There are as many pieces to make a jigsaw puzzle, each bearing only a miniscule brush of the painted picture. None; but those who have seen the whole picture would decipher the context of how to put it together. In politics, the mechanics of putting its jigsaw together rest with the one who holds sway over the ultimate authority. Political jigsaws are games of life changing chance, played out in the full glare of the public and principles of probity, transparency and accountability are ingrained into the puzzle in such subtle ways as to deny the casual viewer an appreciation of the full picture.

Political puzzles are strictly not jigsaws in a technical way as much as they can be patchwork as in quilting. The essence of motivating public sympathy and acceptance of any stated political ambition is in itself critical to understanding which part of the puzzle fits in where. In some cases, there is possible that a strategically placed puzzle lends a better understanding of the picture and how that should be collated in a much timely manner. Patience therefore is a key to understanding the full gamut of embedding the concept of politics into a jigsaw environment.


In light of the above, nothing restores sanity and continuity in politics as a strategic understanding of the jigsaw. In the case of Sierra Leone, the resoluteness of a strong leadership provided by Ernest Bai Koroma secures that guarantee of continuity even in the face of an impending exit. Recent events have resulted in a deft maneuvering of his political cards to reflect his close touch with reality and a clear sense of direction on how he may want this country to move along. The challenge has always been how best to second guess a leader who can and has demonstrated his ability to move swiftly against upstarts and disingenuous retrogrades. The firm hold on political authority is critical to establishing the enabling environment for a smooth transition. This firmness of position that leaves no stone unturned in edifying the supremacy of authority cannot be compared to any semblance of abuse of power or position, rather, this demonstration of firmness in stature is nothing short of visionary leadership.


Succession under such unwavering climate of political astuteness becomes difficult only to those who attempt to underestimate the firmness or resolve of the ruling class. In the APC party is found a fractious alignment of personalities but yet even when they would come to any situation from disparate origins, there is a certain assurance that they would condescend to sing from the same hymn sheet when the appropriate time comes. In the matter of political succession, President Bai Koroma made some distinct statements to determinedly deal with the sudden rush to usher him out of office after the last elections. That he recognized this to be his final term under the 1991 constitution was a timely interjection to those who called rather prematurely for his successor to be named. There is always going to be a long term view on the political dispensation that will usher in the new era of this country’s politics. The inevitability of a change in political dispensation has been embedded in the process to review the 1991 constitution and for any emphatic position on his political future notwithstanding the conclusion of such a review is in itself self defeating. To the extent, President Koroma has further assured that he will be in a better position to make the decision on his political future after the country has come to terms with the new governing document or constitution that will optimally define how this country is governed. To have done otherwise is political suicide that would at worst needs to be avoided.


There is a secondary import to the need to maintain focus on the immediate needs of the country. President Koroma has made some definitive moves to restore that focus. The tragically misunderstood “AFTER U NAR U” slogans have had a very telling effect on those who had been inclined to condone the impression that President Koroma is moving into redundancy. The possibility that he may continue in office was on its own a realization that unless Ministers focus on the President’s vision and commitment to making a difference for this country, they may end up without a paddle on the proverbial creek. Nothing has refocused minds of Ministers towards the Agenda for Prosperity as much as that campaign. The laxity with which governance is tending was alarming and had already started indulging development partners to think that after the elections, the country was about to abandon such lofty ideals contained in the PRSP III which is indeed the Agenda for Prosperity. Taking back leadership and the destiny of the nation was deftly done by President Koroma first by the sacking of some of his closest aides and confidantes over the years. The demise of Rictchard Konteh this week also signals a firm grip on authority and control of Governance machinery. The rise of Ritchard Konteh would necessarily not have been without the odd bruised egos and tainted reputations. However, he was an affable person but that it seems pale into insignificance if he is to be found wanting on issues of transparency and revenue loss to the State. His involvement in an apparent timber scam is so mundane as to be even laughable. The tragedy of this demise is the relentless ambition for political leadership even in the face of nepotism and despotic tendencies exhibited in situations where public trust and probity would have merited much greater consideration. The failure of the MCC bid for example has to rest squarely on his shoulders not the least but for his manner of recruitment of key personnel who were then charged with directly negotiating with the Americans. There is anecdotal evidence that the Americans were impassioned that some key personnel did not pass their due diligence on corruption which was a primal benchmark for making progress on this initiative.

Amongst all the uncertainties of realistic achievements of some of the key deliverables of President Koroma’s Agenda for Prosperity can be found in some dismal failures covered up with temperate successes and for which some were counting on the prospect of President Koroma’s early exit to accord the chance for them to gloss over such dismal performances. In such circumstances, finger pointing at the grand design of an exited President as being too ambitious and hence never had any prospect of success would be very widely paraded and such would cause much harm and damage to a well crafted legacy for which President Koroma would have worked so hard to create. Agriculture for one must benefit from a more strategic attention otherwise the very foundation of the President’s Agenda for Prosperity would come crumbling down if food security is sacrificed at the altar of project life cycle mismanagement. Discomfitures at the Ministry of Mines also call for some serious realignment of priorities and administrative competence. The strategic gains made by accreditation as EITI compliant nation may well be lost in the face of impunity, of mishandling the critical components of the local content provisions and on the reluctance to comprehensively monitor and control mining activities across the country.

Continuity is critical in maintaining the historical significance of the visionary leadership exhibited by President Koroma. The contiguous acceptance of his commitment to the development of the entire country is unchallenged as President Koroma has taken projects and development opportunities to the deepest of his opponent’s strongholds. Nothing but a secure succession would sustain that drive to protect such lofty political achievements.


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