John Leigh once vowed to harass the SLPP until thy kingdom come. But the man has been missing in action for a considerable amount of time. Did he quit politics? Or by crossing over to the APC, has Leigh realized that the grass was never greener on the outside?
John Ernest Leigh had his baptism of fire in APC membership in 2012. Soon thereafter, he vowed to wage a vigorous war on the SLPP. Obviously, he must have been expecting a generous offer from his new party that he could use as platform to fight the SLPP. But this might definitely have been a miscalculation on the part of the small guy.
The fact that president Ernest Koroma never showed up at Leigh’s APC confirmation ceremony, held on a sunny day at APC headquarters in Brookfields, could have been a signal that Leigh was no big fish that deserved a grandiose reception. Afterwards, the political wimp had only gotten three votes in two SLPP flag bearer elections – paltry and disgraceful by any standard.
Leigh ran on a rigid and open anti-Mende platform, injecting raw tribalism into a campaign that was doomed from the start. But despite the anti-Mendeness being self-evident, Leigh used it as a façade to conceal his bigger anti-countryman acrimony and revulsion.
Thus, with uncouth and putrid utterances and rants especially in Bintumani, the diminutive politician designed his candidacy as a covert counterbalance to countryman political domination in Salone. Additionally, Leigh’s feckless and uninspiring campaign endeavored to revive a fictitious Creole power and leadership in national affairs. This indeed must have been a prodigious task for the political pigmy given that countrymen account for 99% of Salone’s population while Creoles account for only 1%.
Yet with Leigh, nothing seems impossible. He would dream big until he gets punched in the mouth. In two flag bearer contests, he garnered a total of 3 votes, apparently, the worst electoral losses in Salone history.
There is no denying that politics in Sierra Leone is mired in tribalism. Tribalism has become the ideology that politicians use to divide the people. It is precisely this hopeless situation that the John Leighs of the world would capitalize on to get their fifteen minutes of fame.
It follows that despite being educated in advanced democracies, Sierra Leone’s political reprobates by their very tendency to easily succumb to blatant bigotry as an instinct, they make an already bad situation a national social malady. How can there be any meaningful effort at nation building in such an environment?
So where is John Leigh now? Where is the rambunctious and haughty nuisance that ran the structurally inept and ideologically bankrupt political campaign five years ago? Where is the minuscule and inconsequential political brat that vowed five years ago to act as a bulwark against the SLPP? Is he scared of confronting the very problems that he helped create?
In Sierra Leone, a decrepit and moribund political system often attracts spent and rotten forces to have their fifteen minutes of fame. These hustlers with no party or national loyalty usually pitch tent first with the SLPP. The thinking is that the democratic process inherent in the SLPP would somehow insulate their malevolent intentions. But when they fail, they quickly jump ship and pitch tent with the APC. For the sake of patriotism, these folks should be exposed and thrown out of the political process as they are dangerous and inimical not only to the democratic process but also to any attempts at national cohesion and nation building.
As we draw closer to national elections next year, we must hope that good-intentioned and magnanimous candidates emerge from either side of the political spectrum. This is the only way that the rottenness that we find ourselves in can somehow be overturned.