Saturday’s bye-election in Constituency 025 left no doubts that Kono District remains an All People’s Congress ( APC ) stronghold , a feat that portends well for the stability of the ruling party as well as the party’s hopes for the next Presidential elections . Anti-government alarmists and glib-talkers who had been predicting loss of this major APC stronghold in Kono because of the Sam Sumana saga have been put to shame. All their projections, expectations and analyses came to nothing.
Any election now, whether parliamentary or local council, is a verdict on the stewardship of President Ernest Bai Koroma. Saturday’s election in Kono was therefore a verdict on the tenure of President Ernest Koroma and the All People’s Congress ( APC ). Sierra Leoneans can safely say that the verdict is that President Koroma still enjoys the goodwill and support of the people of Kono, Sam Sumana or no Sam Sumana.
In fact, what is also clear is that Sam Sumana was never an important element in the political equation .
We can say with certainty now that Sam Sumana never enjoyed the kind of political clout with the Kono people we once thought he had, though many indigenes of Kono used to emphasize that point and were not believed. If Sam Sumana had any relevance in Kono politics, there is no way that the APC would have won an election in Kono at this time , especially after the many hypocritical demonstrations on his behalf by the opposition Sierra Leone People’s Party ( SLPP ) in the UK and the U.S. and the frenzied propaganda that attended these rowdy events.
Saturday’s elections clearly demonstrated that the majority of Konos remain some of the most faithful supporters of the reigning All People’s Congress ( APC ), going by the voting trends and support they had provided the party from the 1967 General Elections to the rule of President Siaka Stevens and to the 2007 and 2012 elections .
If you consider how the Fillie-Faboes, Gandi Cappios, Gbories, Matturis , Mbriwahs, etc fought for the APC and helped the party create a political stranglehold in Sierra Leone, you know that Kono has always been a very faithful ally and productive component of the APC. Come rain, come shine, they are always behind the APC.
Another factor that keeps emerging from elections results in Sierra Leone is that the APC is a broad-based and grassroots national party, unlike the SLPP and will be difficult to defeat , whether in the West, North or South East, as long as the party remains united.
The SLPP , the main opposition and the traditional rivals of the APC , on the contrary, was not founded as a mass political organization, not even to advocate for Independence from colonial rule like the CPP of Ghana, though founded during the colonial era when there was frantic agitation for Independence . Rather, the SLPP was established to forestall the ascendancy of the Krios whom SLPP operatives accused of being supported by the colonial masters . The SLPP was also formed to maintain the supremacy of the paramount chiefs , traditional rulers and the secret societies like the Bondo and the Porro . That is why it is an elitist party. You can also understand why the Western Area is also very faithful to the APC and why the SLPP also uses the Porro and Sande Societies as a political instrument to terrorize opponents. It must be noted, though, that the SLPP was wrong about the colonialists. History shows that our colonial masters distrusted the Krios and tried to give more favor and leverage to the protectorate .
The APC , on the other hand, was formed from the grassroots , to be a mass political party , embracing everybody, from the street traders to the market women, the shoe-shine boys to the tailors, from the pepper mint sellers to the ordinary workers, to the common housewives etc. etc. That is why it is not easy to beat the APC and the party enjoys mass, yes populist, support across tribal and regional lines. It is the party of the people. You even have South- Easterners who would die for the APC, if only the APC does not marginalize them.
Dissident elements and anti-government internet tabloids editors and writers were also big losers last Saturday after vainly trying to use a statement made by VP Victor Foh in Kono to turn the district against the APC. Sadly, Mr. Foh’s statement was deliberately taken out of context. A skilled and experienced politician like Victor Foh will never tell important allies like the Konos that if they did not vote for the APC, the government will not take development projects to them. People should know Victor Foh better than that. What he meant to say was that since the Konos enjoy development projects only when the APC is in power and since the SLPP did not believe in developing the country, not even their strongholds, if they did not vote for the APC, they will not get development projects in their district . Victor Foh is not a natural Krio speaker, so he had to beat around the bush to become precise. The people of Kono did not fall for the bait and went on to vote the APC to victory because they still trust President Koroma and have faith in his development agenda.
We hope that now that it is obvious that Kono remains one of the faithful backbones of the APC, the party should go all out to solidify its base in Kono by mending fences with the few Konos who were aggrieved by the sacking of Sam Sumana from the party, though Sumana has nobody, but himself, for being let go by the APC , which made him to lose one of the requirements for remaining Vice-President of Sierra Leone.
The APC must draw the people of Kono closer to their hearts because they love the APC.