Sierra Leone Telegraph: 11 September 2015
Take a cursory look at the long list of SLPP presidential aspirants and you will see that the party is not short of quality leadership. But there are a few that are standing heads and shoulders above the rest, assuming tribalism is not a deciding factor.
On the one hand, this long list of aspirants is healthy for competition, but poses a headache for those who have to choose the best candidate for the presidency next year.
Much has been said about the strengths of some of the candidates – Kandeh Yumkella, John Benjamin, and Andrew Kieli – as the top three likely winners of the candidacy elections. But there is a much under-estimated towering giant – a knowledge powerhouse who is all too often, unfairly overlooked. He is Mr. Alie Kabba.
Listen to the man speak about Sierra Leone and its problems and you get a sense of his remarkable potential to be a great president. Listen also to the policy solutions that he proffers in tackling the country’s economic decline, youth unemployment and poverty, and you get a sense of his ability to assess the myriad of complex problems facing the country.
So who is Mr. Alie Kabba (Photo)?
Speaking to the Editor of the Sierra Leone Telegraph – Abdul Rashid Thomas, he said:
“I am a humble servant of our people, especially the marginalised poor and the youths, who have been pushed to the sidelines by the usual suspects in the mafia politics that has been in our past and today in Sierra Leone, and who have also made a mess of our democracy and economy.
“I am a long fighter for social justice and I always stood up against impunity and the naked abuse of power in Sierra Leone and every place that I have been. I don’t just talk the talk, but walk the talk.
“As Fourah Bay College Student Union president in 1985, and barely out of my teens, I said no to Siaka Stevens’s totalitarian state and led students and the youth in demonstrations against him and his one party dictatorship.
“I believe in Sierra Leone and the basic and sincere resilience of our people and the resourcefulness of our youth. I am inspired by people who are struggling everyday for dignity and I feel that my life is an integral part of that quest to make human beings live a full life with dignity and the opportunity to live their lives in such dignity.
“This is what defines who I am – as the person who will give a voice to the social justice of those who are on the margins, who are neglected and often bullied by the political class in society.”
But Mr. Alie Kabba’s politics goes far beyond protest demonstrations as a university student of the 1980s. Thirty years on, he is faced with the likely challenge of being elected President of Sierra Leone.
So how does he propose to handle this challenge and more importantly, why does he want to become President of Sierra Leone?
“I am sick and tired of generations of our politicians making a mess of our country. Sierra Leone is a resource – rich country and so poverty should have no place in the country. However with gold, diamonds and other minerals, Sierra Leone remains one of the poorest countries in the world.
“Our politicians have formed alliances with the likes of Frank Timis, who brought the disaster of African Minerals and London Mining for the sole purpose of reaping off millions of dollars. Our own people were fired and left in poverty.
“If I become President, I will put a stop to this criminal politics, because if it continues, we may not have a country called Sierra Leone in the next 50 years.”
Alie Kabba spoke about his values and philosophies and how he would ensure that these values inform the policies that he would implement, if elected president of Sierra Leone.
He also discussed specific policies he will put in place, in order to tackle the problems faced by the 6 million people living in Sierra Leone. He spoke about a wide range of policy areas including poverty alleviation, youth unemployment, health, education, the economy, electricity, water, housing and sanitation.
Alie Kabba was asked how he would help build peace and unity within his SLPP party, which is seen by many as fragmented and not at peace with itself.
Finally, he spoke about his chances of winning his party’s flagbearer election next year, and said that if he loses, he will work with the elected candidate.
You can listen to the exclusive interview here: