Sierra Leone Telegraph: 23 January 2020:
The 2018 presidential flagbearer of the All Peoples Congress (APC) Dr Samura Kamara, has told Awoko that his 30 plus years in government can speak for itself. Speaking from his Wellington Street office in Freetown, the presidential aspirant said he has worked under several presidents – including President Maada Bio; and that in all his time in government, he never saw the economy of Sierra Leone so challenged and unpredictable as it is today.
He said, even when the country was at war, the economy was growing and stable, as well as predictable. But today he said, nobody can tell what will happen tomorrow.
When asked about the state of the economy inherited by the current government, Dr Samura Kamara said that even though the economy was in austerity under Koroma, it was not that bad because all those that were in charge of the economy were professionals and experienced people, such as Dr Kelfala Marrah, Momodu Kargbo, Dr Richard Conteh, Edmond Koroma and himself.
“Today you just need to take a look of the people in charge across government to understand why Sierra Leoneans are suffering. They have damaged the economy because they thought that playing politics will help them. So many of the South-Easterners you find in the Finance ministry were employed by me. I believed in brains. I was not a tribalist. I employed and groomed Sierra Leoneans from across the country, but today some of them because of tribalism have failed to do the right thing; and they are just fighting their compatriots from the West and North. It is not good for the country,” Samura Kamara said.
The former flag bearer said this is the only country we have and we must work together as one people to develop the nation. He said he contested and lost the 2018 elections even though there was overwhelming evidence that he was robbed. But he said that, he believes in the laws of the land and went to court to protest the election results.
“It is almost two years now and the Chief Justice is yet to assign my case, but because I am a man of peace I will continue to follow the law and restrain those who would want to take the laws into their hands. Few days ago we saw what happened in our party’s office where skirmishes took place and all the evidences are in social media. But up till now the government and the police are silent. If it was the other way round, we would have seen our APC members being rounded up and locked up. As I am talking to you now we have two of our members in jail now for months, for crime that we are yet to understand.”
Dr Samura Kamara said he is in sympathy with the people of Sierra Leone for the economic stress they are going through. He said he was going around the city two days ago, and he heard people demanding back the rice given to the government by the Chinese government for school feeding.
“It is sad that the Chinese would go to such length to help the government in their Free Quality Education and the rice is being used as political tool. We must be ashamed of ourselves as the Chinese Ambassador is in town listening to all these stories being aired or written in the newspapers. It is not good for the country’s image and we must grow up and do the right thing, especially when the government is preaching against corruption.”
The presidential aspirant said he will continue to preach peace as he believes in unifying the country; and that being closer to the people is the best for a successful leader like him.
“I believe in the APC and I believe in the people of Sierra Leone. The mistake they made in 2018 they will not make in 2023, because most of them have regretted but they have to live with it till 2023 when they would be given the chance to choose a leader that will free them from the current bondage they are under.”
Dr Samura Kamara said he is appealing to all Sierra Leoneans to be law abiding and should not take the law into their hands, even if the situation should worsen than it is now. The police and government he said are heartless, and can do anything that will be detrimental to the people. He said a life lost for him is unacceptable because every Sierra Leonean has his or her role to play in the development of Sierra Leone.
The former Minister in the Ernest Koroma led government – Dr Samura Kamara also told Awoko that he has nothing to be afraid of in the Commission of Enquiry’s (COI) White Paper that would soon be published by the government.
He said he was never called by the COI, and that even though he believes they would have had some frivolous information about him, they were not bothered to invite him, because his time in government was one of responsibility.
“If the COI had something against me they would have called me. The only thing they had was the Sierra Rutile matter that the current Financial Secretary Mr Jusu eventually told the court that he heard about over the radio, and that was the end. I know they would have gone through my assets and bank records, but maybe they did not call me because the government might have their plans to use their White Paper to ban me out of politics.”
When asked if he really thinks that the SLPP government would want to ban him from politics, Dr Samura Kamara said that anything is possible because he thinks he is very popular and the people of Sierra Leone this time round would prefer him to the current president. For this reason, he said, they might want to use any available means to silence him.
He said he believes that the COI was not established genuinely, but they would want to use the outcome of the investigations to ban several APC members, so that they will weaken the APC party ahead of the next general elections in 2023.
Dr Samura Kamara said the ruling SLPP may want to focus on him and ex-President Koroma who is the leader and chairman of the APC party, so that the party would find it difficult in getting a good flag bearer that could win election for the party. They want to disrupt the peace and tranquil of the APC party, he accused the ruling SLPP.
“I know they have the power to do such, as we have seen them kicking out 10 of our MPs from Parliament and teargassed our party office. They have done so much to us and we have been patient. If they have the plan to ban us from politics by using the COI White Paper, then I am sure it will not only be me but the majority of members of the APC party.”
Dr Samura Kamara said the reason why he is talking about the COI White Paper is because he has heard from different quarters that the government wants to use the White Paper to ban APC politicians as they are afraid that they would not be able to win the next election if especially Ex-President Ernest Koroma and himself are banned from politics.
The 2018 APC presidential flagbearer said that as a party, they are preparing themselves for the outcome of the COI White Paper that the ruling party might want to use for their own political advantage against the APC.
“I am thinking that they would want to release it when they will be celebrating their two awful years in office. During their first anniversary they came up with the forensic auditing with some astronomical figures that they said were missing. So in April they will celebrate two years and what they will come up with is the COI White Paper to ban us from politics. They have nothing to celebrate for their time in office, so they will need something to celebrate.”
Dr Samura Kamara spoke about the current Chinese rice saga that has embarrassed the ruling SLPP party. He said what the government did was to use the rise in fuel prices to set a new agenda so that people will forget about the rice. And he said they succeeded because the media has forgotten about the rice saga and are now talking about the hike in fuel prices.
Speaking about the government’s poor performance at the UK – Africa Investment Summit, Samura Kamara said it is disappointing that Sierra Leone was unable to secure any investment or trade deal at the Summit.
“I hope the media will discuss some of this important news item that has a telling effect on our society, because we need investment to grow our economy; and for a president to attend such a forum and come back with nothing, means something is wrong.”
He called on Sierra Leoneans to be ready to receive the news of APC members being banned from politics because the ruling party he said knows that given the economic crisis in the country, they will not be able to win any re-election in Sierra Leone, other than use every available means that will destroy the peace and tranquillity of the country.
Dr Samura Kamara said the APC party will be waiting to hear from them, but his is prepared for any outcome.
Editor’s note: The Sierra Leone will bring you more on this interview with Dr Samura Kamara conducted by Awoko.