By Mohamed Sankoh (One Drop)
As an unrepentant Koromaist, one of the reasons why I think I’m somehow different from the pack of hysterical APCers is the fact that I do try to approach commonsensical issues in non-hysterical manner and always accept the shortcomings of the ruling All People’s Congress (APC) like a level-headed writer. And besides, it is not my style to call a spade a garden spoon!
That is why I’m, at present, refusing to go with the crowd of those who are now baying for the blood of the Chief Electoral Commissioner of the National Electoral Commission (NEC), Mohamed N’fa Alie Conteh, because of his seemingly ineptitude which has allegedly led to the missing of data for thousands of would-be voters for next year’s General Elections. Logically, to ask for the removal of Mr Conteh is like faulting the judgement of President Ernest Bai Koroma who made that appointment in the first place. And common sense dictates that a referee cannot be changed in the middle of a match just because s/he has made some costly blunders and the home crowd is calling for his removal from the pitch.
In my brutal One Dropian honesty, it is the SLPPers who should be the cry-babies not the APCers in this case. As I see it, if the APC is figuratively holding the handle of the sword and the SLPP is holding the double sharp ends in the swordfight; who should be wailing the loudest? So, if some APCers are now hopelessly and helplessly calling for the removal of Mohamed N’fa Alie Conteh because they suspect he might be doing the bidding of the SLPP; then they are reminding me of the Justice Edmond Cowan scenario where he was appointed chairman of the Constitutional Review Committee (CRC) without little or no background check done on him only for the APC to become a cry-baby in the end.
In fact, those APCers who are at present advocating for the removal of the current Chief Electoral Commissioner should be ashamed of themselves for the simple fact that the supposedly incompetence of Mr Conteh shows the ineffectiveness of the APC, both as a party and Government, to do due diligence when it comes to national appointments. If those who came to the conclusion and settled for Mohamed N’fa Alie Conteh as Dr Thorpe’s successor at NEC, when that position was vacant, had done a little background check on him or did due diligence on his professional competencies; they would have known that that man had, and still has, the capability of doing the SLPP’s bidding at the slightest coaxing from his in-laws. They would have also known that that man was, and still is, only suited for the role of a foot soldier not a commander.
Looking at Mohamed N’fa Alie Conteh’s background, even a slow-witted person should have known where his political allegiance could be slanted towards. For a man who spent his formative years and the better part of his professional life in Kenema District, and whose wife does not only hail from that District but is an SLPP activist who is still fighting lipstick and nails to see the APC removed from power, one should know where N’fa Alie Conteh’s political sympathies might be. Sociologically, N’fa Alie Conteh is not a northerner. So if the APC was looking for a sympathetic northerner, Mr Conteh’s surname might have been a sort of a decoy. Besides, in the last two general elections, Mohamed N’fa Alie Conteh voted in them. And because he seems to be a sort of a hen pecked husband one could deduce which political party he might have voted for in those elections!
And have the APCers forgotten that research methodology which is employed by some researchers that makes them so attached to their research environments that they eventually become or go “local”? For the last 17 years or more, N’fa Alie Conteh has been ‘Kenema-lised’ (is this another One Dropian dropped word?) to the extent that he is not only being “local” but more localised than the locals! But the APC was so engrossed in other trivial things that a major issue like this slipped from their radar.
The same mistake which the SLPP made by appointing Dr Christiana Thorpe is the same mistake the APC has made with the appointment of Mohamed N’fa Alie Conteh as the Chief Electoral Commissioner. With Dr Thorpe, the SLPP had thought she might be influenced by Sam Maligie II who was then an unapologetic SLPP stalwart and also at the time Dr Thorpe’s “closed companion” (to borrow the British media euphemism used to refer to the late Princes Diana’s Dodi Fayed). But the key puzzle which the SLPP failed to puzzle-out was the fact that Dr Thorpe had spent the better part of her life in Makeni where she taught and became Principal of the Makeni St Joseph’s Convent at the time when the then Minority Leader’s father, Pa Sylvanus Forna Koroma, was one of the most influential local politicians there.
The only twist of irony is the fact that many APCers have started screaming blue murder even before the 2018 elections are conducted while the SLPP cried wolf after the 2007 and 2012 elections were conducted. Added to that, Mohamed N’fa Alie Conteh seems to have already invalidated thousands of votes long before the elections are conducted while Dr Christiana Thorpe invalidated thousands of votes after the elections were held. So, if the APC had their Dr Thorpe the SLPP now seems to have their N’fa Alie Conteh.
Just like Justice Edmond Cowan of the CRC, the APC has created another Frankenstein’s monster in Mohamed N’fa Alie Conteh. But unlike Justice Cowan who showed his true SLPPness at the end of the CRC process; N’fa Alie Conteh has shown his true SLPPness at the start of the electoral process which means he can be anti-dotted provided the APC is ready to do its homework well.
And one of the reasons why I am not screaming blue murder and being non-hysterical about Mohamed N’fa Alie Conteh is the fact that I know the APC has its playbook on how to solve political problems that are threatening its survival. When the time comes the APC will just flip through the pages of its playbook, select the chapter that will suit the N’fa Alie Conteh menace, and apply the anti-dot. And before one could say Hey Presto!, the SLPPers will be the cry-babies just as they were in 2007 and 2012. Mark my words!