I fully agree with what Oga Kandeh Yumkella is saying in that video and I’m sure that you do, too.
But even if he is not tainted by any accusations of avarice or any former association with Bio’s former military junta, can this one man, single handedly change the course of Sierra leone history and steer the country into a more positive direction? And what about those who are gathered around him, are they too not hungry and not just for a change in their own personal destinies, including their own personal well being and the hope of increase in their own pockets? The ball is in the court not so much of what Sheikh Umarr Kararah and his intelligentsia opine - in march the destiny of the country will be in the hands of the much wider public opinion of the Sierra leone electorate which will decide the outcome of this country’äs next presidential elections.
Hopefully, Poapa diehard’s “muse of fire” is still alive
but please Sir, doya, mamouton ,ai beg, hold your fire!
We know that our Field-Marshall Julius Maada Bio is never wrong even if he cannot be reasonably compared to his other indigenous African brother “His Excellency, President for Life, Field Marshal Al Hajj Doctor Idi Amin Dada, VC, DSO, MC, Lord of all the Beasts of the Earth and Fishes of the Sea and Conqueror of the British Empire in Africa in General and Uganda in Particular.
VC - Victoria Cross.
DSO - Distinguished Service Order.
MC - Military Cross.
Doctor - Doctor of Laws from Makerere University...
In some other countries, e.g. in Musa Kenema’s Sweden, the big money is not in politics or academia where the difference in salary between the big teacher and the little teacher is not that great - the big money is in big and even little businesses big industry, technology and agriculture - whereas some of the people go into politics in Sierra Leone just as Oga Yumkella so rightly says, because it’s a rags to riches affair.
In the present system of things - corruption is part of the system , some say it ( corruption) is THE SYSTEM, becoming President of Sierra Leone is tantamount to becoming King of a feudal system, as in
“They say that patriotism is the last refuge
To which a scoundrel clings
Steal a little and they throw you in jail
Steal a lot and they make you king”
The various individuals who are competing for the Sierra leone presidency mostly say the same things, that they are not power-hungry or greedy for money , that they want to be president for the good of the country - Ernest Bai even gave some of us hope when he said ( before becoming president) that he would entertain ZERO TOLERANCE FOR CORRUPTION in his administration and there’s little doubt that his crown prince will either promise the people that he intends to improve on President Koroma's Zero tolerance for corruption policy.
After piecing together the story of Ali Baba and his cabinet of 40 thieves, can we afford to trust any of our Shierra Leone politicians ?
Perhaps, we have been there before:
Going back to 2006, here we have Jim Clancy interviewing Ernest Bai Koroma and Femi Oke interviewing Solomon Berewa a few months before the Sierra Leone presidential elections:
Just in case you have a slow internet connection, here is the full interview:
From East Africa, we head west to Sierra-Leone, where the campaign for next year's presidential election is already gearing up. July's election will be the first since the United Nations peacekeepers elect last year. It's seen by many as a test of the country's ability to keep a lasting peace. The former British colony emerged from a decade of civil war in 2002, but the country is still facing problems of poverty, tribal rivalry and allegations of government corruption. So, we spoke to two of the top presidential candidates. We'll hear from Vice President Solomon Ekuma Berewa in just a moment, but first Jim Clancy caught up with opposition leader Ernest Bai Koroma of the All People's Congress earlier this year. Jim Clancy asked him what topped his agenda.
ERNEST BAI KOROMA, PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: The number one issue, I believe, will be corruption. And the people of Sierra-Leone are looking forward to a government that will put up a strong fight against corruption, a government that will be more accountable to the people, and a government that will open up and allow Sierra-Leonians to have equal opportunities irrespective of your political convention.
JIM CLANCY, CNN CORRESPONDENT: That's a very general assignment. Dissatisfaction with the government of President Ahmad Tejan Kabbah. At the same time, what are you offering the people? Their concerns are education, their concerns are jobs, their concerns are putting food on their tables and having a roof over their heads.
KOROMA: What I believe I will offer to the people of Sierra-Leone is, in the first place, I will come with a real policy of zero tolerance against corruption. If this message goes out and clearly to the Sierra- Leonians, that this is the government that is going to put up a serious fight against corruption, I'm sure the leakages that are responsible for the poor delivery services in the social sector, like education, health and employment situation will be turned around.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
OKE: And that was Sierra-Leone's opposition leader Ernest Bai Koroma speaking there.
Now, I caught up with his opponent earlier this week. Here is what the vice president of Sierra-Leone and presidential candidate Solomon Ekuma Berewa had to say to Koroma's allegations of corruption.
SOLOMON EKUMA BEREWA, SIERRA LEONE VICE PRESIDENT: When the APC or APC leader talks of corruption, it's very ridiculous. Because they institutionalized corruption. It was they who made corruption a way of life. (inaudible) were granted (inaudible), because they were very corrupt, and nobody was allowed to talk about it, nobody was allowed to say anything, because they were corrupt. It is (inaudible). Let us come and show them that corruption is not the right way to run the government.
OKE: Mr. Vice President, what is the greatest challenge facing Sierra-Leone today?
BEREWA: Well, the greatest challenge is this: Now that we've tried to bring stability to the country, peace, we thank God for that, we thank the international community for that. The next thing we are now going for is to find ways to improve the lot for the average Sierra-Leonian, to reduce the level of poverty that (inaudible) country. It will take a lot of measures to achieve that. You don't have the time now for me to go through that.
The next challenge we have is to restore the dignity of the Sierra-Leonian, which was really impaired over the 27 years of misrule and mismanagement by an undemocratic, autocratic government. These are the challenges we have.
OKE: And that was the vice president of Sierra-Leone speaking to me earlier on this week.