“Charles Margai to replace Sam Sumana?” – The government is feeling the heat

Dr. Sama Banya

16 August 2012

The signs continue to surface almost on a weekly basis: the government of President Ernest Bai Koroma is beginning to feel the heat, as the main opposition SLPP’s presidential candidate – Retired Brigadier Julius Maada Bio, continues to breathe down their leader’s neck.

This is the ruling APC party, whose spin doctors and other propagandists had up to a few months ago, been boasting with arrogance that their candidate would be riding roughshod over the youthful looking former military man, come November 17.

They now appear to be so unsure of that position that they have begun to make moves and noises, which would suggest that panic is beginning to set in.

In addition to the collusion with the National Electoral Commission to hike nomination fees to unprecedented and unreasonable levels, with the sole motive of excluding potential opponents at the forthcoming elections – especially the smaller parties who now pose a threat to them in their northern strong holds, there are rumours that in their desperation, they might want to mend fences with Charles Margai and his Peoples Movement for Democratic Change (PMDC).

If I had read the suggestion in the African champion, Torchlight or awareness times newspapers, I would not have given the rumour a second glance.

But there it was on the front page of the New Vision newspaper of Tuesday, August 14, in letters four inches high: “CHARLES MARGAI TO REPLACE SAM SUMANA.” It didn’t read like a speculation, on the contrary it was stated quite simply and unequivocally.

Everyone would agree that the New Vision newspaper is not an APC propaganda sheet or a praise singing publication or a sensational outlet, but a truly INDEPENDENT publication and not in any way to be compared with the alleged independence of say the awareness times – even if I have to admit that in recent times the newspaper has given much more publicity to the activities of President Koroma and the APC than to the opposition SLPP.

I am confident that the editor would not have written that headline, unless as it is stated he had had it from people in the APC corridors of power.

But does it not sound preposterous that any member of the APC hierarchy would even harbour such a thought?

Here is a party, which owed its victory at the run-off election of 2007 to a great extent to its alliance with Charles Margai’s PMDC; the same APC party, which along with its propaganda agents had up to very recently continued to pour insults and scorn on Charles’ and making a ridicule of his integrity, calling him among others – a blackmailer, a spent force, who was on the brink of political self destruction, etc.

Would it now be thinking of eating humble pie by going down on its knees to woo the man? Is this not an act of desperation on the part of a President who is determined to retain power at all costs?

I will not attempt to answer for Charles; the man has been steadfast since the great betrayal by the APC, which has gone to the extent of poaching members from the PMDC, and at the same time getting PMDC rebels like Steven Gaojia, Soko Kabia to plot the removal of Charles from the PMDC leadership.

Of course, to save face now that the secret is out, the leadership may yet issue a denial of any knowledge of such contacts. It would be interesting to hear Charles’ reaction.

In an unrelated but similar act of desperation, Karamoko Kabbah of the missing millions of Leones trusted in his care in a road accident, has on behalf of the Presidency lodged a formal complaint with the Party Political Registration Commission (PPRC) against the SLPP.

He is accusing the SLPP of using information passed to it by Dr. P K Muana and Tamu Listserv to wit, that: articles published on-line under the heading – “Two peas in a pod” and, which expose his Excellency President Ernest Bai Koroma and Vice President Sam Sumana to ridicule and scorn in the public eye, have been used by the SLPP leadership.

This is the heading of the letter from State House sent to the PPRC, written by Karamoko Kabba of the millions of lost Leones in a road accident:

“A letter of complaint against the Sierra Leone Peoples Party (SLPP) for the use of Foreign donation/contribution in contradiction of chapter 1v section 19(1) of the National Electoral Act.”

But, while we wait for further developments, I would like to know what happened to Mark Heilinga and Dave Kloeber’s US$ 34,000 and more, given to Vice president Sam Sumana for the 2007 run-off presidential election.

The president’s spin doctors last Tuesday advised the president to throw security aside and test his popularity, by marching in the funeral procession of late Hindolo Trye.

Crowds – four deep, lined the entire route, from the King Memorial UMC Church on Regent Road to Ascension town cemetery, shouting and waving all the way.


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