Is it true Mr. President?December 4, 2012
By Philip Neville:
Students of Literature and traditionalists believe in the theory that to every rumour there is an element of truth. Some other schools of thought usually say there is no smoke without fire. If we are to accept those theories on face value, then there is every reason to ask Mr. President if the rumour and smoke doing rounds in the city of Freetown is true that five ministerial positions were discussed with the defeated Presidential Candidate of the SLPP to be offered to them as a way of compensating them for losing the presidency?.
It is the wish of the voters who surrendered their natural rights in a democratic setting not to extend that right to any undeserving and defeated Presidential Candidate on the flimsy excuse of peace and political stability of the country. The right to vote and not to vote for any political Candidate is the natural and democratic right of every citizen of a state, which should and must be respected by all and sundry, including political leaders.
On Monday this week, the defeated Presidential Candidate of the oldest political party in Sierra Leone Julius Maada Bio met with the newly democratically re-elected President, Dr. Ernest Bai Koroma of the All Peoples Congress party. The object of the meeting in the opinion of the President was to keep in line with his pronouncement of one family living in a state that is struggling to grow after a decade of devastating war that crumbled the success of that nation-state.
For Julius Maada Bio, it was a dream come true to meet with the political figure he blocked on Goderich Street with his vehicle prior to the elections and wanted to spit venom on him, because he was interested in taking over his job.
So when things did not work out the way he had predicted it to happen and now finds himself in the world of reality not the world of shadows any longer; which he has been living in throughout the campaign period he now understands the difference between the world of shadows and that of reality. Resisting reality after spending days in the world of shadows is a natural phenomenon, so when religious leaders decided to bail him out of his predicament; Julius Maada Bio grabbed the opportunity with two hands and said to himself “this is the opportunity I have been waiting for as I now truly know that the father is bigger than the son”.
He found himself at State House and met with his elder brother who educated him behind closed doors how to win Presidential election and the hearts of the voters. There was nothing he could say during the initial lecture. Then came the following words, out of his mouth involuntarily “I recognized you as the President elect and I could remember several assistance you had rendered to me, even when I was not able to honour my yearly rent to my landlord and the time was due; you came to my rescue.
Also, when I needed a contract from the National Aids Secretariat you came in, though it did not materialize 100%. I have always regarded you as my elder brother, but if I had not reacted the way I did after the elections my party supporters would have pounced on me and this is what I was trying to prevent…please forgive me for my irrational and unthinkable behavior. I promised to work with you” and when the closed door finally opened, it was all smiles from both people while the leaders who had pioneered the way through stood by and gazed at the two men.
Those party supporters who had no knowledge about what transpired behind the closed door at State House have begun disseminating false news that the discussion between Julius Maada Bio and President Koroma was centered on power sharing or called it Government of Inclusion.
Assuming that was so, it would be an unpopular and unacceptable deal struck by President Koroma with his challenger. The President must know that the voters renewed their contract with him to continue his stewardship based on his past record. They assessed the records of all the Presidential Candidates and recommended him for State House. Their decision was not based on regional, tribal or the frequent smiles he used to pour on them but how he meticulously handed the ship of state for the last five years.
Democracy has no room for failure nor is democracy sympathetic to tyranny. Any attempt by President Koroma to abuse the natural rights of the voters would not be treated lightly by the people whose mandate has offered him the opportunity to continue presiding over the administration of the state.
Those who voted him on election day were not mad at the time of casting their votes. They saw on the ballot papers the pictures and symbols of all the presidential candidates at the various polling stations, but decided to renew their contract with him and no other person else, therefore abusing their democratic rights by sharing the seat of governance to any candidate they had rejected is a disrespect to their intelligence and abuse of their God –giving rights. The decision by the voters was not bought with money, but trust and confidence on the Koroma leadership, which should not be betrayed.
The propaganda that is now being accepted and celebrated by some SLPP supporters in the different regions where they continue to be fooled by the elite group of the party is that the Ernest Bai Koroma government is going to offer their party five ministerial positions for failing to win the Presidential elections on 17th November, 2012. If this is true, it could be interpreted to mean that the APC and Ernest Bai Koroma did not genuinely win the election.
It is not a matter of appeasing the loser, but an issue that could be mis-interpreted and a wrong democratic precedent established in the political history of Sierra Leone. Also, it will encourage other leaders and political parties not to do their homework well during elections as they are sure of bagging ministerial positions from the political party that will emerge victorious.
It is not known, which political theorist that has taught the leaders of the APC party to compensate losers with ministerial positions after an election that was credited as fair, free and transparent by world leaders and observers.
It is undoubtedly clear that this piece will be interpreted as an incitement, by those who are expecting to benefit from the political largesse that may be dished out by the Koroma government. Whether that is so or not, the fact remains true that losers should not be compensated with political office. Instead, they should be encouraged to work hard and harder and not to depend on the success of others. The Koroma government must grapple the undeniable fact that power belongs to the people, which should not be toyed with but preserved for the general good of nation building.
The voters are watching and the ears, eyes of Sierra Leoneans at home and abroad are open to welcome the unpopular decision of giving to Caesar what does not belong to him. They will react in a way that would send shocks and surprises to President Koroma to wake him up from his cozy armchair.