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.
“That is why my personal story is intertwined with the constant struggle to fight for the voiceless and the marginalised in society.
“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:
It might be a good idea for Alie Kabba to form an alliance with KKY, but this idea comes at a price. Will KKY allow Alie to take over the leadership of this new alliance, and he KKY becomes the number two?
In my view listening to both candidates and reading their writings discussing the problems of Salone and how to solve them, I believe that Alie Kabba is the best man for the job (no disrespect to KKY).
In any case, I think that the time has come for both KKY and Alie to think seriously about whether they want to continue their leadership campaign as SLPP candidates.
To continue fighting sections of the SLPP in order to be accepted as bona fide members is going to be very costly, time consuming and emotionally destructive. Soon, law suits will be flying all over the place to resolve this membership issue.
And when that starts, no one knows how long the court will take to resolve the case. An APC controlled court will have no interest in bringing any SLPP court action to an end any time soon. Because the longer they drag the case close to 2018, the better it is for the corrupt APC.
My two cents worth.
Alie is the man. He has my vote.
According to the Awoko poll, he is polling in third place ahead of Timbo, Keili and Benjamin and it is good to see a progressive doing well.
I do think he should join forces with KKY rather than splitting the progressive vote for the FB position and allow Maada Bio to sneak. Mr Bio represents a clear and present (as well as future) danger to Sierra Leone’s development and there must be a concerted effort to ensure that he and his Benghazi Boys are nowhere near the presidency.
Alan do you believe that Awoko Poll? If you know what to do and have the time you can vote as much as you want. I believe some people have been doing so to put their candidate ahead.
I don’t think Alie Kabba should align with KKY because his membership is in question and his only objective is to become president by any means necessary.
He is only coming to SLPP now because he has weighed his options and see SLPP as soft option to use as vehicle to the presidency.
Alie Kabba is experienced enough to consider alignment with other progressive Flagbearer candidates. He doesn’t need an opportunist like KKY!
I like your characterization of JMB and his so-called “Benghazi Boys.” He surely represents a clear and present danger to our democracy.
Here is what I think about his “paopa politics”: first, he and his close associates are broke; allowing him to enter State House will mean a further looting of our treasury.
Second, the chances of healing as a polarized nation is slim under Maada Bio. This is because I see him as man full of vengeance and venom for the current government.
But over and above those two reasons, the SLPP under JMB seems very much of a photocopy of the thuggish politics the APC espouses. And if that was the case, many of us will be willing to support the original (APC) rather than follow the photocopy (SLPP).