Dr. Sama Banya – Puawui
2 August 2012
Even the APC propaganda mouth-piece – For-Di-People newspaper has called it a bombshell and that’s what it is. The National Electoral Commission (NEC) has announced a series of candidature fees for the forthcoming Presidential and Parliamentary elections.
The figures for Members of Parliament and especially for local government councillors are simply staggering.
Has the commission based its figures on the fact of the SLPP having charged their flag bearer aspirants fifty million Leones each?
Is there any logic in applying a mathematical formula of a party organization to a national agenda?
While even incumbent Members of Parliament who are on appreciable salaries and allowances may find the figures unreasonably high, it is worse for would-be aspirants who may be simple school teachers, party activists, retired civil servants or local officials who are already hard hit by the failed Ernest Koroma economic policies.
What is even more disappointing is that such a huge amount must be paid to the NEC within the next five weeks or less.
Would the man in the village who would like to serve his community local affairs as opposed to Parliament and who has their support, have to give up because he cannot raise the required Two million Leones?
When a man or woman parts with such a large amount of money, which in many cases may have been borrowed, would his first priority when he succeeds, not be to recoup and repay the loan?
Surely madam chairman of NEC and commissioners, this is a recipe for corruption.
We are at this moment reeling from the scandal of the aftermath of borrowed money for the last Presidential run-off election, and now the door is being opened for more of the same.
And by the way, who knows how much else may have been borrowed for the election itself?
Of course all that I have written so far applies to opposition candidates only, with the exception of the UDM, which to all intents and purposes is in the same boat as the ruling APC.
The five million United States dollars that have been promised by African Minerals Ltd., alone for the re-election coffers of the President and his party, should not give them any sleepless nights, as it would the others.
The monies from Mark Heiligman and Dave Kloeber may be more than enough for the party to pay for all their intending local government candidates, including chairmen and mayors.
Considering how money was splashed around during past elections and what is being thrown around now, leaves no one in doubt that the APC and their leadership must be filthy rich.
The same cannot be said of the SLPP, PDP, PMDC, UDA, UNPP, RUFP, and others, who must now be scratching their heads over the NEC levy.
It was always the boast of the APC that they had 99 ways to win elections, and we’ve been witness to some of the methods, which had included violence, thuggery, coercion, intimidation, indirect bribery and influence peddling – to name but a few.
The question now is whether NEC is deliberately or otherwise in collusion with the ruling party to exclude the prospects of a strong opposition to the APC next November.
The NEC chairman has given reasons, mainly the high cost of running the election for the exorbitant candidature fees, which the commission is demanding.
But has it occurred to them that by increasing the fee from a mere Two hundred and fifty thousand Leones to Twenty-five million Leones is a TWO THOUSAND PERCENT increase?
And have they given any thought that by this action they may well be stifling the democratic process?
I am pleased that representative Members of Parliament of the three opposition parties have expressed their strong disapproval. But how long will the solidarity last, considering the rich resources of the APC, as already mentioned?
In the interest of true democracy, this increase must be scrapped and substituted by a more realistic one, a figure that is consistent with the present economic environment and earning capacity of the average worker.
This must not be one of those cases where Ms. Thorpe digs her heel in to say that the lady is not for a U-turn. “TEM TRONG EN TIN TRANGA.”
Today’s quotation: “Journalists say a thing that they know is not true in the hope that if they say it long enough it will be true.” Does this not apply to some of our slanderous journalists and publishers?
This is a disaster, this woman and the EBK corrupt and violence-driven APC party are bent on turning Sierra Leone into another single party state, they are slowly taking away our fundamental human and constitutional rights. Sierra Leoneans have suffered so much to the extent that we have lost sight of our futures and knows nothing about middle class family.
We have indeed exercised enough patient with NEC boss Christina Thorpe and her loudest supporter, the criminal and authoritarian APC government. Nonetheless, I strongly believe that they have reached their climax and therefore the people are now saying enough is enough.
They have pushed us to the end of the wall, they have forced us to rise up and fight through peaceful demonstration in order to redeem our country and free our people from the hands of dictators. This is an act of indirect and or second class slavery.
The continued actions of EBK-APC government and Christina Thorpe forces on us the appealing questions; what is our constitution made of? what is the role of the 98% of our people during terrible governance? What is the future of our democracy…wherein Sierra Leoneans can be enslaved by their own leaders and others assassinated under suspicious circumstances and others fired from jobs on tribal and association grounds?
“The bigger the lie, the more people will believe it” said Hitler. What kind of fund raising for elections especially during terrible economic times it seems permits NEC supported by EBK-APC government to extort monies away from citizens at the same time permit the removal of fundamental rights from Sierra Leoneans…and validates the ascendancy of an invisible government in Sierra Leone?.
This is the right time for every Sierra Leonean to wake up from sleep and come out in their millions to tell Christina Thorpe and the criminal/voilence-ridden EBK-APC government that our democracy is not for sale and governance must not be forced upon us.
Finally, individual human beings have to create justice as was done during minority voting rights campaign that witnessed Dr. Kings assassination, women’s right to vote demonstration both in the US, the fight against APARTHEID in South Africa to name but few.
This campaign will not be easy because the truth often poses a threat to power and one often has to fight at the great risk of themselves, the country still belongs to the people for as long as we the Sierra Leoneans have the gut to fight for what we believe in.
This reaction is not meant to incite people, but to encourage all patriotic Sierra Leoneans to standup and wage a peaceful demonstration against what I call the journey to one party state.
Development is never given on a silver and golden plates, individual citizens have to work and fight in order to earn it. Development have always occurred in societies whose citizens are conscious of their fundamental human and constitutional rights, whose citizens are committed to protecting those rights to demand for better governance from their leaders for the betterment of the country and all its citizens.