By Kabs Kanu
Mr. S.B. Kawusu- Konte, who died 26 years ago and is being remembered today, the anniversary of his passing, was a politician present day watermelon supporters of the All People’s Congress ( APC ) can learn from.
Kawusu – Konte stood by the APC through thick and thin, through the crucible of turbulent politics and in him , loyalty was personified.
S.B. KAWUSU-KONTE IN HIS HEYDAYS
No wonder when President Siaka Stevens was facing a revolt from recalcitrant and disaffected members, with the formation of the short-lived breakaway United Democratic Party (UDP) sending the APC reeling in 1971 , the Head of State trusted no one else to act as Prime Minister in his absence, while he was going abroad to attend a conference, except his junior Minister, S.B. Kawusu Konte.
Today, we see people who claim to be APC members becoming easily frustrated because they were not given jobs or what they wanted and jumping on the bandwagon of the opposition to fight and sell to the wolves the very party they claim to love. Such behaviour would have been a taboo to people like Kawusu -Konte, whose political philosophy was to remain loyal to the party and fight for change from within.
Kawusu was Resident Minister at the SLPP stronghold in the South at a time when the SLPP was undergoing one of its characteristic post- election madness after losing the 1967 General Elections and power had just been handed to the APC by the military government , the National Interim Council, led by the late Brig. David Bangura, based on the findings of the Percy Davies commission of Inquiry on the conduct of the 1967 elections.
The South/East was a maelstrom of hostilities against the new APC Government, led by Dr. Siaka Stevens and the country was being governed via a State of Emergency that had lasted through 1968 and 1969. It was under those difficult circumstances that Mr. Kawusu – Konte arrived in Bo in 1970 to become the Resident Minister of the Southern Province.
Because he was an accomplished, polished and truly tested thoroughbred grassroots politician, Mr. Kawusu- Konte worked with the people to bring calm to the district and the region. Tapping on relationships he had established with the people of the South when he served as the Town Clerk of the Bo Town Council, Mr. Kawusu -Konte brought peace and sanity to the South through the process of reconciliation at grassroots level.
Politicians like S.B, as he was fondly called, left us a lesson on unshakable loyalty to a party and cause, values being tested by the temptations of self- aggrandizement in today’s politics where the roots of genuine loyalty are not firm enough in certain circles.
Whether you supported his cause or not, Kawusu was a man to be loved because he worked through the ordinary people and his politics was all-embracing and reconcilatory. He believed that power came from the people and power belonged to the people and that was why he set up shop at the grassroots level. He was the kind of man that would have helped to embellish the people-centred politics of President Ernest Koroma, if he had been alive today.
May his soul continue to rest in peace.
By one of the late man in Borbor dem during those days.