Salone News

Kamaraimba Should Stay Within the APC

By  | 25 April 2014 at 17:24 | 1234 views

Commentary

I have never met or spoken to the young APC politician Mohamed Kamaraimba Mansaray (photo) who has been in the news for some time now. Neither am I one of his numerous supporters.

But I would like to offer him some pieces of advice from my experience as a journalist that has reported on and commented on Sierra Leone politics for almost three decades. Mohamed, who I think is a very intelligent and ambitious young man, a "Youth Man", as they say in Sierra Leone, seems to lack one thing and that is political experience. So here we go:

1. Two parties, only two parties, can win elections convincingly in Sierra Leone and they are the APC and the SLPP. Until our people, the voters, attain the necessary political consciousness to discard the evils of ethnocentrism, political patronage and other shibboleths, the situation will remain the same for at least two decades when, hopefully, the level of literacy and understanding of true democracy would have dramatically increased in the country.

2. Kamarainmba will not defeat the APC by forming a new political party because he will never have the necessary financial resources and political structures to do so. The only parties that will pose a serious threat to the APC are the SLPP and PDP-Sorbeh and that will only happen if they form a coalition as they did for Kabbah to win the 1996 election. Indeed the APC had to team up with Charles Margai’s PMDC to defeat the SLPP’s Solomon Berewa in 2007. Note that a huge chunk of SLPP supporters had joined the PMDC by that time due to the marginalization of Charles Margai and the Hinga Norman affair. Kabbah was able to win the 2002 election because the PDP-Sorbeh agreement was still alive and there were still PDP-Sorbeh leaders in his government (His government was very inclusive at that time, a kind of government of national unity necessitated by the ravages of war and international pressure). The APC was still very weak at the time because most of the PDP-Sorbeh and UNPP supporters that had abandoned the party had not yet returned.

3. In the 70s popular APC politicians Dr. John Karefa-Smart, Dr. Mohamed Sorie Forna, the formidable journalist Ibrahim Taqi and others resigned from the APC due to mariginalization and strong disagreement with the way then President Siaka Stevens was running the country. They later formed the United Democratic Party (UDP) which quickly spread like wild fire all over the country and was poised to trounce the APC in the next elections. The UDP was composed of very strong former APC and SLPP leaders (a kind of coalition party) backed by outstanding Creole intellectuals in the Western Area.

Frightened and paranoid, Siaka Stevens and his team banned the UDP and arrested Forna and others. They were later accused of treason, tried by a kangaroo court and executed. Acid was then poured on their bodies which were then taken to the then Rokupa cemetary near Portee, east of Freetown and buried in unmarked graves. The cemetary itself has now disappeared under dwelling houses. Karefa-Smart was then out of the country. Stevens later declared a one-party state to consolidate power and avoid further electoral threats.

Years later APC politicians Thaimu Bangura, Dr. Sheka Kanu and others, disgusted with the blatant ethnocentrism or "tribalism" of the Limba-dominated Joseph Saidu (Sedu) Momoh regime (similar to what is happening today under EBK’s Limba-Loko government) resigned from the APC and formed the PDP-Sorbeh which quickly became a formidable political force in the north and Western Area but lacked political structures in the East and South much like PMDC, which was strong in the East and South but had little support in the north and Western Area.

4. In order, therefore, not to repeat history, Kamarainba should stay within the APC, go about his campaign without using the party logo and wait for the next elections. If he resigns now he will give the party the chance to brand him as a trouble-maker, an enemy to be eliminated physically or otherwise as happened in the past.

5. In Africa it is always a wise thing to criticize a political party from within and work for change from within, except if you are a journalist and not a propagandist. Journalists are obliged to criticize even the political party they support to make it and the country better. But once they become part of the government they are no longer journalists in the strict sense of the word but propagandists and the public will view them as such. So the choice is theirs. For a politician like Kamarainba, he should criticize from within the party but going public as he is doing now in an African political party, is not a wise thing.Forming a new political party will also get him nowhere. Building a strong political party capable of winning national elections in Africa takes decades and tons of cash.

Well, na di wod dat-oh, Kamarainba (That’s my advice, Kamarainba).

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