What next Sam Sumana?

Puawui – Dr. Sama Banya: Sierra Leone Telegraph: 22 June 2019:

I first met the then quiet looking young man – Sam Sumana at an American Embassy reception. My “nephew” the APC Presidential candidate Ernest Bai Koroma, introduced Sam Sumana to me as his running mate in the 2007 Presidential election.

Our next encounter was at State House, when we were invited to present our complaint to him – by now the Vice President, about the attack by APC hooligans on our SLPP party headquarters and especially on our Unity radio station. I thought his handling of the proceedings was clumsy.

I however gave him the benefit of the doubt because I thought he was suffering from the effect of being catapulted into the high position by crooked means (thanks to Christiana Thorpe).

The other occasion was when he addressed members of the APC and other people in the famous Kailahun Court Barry, after the 2008 local government elections in which the SLPP candidates won all the seats.

Sam Sumana the Vice President, unwittingly declared that the APC government would deal with any opponents with fire.

Poor fellow, he must have been unaware that even in their hey days, the APC thugs never crossed the Moa ferry at Manowa during the 1968 bye election campaign.

The invading group withdrew ignominiously and the leadership was finally forced to declare the country’s first state of Public Emergency.

In any case, two weeks after Sam Sumana’s declaration of war, the Kailahun district SLPP leadership under John Benjamin, met in Kailahun (in the presence of today’s APC Sylvia Blyden), and declared publicly that we would return fire for fire, if ever the APC attacked our district.

Like many others, I sympathised with Sam Sumana for APC’s uncouth method of getting rid of its membership, by publicly humiliating and disgracing them as happened to him – their former deputy leader and Vice President.

This was the same man who allegedly ran to the American Embassy for protection (the APC alleged that he had abandoned his position and sought asylum in a Foreign Embassy), after his official security was abruptly withdrawn and he genuinely feared for his life.

Readers must be familiar with other humiliations meted out to Sam Sumana by the APC leadership, after his disgraceful removal from office, such as seizing his diplomatic passport at the Lungi International Airport.

Because of all the cruelty and humiliation he suffered, his Kono people out of sympathy, rallied around him and with their C4C party, physically demolished APC’s presence and influence in the Kono district.

His popularity was on the ascendancy, but then like most such politicians, he betrayed his people and humiliated himself by sneaking quietly into Makeni early this year to do a deal with Ernest Bai Koroma and the APC leadership.

With all of the above and more, one would have thought that he would be living a quiet life or be active among his C4C supporters, that is, if he still enjoys their total support.

On the contrary, he is in the news for having public confrontation with the police, and later putting out a story about his having been invited to take the kick-off at a football match in Port Loko. The statement was immediately refuted by the spokesperson of the football club concerned.

The question now is what next Sam Sumana?

With no intention to bore my readers with repetition, I would like to remind our various do-gooders and their like-minded political commentators on the current Sierra Leone scene, that 70% of our population is illiterate.

It is this group that is often influenced by the recalcitrance of the APC leadership as well as the likes of Sam Sumana. The APC doggedly refuses to accept that they have lost political power for the next 10 years, and that it is in their best interest to reconcile with themselves to the reality of the situation.

But because they believed that they were entrenched in power like the Rock of Gibraltar, they ignored every warning and every advice, and even forget what they and the security forces did to the unarmed victims of the SLPP in opposition, who were often marginalised and brutalised merely for being SLPP.

Now, when the shoes are on the other foot, APC expect us to play God, even in the presence of their persistent non-cooperation with the SLPP government.

Do they really believe that after all this, our illiterate people will understand if we tell them to sit by and turn the other cheek?
I am not by nature a hardliner; but on the other hand I believe in facing reality. I believe firmly that if we just sit by and accept hook, line and sinker – APC’s intransigence, we would not have any support from our people by 2023.

They will see us as weaklings who have succumbed to the threat of the APC. We would never commit that suicide. No.

What they have meted out to us in the past will be meted out to them in full force. It is the only language that our friends in the APC understands.

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