By leaving all the other qualified brains for such a sensitive job and choosing a woman he had previously decorated with a national honour, President Ahmad Tejan Kabbah has made yet another very questionable appointment that will impact negatively on the 2007 General Elections. The Sierra Leone Parliament is full of Kabbah’s cronies so it is not surprising that they rubber-stamped this unfortunate appointment.
The postion of Electoral Commissioner is so important and crucial for a country like Sierra Leone where leadership issues determine the safety and security of the nation. And the 2007 Elections are going to be yet another significant event in the destiny of our nation when you consider that even within the ruling SLPP, there is a desperate desire to change the vanguard of the party from the disappointing 10 -year Kabbah stranglehold. But by appointing Educationist Christian Thorpe Elections Commissioner , Kabbah has taken one step towards ensuring that his shadow still hovers over the nation after 2007.
Christiana Thorpe may have all the qualifications in the world . She may be a woman of integrity. I have no doubt about that. But in a politically rugged Sierra Leone where alliances are formed on flimsy reasons, she cannot be a neutral Elections Commissioner . First of all, she has received some award from the President .She is therefore indebted to Kabbah for being decorated with the distinguished order of The Rokel ( Or what-have-you .In a badly-written report , the State House website did not specify who received what awards) during a Special Investiture at State House during last year’s Independemce Anniversary celebrations. My fear is that she may feel inclined to support Kabbah’s party out of gratitude.
Given the leadership of compensating cronies that Kabbah has been guilty of , it could be concluded from this one event that Christiana Thorpe may become a Tejan Kabbah crony. Recipients of these awards are usually citizens on the good books of the government. No Sierra Leonean President to date has ever conferred such awards on people whose loyalty they were not sure of, qualifications or not.
There are many other illustrious citizens who should have received such awards . Names like Dr.John Karefa-Smart, the doyen of Sierra Leone journalism, Sam Metzger , more seasoned Educationists like Cyril Foray ( Posthumous), Cassandra Garber , Dr. Abbas Bundu ( For his distinguished service as Secretary-General of the ECOWAS), John Leigh ( For his outstanding contribution to the restoration of democracy in Sierra Leone in 1997) but you know for certain that Kabbah will not be so generous as to confer honours on a citizen he has not typified as a crony.
Because she is indebted to the government already, Christiana Thorpe will not dare to take any decision that would undermine Kabbah’s wishes with regards to the elections, not to mention preside over the defeat of his party by another force.
Secondly, the 2007 Elections will be highly contentious and Christian Thorpe , being a nun, may not have the panachea to put the politicians in their places as would a secular individual. She is too full of the milk of human tenderness as an old Priest who was said to have served as a catholic nun. Whatever her present christian standing ( We are in no position to judge her ), the job of Elections Commissioner in politically turbulent Sierra Leone is not a job for a nun . Such positions need equally rugged and ruthless individuals who would not hesitate to rule impartially against an erring politician or party, regardless of the threats.
Another factor that disqualifies Thorpe from such an important position that will decide the nation’s destiny is that she served a miltary junta that violated the human rights of innocent people. The NPRC junta which Thorpe served as Education Minister carried out extrajudicial killings, torture, unlawful beatings, illegal searches and the reputation of the junta will ever remain blemished for executing innocent citizens like Salami Coker , Dr. Kawuta Dumbuya and a poor , illiterate palm wine tapper, among others, on spurious charges that they planned a counter-coup.
Kabbah has done it again. He has appointed somebody to a sensitive post to ensure that no other party other than the SLPP wins the 2007 Elections .
photo : THORPE RECEIVING HER AWARD