Dr. Sama Banya – Puawui
24 July 2012
I remember that morning in 1978, when the late Salia Jusu-Sheriff – the leader of the SLPP opposition at the time, stood almost alone – but with his chin up, making his memorable submission to the rest of us on the government side, as well as to almost all of his eleven colleagues in Parliament.
The only exceptions were the late honourable Mana Kpaka and the late honourable George Kpegwe Siaffa; they had courageously voted “nay” when the final Question was put by the Speaker of Parliament – the honourable Justice Singer C. W. Betts on the One Party Bill.
Among other things Salia had said; “The one party bill is now a fact of life; even members of my own party have voted in favour of it. We must now hope, but hope alone is not enough Mr. Speaker and honourable members; we must all strive hard to make sure that it works.”
I do not have a copy of the Hansard in front of me as I write this Puawui column; I have quoted from memory, believing that the above is as near as practicable to late Maada Salia’s emotion free, but memorable summary.
I have recalled the event, more especially the statement in relation to my previous stand with the present chairman of the National Electoral Commission – Dr. Christiana Thorpe, my long time former friend.
Since her momentous decision on September 17, 2007, with its far reaching effect on this country, I have not stopped attacking her action.
But what she did has become a fact of life in the country. Ernest Bai Koroma has remained the President of Sierra Leone, and as Jusu-Sheriff said thirty-four years ago, her decision to do what she did is indeed a fact of life.
Even if the Supreme Court was to decide that it would hear the petition of the opposition Sierra Leone Peoples Party (SLPP) against Ms Thorpe’s decision, whatever the result it produces would be irrelevant to the reality of life.
Some other person would be in the Presidential chair in state house and Ernest would have collected his gratuity, and begun to draw his pension; because the court’s verdict would not be available for another two years at the earliest.
I have been persuaded to drop my very high profile disapproval of the lady and to renew our friendship, which was very cordial in the past. Not that It had ended, because for some strange reason we invariably embrace when we do meet.
Henceforth, I shall join Retired Brigadier Julius Maada Bio in hoping that she would conduct free and fair elections, no; for me that the result of the elections would be acceptable to all.
Depending on where I meet her next, we shall clink glasses and quietly toast each other.
But like Jusu-Sheriff said way back, I must repeat that hope alone is not enough; Christiana must strive not only to conduct free and fair elections, but must produce satisfactory and credible results.
Henceforth, all the available zeal of an 82 year old man will now be directed at persuading my countrymen to give our Ernest a rest after November 17 and to get Maada into state house with Kadi Sesay by his side.
Here I would like to reassure my departed friend Olu Gordon (may his soul rest in peace), that I shall in future refuse not to view Kadi Sesay by any other, than by her very charming face, whether or not I am carrying a brief case.
Members of the great ‘Torkpoi’ family and ‘fellow travellers’ mere wishes and dreams will not get Maada there.
We all must use our best endeavours and reach out to our people with the information, which we already possess about this inefficient, regionally and ethnically divisive regime.
We must do this by urging all registered voters to go out on that day in November, and cast our votes for Maada Bio and for all the SLPP candidates.
Of course, we will be tempted to do otherwise, like we were tempted in Pujehun, Buedu, Tongo and other places, but remembering our slogan “Memei gba, Kula mei gba” (Where we feed is different from where we cast our vote).