By Dr. Yahya Kaloko, USA
Elections are a part of the democratic process. But their outcome must not be used to stifle the national interest both by winners and losers. In recent times, our country has undergone over two decades of democratic electoral processes. Just like in other countries practicing Democracy, the election results are usually met with mixed feelings on one side, and elation on the other. For some, the outcome may not reflect the will of the people, but the will of the “system” or “process”.
But what tends to be missing in the eyes of many is the vital interests of the state, through the party of choice, or the leadership at the helm. Notwithstanding the party affiliation, as patriots of our young democracy, it is our responsibility to put country first before party politics. MAY GOD SAVE THE REPUBLIC.
I perceive an alarming trend creepily ensconcing the APC party. A cabal within a cabal is emerging. This will not serve the interests of the party, but a select few, the very leadership that is largely responsible for the party’s elections loss. Although some have declared retirement, there is however a semblance of real attempts to largely influence the process of “SELECTION”. Those smart enough know that efforts are ongoing secretly in some high places, aimed at creating robots to head some key leadership positions, to be remotely controlled behind the curtain.
But if history is to serve us well, let’s go back and remember the Ekutay days in our party, and how we ended in the wilderness for so long. We probably did not have enough strong moral voices then to fight against the special interests and other actions. Without holding back, and with no tribal intent, I do foresee the formation of a Kamabai, Binkolo, and Kamalo cabal shaping up, and poised to usurp the party’s top leadership, against the wishes of the majority. But remember, the APC party top leadership must not be slated for Bombali District only. Be warned that in politics, those with a personal agenda, purpose and passion win battles, and may end up writing a distorted history serving only their interests. Please wake up.
The APC party is at the crossroads, with daggers drawn on the sand. The battle between STATUS QUO maintainers and those pushing for CHANGE is beginning to rage. For those on the side of CHANGE, just remember you are faced with formidable foes that are willing to spend millions of ill-gotten wealth to maintain their relevance. But the most potent weapon against them is CHANGE. It may be delayed but cannot be vanquished. Sincere members of the APC, especially the younger generation, must rise and fight for the heart and soul of the party. Otherwise, it would be too late. The APC may end up relegated to the dustbin of History.
I say that because I see myself as a Sierra Leonean first, and APC member second. I will not trade my APC party credentials for anything else, except my patriotism. I believe we currently have a 21st Century leadership deficit in the APC. Our party is beholden to a special interest group that lacks the ability to add value to the party’s future growth. It is surrounded by individuals interested only in gaining from the party, with no apparent value added for long-term sustainability. They are bent on doing everything possible to control the party’s leadership even after they have failed it.
Are we going to continue allowing a culture of “Takers” than providers? Are we going to be silent because of fear of reprisals? But do we have anything more to lose by speaking up? The danger we have in our party today hinges on the divisions within.
There is a top leadership, the Takers, filled with arrogance and greed. They do not see anything wrong with the direction of the party. They have benefitted immensely at the expense of the party’s future. But they are still filled with greed, and willing to do everything possible to maintain the status quo, even after the party’s disastrous loss.
A second group, the Sycophants, sees ills within, but is more interested in maintaining the status quo. It adores the Takers of ill-gotten gains and aspires to be like them. This is the most dangerous group among us. The sychophants have been doing everything under cover of darkness to destroy others who speak up against the status quo. Their main goal was to be recognized with positions, and assume the same life style of the Takers. But if for ten years nothing was offered, are you still hoping?
The third group represents the Real Party Patriots, with the passion to see the party live and if possible rule forever. May God Almighty help them overcome. There are many of us who are willing to stay and fight for the heart and soul of our party. In a choice between what is honorable and personal, this group is willing to follow the honorable path at the expense of personal rewards.
The self-imposed retirement of our erstwhile Vice President Victor Foh is a cause for concern to many well-wishers in the party. What a fine, devoted, and passionate APC leader. Based on service to party, there is none like him in the entire current leadership of th pearty. When it comes to protecting our party from both internal and external foes, there is none comparable to him.
When some in our current leadership abandoned the party in its dark days, Victor Foh and just a few others stayed put. When some in our current leadership joined late Thaimu Bangura’s party, Victor Foh stayed the course, and defended the party. His intransigence to defend the APC at some point got him arrested and charged for treason. Although he has his frailties as a human being, but his commitment to the party is more exemplary than most in our current leadership. Even though he sounds evasive when questioned on his decision to retire and be nonpartisan, I strongly believe he feels sidelined by some in the top leadership, who are more interested in putting friendships and clan above all other vital interests.
To my honorable Senior Victor Foh, I strongly believe your conscience regarding your lifetime unbreakable contributions to your beloved party will help you live happily and at peace, notwithstanding the semblance of a grudging self-imposed retirement. But one more favor I feel compelled to request of you is not to turn your back on the APC. Please ensure you leave the door open to step in at any time when needed to help. There is nobody in the APC party today that can fill your shoes. Our younger generation needs mentoring from someone of your stature.
I personally have had disagreements with you in the past. For example, my past ambitions for the Freetown Mayoral position. But in retrospect, I reasoned with your wisdom. You are a fine man, despite your human frailties. May God Almighty richly bless you for your immense contributions to our beloved APC. You will be missed, but please let it be temporary and short.
To my brother, Ex-President Ernest Koroma, please step aside. The world or leadership is a stage. We cannot bemoan you for all the problems we currently face in the APC. But as a straight shooter, I can say with courage, you are mostly responsible for our elections loss, and the ensuing turmoil. I noticed there are many dancing around the issue, and not been straight with you. We thank you for the great achievements, but it is also time for you to keep your promise, i.e. retire from active politics.
Please do not impose yourself in SELECTING the next leadership of our party. Most of the membership, if not all, is still licking the wounds caused by your ego and intransigence. The lack of respect you showed to your party elders who stood behind the party during its dark moments, while you were absent, does not sit well with many. There are many ways you can continue helping this party recover other than being the king maker. You have no idea the damage you have caused for so many families and generations; how many relationships, homes, and communities have been destroyed by this election loss.
You led us into this abyss. It will further infuriate us more if you try to impose yourself as the king maker in “SELECTING” the future leadership of our party. As a brother, a friend, a party comrade, leader, and an ex-president, the posterity of our party will not be kind to you if you try to do so. As you rightly declared in March, it is time to retire from active politics and stay on the sidelines, in an advisory role. You have done so much good, but again caused so much pain. MAY GOD SAVE THE APC.
To our elected PRESIDENT BIO and the entire SLPP, please remember you have led before and relinquished power. Learn from those experiences and ensure you deliver on the promises you made not only to the SLPP, but the country. Avoid the leadership pitfalls of the APC.
MAY GOD GUIDE US ALL TO DO THE RIGHT THING FOR OUR NATION.