his position, people he had had prior commercial interests with attempted to bring a court case against him on account of a failed business venture. Nonetheless, he settled all those disputes and have decided to move on with his life as a dedicated public servant of Sierra Leone. He is a dedicated family man true to his religion. That whilst dealing with all these external pressures, he may not have spare cash to dish out to each and every cause that is brought before him is understandable. However, it may be requisite that his position on certain matters be made public in a humane and respectful manner so as to protect his privacy and honour the status of his office.
All in all, as Vice President, Samsumana continues to feel the heat right now, impugned on him on account of his position, one thing is plain for all to see. This is a man who has been loyal, true and dedicated to his duties, you cannot fault him for that. For any other thing that his detractors may throw at him, the Sierra Leone population know and recognize one plain fact, Vice President Chief Samsumana is human. He is susceptible to making a mistake here or there but what he is not guilty of is a crime and that as long as he is an honest and innocent man, he has all rights to be seriously considered favourably by His Excellency and for him to be told to repeat another term in his job.