The choice could not be clearer at Sierra Leone’s 2023 elections – Op ed

Yankuba Kaisamba: Sierra Leone Telegraph: 1 September 2020:

A president who can bring our people together and hold the country together, or a president who divides us and expose us to political instability and uncertainties? In less than three years, the people of Sierra Leone will vote to elect a new president. The 2023 elections will be unlike any the country has ever seen.

The people will decide to go backward, remain as they are, or take a different path away from half a century of the combined misrule under  the two established political parties – SLPP and APC. 2023 elections will not be about what government has done or not done.

Sierra Leone faces an existential threat in which our proud values as a peace-loving people and freedom have been broken into pieces, exposing the country to a serious regional and ethnic confrontation of unimaginable proportion. This must be avoided.

The 2023 elections will be a defining epic moment for the salvation of a nation, which remains divided along ethnic and region lines.

A nation traumatized  by eleven years of  war, is now steering towards increasing violence; citizens’  lives disrupted by armed officers parading the streets chanting their support for the president rather than the State; youths in a state of despair by the lack of jobs and leadership to give hope and unite the people of Sierra Leone.

There has never been a time in Sierra Leone’s history as a people and as a nation, that a single issue — national unity and peace, has galvanised and informed the overarching concern at the ballot box in a national election. The 2023 general and presidential election is the time.

The peace and unity of our people, all our people, will be the compelling election calculus in 2023, above all other considerations.

Sierra Leone is at war with itself, in peace time, and will continue to be in such position, impacting negatively on the more  important developmental issues.

A leader who can hold our fractured country together and not divide us further is what the 2023  election is all about.

There will be no progress and development in Sierra Leone in  the absence of national cohesion which is increasingly being undermined  by mistrust, tribalism, and corruption.

It is possible to unite a divided people when there is the right leadership with the right temperament, commitment, vision, and actions.

People are brought together not by political rhetoric or by force of arms,  but by winning the trust of the people, and show respect for decency and fair play.

My fellow Sierra Leonean, 2023 election is about who can hold our country together from breaking into pieces. The unity of our people will  give the strength and purpose we need to build a fairer and more equitable, peaceful society for our people and future generations.

No other challenges the country now faces is as formidable as the imperative for national cohesion. We need that president who can do that for the people of Sierra Leone. You will be presented with a clear choice by 2023.

On another note of importance, I have never known Francis Ben Kaifala – the Anti-Corruption Commission Czar (Photo) to waffle. A brilliant lawyer and a man of empathy, he was on my litigation in Freetown. But I cringed at seen this brilliant mind, struggled in a press conference to explain the paopanista’s rice gate scandal. God will help him.

We now know that over 600 stolen bags of rice out of a reported 50,000 have been recovered. But the public still do not know who stole the rice  and there are still over 49,000 bags of rice, which were  donated by the Chinese to the hungry people of Sierra Leone yet to be  accounted for.

The four paopanista government officials , including a minister, were   indicted by the ACC, only for the case to be  withdrawn live in court, by the ACC lawyer. We are not clear whether it was for lack of evidence or the state decided not to present the evidence, or pressed ahead with the case.

I found it incredulous that the ACC could’ve indicted minister Alpha Timbo and his team to court, for  what was by definition, a public theft,  without any shred of evidence.

Is Sierra Leone going to see another gate remaining  unlocked, to add to the  several previously  unlocked  gates?

Voucher gate,mudslide gate, Ebola gate ,land gate and two rice gates — one  under president kabba and this year’s under president Bio paopas regime–  all to  remain  closed to the public?

At this stage, I  call on  professor Jimmy Kandeh to give us his expert opinion. “The state in Sierra Leone is an organized protection racket that favors and protects fraudsters and looters of the country’s resources. State offices are nothing more than rental havens working against the interests of ordinary citizens. COI is just another head fake that is reminiscent of NPRC COIs. One misdirection after another, no matter what it is called, attitudinal change or new direction, the state remains a racket that impoverishes our people and ransoms our futures.”


  1. STARGER, the debate is over, I look forward to unnerving you again elsewhere Mr Emotional All Peoples Congress. “Me dae normor for pull you gear” sir.

  2. STAGAZER, keep gazing at whatever you are gazing to keep your emotional outbursts intact. Read your history not like the romantic you are nor with a muddled up mind, but with the ambition to trigger an iota of analytical thinking. Do you know what Sir Milton said in his death bed? Do you know why Siaka Stevens broke away from SLPP where he was Minister of Lands Mines and Labour?

    Give this forum some figures as to where the Sierra Leone economy stood when Siaka Stevens took over and where it stood by the time he was through with it. I mean World Bank figures. You argue like the market women at Krootown Road Market who clap over each other’s head, spin around, bounce their hips for them to hit the back of their head, just to utter rubbish. You won’t hear from me anymore, you’re too much of a sissy for my comfort.

    • I have seen many of those market women in Freetown laboring under the burning sun,and they are virtuous and honorable people with unmatched perceptions into the realities of life;Yep,most of them may not have gone too far in school but unlike you they are people of integrity doing whatever they can to keep their heads afloat,and above water.Your ingratitude towards the legendary Stevens doesn’t diminish him but it totally belittles you like filthy rags worn by a roaming beggar. I am not gonna waste this forums precious time trying to give you authentic financial and economic figures pertaining to the Stevens era because that flicker of light that flashes intermittently inside your NGC head will not be quite bright enough to comprehend what is being discussed.(lol)

      And who is it upon the face of the beautiful earth that doesn’t know what Milton said before he passed on? Such pathetic words of a defeated man like yourself that still abides eerily in the tunnels of ignorance and darkness in chains, needs not be repeated here;(lol)Now here’s what Good Old Stevens said when he was leaving for the eternal heavens one quiet enchanting evening;” I have finished my course,I have kept the faith;the doors of loyalty and empathy i have left wide open for future generations to come so that they can thrive and prosper with confidence and great ease;I bless my people and this sacred lands that only a few will be able to govern gloriously;And pay no heed to those who will criticize what is good,and he that has been blessed by the Almighty for they are losers and failures;(lol)Those timeless words reminds me of YOU!(LOL)

  3. Now this:Folks,Outlandish speculation never seems to end on this glorious forum;Gentlemen here’s a few lines to jostle your prudent minds and your funny bones;Brace yourselves!And please show some form of restraint,don’t laugh too hard until you drop.Here it comes:” Had he lived for at least another five years Sierra Leone will most certainly have become another Singapore by now”…Bwahahahaha.Who? Slowpoke Miltin Margai?(lol)You guys are just too delusional and out of touch with reality;Please learn to think properly and critically before ever uttering such a quirky statement on this glorious forum again.

    Listen,there are no guarantees in life;Had Milton Margai been alive a million things evil and disastrous could have also happened;The man and his tribesmen were like thorns,and prickly barbed-wire just like Maada Bio and his henchmen today totally uncreative,arrogant and tribalistic.He was given a whole mile to walk and run and he threw it away,squandered it – give him millions more to tread and he would’ve misused and wasted it with ineptitude and unproductivity.(lol)

  4. Indeed the 2023 presidential and general elections could not be more stark in what they extrapolate: A slip into another conflict that’s far more destructive than the rebel war which raged for more than a decade. This assertion is made on the platform of the indisputable fact that Foday Sancoh’s revolutionary united front (I refuse to give any capital letters to the name) was made up of nearly all the ethnic or tribal groups in the country, which denied the atrocities they committed any characteristic of being targeted at a specific group. There were even some Sierra Leoneans who initially supported the rebels in their quest to remove the old APC from power; it was only when they started killing civilians that they turned on them.

    The conflict which is simmering at moment has the awful prospect of being both tribal and regional, and may well start within the army. We cannot afford to hide the fact all those killed by the army under President Bio have been northerners. What if one of these days northern soldiers refuse to obey orders and instead turn their guns on brother soldiers from the southeast? Events could easily slip out the grip of anyone – including Maada Bio.

    As things stand the only way the country can stage a bloodless revolution is to dump APC and SLPP in 2023 or vote in such a way that no one party scores a decisive victory, thereby forcing a sharing of power. Bring APC back in 2023 and they will pick up where they left off in 2018. Maintain SLPP in power and they will be emboldened and become worse. The only real leader that we have ever had who recognised the multi-ethnicity and regional diversity of our country was Sir Milton Margai. Only the Almighty Allah/God knows why we were dealt the blow of losing him in 1964. Whenever his name comes up I recall ANIMAL FARM written by George Orwell. Sir Milton represented Old Major and Siaka Stevens represented Napoleon. The latter destroyed the dream the former had for Animal Farm and turned it to a nightmare. May Allah/God shower His mercy on Sir Milton. Had he lived for at least another five years Sierra Leone would most probably have become another Singapore by now.

  5. “Sierra Leone is @ war with it self” as quoted from the above article; seriously man. Has Sierra Leone become South Sudan, Syria or Afghanistan? Please spare us your doomsday scenario. Articles like yours is what encourage division. The people of Sierra Leone went through eleven years of war as you correctly mentioned. The APC had two five year terms. Who’s gonna be your ‘Moses’ in 2023? The same old? The current administration has only been in place for two years sir, I repeat two years.
    Remember, with COVID19 to deal with.

    You can’t fix a broken system for almost six decades since independence in two years. Let’s judge them after their term. Youth unemployment is nothing new in Sierra Leone, trust me we just didn’t have social media to complain in the 80″s. Where is the individual responsibility to improve yourself? Ask some in the diaspora who went home to help some of our folks. Let them share their experiences. Everyone wants government to do everything.

    Sierra Leone is one of the most peaceful countries in Africa. Lets pray it remains so although articles like yours are not helpful. Politics is our problem – it’s always about the next election; that’s our problem. instead of putting forth concrete ideas, We tear down, complain and critique. Constructive criticism is ok but Dangerous critique? Please.

    • What constructive criticism look like,to me, is when you are given a chance to showcase your good talent to prove it or else, all sorts of criticisms will befall on you. And in that light,any amount of excuses will yield fruitless. And we all should avoid this idea of equating two wrongs. For doing so would not make it right. We all have seen the hectic promises this Bio government has made before assuming office – up to the point of promising to solve according to him: “A 10 year broken economy” in 6 month. He is still traveling trying to figure out how he could woo investors to fulfill that promise.

      I am just wondering when will the people start to see some signs of achieving the president’s promises. Now that people are crying out loud for the promise made to them, some of you here are so quick to point out to the previous administration’s failings instead of you urging the Bio administration to live up to its promises. This is really ridiculous. Some of you guys are still busy defending this administration’s wrong doings and dealings. No sound minded individual will criticize this government had they lived up to their 6 months economic promises.

      We the people of Sierra Leone never urged them to turn our lives around in six months. They (the Bio administration) made that promise. So why not keep it. As EBK was called WORLD’s BEST, JMB is now called TALK AND DO. But for 2yrs now, the latter’s name has not yet resonated with the people or even showed any merit. So,are you now telling us that,asking tough questions about it has now become a crime? Or does that mean you guys should be quick to tell us that JMB is not the first to fail in fulfilling promises? Give me a break! I want you all supporters of this Bio administration to know that, Late Tejan kabba did not fulfill his promises to the people of Sierra Leone during his term in office. When EBK took over,he was given the authority to turn things around regardless of the kabba failures.EBK was criticized for his failures (including those of his predecessors) but he never let those criticisms sway him from trying to play his part especially to fulfill his flagship agenda: Electricity,infrastructure,Healthcare and the economy. Some where achieved others he failed miserably. Please! Lets call out things as they are.

  6. What a brilliant article! Even the author cannot disguise the high-pitched tones embedded in it. The melody was like a wailing cry far from the hills of Freetown, echoing from the valleys of Kamalo; and only to be refracted, then simmered by the hills of Kono District. Of course 2023 should produce the ultimate leader that will mobilize and unify the various groups of people in Sierra Leone. The people are tired of being continually deceived by a bunch of rogues that capitalize on the inherent regional and tribal divide in the country. And, it is imperative that, this MESSIAH should not identify as originated from the two tribes – Temne and Mende – that account for almost two-thirds of the electorate.

    This brings in mind three potential candidates that could occupy the flagbearership of the APC, come 2023 elections. That is, Chief Sam Sumana, Dr Samura Kamara and Dr Sylvia Blyden in their descending order of preference and suitability. It is obvious that Dr Sylvia Blyden had squandered her chances of championing the cause of the APC, by playing the SLPP card, but she may still have enough time to repent and win the hearts of the people. As for Dr Samura Kamara, he commands the greatest respect and appeal from a large section of the party supporters. The problem is, he might probably fall again as a casualty of Maada Bio’s deceitful tricks and treachery. This leaves Chief Sam Sumana as the candidate with the right attributes and temperament to win the next elections.

    The APC would have to champion their crusade of winning the next elections by enhancing their solidarity and comradeship with their ‘prodigal’ son, Chief Sam Sumana. He has proved his fervent loyalty to the party; and being a member of a minority group, he would be immuned to the topsy turvy syndrome – a condition that affects the approval, likeability and upheaval of a leader that comes from, or identify with either of the two main tribes. Apart from captivating the hearts and minds of the northwesterners, Chief Sam Sumana also has the prospects of generating a strong electoral impact in the Southeastern part of the country. Thus, as this wailing cry subsidies in the hills of Kono District, a Messiah was born, in Chief Sam Sumana.

  7. “Mr Mansaray – your comment was significantly cut as it was far too long. As a new forumite – please note that the rule is to keep your comments to three paragraphs of no more than six lines per paragraph. Thanks.”- Mr Abdul R Thomas

    Thank you ART for your good job in helping us counter some misinformation that some hate mongers from our country like to spew. In their favorites papers like Cocorioco, people with opposing views do not have the opportunity to participate in their thread. With you, you are God sent.

    How can people send articles to you for publication? I see no link on the Home page. Perhaps I will like to publish the other segment of my comment as a rebuttal to some of the the bullish lies Mr. Kaisamba penned above.

  8. Are our political leaders more corrupt that we the people? Their power lies in us as we surely determine their political fate. I know that all of them are as corrupt as we can accept and probably more corrupt than them. Our leaders seem to reflect (big time) our attitudes and characteristics. in short, they only mirror us in public. So look deeper into what Kaiso is transmitting – the two lousy parties have failed and will always fail us, unless we as a people either cause vigorous internal revolt or create new institutions that will bin the two bands of embezzling gangs.

  9. I personally thank our patriotic brother Mr. Yankuba Kaisamba for his timely manner, for this powerful article or contribution. But one thing he forgot to think about, is to understand that in this country, people or the majority of them are grateful. We all pray solidly and ask the mighty God to spare our lives to that day, though it’s not really clear how many of us are going to witness the 2023 elections. Folks, whatever preparation you going to make, my main advice to you is, do not waste your time defending these politicians, insulting, hating or backbiting them.

    Talking about a President who should come to unite us and so on, brother let me remind you how many of them have come and made big promises without fulfilling? For example Our former President H.E. Ernest Bai Koroma, promised “to run this country as a business concerns”. Where did he take us? The answer is “enriching himself and his family”. Each and everyone of us is aware of that. Sierra Leone faces an existential threat, from whom? What is broken into pieces? Come on Kaisamba, this nation has been broken since the time of the late Siaka P. Steven.

    This country was a one party state, whether you like it or not – from Siaka Stevens to J.S. Momoh without holding a single election. Can you dispute it? Which party was in power during the civil war, and what brought about the war? What were the e causes of the war? Which tribe Foday Sankoh came from? And why was he mad and started a war against his country? Lets give credit to this president, may God guide him.

  10. The story of the SLPP since the days of the gullible Margai brothers who were always surrounded by their grumpy tribesmen is a heartbreaking one. No doubt,they were solely responsible for the negotiations that led to the Independence of our nation, and since that time the narrative of our little Beloved Sierra Leone has always been a perplexing one, always been a series of disasters, challenges and misfortunes. A few Prudent minds who have been able to steadfastly dig deeper into our nation’s history have been quietly recounting a perplexing story that tells about the exploits of ambitious men who were totally’Wet behind the ears’ building an unsteady shaky foundation without showing due regard for the future prosperity of our fragile nation.

    Yep,Sierra Leone is what it is today,a disaster,because it is a nation built on the shifting,hazardous sands of outright incompetence instead of on solid rocks, imagination, empathy,prudence and industriousness.And who is it among you millions languishing in abject poverty in Sierra Leone that still truly believes that the sterile unfruitful wombs of SLPP arrogance,tribalism and nepotism is able to bring forth lustrous promising and good fruits with seeds robust and healthy enough to yield bountiful future harvests instead of scanty ones?(lol)

    The apple does not fall too far from the tree,and the hatching of a giant turtle knows no other ways of moving but to swim and crawl;Maada Bio and the Margai brothers – cut from the same cloth!(lol) Gentlemen this President was groomed not with gentle tender hands of discernment,but ruthlessly in arrogance was he snipped, clipped and trimmed with the sharpest scissors, knives and cutlasses widely accepted as the most sacred tools the arsenals of SLPP tribalism has to offer. Sierra Leone must decide not in 2023 but now; the seeds of change must be planted now, for them to yield the harvests of change we so anxiously desire in 2023 and beyond.

  11. I am disappointed in this writer. All he emphasized on is around change of governance. I know that is his area of interest. He might be an opposition person. All his discussions manifest hatredness. If we can pinpoint the fact, what is making Makeni ungovernable? All former presidents never got into regional settlements after leaving power. Only EBK got into the creation of such split in country. We need to speak the fact, Bai Koroma is confusing our youth by still participating actively in politics. He needs to give chance to the current government.

    What do you mean by peaceful coexistence? It happens when leaders accept change of governance. APC leadership never accepted the leadership of the current government. They said that SLPP government will rule for three years only. Fake disclosure to the illiterate APC supporters. Now, social media is our main peace breaker. The Adebayor of APC and Sylvia. Who is disturbing our peace in Sierra Leone? The writer must answer this question.

    In the interest of Sierra Leone. I would like you guys to know that governance will continue to rotate. If you affect the plans of the current government, it’s possible that next government will face the same situation. Thank you for understanding my opinion.
    Best – Omenga

  12. Well written, succinct, thought provoking riddles, brilliantly presented here by Mr. Yakuba Kai samba. The next general election will indeed serve as an inflection point for our beloved nation. The people of Sierra Leone will be given a chance to either rehire the POAPA regime or replace them with a much deserving government our nation yearns for.

    Obviously, the current trajectory embodied by political thuggery, divide and conquer, tyranny, with untold suffering the likes of which our nation has never experienced is untenable. Extremist POAPA supporters who continue to live on cloud cuckoo land with persistent hallucinations of a thriving nation under the POAPA regime will eventually get a rude awakening.

  13. When I started reading the article, I thought it was the speech from the current USA Presidential Candidate of the Democratic Party – former Vice President Joe Biden. Please, let’s be real because the situation in Sierra Leone is quite different from the USA. As usual, “Black Lives Matter” in the USA which is based on the real struggle we are experiencing by the systematic racism within the police for decades, “where minorities are judged based on the color of our skin rather than the content of our character.” Of course, Sierra Leoneans always want to be “Copycats” so we now have “Makeni Lives Matter” and “Sierra Leonean Lives Matter”.

    Let’s stop equating the negative situations currently happening in the USA which is the richest country in the world with stronger institutions in confronting their challenges to Sierra Leone, which is the opposite. The reality is election campaign in Sierra Leone is years away. So let’s first focus on governance rather than “Making our country Ungovernable”.

  14. The question facing every eligible voter in the polling booth in 2023 is quiet simple. ARE YOU BETTER OFF IN THE PAST FIVE YEARS UNDER PRESIDENT BIO’S ONE DIRECTION GOVERNMENT OR IS YOUR LIVING STANDARD TAKEN A DENT AND YOU ARE YET TO RECOVER FROM IT? No one will be able to help you as a family man or woman to answer that question but yourself. But in case you need an idiot’s guide, here is my own answer. Firstly I have to block out all the political PROPAGANDA that the politicians have been spewing to muddy the political waters. VOTE WITH YOUR BRAIN NOT YOUR HEART. Because in the cold dead of night, which tribe the ideal presidential candidate belongs to, or which region he emanates from, counts for very little, when it comes to bread and butter issues.

    Secondly, will I go to bed at night without the fear of some unemployed youth trying to burgle my home, and put my life and family at danger. Thirdly, after losing some family members in the RUF war, which candidate is ideal in promoting peace and unity in the country, so I don’t have to lose other members of my family in a MAD MAX OR RAMBO FIRST BLOOD movie type RUF war again. Lastly, this is the most important element I will be looking FOR in my ideal candidate: Who has the right credentials to fight the cancer of corruption in Sierra leone? Because I know, just as WELL like every Sierra Leonean that is honest, be it a politician or Joe average in the street corner, none of the above will come to pass if we tackle the cancer of corruption that has laid unimaginable suffering on all Sierra Leoneans.

    Whether you are living in foreign lands or living in today’s Hellish Sierra leone, there is no place like home. We are the collateral damage as a result of our corrupt and unrepentant politicians. Bionomics is exacerbating the problems. May God bless Sierra Leone.

    • Thank you Mr Abraham Amadu Jalloh for the thought provoking questions in your contribution above. All of the indices you mentioned above will be answered individually by people based on their perception, experience and other factors. All of the indices have been there in Sierra Leone before and are still there. The author of this article while it is his right to pick fight with whosoever he perceives as his enemy, if you are familiar with his write up since 2005 mostly on Cocorioko you will notice one trend, he thinks that the SLPP party owes him and therefore no Matter who is at the helm he has an enemy to fight. He was at the forefront in attacking president Kabba, VP Berewa’s candidacy and since 2012 candidate and now president Bio. He jumped ship to dine with Charles Margai PMDC and was one of the advocate for the PMDC to support the APC in the runoff.

      After the shambolic unity APC/PMDC government failed, he came back to the SLPP. In 2018, he joined the NGC because he claims that Andrew Kailie is his cousin. Can you imagine a man of over 63 years joining a political party because of family relationships and not policy now writing about all the ism some of which drove him to the NGC. Look at how erroneous his report is about the rice issue in Sierra. He mentioned the rice issue under Kabba which we all know was not as it was reported. He refused to mention the rice saga for which Zainab Bangura was removed from the foreign ministry and sent to the health by president Koroma. The ACC commissioner Tejan Cole had to resign his post while he was outside the country because he was warned not to investigate that case. Yet to Mr Kai Samba the Alpha Timbo’s case is vivid to him but not the Zainab Bangura case that also involved president Koroma’s Brother.

      What is the Tribalism that this man is talking about? I am a non Mende but I know what Mendes went through in the hands of both president Kabba and President Koroma. Mr Kai Samba claims to be related to the Kailie. Was David Kailie not the first victim of APC vindictiveness in 2007. David was the first manager of London Mining in Marampa. In October 2007 the APC mobilised youth to ask for his removal and pressure was put on the shareholders who obliged. He was replaced by a northerner. This was the same time that John Sisay a Limba was promoted to General Manager at Rutile which was in the heart of a Mende land. I am not going to talk about the numerous people that lost their jobs because they were Mendes both under Kabba and worsen under Koroma.

      • Mr Mansaray – your comment was significantly cut as it was far too long. As a new forumite – please note that the rule is to keep your comments to three paragraphs of no more than six lines per paragraph. Thanks.

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