From the Editor’s Keyboard

A word to the wise is quite sufficient

18 September 2007 at 03:17 | 537 views

Editorial

With the announcement of final results of the just concluded presidential run-off polls that declared All People’s Congress (APC) flag bearer Ernest B. Koroma winner, a new dawn is unfolding in the political history of Sierra Leone with history repeating itself forty odd years down the road with the first defeat of the incumbent Sierra Leone People’s Party (SLPP) in the 1967 elections and a repeat performance by the APC on Monday.

As soon as the National Electoral Commission (NEC) boss announced the result Monday morning, thousands of Sierra Leoneans took to the streets in Freetown in what many observers described a scene of pomp and pageantry. Yes, the people have the right to celebrate, a kind of therapy for them, after enduring not only a brutal civil war from 1991 until the cessation of hostilities between the cruel and pathological Revolutionary United Front (RUF) headed by the late psychopath Foday Saybana Sankoh and the defeated SLPP government, but also by the latter’s gross negligence,indifference and inability to deliver basic essential social services like clean-pipe-borne water, power supply, medical facilities and a decent salary for civil servants, among others.

With the opposition APC forming the new government within days from now, the people are patiently looking forward to a kind of government that will not only be representative of our country, albeit apparently divided along regional and ethnic lines as the voting pattern indicated, but one that will incorporate dynamic personalities who would be diligent in ensuring that the jubilation of the people did not go in vain.

Appointment to serve in government, parastatals, and Board of Directorships should not only be transparent, but must be matched with the prerequisite credentials and not springing only from political connections known in the country’s lingua franca as “me manism”. In essence, we call on Ernest Bai Koroma to prove his detractors wrong that he is only good enough to manage an insurance company.

We would also like to encourage him to look for talent not only in the ranks of the APC and PMDC, but among all Sierra Leoneans from all regions, backgrounds and political persuasions with the requisite skills and genuine desire to effect positive change in the country. Priority should of course be accorded members of the APC and PMDC because they fought a long and hard battle against a well oiled and very powerful party that did almost everything to retain power.

Sierra Leoneans are a resilient people who have their wits around them. This, to say the least, is uncontested. It was indeed the people who risked their lives and gave the notorious National Provisional Ruling Council (NPRC) junta headed by Valentine Strasser entrance legitimacy after it overthrew the APC in 1992.

But as the rights of the people were violated with gross impunity coupled with high profile corruption, excessive womanising, and generally outlandish life-styles, the people began the process of change.

Meanwhile luxury cars for the young officers and their civilian patrons became the norm. Suddenly the same people who shouted the loudest in 1992 in favour of the "Khaki Boys" defied the guns and ended the abysmal rule of the NPRC by opting for democratic elections that ushered in the SLPP to power in 1996.

Again, the resilience of the people was tested by the Armed Forces Revolutionary Council (AFRC) headed by fugitive Johnny Paul Koroma when it overthrew the SLPP in 1997, with the people triumphantly winning after the dust had settled.

The same could be said of the demise of the RUF. It was the same people that defied the honourable status accorded warlord Foday Sankoh by the SLPP government under the terms of the so-called 1999 Lome Peace Agreement by confronting him for disarmament. It was akin to the Tianamen Square saga in which unarmed civilians confronted tanks and guns. The people of Sierra Leone similarly defied Sankoh leading to his demise and the destruction of his killing machine!

So, all Sierra Leoneans wanted from our new president and government is to deliver on its promises, promises it should hold sacred in order to respect the political sovereignty of the people in a democracy.

And, these promises should not be like the vile and dishonest ones made by the SLPP who promised constructing a bridge across Lungi, proclaimed that no Sierra Leonean will go to bed hungry by 2007, said corruption will be eliminated, that state institutions will be independent of the executive arm of government, that there will be political tolerance etc, etc.

In the final analysis, unless conscious efforts are made to pull back the country from the abyss of poverty including the provision of the basics for our people, nothing will cool the wrath of the people recently unleashed on the SLPP government through the ballot box.

One uncontested certainty in Sierra Leone politics today is the fact that the people are able to effect change, no matter the conditions, no matter the price. A word to the wise is quite sufficient!

Meanwhile the Patriotic Vanguard would like to formally congratulate President Ernest Bai Koroma and the APC for putting up a great fight and for winning so overwhelmingly.

Indeed the APC has, in this election, demonstrated some of its popular slogans like "Orwaii, Orsaii; Kaylaylu, Wakai!", which are a glorification, in the Themne language, of the power and majesty of the sun’s rays and the awesome strength of the forces of nature.The rising sun is the APC symbol.

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