Sierra Leone Telegraph: 15 October 2017
Dr Samura Kamara – the man few thought could become president of Sierra Leone, is tonight one step closer to achieving his wildest dream, as president Koroma – chairman of the ruling APC declared Samura as the party’s presidential candidate for the 2018 elections. His running mate is parliamentarian Mohamed Chernor Bah.
As news of Samura’s appointment by the president is being digested, there are serious concerns across the country and among Sierra Leoneans abroad, about the fairness and openness of the ‘selection’ process adopted by the APC party at their convention today. (Photo: Samura Kamara – right, and Mohamed Chernor Bah).
Rather than allowing each delegate present at the convention – representing their district, to cast their ballot for their aspiring presidential candidate of choice, they were today disenfranchised.
The party’s National Advisory Committee (NAC), which president Koroma also chairs did the shortlisting of candidates. There were about 25 candidates aspiring for the ruling party candidacy.
According to sources present at the convention which was closed to journalists, except those sympathetic to the ruling party, the NAC deliberated but could not collectively agree on a candidate.
It was therefore left with president Koroma to decide who should be coronated as the presidential candidate, to the disappointment and annoyance of the hundreds of party delegates who had turned up at the convention to vote.
At one point in the undemocratic and soul-destroying charade, all 28 presidential aspirants were locked inside one of the committee rooms in the Ernest Bai Koroma Conference Hall, to agree among themselves, as to which of their number should go forward as the presidential candidate.
But after several agonising minutes of deliberations, all 28 aspiring presidential candidates could not arrive at a consensus. A motion was then put forward to the delegates at the convention, calling on the NAC to make a decision in the absence of a consensus from the candidates themselves. And that, should the NAC fail, the president shall use his power of veto to then single-handedly decide who will lead the party to the 2018 elections.
The motion was passed without voting – just tumultuous shouts of approval from many of the delegates – APC style. All 28 aspirants who by this time were feeling humiliated, frustrated and tired of the undemocratic process, agreed that president Koroma must use his power of veto.
And when it came to choosing, not even president Robert Mugabe of Zimbabwe could have been so callous. But last night at the convention, president Koroma issued a stern warning to the candidates of what is to come.
He told them that aspiring for the presidency is not an easy task, but when it is achieved, the winner will become very rich. And that the winning candidate will come from an unlikely background.
Twenty-eight candidates had applied for the presidential candidacy, including: Victor Foh, Alimamy P Koroma, Alpha Kanu, Kemoh Sesay, John B Sesay, Joseph F Kamara, Mahmood Tarawally, Zainab H Bangura, Marie Yansaneh, Hon Ibrahim Bundu, Minkailu Mansaray, Kelfala Marrah, Usu Boi Kamara, Lawyer Kaloko, Alpha Conteh, Dr Samura Kamara, Ansumana Koroma, Victoria Saidu Kamara, Alimamy P Kamara, Bassie Kamara, Dr. Sam Sesay, Momodu L. Kargbo, Amara Adekalie Kamara, Paul Kamara, and Mohamed C. Koroma.
President Koroma is a protégé of the former dictator – president Siaka Stevens, and he is proud to let it be known that he not only believes in the political philosophy of Siaka Stevens, but lives by his communist precepts and style of leadership and politics.
If president Koroma was guided today by the ghost of Siaka Stevens to strengthen his hand in appointing his successor for 2018, few would have been surprised about his choice of candidate.
His announcement of the presidential candidate was simple. “Having had consultations, the party has agreed that I should pronounce the presidential flagbearer for APC for the 2018 elections as Dr. Samura Kamara.”
Samura Kamara is believed to be the only candidate who supported president Koroma’s third term agenda, as other candidates were busy nursing and nurturing their ambition to succeed him. He is regarded by the president as a highly loyal comrade and tribesman from Bombali district of northern Sierra Leone.
So who is Samura Kamara?
Dr. Samura Mathew Wilson Kamara was born on the 30th of April 1951 in Kamalo, Bombali District. He is a development economist with background in diplomacy, macroeconomics, public finance, central banking and financial sector policy analysis and reforms.
He holds a Masters Degree (1980) and PhD (1986) from the University College of North Wales, Bangor. He graduated with a Bachelor of Science degree in Economics from Fourah Bay College, University of Sierra Leone (1972).
Dr Samura worked in the Economic Affairs Department of the Commonwealth Secretariat in London, first, as Senior Economics Officer in 1991-1994; and second, as Chief Programme Officer in 1998-2001. He was Financial Secretary in the Ministry of Finance and Economic Development in 1994-1997, and 2001-2006 respectively.
In 2006-2007, he served as Alternate Executive Director for Africa Group I Constituency in the International Monetary Fund.
In 2008-2009, Dr. Kamara was appointed Governor of the Central Bank of Sierra Leone and then became Sierra Leone’s Minister of Finance and Economic Development in 2009-2012.
But in 2012, he lost his job in the finance ministry and was transferred to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation of the Republic of Sierra Leone as minister – a job he holds till this day.
Dr Kamara played a key role in helping president Koroma to formulate his Agenda for Change in 2008, with the help and support of British Prime Minister – Tony Blair, and went on to become a good friend of Tony Blair.
Many believe that Samura’s selection today as presidential candidate of the ruling APC has got Tony Blair’s fingerprint embossed on the paper it’s written on. But critics say that he will not be good for Sierra Leone as president, if elected next year. He is lacking in leadership skills – many believe.