By Mohamed Sankoh (One Drop)
Wilful untruths; embellished misinformation, and staccato dangling modifiers: All pieced together with partisan distaste by a faceless author who is unashamedly anti-All People’s Congress (APC) and blissfully ignorant of the inner workings of the ruling party. That would be an apt synopsis of the latest “Africa Confidential” report on Sierra Leone published on 23 September 2016.
To all intents and purposes, the report itself is a concoction of untruths and ignorance of the modus operandi of the ruling APC. The first misinformation is where the ghost writer states that, “…for several months [before his death, President Ernest Bai Koroma and Moseray Fadika]… had not been speaking…” As an unremorseful Koromaist who knows a lot of things which many so-called APC insiders might not know, I know it as a fact that President Koroma and the late Fadika were in good speaking terms. The late flagbearer aspirant confirmed to me himself at his IMATT mansion one Sunday afternoon (in the presence of Jr. Navo and a colleague journalist who might not be comfortable to be named here) that when he first entered Kono District during his “sensitization tour”, the first person he phoned to give him update was President Koroma. He further told me and my colleague journalist that he had always been consulting with the President on every move he was taking simply because he believed in the President’s leadership. So, logically, if two people are not in good speaking terms, then how could one of them be constantly calling the other and giving updates on his/her moves?
And for the “Africa Confidential” report of 23 September 2016 to have stated that, “[President] Koroma is hostile towards any APC member who has shown presidential ambition without his approval…” is even beyond common sense. It is beyond common sense for the logical reason that if President Koroma is hostile towards any APC member who has shown presidential ambition then the current Attorney General Joseph Fitzgerald Kamara would not be in cabinet today; the Sierra Leone Ambassador to China Alimamy Petito Koroma might now be an ex-Ambassador; Alpha Kanu will not be at State House today as one of the Presidential Advisers, and Vice President Victor Foh whose ears some people at the VP’s Office are now whispering “some vaulting ambitions” in might today be a different personality. The fact is: the APC Leader and Chairman has always been very receptive to all those who have declared their ambition to be the next APC presidential mascot. That is why he has never discouraged any APC member from showing their ambition. Each time any APC member approaches him and tells him about his (there is no “her” yet) ambition, he will always say: “Go and try your luck. The APC has its internal democratic structures.”
Why would President Koroma be hostile towards any APC member who has shown presidential ambition when technically there is no vacancy in the APC for the post of Leader and Chairman at present? Why would the President be hostile towards any APC member when he is the most popular and powerful member within the APC at the moment? And why would President Koroma be hostile towards any APC member when he is the only person within the party, at present, who holds both the “knife and yam” (to quote the late Chinua Achebe)?
And it is not true that “more recently [President Koroma] signalled his support for his cousin, John Sisay…” as claimed by the Africa Confidential report under review. Here again that ghost writer shows blissful ignorance of President Koroma’s political maturity and sophistication. At no time has the President signalled his support for any of the flagbearer aspirants. The President is mindful of the fact that the APC, unlike the SLPP (where a brother Margai succeeded a brother Margai, and a lawyer Kabbah gave leadership to a lawyer Berewa), doesn’t believe in dynastic succession arrangements. The President is well aware that everyone in the APC knows that John Sisay is not only his cousin but his first cousin! So with his political maturity and sophistication, President Koroma cannot signal support for Mr Sisay because he knows that if he does that might split the party right down in the middle. And why would the President play the “Roman Fool” (to quote William Shakespeare) at a time when there is no vacancy in the APC leadership? And besides, President Koroma doesn’t want to be remembered as the man who yanked the APC from the political wilderness and also the same man who flung it back into that wilderness through a misjudged bloodline decision!
Another instance of embellished misinformation in the Africa Confidential report of 23 September 2016 is where it is stated that, “… some [in] SLPP circles… believe [President] Koroma has been funding Bio in order to weaken the party. Others say he is helping Bio so as to protect himself and his property when he leaves office…” This could be One Drop-nized as a wishful thought wrapped in a Utopian trance. Why would the President concern himself with weakening a hyper-weak rudderless party which has been weakened by intra-party feuds since 2007? And if the President is making a wish list of those who he thinks should protect him and his property when he leaves office in 2018; Maada Bio will never make the shortlist nor will he even be an afterthought! As an unapologetic Koromaist, I know it as a fact that President Koroma will not retire under an SLPP government!
And President Koroma was never a poor man before he forayed into national politics. He was a highly successful Insurance Broker; a shrewd investor, and had property in Freetown and Makeni. So, for the faceless writer to have written that, “[President] Koroma has amassed significant wealth since coming to power in 2007…” means s/he is just trying to create mischief in the Emmerson Bockariean genre.
And finally, despite the entire latest Africa Confidential report on Sierra Leone is full of wilful untruths and embellished misinformation; the only truth is where that ghost writer confesses that, “the SLPP is in no position to take electoral advantage [in 2018]”. The horrid truth is: The SLPP has never been a credible and serious opposition since the September of 2007. Now all what one hears is its former leader, John Benjamin, accusing Maada Bio and Kadi Sesay of grand corruption, and the duo also accusing the former of grand theft. And if a supporter of Bio is not murdering a Benjamin supporter; supporters of Bio will be mammy-cussing and engaging in running battles with Dr Yumkella’s supporters. So, with such happenings in the SLPP; the 2018 General Elections are a forgone conclusion: the APC wins again.