After a week of brouhaha over the insane salary demands of parliamentarians, there appears to be some quietness over the issue. Seemingly embarrassed parliamentarians would be praying that the prevailing quietness is sustainable over time. But how did this entire mess originate in the first place? Fingers are being pointed at Dr. Kandeh Yumkella, the globetrotting National Grand Coalition leader with the healthy appetite for sartorial elegance, as the man that first raised the issue of improving the conditions of service of parliamentarians in Salone.
Word is that Yumkella was part and parcel of the seemingly now aborted salary crusade. However, the NGC leader jumped ship like a rat once it became apparent that the hungry masses of Salone were in arms with the horrendous proposals. May this have been the reason why Yumkella carefully planned a trip out of Salone? For those who may have forgotten, Yumkella also flew out of Salone when the free quality education initiative was about to be launched. And he again flew out when parliamentarians were to vote on the instruments of the Commissions of Inquiry. Hmmm. What kind of leadership is this guy exercising?
Interestingly, in the wake of the MP salary outrage, one of Yumkella’s surrogates, the morally bankrupt nonentity, Mohamed Kutubu Koroma, released an audio tape lambasting president Bio and the SLPP. It must also be noted that Kutubu and other perpetual duffers in the opposition have become habitual social media tribal flamethrowers since Bio rode roughshod over their bosses in the last presidential elections.
Evidently, there is always room for tribalism in African politics. But history has shown that as a strategy, such a dumb move is not sustainable. In fact, political tribalism, fearmongering and hate are the domain of the intellectual weak and the morally bankrupt. It follows that for the opposition to be a factor in 2023, it must deviate from its foolishness and cynicism and demonstrate some astuteness in leadership.
Astuteness in leadership requires maturity and rectitude, virtues that are still lacking in many of Salone’s opposition politicians. Suffice it that it is a shame that the same parliament that accommodates a dull, comatose and deadwood opposition is the same parliament making outrageous salary demands. How can such wage increases be justified for a dysfunctional institution whose entire opposition has been reduced to one man – Yumkella?
The present parliament is so faceless in character and so languid in purpose that the average Sierra Leonean would be hard pressed to name five of its members. Significantly, it has become habitual that deliberations in the legislative body have on several occasions featured only one opposition voice – Yumkella. But deliberations and other issues notwithstanding, given Salone’s paltry GDP per capita, lawmakers making demands for wardrobe and other allowances in addition to take home pay must have their heads examined.