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.

14 Comments

  1. Thanks once again Saidu for your honest and bold answers.You are indeed a rebel brother – one of a kind. There are very few people in the world who think and speak as courageously as you. Its true that All those countries you have highlighted are poor and facing huge challenges. But if it is a curse holding them back, then what are the solutions Greatsayedna?

  2. It is so sad to see people going so low all in the name of politics. The APC and SLPP have been in control of this country since independence. What have we to show as a nation if not civil war, disease and suffering. Let no man fool no man – these two political parties are taking the people of this country for granted. I see no reason why we should stick to a political system that has countlessly failed us. Because of politics men have betrayed their nation and put it into ruins. Sierra Leone is not moving in any direction.

    We are a failed state; and until the thieves that have governed us for 58 years are put in their cages where they belong, Sierra Leone will always be an unfortunate story. Until we the people of this country need to put our greed, selfishness, political loyalty, tribalism, corruption (and the list continues) aside, we are only making a fool of ourselves. Our children will ask us Questions – imagine what the answer would be.

    To those bootlickers singing songs of moaning (because they are not praises), remember that in the abundance of water the fool is still thirsty. My Final words: Until we as a people ignore our fears and party loyalty we will forever remain prisoners. Bob Marley once said: “Emancipate yourselves from mental slavery, coz none but ourselves can free our minds”.

    • Well said, Lissa. Most of our so called educated compatriots are indeed suffering from mental slavery. It’s exactly what professor Lumumba of Kenya describes as a ‘ feel good mentality’ for simply having their party in power. Despite the continuous untold suffering and the deterioration of the living standards across the nation, party loyalists and tribesmen continue to deceive themselves that all is well.

      The questions worth considering are: Do some of these praise singers of the regime actually have relatives in Salone that they support, through monthly or bi-weekly remittance? If the answer is yes, are they aware of the continuous depreciation of the Leones and the skyrocketing of basic food stuff? How can someone in their right state of mind continues to portray things being good? Most of us sure need emancipation from mental slavery.

  3. Listen gentlemen,and listen well…until this country of ours sincerely acknowledges that it is being held firmly in the iron grips of a curse that resembles the clutches of a monstrous octopus with eight tentacles,there’s no hope ever for a better Sierra Leone.True.Brahim the King,let your mind be transported briefly for a minute into silence – into the innermost depths of tranquility and serenity.Now take a deep breath,exhale,open you eyes,and listen to this – All the Countries in Africa,in which power has been violently seized,and governments overthrown,and where innocent blood has been spilled in Coup d’etat’s,have never been able to attain any kinds of sustainable peace,progress,and stability.You ask me,why it is so?

    Here’s your answer – the rebellious act of overthrowing Power,and authority is without question one of the greatest evils that have been imposed on the human race.All those who have overthrown legitimate Power are ostracised,and driven away from the presence of Almighty God,just as Lucifer,the first celestial being that attempted a Coup d’etat that failed in heaven,was cast faraway from the presence,and the merciful throne of our Creator.

    Again,let me be clear – it matters not if a country is rich,and blessed with an abundance of natural resources,if the blood of the innocent has been spilled in an overthrow of Power,that country is stuck,and will always remain poor, undeveloped, unproductive,and backwards.Nigeria is a perfect example! They are the richest country in the African continent,yet they are languishing in abject poverty.Examine their history,and you will see a troubling pattern of a series of coup d’etat spanning back scores,and scores of years.

    Now take a quick look at Benin,Burkina Faso,Uganda,Mali,Haiti,Gambia,Kenya, Liberia,Togo,Cameroon,Niger,Guinea,Ghana,DR Congo;the list is endless.Brahim none of these countries I have mentioned is stable, secure, prosperous, and at peace.Not one of them! Why? Because there is a curse holding them firmly in its unforgiving grips.Rising Sun Will Risen Again.

  4. Its always a delight to read Saidus perspectives,and points of views on real life issues.His honesty,and sense of humor always make reading his comments refreshing,and quite interesting.I would also like to congratulate the NGC for such an important win.

    • I completely agree with you Mr. Deen and will go even further with my RUTHLESS and LETHAL proposals against CORRUPT OFFICIALS. If it is proven that corruption was masterminded in our SACRED AND SOVEREIGN PARLIAMENT, then the SPEAKER and the CLERK must be SACKED, INVESTIGATED and THROWN behind BARS forever for such a SHAMEFUL, RECKLESS and UNSCRUPULOUS behaviour.

      No TOLERANCE or MERCY for CORRUPT OFFICIALS. No matter where they work. From STATE HOUSE down the ORGANIGRAM/HIERARCHY of GOVERNMENT or POWER. SHAMELESS BEINGS! On to you ACC for investigation.

      Not all of our PARLIAMENTARIANS are DISHONEST. The majority are SERIOUS and HONEST. That I can assure everyone. GOD BLESS OUR PARLIAMENT AND HONEST PARLIAMENTARIANS. GOD BLESS Mr. Deen for talking straight. AMEN AND AMEN.

  5. First,and foremost let’s get a few things clear – as long as the stars continue to shine in the heavens above,the Legendary APC will continue to exist for eons,and millenniums to come.Forever?Yup,forever,and ever,until the end of time.Wisdom has concluded,that the APC should continue to exist forever.What a blessing!(lol)

    But why such a great favor Saidu? Because Existence knows that the attitudes of rampant tribalism,favoritism,and nepotism,being rigorously practiced by the SLPP are the root causes of the downfall,and destruction of nations.

    Now listen carefully to something that will totally blow your mind – the Legendary APC is the only spiritually chosen, lawful,rightful Custodian,and Caretaker of our beloved Sierra Leone.True.Good,and tangible things will always happen when the APC is in power.Really?(lol)Yep,I challenge anyone to prove me wrong.

    Ask yourself,who were those in Power,when all the biggest,and most priceless diamonds in the history of our nation were unearthed,found,and displayed? APC thats who! War,mudslides,and Ebola,are all curses brought about by the overthrow of a kind,and Godfearing servant J.S. Momoh.He was the CHOSEN ONE! Yet you wickedly overthrew him?

    Do the sacred words – Touch not my Anointed,mean anything to you? No?Well because of your actions there will be hell to pay! So prepare your faces to become drenched like running waterfalls with your copious tears.(lol)

    Again it was also written that the NGC should celebrate this win,BIG TIME,that they were able to snatched out of SLPP’s jaws of intimidation,and brutality,but I would advise them not draw any hasty, I’ll advised conclusions. They must remember that there are two Political giants, preventing them from achieving their desired aims,and objectives.

    Its clear,there are Political roadblocks,and formidable obstacles everywhere. How to get past,or overcome them,now that is the 1.5 million dollar question.(lol) Rising Sun Will Rise Again.

    • lol, what an amusement. Do you know that you are a good comedian? You make fun of our beloved home. Sierra Leone will be a better place if we stand for what is right and forget about politics. we must come to that point that where if red or green misbehaves we must uproot their corrupt a**es from those sits.

      What pains me more is to see those that call themselves academic elites bragging about the wrongs these two political parties have done over the years. They are just the same bunch of corrupt idiots. Now we are taking the bold step as youth to voice out our pains. You talk you die, you don’t talk you still die. So let us talk and die. Nonsense twwwwwwwwwe.

    • Some from the commonwealth never fail to amaze me. Mr. Lol is one of those folks. War came because JS Momoh was overthrown. This is according to Mr lol. When were you born Mr lol. There is no humour in overusing a phrase or word bro.

  6. I have been waiting for evidence to prove that this election was not free and fair and it was full of violence. For information to this forum, the first election that the SLPP lost was in the Bonthe District which is home of President Bio and it was also a councilor election that was free and fair without any violence. Being a false witness against your neighbor is one of the Ten Commandments in the scriptures so if KKY just made up a story against his own people that based on the above video are patiently waiting to cast their votes peacefully he will definitely get the reward, it’s just a matter of time.
    Finally, is Kambia still the stronghold of the APC.? If they have already raised the white flag and surrender I hope that the shameless APC supporters will just confess that they are slowly and gradually switching over to the NGC.

  7. I could not help but laugh upon reading this Op-ed. Has an inconsequential local election in Kambia district suddenly become the benchmark for predicting victory at the 2023 polls? It is this characteristic NGC bravado that always turns off voters in Sierra Leone.

    A few desperate and chronically lying men who could not have their way in the SLPP regroup and establish an ineffectual political fiction that they call the National Grand Coalition. They then start bragging about turning the political status-quo upside down. There is a saying that there is nothing wrong with dreaming but there is everything wrong with dreaming without any intention to make the dream a reality. What has the NGC achieved to show that it should be taken seriously? Zilch.

    The NGC is a loudmouth sounding nothing, a piece of political irritant not good for its own existence. Like all other irrelevant third forces, with time the NGC will crash on its face and burn. The results of the elections last year indicated that voters don’t like the nonsensical idea of a third political force shoved downed their throats.

    SLPP beat NGC in the North and APC beat NGC in the Southeast. Additionally, NGC garnered a paltry and disgraceful 6.9% of the presidential votes, a result far lower than PMDC’s 13.30% in 2012. Is there any other way that NGC can be rejected that can better demonstrate its ineptitude and clumsiness in Sierra Leonean politics? Moreover, is a leader whose appeal is only local and regional a true leader?

  8. Indeed Alan. A university in KONO was promised by the President. But nothing has been heard of the PROGRESS of the PROJECT ever since.
    I don’t think the SLPP would get a SINGLE DROP OF VOTE (let us say it that way) in 2023 if that UNIVERSITY is not built.
    Thanks Mr. Alan Luke for an article well written. I will visit this article again. GOD BLESS YOU Alan for talking straight.

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