By Musa Ronsho
Sierra Leoneans around the world welcomed the news of a peaceful By-Election for Word 099 in the Kono District. As the results came in, there was an eagerness to see if the recent election malpractices of vote fixing and overturning the electoral will of the people would once again be the order of the day. Therefore, many were not confident at all that the National Electoral Commission will conduct a peaceful election in Kono that is also credible. To the surprise of concerned Sierra Leoneans, N’fa Alie Conteh somehow knew that Kono will stand firm against unfairness and being taken political advantage of by those in power. So, authorities ensured that nothing went amiss as the Eastern Province Official Mr. Mattia declared the C4C Candidate as the winner of the By-Election.
The Coalition for Change (C4C) came into existence following the APC’s unfair treatment of former Vice President Alhaji Sam Sumana. After using him and the Kono vote to win two Presidential Elections, the natural progression was for Alhaji Sam Sumana to be the Presidential Candidate of the APC for the 2018 contest that Julius Maada Bio of the SLPP (somehow) won. During the most painful ordeal in the political history of Alhaji Sam Sumana and his people, the powers that be at the time made many disparaging remarks against the Konos. This humiliated the Konos in front of the entire world. Unlike previous failed attempts to form a political party that looks out for the interest of the Kono people and their district, the C4C roused the people and won resounding contests during the General Elections of 2018. This earned them 8 seats in the Parliament of Sierra Leone.
The political dons within the APC knew about the influence of Alhaji Sam Sumana and the Konos; they took them for granted. Leading to the 2012, delays of reselecting VP Sumana as the running were because of several factors. What was conclusive is that Ernest Bai Koroma would commit a “political suicide” if he should select anyone else but his VP from Kono as his running mate? The All Peoples Congress only postponed their political suicidal act from 2012 to 2018. Some analysts would argue that the APC defeated themselves in the 2018 Presidential Race by choosing someone other than Alhaji Sam Sumana. There are substantial evidences to prove this is the truth. Because when it was all over, losing 8 seats in Kono and hundreds of thousands votes in Kono gave Bio the presidency that he is currently abusing.
So, what are the lessons for political pundits in Sierra Leone? Among the many, let me just point out a few. First, no one should ever again take the Konos for granted. The people have had enough of being relegated to only subservient roles. The majority have made the conscious decision to look out for what is in their best interest. Second, the determination to relinquish the kingmaker role in the politics of Sierra Leone is very much real in the minds of the Konos. Those who think just having an “instrumental relationship” with the Konos is enough, are mistaken. It is a new day in Kono as the natives are no longer willing to bend over backward for others to step on them in reaching higher heights. If it means climbing for themselves, that they are poised to do. In conclusion, through the C4C there is a unity among the Konos toward a common cause: Join forces with others to advance and assert their self-will.
The C4C proves that the collaboration among the people is not only appealing but meaningful. It enables them to decide their common destiny. This political ideology of “Oneness” (togetherness) has only began producing tasty fruits for the people. Desmond Tutu told a story explaining the Xhosa tribe’s ideology of “Ubuntu,” oneness/togetherness. Someone who studies humans once planned a game for the tribe’s children. He placed a basket full of fruits near a huge tree. He told the children that the first person to get there, will win all the sweet fruits in the basket. It amazed this individual that the children held hands and ran together as a unit. When they arrived, they formed a circle around the basket and enjoyed the fruits. He asked them why they ran together instead of as individuals? One child answered, “Ubuntu, how can one of us be happy if all the other ones are sad?” There would be no limit for the people of Kono if they continue to display this kind of oneness and togetherness.