We have all been watching with keen interest the electioneering process in Sierra Leone. Now that the outcome of the Presidential is known, it is clearly evident that the division in the country remains very strong and how this is addressed will determine to a large extent the progress we will make as a nation. However, I still want to use this opportunity to applaud every Sierra Leonean for the level of pre-election engagement, as all tried very hard to stake their claims for the political party of their choice as being the best for the development of our beloved country. In the process, a lot of theories were counted and discounted by supporters on all sides as to why the party of their choice should win. Now that we officially know the outcome of the Presidential and aware of the parliamentary and local government elections, where do we go from here?

As I write this piece, I am aware that President Koroma has been sworn in for a second term and Maada Bio has refused to accept the result of the Presidential election based on his claim of irregularities. I am also aware that the chairperson of NEC issued a statement in response to SLPP and PMDC complaints prior to announcing the Result of the Presidential Election. What I am not aware of is whether SLPP/PMDC had/ has provided any credible evidence to substantiate their claims of irregularities. Also, based on Online Newspaper reports, clandestine email exchanges between SLPP supporters even before the announcement of the result of the Presidential Election encouraged Maada Bio not to concede. In the midst of all these, initial reports from all observers point to the fact that the Elections were free, fair, peaceful and credible. That is not to say there is no room for improvement. If I could be in my living room far away and listen to Election results “Live” and compare that to those days when ballot boxes were transported in military vehicles with no polling Agents present, then I’m convinced  we have made a lot of progress and need to move forward as a nation.

For the SLPP, to put it in medical terms, I strongly believe it is time for a postmortem. Having lost two Presidential Elections in a row after ruling for the previous eleven years, and with the margin of victory being over 20 points, cannot be simply explained by the suggestion of Election irregularities. Did the party “Big guns” learn anything from their Flag bearer selection process for the 2007 Election and how it affected the outcome of that Election? Did they realize that after the military coup in 1992, it was inconceivable by most Sierra Leoneans that the APC would ever rule Sierra Leone again? During their eleven- year- rule did they take the people of Sierra Leone for granted whilst the APC was busy rebranding its image with new faces like Ernest Koroma who was not a player in the Siaka Stevens Government? Does the SLPP have a good strategy for winning the western area and Kono devoid of wishing that Residents of those areas might detest the APC? Finally, are they willing to honestly confront “the Elephantine the room –the Tribal Party Perception?”

For the APC, I would also say in medical terms, it is time for a fresh “Physical”- meaning as healthy as you may think you are, you still need to visit the Doctor yearly or as need be to check you out and get reassurance about the state of your health. Do not rely on “kweh-kweh” (uncertified) Doctors – in this case “yes men”. My first point in this regard is that learn from the SLPP scenario. I believe there are still stalwarts from the old APC that need to take the back seat, and I would actually commend the President for getting rid of one of the”kortors” from his first cabinet who did not seem to share his political philosophy. At the same time I didn’t view with admiration his appointment of one of the “Ngors” of old time in his cabinet (my opinion).The Government should make all efforts to visualize its “Agenda for change/prosperity”. Slogans have always been around and will always be around, but it is a totally different thing when somebody walks down Regent Road in Lumley and sees people fetching clean drinking water from a running tap than hearing it from the Radio or TV over and over that it is part of the President’s Agenda for change to have running tap water in that area.  Now is not the time for complacency; now is the time to build on whatever foundations were laid during the President’s first term to reassure an APC third term. And to remind the President, I happened to be in Kono around early May when he visited and observed that one of his favorite lines against the SLPP was “intentions vs. actions”- meaning the SLPP had intentions to do stuff, but he followed his intentions with actions. So, Mr. President, the ball is in your court. Don’t rely on the power of incumbency to win your party a third Election in a row. Know you are doing the job for the people of Sierra Leone and not your party and if you continue to do it well the people will reward your party with a third term. I personally want you to succeed like I would any other President, but above all I want the Nation to succeed.

Finally, I would encourage Mr. Bio and his cabal to swallow the humble pie and support the will of the people of Sierra Leone and accept the outcome of the Election. In all honesty, based on what has been going on in and out of the Country over the past five years, the Ernest Koroma brand was better placed to win the Presidency. The people who did not see that are those who listened only to the “Fox News” of the SLPP – meaning those who only listen to, read and believe stories in SLPP news outlets just like most Republicans do in the U.S.A with Fox News. Like I stated in my previous paragraph, I was in Sierra Leone in May and during that period my movement was restricted toFreetown and Kono. Knowing the political landscape of the Country, and considering the fact that those two areas are not only the most cosmopolitan, but also the swing areas, I observed that the APC was better placed to win the Election. So in the interest of national unity, I reiterate my appeal to Mr. Bio and his supporters to be magnanimous in defeat and support the victor for the peace, progress and prosperity of the Country.

God bless Sierra Leone.

Emmanuel Komba Saquee.

Kansas City, U.S.A.

(Published Verbatim)

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