NGC‘s landslide shows appetite for change to status quo – Op-ed

Alan Luke: Sierra Leone Telegraph: 26 November 2019:

The huge win by the National Grand Coalition party (NGC) of the Ward 210 Kasirie bye-election last Saturday, is very significant and potentially represents a turning point in Sierra Leone’s politics.

The NGC trumped home with 54% of total votes cast, compared to 29% and 14% for the APC and SLPP respectively.

NGC won the bye-election despite the scale of intimidation, thuggery and violence directed towards the NGC observer team, including the party’s leaders Dr Dennis Bright and Dr Kandeh Yumkella.

The SLPP wanted to make a statement that Kandeh Yumkella’s NGC cannot win elections in his own constituency of Samu Chiefdom.  No doubt, the APC would have also preferred to see NGC lose.  This time around, Kambians stood firm, as they did in June 2017, when an Independent candidate, Ibrahim Kamara won the Ward 139 bye-elections.

The huge win last Saturday was for those who hope to see a better and brighter Sierra Leone, which is freed from the grip of APC and SLPP domination.  We are always told that only these two parties can rule Sierra Leone, as if to say Sierra Leoneans are just innately stupid and cannot make good political choices.

Often, this narrative ignores the use of political violence and thuggery, by the appropriation of the coercive power of the state, by ruling party operatives.  According to eyewitnesses, yesterday, the Sierra Leone Ambassador to Guinea was seen being accompanied by at least four to five armed men, knocking on the doors of homes in the constituency and compelling voters to go out and vote.

The same black government owned vehicles, with their vehicle registration plates covered with black cloth were seen in the Constituency 110 and other elections, as well as the thugs for hire, brought in from neighbouring districts, were seen in Kasirie.

It would be easy to dismiss the win as an NGC stronghold.  What was significant about yesterday’s win, is that it demonstrated that previous bye-elections wins for the SLPP since coming to power, must be questionable and could only have been achieved through widespread fraud, intimidation and violence.

We must expect this trend to continue until the 2023 General Elections, but Kasirie has shown that intimidation and violence can be resisted where local communities are well organised and determined to secure change.

The Ward 210 results also shows that NGC can protect its electorate and its votes, by ensuring that local people who feel abandoned by the Bio government and aggrieved by its failure to deliver on the commitments it promised in 2018, are mobilised in huge numbers to seek the change that an NGC government led by Dr Kandeh Yumkella, can usher.

Saturday’s win is symbolic of the existential threat that both APC and SLPP know they face from an effectively organised and resurgent NGC.  For 58 years, both of these parties have consistently failed the people of Sierra Leone.

Ernest Koroma’s ten years was a missed opportunity to lift thousands of people out of poverty.  In fact he consigned Sierra Leone to the status of the third hungriest country in the world, with 65% of people in multi-dimensional poverty (2017).

The recent debate of the Finance Bill, in particular the proposal to make spending decisions incurred by the President and Vice President during overseas business unchallenged, is the latest violation of due process by the current Bio led government, which will make many Sierra Leoneans sit up and question its motive, whether they are in office to serve their compatriots or to serve their own interests.

Grand schemes are being promised by the Bio government, such as a university in Kono, an international medical centre, Lungi Bridge, a transit system and new peninsular road.  The government has a penchant for computer generated images, but the reality is, nothing is happening to create real jobs and to raise living standards.

Only the new political elite have become better off, while the old ones, who Sierra Leoneans had hoped would have faced prosecution by now, have been offered cut price deals by the Anti-Corruption Commissioner.

No one is paying attention to the Commission of Inquiry, a waste of resources, which could have been diverted to purchase essential medicines or vaccinations for children, mothers and those who are ill. Enough is enough.

As the economy continues to slide with an unending depreciation of the Leone, which the government has shown it is unable to stop, making food prices worse by the minute, hopefully Sierra Leoneans will begin to lift their heads up and look beyond the same stale and self-interested politics of the APC and SLPP and begin to consider the credible alternative that the NGC represents.

For far too long, Sierra Leoneans have lost their dignity and have slavishly sacrificed national interest on the altar of an allegiance to the APC and SLPP and have not got anything to show for it.  Our education, health and sanitation, water and electricity services have eroded in front of our eyes.  Living standards have plummeted and continue to plunge.

Corruption, disease, decay, hopelessness are rife and have been normalised.  A once proud nation has been reduced to a shadow of itself.  NGC must now end this terminal decline and present the credible alternative that Sierra Leoneans, want but have led themselves to believe is unattainable.

2 Comments

  1. Greatsayedna…WOW, this is very deep man! I felt like I was watching a movie just reading your eloquent words. My wife,and grandmother had their hands on their heads by the time I fished reading it to them. WOOS KIND WAHALA THIS MY WIFE SAID IN SURPRISE.THANK YOU SAIDU, I LOOK FORWARD TO SEEING YOU SOMEDAY IN FREETOWN.

  2. Brahim,the King,I thank you sincerely for your kind words.Curiosity it is said,is in all great,and generous minds. Before I begin,I would like you to know that spiritual matters,entangled in complexities that adversely affects the lives of millions of people cannot,and should not be revealed,and laid bare for any chicken that clucks,crows and scratches the ground for food to hear.(lol) Perhaps,in the nearest future,on some bright sunny day,whenever our paths cross in Freetown,I will be able to give you the answers you seek.Now let’s get ready to rock,and roll!

    There are some ancient species of Sea turtles,known as the “leatherback” that are rarely ever seen by the eyes of men,because they dwell only in the farthest,abysmal depths of vast seas and oceans.Legend has it that,the leather back turtle,can live up to 300 years,and that it sleeps continuously for seven days,and stays widely awake also for seven,long,tedious days in a row.Now,it is said that whenever there is a Coup d’etat in any country,and innocent civilians are killed,vibrations are triggered,from those cries of agony,fear and pain of the innocent,that are instantly transmitted, telepathically to the Giant leatherback Sea turtle,resting at the bottom of the sea,who also in response swims quickly to shore,hatches an egg,and carries the hatchling way to the darkest,bottomless depths of the oceans.

    Now,Brahim, comes the most interesting,and significant part: that baby turtle that was hatched on the day of the Coup d’etat,will begin to grow a tiny shell on its back,symbolising the Curse that comes with the spilling of innocent blood,because of an insatiable thirst for power.So the baby turtle,also know as a hatchling continues to grow with the shell,symbolising the curse on its back,and it can live for up to 400 long years. Four centuries,Brahim,and as long as the sea turtle is alive,the curse will remain,persists,and consume everything we own,work for,and possess like raging wildfire.

    Brahim the king – unless Almighty God intervenes,or certain spiritual rites are collectively performed by the whole nation, the Curse of the Giant Sea Turtle will never,ever go away…See,my friend,the unfixable mess a few greedy, wayward, power hungry men have gotten us into….Rising Sun Will Rise Again.

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