Former president Koroma raises peace stakes in Sierra Leone

Sierra Leone Telegraph: 28 June 2019:

There are continuous and sustained calls for the former president of Sierra Leone – Ernest Bai Koroma, to step down from active politics. But the president and his supporters say he is going nowhere.

Critics say that he needs to make way for a new and democratic leadership in his party, that will bring an end to political tension in the country, which many believe is being fuelled by the former president’s dictatorial control of the main opposition All People’s Congress Party (APC).

The APC party is being accused of refusing to accept defeat suffered at the presidential elections held in March 2018, which saw the opposition Sierra Leone People’s Party (SLPP) forming a government, led by former military brigadier – Julius Maada Bio.

A veteran of the APC told the Sierra Leone Telegraph that the APC party will only accept the new government, when it addresses the concerns raised by the APC.

The former president and leader of the main opposition APC – Ernest Bai Koroma, has in the past few weeks, received a flurry of high-powered visits at his home in Makeni.

It all started with the visit of ex-president Helen Johnson Sirleaf of Liberia who met with Koroma two weeks ago to find a peaceful resolution, to what has become a protracted political tension between the ruling SLPP and the APC leadership.

And then last Wednesday, came report of members of the country’s Inter Religious Council (IRC), meeting Ernest Bai Koroma, after a brief meeting in Freetown with the National Electoral Commission.

All in aid of getting Koroma to accept the results of the 2018 elections, without preconditions. But Koroma and the APC leadership are standing their ground, listing a plethora of concerns which they say the SLPP government and the judiciary must address, before any prospect of national cohesion can be agreed.

The IRC say that they are holding talks with all political stakeholders in an effort to find a peaceful resolution to the ongoing political tension in the country, following last March general and presidential elections, which resulted in the decision of the High Court to disqualify a dozen of elected APC members of parliament.

The opposition APC is accusing the SLPP government of disenfranchising the electorate, abuse of power, the mass sacking of supporters of the APC working in the public sector.

A few months ago, APC parliamentarians walked out of parliament in protest, accusing the government of failing to address their party’s concerns.

This culminated in heightening political tension, leading to outbreak of violence between the police and APC supporters outside the offices of the APC party in Freetown a few weeks ago.

Earlier this week also, saw former Vice President Alhaji Chief Sam-Sumana and members of the National Executive of his Coalition for Change (C4C) party, also visiting former president Koroma at his home in Makeni. (Photo above).

Although the purpose of their visit is still not clear, there are suspicions the former vice president – who was ironically sacked by Koroma in 2015, is looking to establish some form of coalition between C4C and the APC, to contest what is going to be a tough battle for the heart and soul of Sierra Leone at the 2023 general and presidential elections.

But C4C’s political strength lies in the eastern district of Kono, where in 2018 they won eight parliamentary seats.

At the recent bye-election held in Ward 099 in Kono, C4C won with over 51% of votes against their 43.7% polled in 2018 – an increase of 8%.

Kono is one of the two main ‘swing-states’ in Sierra Leone, where elections must be won by any party wanting to govern Sierra Leone – Freetown the capital is the other.

With C4C now in full control of Kono it is not difficult to see why they are being regarded as the party to watch in 2023, if either the APC or the SLPP fail to secure an outright majority. Sam Sumana can effectively become the kingmaker.

Another visitor received by former president Koroma last Friday, 21st June 2019, sparking much speculation, is the current Vice President – Dr Mohamed Juldeh Jalloh (Photo above).

It is reported that talks between Juldeh and Koroma lasted over two hours, though the nature of those discussions still remain confidential. But there are speculations both men spoke about the need to end political tension between the government and the APC.

Koroma is no longer president of Sierra Leone, and may soon be voted out as chairman and leader of the APC party at their national convention, expected to be held in December this year.

But until then, he continues to make his shadowy presence felt in the country’s political discourse.

Three days ago, Lawyer Mohamed Sheridan Kamara – a senior member of the APC, who also sits on the party’s Constitution Review Committee (CRC) set up by no other than former president Koroma after losing the 2018 election, tendered his resignation from the Committee with immediate effect, in protest at what he regards as Koroma’s despotic leadership of the party.

In his resignation letter, Mohamed Sheridan Kamara said: “Ostensibly, the CRC was set up to review our party’s 1995 Constitution and make our internal politics democratic and participatory, but in truth, it turns out to be a vehicle for the retention of the most undemocratic and repugnant SELECTION clause in the disguise of CONSULTATION clause. The questions that linger in my mind during the selection age have remained the same with a consultation era, with the most burning question remains: what the end product of consultation and the ultimate answer, is selection?; the very process that has been abused for more than a decade by the current leadership of the party”.

READ THE LETTER HERE:

13 Comments

  1. This man(EBKJ)is not looking for peace; he is not a peaceful person not even looking for one either, but I hope that he does listen, as one of our brothers has said it clearly that, Sierra Leone is not for sale.

    If EBK wishes, let him donates one of his villas to Sweah Sam Sumana; we don’t even care, but Sam Sumana will never rule Sierra Leone under EBK’s influence – period.

  2. Mr Moiba, this conversation is going nowhere. Its easy to see you lack the mental ability to cope and measure up, by your stubborn insistence in the erroneous belief that “Less is More” without citing a few examples to buttress your point. Now forget about the APC and pay attention to your party that resembles a ramshackle house, burning and on fire.

    Give those pretentious, cosmetic, half-baked superficial ideas to the SLPP. I’m quite sure they will welcome your myopic vision and stone age ideas. Now until you learn how to think for yourself, this conversation is over. Rising Sun Will Rise Again.

    • When intelligent arguments are missing, insulting is the order of the day. I won’t go so low.
      The rising sun is finally going to rest and I hope my points about modernizing the APC party has finally settled in.

      I will be happy to meet you over a pint of beer or a glass of cold water, whenever we happen to be home at the same time. No malice Saidu, looking forward to more controversial comments!

  3. The people who have destroyed the country are bent on inflicting more damage by their ill conceived opinions. Bai Conteh, what can you show us for the forty plus years of APC rule? Show us one developmental initiative that successive APC governments brought to the table to help Sierra Leone?

    Instead, party leaders including the president, used the Treasury as their private bank. Where are the Ebola funds? What about the Mudslide victims’ fund? Most of the APC hierarchy are millionaires ($). Where did they suddenly get their millions from? The sun has set.

  4. Mr Moiba – again with his weak, lackadaisical response after being shattered to pieces like glass and splattered like paint on a wall for his poorly conceived opinions. The countless imaginaries that I used on my comments are designed and crafted for thoughtful and clever men in order to enable them to be used as tools to sharpen their wits. You are not one of them!

    I know suckling infants deserve to be fed with liquids – Sorry Anthony, there is no milk; all I have and I am able to give to you is solid food. Here is a man that uses borrowed rhetoric, he doesn’t understand, incorrectly and out of context, like pieces of a jigsaw puzzle in their wrongful places, trying to brag and talk to me.

    “Less is more?” is complete and utter nonsense – the 2018 Encyclopedia has a total of 240 million, and Wikipedia twice that number – now what do you say? 12 Volumes full of intellectual material, priceless and useful information; And there you have it – an incomparable treasure, a rare book with a lot to teach: Are you answered?

    Less is not more, otherwise the Universe would have resembled your shallow little pond running out of logical and fruitful ideas. And by the way, stop the pretentious attitude – if you really believed that less is more, you would not have been among the loudest advocates for Building an expensive, unnecessary bridge that costs lots and lots of dollars. You see, Less isn’t more. Are we clear? Rising Sun Will Rise Again.

    • My friend Mr. Saidu Conteh, the strength of a clever man or woman is to transport in precise and concise manner (less is more) what you have to say but unfortunately I’m afraid with you it’s not the case. Too much of a “confused scientist” stuff, I hope you know what I mean.

      All along I’ve tried to point out to you why Sierra Leoneans can’t accept the role of a chairwoman for life in any of the political parties…….because we are tired of CLAN type of government. That’s why I commend the Kalokoh Movement and the NRM for their role in trying to modernize the APC. The Gang of Three can’t continue to hold the APC to ransom, it’s not their property and as a true Sierra Leonean I have to speak out against it.

      Maybe EBK could have achieved more if he had not listened to sycophants within the party. Your advice to EBK shows how far you are away from reality. Since the civil war EBK and Sam Sumana have messed politics (moral values…none) in Sierra Leone with no sustainable development to account for, except chaos and clandestine politics.

  5. Mr. Matturi, if we happen to get a President that encourages corruption, brings down the educational standard, destroys our governmental institutions, then it’s no longer the affairs of his party members only, because these deficiencies affect each and everyone of us. When Sam Sumana went to the ECOWAS COURT he did not sue EBK nor The APC Party but the Republic of Sierra Leone.

    I continue to call on APC members (including Mr. Saudi Conteh) to look for smart and progressive members to lead their party. As the biggest opposition party we need good leaders to help move this country forward.

    Sorry Mr. Matturi, Sam Sumana is a very big disappointment. I want our political leaders to have integrity and political maturity. But unfortunately Mr. Sam Sumana has lost these qualities and values.

    • Thank you very much Mr. Anthony Moiba for your contribution on this matter. It seems to me that you are very convinced that Chief Sam Sumana will be the next flag bearer of the APC and therefore the next President of the Republic of Sierra Leone.

      It’s not only you alone that is nervous on this development. A lot of people are, especially supporters of the NGC who came in Sierra Leone politics unknown as the C4C. They(NGC supporters) are now realising how difficult it is to pop into Sierra Leone politics and thrive successfully. The C4C is the only party that has ever done so. The LIMITED EDITION achievements are hard to materialize this days. DISCUSS.

      Just see what C4C did in the past bye-election. They have been handed a clear mandate by the people of Kono. Now that the C4C has grabbed and had a firm grip on their base, they are now going to expand their political tentacles throughout the country with terrific and optimal speed.

      By calling on APC supporters to look for smart people to lead their party seems that, you have lost hope in your party the NGC. What you are now doing is also undemocratic. Try to sort out the problems that had led to the disastrous unpopularity of the NGC. That would be a good idea I reckon. Moreover, I urge you not to panic at this time because, no merger/coalition talks have been materialized. Although it is just speculations at the moment, it could happen.

      Finally, you are questioning the qualities and political potentials of Chief Sam Sumana. SAD. As I always say, people should stop this CLOUD CUCKOO LAND mentality. We are now in an era of FACTS and not FAKES. Just say white when it is white and not off-white when it is pale yellow. If people start to be anxious and nervous three years into another general election, tells you how they have lost hope and confidence on their fairytale political parties.

      Finally and to be honest with you Mr. Anthony Moiba, the C4C is LOADED, LOCKED and CHECKED for 2023. That is a fact. Chief Sam Sumana will still be the leader. Whether you like it or not does not matter.

      What matters now is the fact that the C4C is going to spread its POLITICAL TENTACLES throughout the country by taking their POLITICAL OFFENSIVE through their well calculated and structured political machine to opposition held territories. Stay tuned Mr, Anthony Moiba and GOD BLESS YOU. Thanks for your contribution which I always respect.

  6. Sierra Leone is not for sale! It is alright to say I love my country “heart and soul” but when the love is attached with pre-conditions of self satisfaction, opulence and tribal supremacy, then people will start to visualize that love to a marriage of convenience in a fairy tale of unequal strata – where only a few will have the chance for survival and self-existence.

    It is also paradoxical to say you love a country when in actual fact, you don’t care, or are indifferent about the plight of the people’s basic needs including: the provision of jobs, social housing, health, well being, among others and most importantly their human rights and day-to-day security and livelihood.

    All what many can envisage is hatred, and a systematic and overriding concept of tribal stratification. Sierra Leone is not a Temne, Mende or Limba country – Sierra Leone is for all Sierra Leoneans!

    Like one European contributor cited on this forum: “Sierra Leone is not only Freetown, Bo and Kenema, I believe there are a lot of people on the countryside with good ideas if for private or organized as a co-operative, but they need financial support from the government.” That’s Reinhard Wiecha from Germany, expressing his feelings about the chronic attitude of centralization – or ethnic marginalization – of certain groups within a very tiny African country he had been to, and loved.

    Sierra Leone has come a long way. Even after the chaotic celebration of her 58 years of independence, Sierra Leone should now be in firm footing, or at least mature enough to identify her friends and foes with regards to the gradual and sustainable development of the country. People should start thinking of a larger context (the bigger picture) of Sierra Leone than just the capital, Freetown.

    The next general elections will be fought on the grounds of what the two main parties – the ruling Sierra Leone Peoples Party (SLPP) and the main opposition All Peoples Congress (APC) party – have done for the country in terms of: peace, style of governance, level of development across the whole country, and individual happiness and social cohesion. It will also hinge on the GENUINE LOVE of country by the prospective characters contesting to occupy the highest office in the country – the Presidency.

    The mentality of looking at Sierra Leone as a town – ‘Freetown’, is with hindsight belittling the country, and a lack of pride and identity. This way of thinking should be discouraged in people’s minds, so that the country can amass the ultimate thrust in steering towards the right direction. One country, One people. Sierra Leone has only got one tribe: The Sierra Leonean.

  7. In the name of Allah, the beneficent, the merciful, who sits on his tremendous throne in heaven, basking in overpowering, dazzling and enchanting splendor – who will forever remain unconquered, unchallenged and unperturbed – in whose Everlasting Majestic presence, the incomparable Golden Sun, radiant Moon, magical Stars and billions of planets gracefully kneel and prostrate themselves to worship, pay obeisance and glorify his immeasurable, unfathomable existence, immortality and Powers.

    I write to you, Your Excellency, Former President of the Republic of Sierra Leone, Ernest Bai Koroma, Our illustrious flag bearer Dr Samurai Kamara, and Honorable APC Members of Parliament, Greetings! My gravest concern presently, is that we should all remember to be alert, watchful and guiding our footsteps in these critical times, when social and political conditions prevailing in our Country today are quite unpredictable,and slippery.

    My advice to His Excellency is to Trust no one – to be mindful, and aware that treachery, betrayal and deceits resemble a cunning band of thieves that move together in groups, in search of who to rob, devour and destroy. Remember these words always sir – “Don’t Saw Off The Branch You Are Sitting On”. Ask yourself, why is the SLPP so desperate to have you step aside and relinquish control and your position as leader and Chairman for Life over the APC?

    And bear in mind while you meditate and ponder your thoughts that these are not religious monks and reverend fathers, anxious to bring you Salvation. Will our Chairman that fears no man, surrender his sword and shield to our belligerent opponents,in the midst of a fierce ongoing battle between good and evil. Sir,sincerely, I don’t think you should even think, consider or attempt to step down because if you do all hell and raging storms and tornadoes never before seen in Sierra Leone will be unleashed, and under command from the oracles of the SLPP, to hunt members of the APC down and destroy us forever.

    Wisdom says – Stay on the branch you are sitting on! Sir,no matter the endless numbers of witchesand wizards, well wishers, demons,devils,and angels that try to cajole,trick, persuade, threaten,or intimidate you – Say nope,I will sit on the branch for safety, just like Saidu Conteh advised – I will sit because men cannot be trusted; because they are treacherous,and are changeable like the color of figs and leaves. I will sit to ensure that peace,restraint,and temperance, prevail in governance,and the high places of Power,and leadership.

    Forget about retiring,Sir,stay deeply involved – Retirement is for losers,who wish to gather dust,and rust,like old unused,utensils, in secret,wasting away unburnished, instead of shining thoroughly with use. Why would a Lion leave a throne,to roam,and frolic around with playful Orangutans that climb trees?

    Throughout History great men have been betrayed by those closest to them; some that connived with the enemy were even family members. Trust no one – “a man’s enemies are the Men of his own house.” Hold the line! Do not yield,even for a minute,the gallant APC masses will always be with you. And remember,there are many traitors holding personal grudges,and grievances against you,and the APC,anxious to settle scores, who will sell our party to the SLPP for crumbs,and a handful of worthless pieces of Silver,if the opportunity arises.

    Once in Venezuela a military leader called Bolivar betrayed one of their country’s greatest patriot and former leader called Francisco Miranda,handing him over to Spain for false charges of treason. And then there was Chinese Politician Weng Jingwi,that sold his country to the Japanese just to exact revenge on his superiors,and fellow citizens. All of these men were trusted and held in high esteem in the eyes of those they betrayed.

    Trust no one! And the list goes on. Marcus Brutus,that betrayed his uncle Emperor Julius Caesar,and cunning Mir Jafar, who because of ambition to the Bengali throne betrayed India to the invading British. And also there was Samson from Biblical times betrayed by Delilah, the woman he deeply loved; and worst of them all Judas Iscariot, that betrayed his Master Jesus Christ for the love of money!

    Trust no one – sit on the branch you are sitting on presently,unmoved,unfazed,and unshaken! We are focused,carefully watching with firm resolve the tree,and unbreakable branch of Justice,equity,and courage you are sitting on; from a distance but watching all the same – no sweat,no shaking,no fears – Rising Sun Will Rise Again.

    • ‘Trust no one’ not even the few praise singers???…,..by so doing Mr. Conteh you are destroying the fundamental principles of a party. You keep surprising me all the time. You are not constant with your analysis. You might be a good technocrat but not a good politician.

      EBK knows that he has to leave in order that the party can make a fresh and progressive start. Remember I wrote in one of my commentaries that one should not underestimate time otherwise it starts working against you. Learn lessons from stubborn leaders in the past, in the likes of Mugabe – Zimbabwe , Yahya Jammed – The Gambia, Omar al-Bashir – Sudan.

      I will support EBK as an Elderly Statesman, to champion some of the challenging issues in our country today like Birth Control, Adult Education or housing for Ebola Orphans.

    • I wounder if certain people actually mean good for this nation, because if one can purport to be advising the then president Ernest not to resign from his current position as life time national chairman and leader, when he knows the former president needs not to occupy that position any longer.

      Ernest knows that DEMOCRACY hasn’t got room for his kind of action, except that he wanted to follow the Communists, where for instance Xi, Chinese President is in power for life. But it’s unfortunate that his MORE TIME CAMPAIGN didn’t work and therefore his RED DEVIL STANDARD BEARER saw his exit. Of course I now will agree that Samura is quite a fine gentleman, Ernest wanted to turn into a real devil. Ernest MUST RESIGN to give way to a new democratic systen to operate in the party, to clean his bad image.

  8. Fantastic counter offensive by the C4C and the people of Ward 099. The Konos and the people of Ward 099 in particular just illustrated how genuine and civilised Sierra Leoneans should behave politically. What a POLITICAL MATURITY example displayed by the courageous people of Ward 099. After TEARGASING their LEADER, FATHER, UNCLE and SON on the streets of PORT LOKO for no justifiable reasons, they came out in their THOUSANDS to vote C4C. No demonstrations, no throwing of stones, no big talk but, silently expressed their anger on the ballot box.

    This is what happens when you accidentally fall in the LION’S DEN. You will be crushed mercilessly with overwhelming force and eating up forever. From now on, beware before you present yourself for any elections in C4C controlled territory.

    I believe that asking former President Koroma to resign as leader of the APC from anyone outside the APC is undemocratic and unfair. Some are comparing the former president to other presidents who left power without engaging in politics. That is their problem. They can do what they like. Who cares? Maybe the birds. So let’s leave the APC to decide the fate of their LEADER. PERIOD.

    The C4C has the full backing of the Kono people. The MOMENTUM is there and under the charismatic and pragmatic leadership of Chief Sam Sumana, there is no doubt in my mind that the MOMENTUM would be maintained beyond 2023.

    There is a secret weapon by the C4C and APC talks that everyone is not noticing. Will the former First Lady be a powerful figure in any C4C/APC COALITION? DISCUSS.
    GOD BLESS THE PEOPLE OF WARD 099 for their PATIENCE and doing the right thing. AMEN AND AMEN.

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