The cabal around president Ernest Koroma

4 August 2008 at 22:43 | 1007 views

By Alpha Rashid Jalloh, Freetown.

The euphoria that greeted Ernest Bai Koroma after he won the 2007 elections is gradually dying down. That is natural and has always been the case in any post election situation.

He is now slowly becoming acquainted with the complexities of Sierra Leone politics: what you see from outside is different from what is inside and when you get inside, you discover that the realities are far from those imagined.

Koroma’s success depends on his pragmatic approach in handling political predicaments. During his campaign, he promised to reintroduce “Stevenism”. Siaka Stevens , the first executive president of Sierra Leone, had declared pragmatism the philosophy of the All People’s Congress. In a country where tribal politics and mendacity are the only strategies used by politicians to garner support, Stevens was arguably the only politician in Sierra Leone that found a philosophy for his party. As a pragmatic politician he had to be Machiavellian for which critics usually lambasted him. But he did what the realities dictated and left many development landmarks that Sierra Leoneans are today proud of.

Koroma, on the other hand, has not found any philosophical path for the APC, though he had promised to reintroduce Stevenism during his campaign. For anyone to be a successful leader of the APC, he has to be au fait with the political history of Sierra Leone and the APC itself as well as the intrigues of politics. Sierra Leone politics is full of intrigues, and those who machinate them are the ones who form a shadow state. They are known as ’The Cabal.’

They play an influential and mercenary role behind the scenes in any political system, which makes them more vicious than vipers. By their infiltration into any political system they have created a feudalistic political system in which they and their children have dominated the public service.

Just go to the ministries and do a survey, you will find out that three fourths of senior officials are the relatives of past and present politicians. So, it is not easy to climb the ladder without their blessing. This system has made poverty hereditary and riches to be the same. Achievement is therefore based on birth and not by effort or educational achievement.

This phenomenon became common during the reign of Ahmad Tejan Kabbah who appointed people because of their fathers’ political achievement or relationship with the Sierra Leone Peoples Party and not because of those indivuduals’ popularity or even merit. Some of them were: Okere Adams, minister of marine resources, Sulaiman Tejan Jalloh High Commissioner to the UK and later ambassador to the US, Morlai Sidon Bai Kamara deputy minister of mineral resources and many top civil servants. It led to exclusivity, boredom, frustration, class distinction and above all a feudalistic political system.

Today, Koroma is in power and the cabal which made Joseph Saidu Momoh to fail has surrounded him again. The cabal is a loose alliance of people who work strictly for personal gain. They create substructures within the party and government agencies thus creating a network of loyalists. By so doing, they alienate the president and manipulate policies and can even manipulate events against the president if he seems to be doing things that threaten their interest. They have done dangerous things in the past and have catapulted some, who knew how to work with them, to fame and glory.

They stage-managed events that compelled presidents to jail certain people who were even loyal to the president but dangerous to the cabal. They pushed others out of the country into exile. It was they who influenced Momoh and the intelligence agencies to kick his relative, Lieutenant Panda, out of Sierra Leone, demonised Christie Greene and influenced the Peter Tucker Commission to insert a clause in the 1991 constitution in which any professional who had been found wanting for corruption could be banned from practicing his profession and that apparently sent Christie Greene into oblivion from Sierra Leone public service.

Today, the cabal is planning to replace Ernest Bai Korma by 2012. They may sponsor even an insane man to institute several court actions against Koroma, frustrate a convention, create chaos within the party and give Koroma bad advice that may worsen the situation.

But who are they? These are people who have turned out to be very influential over Ernest Koroma. They have influenced him to introduce ‘Bombali-Tonkolili’ politics knowing fully well that it polarizes the North like what Kabbah did during his reign when he introduced ‘Kailahun politics’ that divided SLPP.

In 2007 people used Kabbah’s whip to flog Berewa. Take the case of a man who was in the SLPP till the eleventh hour and was even a member of the SLPP Transitional Peace Committee that would have helped in forming an interim government if the SLPP had succeeded in using the court to stop the National Electoral Commissioner Christiana Thorpe from announcing the election results.

They were even on the radio talking about going back to the 1991 constitution. And one of them even went with Bishop Humper who was a member of this committee to Uganda. The moment he returned home, he was able to hoodwink Ernest’s wisdom into appointing him into the cabinet. Now he and his family and close friends in the SLPP have been appointed into lucrative jobs. He is slowly bringing the SLPP men to create a loyalist network.

Those who do not know might perhaps be interpreting it as ‘a spirit of reconciliation’. This same man was sponsoring an SLPP newspaper but it has turned out to be his whip. In order to prove to SLPP that he is not a traitor as the paper has been branding him, he has started co-opting SLPP men into his ministry.

This old hustler is even trying to ensure that those who were close to Ernest yesterday do not go near him so that he would never set eyes on them. He has established his network from State House to the party office and his trying to establish a loose alliance in the cabinet. Ernest should not forget that those who danced for Albert Margai asked for his crucifixion in 1967, those who danced for Momoh asked for his crucifixion in 1992, those who danced for Strasser asked for his crucifixion in 1996 , and those who danced for Kabbah asked for his crucifixion in 2007. That is Sierra Leone politics. Ten years is not a long time.

Somebody predicted Ernest Koroma’ victory; he called him to parliament and they had a chat. He gave him salient advice. But Ernest has even forgotten the person and the advice and he has thus turned out to be the Jeroboam of today.

Back to the cabal! The cabal which is sponsored by a king pin has been infiltrating organs of the APC executive including the youth league and has even influenced the president to appoint some of their members. A notorious one among them has been appointed ambassador and he owes loyalty to the king pin and not to Ernest. They have surrounded Ernest and he now finds it difficult to make discreet decisions at State House. If he does something today, tomorrow morning it will be in the opposition newspapers. That is how the cabal operates. They work strictly for cash and can therefore satisfy any side in the tussle.

Just wait and see dear sierra Leoneans , both within and without the country, they may even influence Koroma to alienate people like Alpha Kanu and Kemoh Sesay because if they are out of the way it would be easy to drag Ernest like a sheep into the hole they have dug as they did for Momoh.

Frankly speaking, Ernest himself thinks politics is a game for Savis Men (cunning and smart guys). He severed relations with people he used to discuss things with yesterday to acquire knowledge from them. The moment he was sworn in as president he changed straight away and the cabal who are professionals in manipulating people barricaded the way to him. That is why the cabal will defiantly succeed and Ernest will learn a bitter lesson.

The APC is currently in two factions. The cabal and the Ernest loyalists and nobody has taken notice of that except those who are acquainted with the intrigues of the party.

Things are currently at a standstill. That is how the cabal wants things and Ernest is running helter skelter to put things in place. He is a one man army trying to rebuild the wind mill and he will soon run out of steam.

As the clock ticks, Ernest will soon come to know who are the Brutuses and Cassiuses. But will it not be too late? I hope not.