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2017 in 2012 election- the APC Dilemma

The internecine struggle within the APC party as to who will succeed Ernest Koroma in 2017 is taking centre stage thereby compromising the yet to be won 2012 election. The transformational strides of Ernest Koroma’s Government made many to believe that 2012 election is a done deal as such efforts needed to bring that to reality are being divided to fuel debate and map a succession strategy that is on coalition course with the tested political formula of wooing the swing region of Kono through political concession, which contributed to the winning of the 2007 election.

Many within the party believe that the political returns of a performing incumbent will cancel out any advantage of a political concession to Kono will bring to the ticket. Glibly put APC does not need a Kono Vice President that could pose a 2017 succession dilemma to win 2012.The tonality of this argument gives the impression that Kono was use for entrance legitimacy. It also implied that performance legitimacy couple with the advantage of incumbency is enough to earn the 2012 and that 2017 election is much more important than the forthcoming election. It is true Ernest Koroma’s legacy is worth preserving but we are not yet done making it until he completes the second term. It seems that term is at the verge of being sacrifice in the altar of 2017.

Political historian from Kono have already began to draw a historical parallel between this thought process within the party to the 1957 SLPP/Paul Dunbar incident which saw the dismissal of Dunbar twelve days after being sworn in as Minister of Health and the 1977 APC denial of symbol to Gandi Capio the conclusion from the historical references is that all major political parties are using the Kono people. This political sales pitch when pitched loud enough and accompanied with an orchestra of Kono lyricists it might just spin the swing region of kono to a sonic location that says “Kono First” thus transforming the swing status of Kono to a Russian roulette thereby creating a cliff hanger 2012 election. There is so much at stake in 2012 to hazard running two elections in one. The niche group in APC whose strategy it is to wrap the two in one should think again.

The first casualty of this new political thinking among some party elite is the Honourable Vice President whom many perceive as a succession obstacle if allowed to run for a second term as a running mate. The fair is a 2017 Sam Sumana ticket might be a very hard sell to the party northern base. The resolve therefore is to eliminate him from the ticket before he poses a 2017 political quandary. The school of thought within the party tends to pander to the opposition strategy of getting Kono to swing like an unhinged pendulum thus returning it to up for grab status. The opposition strategy is simple; get kono to swing, maintain the south eastern stronghold, snatch few votes in the North and west to secure a runoff and toss the Liberian boycott factor. The total in political speak will be a power sharing. The next step is to use the strength of power sharing to prepare for 2017 onslaught. By some political miscalculation the “2017 in 2012” exponent within the APC tend pander to the strategy of the SLPP. They are by default enablers creating the enabling environment for the opposition strategy to work. Whatever happened to one step at a time philosophy that took these exponents to their offices this morning? What about one election at a time?

Fighting a formidable opposition is hard and having to fight lethal political enemies within the same part is every politician’s nightmare. It is not surprising therefore to see the Vice President alone and siege from all fronts. Mental exercise: frame the portrait of a man under siege in your mind then toss in the Aljazeera investigate programme shake vigorously what you will get is a man hounded by the opposition and abandoned by most members of his party. For the opposition the Aljazeera programme is a big kill they should feast on it and sing celebratory songs sang in the village when a hunter kills a big Animal like Bush Cow. As for the government Aljazeera presents a moment for a post mortem, critical thinking and team spirit. But what seems to emerge from the elites of the party is a voice not different in tone and cadence from that of the opposition. It seems many are using the programme to sort out the 2017 dilemma as if 2012 does not matter at all. Baritone voice from the party and the opposition are now shouting Resign! Resign!! Resign! The chorus in this case the public seem to be less enthused to add their voices.

The iconic image on which the whole aljazeera narrative hinges is money changing hands in an office projected to be Vice President’s office through a technique of flipping montage and narrative. Critically minded Sierra Leonean journalist who perceived the whole drama of deception as an attack on Sierra Leone’s integrity, have come out with proof to show that the office is that of Momoh Conteh and not the Vice President. So what is aljazeera’s motive in selling that office for what it is not? What value was added by showing sealed container going through scanning processes with no evidence of timber loaded in it other than the memory trigger in our minds that created a domino effect of us believing that timber is being shipped? The same technique of memory trigger was also use when he rushed out of the hotel creating an impression that he is not safe and that free press is coerced in Sierra Leone. The image of the money being counted in momoh conteh’s office that Aljazeera tries to pass as vice president ‘s office to me is an impurity that warrant investigation. I will not drink a glass of water made impure by dropping of a molecule of urine in it.By the same logic i will not accept Sorious Samura’s apology for a sting because the impurities in it are not good for my intellectual health.

My contention is APC should look at this thing critical instead of rushing to grab the spoils which in this case could be the political carcass of Sam Sumana. The danger is he might not just be the only carcass of this questionable Aljazeera programme. A philosopher Rene Descarte once said “What has deceived me once, I shall no longer have reason trust”. There is a glaring case of deception in the video so what are we going to do about it apart from waxing lyrical about Sam Summana’s resignation? What about the image of the country and party compromised by that lie of selling a country for $2500?Or are we prepared to band-aid our wounded image so long as we see the back of Sam sumana? Who says Aljazeera cannot be sued? Could our subdue response of giving Aljazera the other cheek a pathological case of self deprecation? Those bringing 2017 in 2012 election should be made to understand that they are hurting the Ernest Koroma ticket. The picking of the running mate should be conditioned by the needs of 2012 and not some far flung election that is subject to factors we can only begin to imagine.

Cleo Hancil’s book Natural Born Leader chronicled HE Ernest Bai Koroma’s life for all to see what it takes to be a leader. His conducts from childhood to the time he ascended the throne indicate that to lead people you have got to excel them. We now have a yardstick in Ernest Koroma. Any wannabe be leader should be prepared to climb the lather of ambition rung by rung. To attempt to click shortcuts that compromised the integrity of the state and the chances of Ernest second term is exactly how not to be ambitious. Sometimes the fact that we call ourselves derogatory names in celebration of our self deprecation gives other people a license to treat us shabbily. We have been treated with utter contempt by the Aljazeera Video with acquiesce of one of us-Sorious Samura. Give the devil his due; Sorious is a brilliant journalist he brought something new in journalism that is the element of being part of the narrative. In Ethiopia he filmed a story on hunger he was part of the story he starved for days and ate grass like the subjects of the story at some point the medicos in the team had to intervene to save him from dying. He is a kind of Jesus Christ of Journalism who puts his life on line for a story. But when it comes to Sierra Leone he thinks he can just say there is corruption at the top and zoom cameras at the port and at vice presidents office and hastily leave. If Sorious had invested a little time and a quarter of his talent on the story we would have had a clearer picture of corruption at the top. Did he buy the timber and ship it out using his corrupt contact? No! Was there timber in the containers at the quay shown on video? No! Was the money transaction done in Vice President’s office? No! Could that money be a fee for the registration of a company? Highly likely because the amount reflects legal charges etc for company registration. So apart from picture montage and a wide viewership what it is that Sorious Samura did that is of journalistic excellence to warrant what is becoming political distancing of the Vice President? Is someone compromising the gains of this country for selfish reasons? It is time to come up with our programme titled: SIERRA LEONE INVESTIGATES. Critically minded Sierra Leoneans should press the pause bottom on the political drama and look at the bigger picture Aljazeera is projecting. Subtract Vice President from the story what remain is a corrupt country in which laws are not worth the papers they are written on-Is that us? Is this the summation of our entire post conflict struggle to build a new image of Sierra Leone? Are we going to take this lying down just because it has the potential eliminating a perceived political enemy in 2017?

I believe on the credibility and the pedigree of the ACC commissioner to investigate every facet of the documentary and make appropriate recommendations. I think the scope of the investigation should reach the shores of Aljazeera. Aljazeera is a reputable institution some will say and that they have no reason to lie so also is BBC and News of the World yet they both have references of settling libel suits. If the scope of the investigation fails to scoop the Aljazeera “mediascape “we will not get the big picture.

The markers of the Sting had the option to have gone the whole nine yards; buy the timber from the forest, process and ship it out using the so called corrupt contact then exposed it to the world like they do in other credible media. Why do they stop at talking talk about talking talk just like the talk we talk in our talking shops?

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