COPP and Sierra Leone at a crossroads of history – Op ed

Jesmed F Suma: Sierra Leone Telegraph: 8 April 2022:

It is no secret that the ineptitude of the Bio administration as reflected in their mismanagement of our economy has subjected our people to unbearable economic hardship. Many are saying that this is the worst economic hardship they’ve experienced in their lifetime, at peacetime, not war time.

Most people are more worried about their daily survival than anything else. According to a recent humanitarian report released by an NGO – Concern Worldwide, *Sierra Leone has the highest hunger levels in West Africa with more than a quarter of its citizens undernourished, and a child mortality rate of 10.9%. Oct 14, 2021″ – but the tenth hungriest country in the world.

As noted above this report was released few months ago in October 2021 before the current general price increases of basic goods and services including fuel. Therefore, it is safe to assume that the situation is definitely worst now. Our people are suffering.

The question is, what do we do about it? The problem is daunting but not insurmountable.

To begin the process of addressing our economic woes, we must fix the single most important hindrance to our national development – the leadership problem. Unless we fix the leadership vacuum, we will never be able to meet the challenges of our time.

I have said it before, and I will say it again. We need a leader that will create an economic environment that will move our people from overdependence on government, to an economic level of self-sufficiency and economic independence.

In view of this, the right political leadership is a must, and must be one who will focus on creating the right environment to enable our people to rise on their own without having to depend on government or politicians.

I know politicians like the idea of people depending on them, even for their basic survival because it gives the politicians absolute control over the lives of those unsuspecting citizens who knock on their doors for their daily bread. We have been on this path for over 60 years with nothing to show for it but failures – underdevelopment and hardship.

We are at an important crossroads in our country’s political story when poignant lessons should have been learnt, critical decisions made and the choice of a leader that will define the path we must take into the future.

We now need to choose between a member of the old guard, leading us to repeat the same mistakes of the past that has brought us to this dismal economic decadence or choose someone new, who will carve a new path to a progressive, successful trajectory for all Sierra Leoneans.

Presently, we have such a person with a proven history of transformational leadership. If we want to be honest with ourselves, we must agree that there is no better person that has everything it takes to meet the challenges of our time than the person of Hon Alhaji Dr Kandeh Kolleh Yumkella, commonly known as KKY.

Whether you like him or not, or you support him or not, there is no denying that he has become a household name in Sierra Leone because of his ‘country fos’ stance in Parliament. Speaking on behalf of the people of Sierra Leone.

He has changed the political landscape in Sierra Leone and his popularity has been acknowledged in every quarter of the Sierra Leonean and international political space.

The question is, will those in the position of making such a crucial decision put the interest of the nation above all else and make the right choice; or will they allow their egos and partisan interest override their true patriotic responsibility? I pray for the former.

 

2 Comments

  1. President Bio has proved that he is a true patriotic leader when he handed over power to a democratic leader in 1996 only within 90 days in office. Within 90 days, he used his leadership skills to initiate the peace process which eventually resulted in the Lome Peace Agreement between the RUF and late President Kabba. He also displayed his leadership skills in 2012 after losing the presidential election campaign by giving former President Koroma the chance to govern instead of making our country ungovernable. He supported the government during the Ebola outbreak by uniting voters around the idea of saving lives after over 4,000 citizens died from disease.

    In 2018 when he was voted president, he fulfilled his main campaign promise by implementing the Free quality education program, which has benefited our citizens which majority are Muslim and polygamous with at least 6 children per family. Now, through his leadership skills, he continue to “save lives and livelihoods” during the pandemic. Through his astute leadership and governance skills he has been elected as the Chairman of the African Union (APRM).

    Finally, working for the United Nations is not a qualification to be a President, otherwise, former United Nations Secretary General late Kofi Annan should have been the president of Ghana or the African Union. President Bio is a renowned Catholic who believe that “ If the Almighty God is with you, who can be against you?’.

  2. Yes, it is imperative that Sierra Leoneans should vote with their senses this time around, and choose a selfless leader that understands the day-to-day challenges of the masses; that will create a concrete and sustainable foundation for economic development; induce an atmosphere of national security and cohesion of all ethnic groups without any loss of identity; educate the populace as a privilege and not as a tool for political gains; and most importantly, a leader that will respect the constitution of the country alongside the formation of independent and solid institutions in governance. In fact, the latter could be the greatest oversight in the governance trajectory ot the country since independence. The leaders are made to be too powerful – perceiving flexibility or compromise as a form weakness – and the institutions are so weak that there is the tendency for them to be trampled upon by these man-made despots.

    Dr Kandeh Kolleh Yumkella has got some of the credentials to be considered for the top job in the country – but so is each and every one of them who aspires for this very important and critical position.They come out with all the ‘grammar’ and fairytale promises in the world, leaving the people confused and apprehensive, and at end exploit their gullibility. They (the politicians) also know that Sierra Leoneans have the propensity to ‘corlay’ and make uninformed decisions. This is evidenced by the accidental outcome of Maada Bio and his fake and seemingly flamboyant Fisrt Lady, Fatima Bio.

    To say Dr Yumkella is NEW to the political dispensation in Sierra Leone could be seen as a deceitful misinformation. Dr Yumkella is one of the old boys in the country’s politics looking as far back as the NPRC days (stand to be corrected). In actual fact, Dr Yumkella is an offshoot of the present ruling SLPP government, and his party, the National Gand Coalition (NGC) is a mere product of the present corrupt political outfit. And, one may like to ask, what is the overriding fator that will make Yumkella different from the SLPP philosophy? Is there any attribute that makes Dr Yumkella better than Dr Samura Kamara? Sierra Leoneans must give a chance to the cool, cautious and meticulous Dr Samura Kamara, and refrain from the same distractions that led to present misadventure. Samura (Matthew Wilson) Kamara is the inevitable safe hand.

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