Dr Richard Konteh calls on his Loko tribe to vote for APC – is this electoral tribalism?

Sierra Leone Telegraph: 17 March 2018:

Taking it at face value, many may argue that tribalism is a harmless fact of life in Sierra Leone, as its society is naturally organised around tribal identity and affiliation.  But when tribalism –  becomes the token with which a politician advocates for electoral votes or allocation of public resources in favour of his tribe at the detriment of the other, then it becomes a serious problem for society. And that is the issue for debate, raised in the following story.

Sierra Leone’s election is being marred by political violence, driven largely by tribal competition for domination, and promoted by politicians and their supporters.

Yesterday, there was report of one dead in the south of the country, when violence erupted between supporters of the ruling APC and the opposition SLPP. Calls for an end to tribal speeches and utterances are growing.

But where does mobilising of one’s tribe for collective block voting starts and ends, as the line between tribalism and gerrymandering becomes blurred? What is not in question however, is the dangerous link between tribalism, political violence and hatred.

This is a story by John Ngowahun titled – “Dr Richard Konteh Summons a Loko meeting at Boston’s Community Center, Kissy”, that has sparked a debate. Is this electoral tribalism, and is it bad for Sierra Leone’s politics?:

Even at a very short notice, the Loko residents in Freetown, massively responded to a clarion call of Dr Richard Konteh to a very important meeting at Boston’s Community Center, Kissy in the east end of Freetown.

The meeting was geared towards hatching a strategy to winning the pending run-off election scheduled to take place on the 27th of this month.

Addressing the mammoth Loko gathering at Boston’s community center today Friday 16th March, Dr Richard Konteh (Photo) told his people that it’s high time they put aside their differences and look at the bigger picture.

He urged the Loko people living in every nook and cranny of Sierra Leone to vote the APC and Dr Samura Kamara in the run off election scheduled to take place on the 27th of this month.

Dr Richard compared the massive development that took place under the Ernest Bai Koroma’s APC ten years rule and that of the conspicuous underdevelopment that Sierra Leone was subjected to during the eleven years rule of the SLPP.

The SLPP’s ten years rule he reiterated, was characterized by poor road network, widespread blackout among others. He appealed for unity among the Lokos and emphasized that without unity the tribe would not move forward.

Responding to Dr Richard Konteh on behalf of the Loko people, the Loko Tribal Chief, Alhaji Alpha Sesay said that the involvement of Dr Richard in the APC campaign has not just brought extreme happiness to the Loko people but has also reawakened the political spirit of the tribe.

He said the tribe had sometimes left in political wilderness without leadership to provide them with political guidance. “But now that you have come back into the scene, our hope is restored as a tribe,” he said.

Meanwhile, Dr Richard and entourage moved on to Morgegba in the Western Rural where he pacified the aggrieved community that raised concerns about their lands taken by the Lands Minister Madam Diana Konomanyi.

“You cannot set your house ablaze because of a mosquito,” Richard told the aggrieved community, assuring them that the moment APC regains power after the March 27 run off election, an amicable solution to their lands problem would be sought.

Dr Richard Konteh and entourage have left Freetown for the provinces. Richard Conteh Say Tolongbo. (End).

A few weeks ago, at the at the start of election campaigning, a poster produced by senior ruling APC party stewards – with the slogan: “Krios for APC”, was strongly condemned. Even the country’s Party Political Registration Commission (PPRC), published a statement condemning such behaviour as tribalism, which they rightly said has no place in Sierra Leone’s politics.

But how different is Richard Konteh’s mobilisation of his Loko tribe – calling on them to vote APC, to the ”Krios for APC” saga that was comprehensively and publicly condemned by all?

There are efforts and national campaigns being organised aimed at kicking tribalism out of Sierra Leone’s elections. But will it work, when politicians are blatantly promising tribal favours for votes?

7 Comments

  1. People like Dr Richard should have NO PLACE in Sierra Leone politics. You’d expect a well educated man to be responsible enough to know what needs to be said and done in this worrisome times of Sierra Leone. But it is clear Dr Richard is as ignorant like all the others responsible for the violence and anarchy that have engulfed Sierra Leone for the last 20 years.

    I’m sure with time, people like Dr Richard would be held accountable for divisive message meant to destabilize the country. The world is watching!!!

  2. I do believe Mr Konteh does not seem to be a Sierra Leonean. All political parties have left their voters free to elect the new president. Why should he try to influence them? Is he encouraging tribalism in the country? Sierra Leoneans will not accept that.

  3. Sheku Dumbuya you are just talking out of sheer hatred for APC. APC did brought development into Sierra Leone the last ten years. It is only someone who claims to be educated but is actually not, will say they didn’t, and also partisan folks.

    Despite the twin shocks we had, the government still maneuvered the economy and prevented it from going down the drain. If EBK did not love Sierra Leone why did he work so hard for a decade to keep the country going?

    If another government was in power this past 10 years, with the same circumstances, they wouldn’t have done any better. Sierra Leone would have been in a terrible situation. So thank God for such a leader!

  4. Yes, of course you can instruct your tribal Loko to do so, but do you think all of them would be on your side? No, because they know what they are going through on a daily basis. This is not about tribalism as you claimed, it is who cares about you.

    Today the Chinese prisoners are now valued, working in our country making good money for their gov’t while the youths are suffering in the country we know all. We are appealing to the international world to rescue Sierra Leone and it’s people from APC.

  5. Dr Richard Conteh sorry to let you know that ungratefulness not a mistake but it is a will of someone’s actions deliberately. Who created the 11 year civil war in Sierra Leone if you were alive at the time? Who brought injustice, making the country a one party state doing whatever they like to do? That was the APC gov’t.

    Even someone who has lost his or her mind or with incomplete IQ, would never say what you have said on the social media like this. As a Dr I don’t know what kind of doctor you are but I believe with all due respect you’re a nice man. Has Sierra Leone became a province of China if yes or no to you, why don’t you mention about China in your statements?

    Dr, I don’t care how much you love E.B. Koroma bur Sierra Leone is ours. We always praying that whosoever is planning to inflicts another civil war in Sierra Leone, may God destroy that particular individual. I lost my twin sister during the war, I can’t forget that in my lifetime. Dr. Koroma is not a good leader and he doesn’t love this country.

    Kabba of SLPP brought peace in this country, why don’t you mention that in your article? Dr Conteh ungratefulness is not fair. The Sierra Leoneans have spoken on March 7th and we will continue to speak on March 27th 2018 by the power of God, Your brother Ernest will hand over the power to another party.

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