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.”