Dr. Sama Banya – Puawui
The Sierra Leone Telegraph: 22 July 2014
The last time that the APC won what could properly be described as a free election, was in March 1967, when the late Brigadier David Lansana later played into their hands, by staging an unnecessary military coup.
The repercussions of that event contributed in no small measure to the party succeeding itself in perpetuity for all of 24 years. (Photo: President Koroma).
Lansana’s coup was all too brief. It was aborted by his immediate subordinates, led by Charles Blake. That led to the National Reformation Council NRC forming a Military government, headed by the hitherto almost shy Andrew Juxon-Smith, who was to amaze everyone by being very garrulous and abrasive to the point of rudeness.
As a matter of fact, the former Chief Justice Sir Samuel Bankole Jones described his manners before one of the Commissions of Inquiry as being uncouth.
The NRC in its turn was overthrown by a group of Warrant Officers, headed by Emadu Rogers, James Kengenye and Patrick Conteh – incidentally all South-Easterners.
With a wholly biased Judiciary, practically all the successful SLPP candidates were unseated by election petitions in the High courts.
Then, the Siaka Stevens government or more correctly – my own schoolmate and friend S I Koroma (SI), with the unflattering title of ‘Agba Satani’, introduced the first of a series of election malpractices in a series of bye elections which were staged.
Mobile voters were transported from district to district, where they intimidated SLPP supporters and then voted in their place.
The rest is history; the 1973 Parliamentary election campaign was so violent that, the opposition SLPP withdrew from them altogether. This led to a de facto one party state.
In other elections, especially in the Northern Province, S I Koroma would under some false pretence invite all contenders to meetings, and then detain the SLPP candidates until nominations were closed.
Elections under the one party constitution, especially the one held in 1982, were the most violent in the history of elections since independence.
The irony was that all the contestants belonged to the single ruling APC party.
Former President Joseph Saidu Momoh reintroduced multiparty democracy in 1991. But then he immediately laid the ground for massive electoral fraud, as he appointed only known members of the APC to the National Electoral Commission, as well as most of the supporting staff.
Divine intervention in the form of a group of gallant young soldiers, led by Captain Valentine Strasser arriving from the war front, overthrew the regime and formed the National Provisional Ruling Council (NPRC).
But the APC party once again regained power in 2007, through the evil machinations of a Roman Catholic nun, who had abandoned her vows to God and the Church.
She also played a major role in the conduct of the 2012 elections that enabled the APC to hold on to power.
And now, as we begin to think of the 2017/2018 polls, the APC party are once again up to their old tricks.
There are now very strong indications that the groundwork for an unfair elections contest is being laid down, by manipulating the process of the appointment of the Statistician General and of the latter’s own activities in the recruitment of field staff and other census officials in the forthcoming national census exercise.
The leadership of the opposition Sierra Leone Peoples Party (SLPP) has in a widely circulated Press Release and a news conference, already drawn the attention of the general public and the international donor community to this nefarious plan.
Let this government be reminded that this country has experienced a most devastating and bitter conflict, through the activities of previous APC administrations.
But Governor Clarkson’s Prayer for this country (Colony at the time ) and divine intervention, have combined in the past to say; “Enough is enough!” and will not allow it to happen.
His Excellency my distinguished nephew has earned quite a reputation for infrastructural development, to the extent that an opposition SLPP Member of Parliament, as well as the Minority Leader in an unprecedented Parliamentary practice, invited him to their constituencies in appreciation of his development strides.
I would advise him to leave that kind of legacy behind in 2017, rather than allow his zeal for the APC to lead him otherwise.