Whoever wrote him off as another run-of-the-mill opposition figure should be revising his form books right now. In so short a time, Ernest Koroma , who only yesterday was an anonymous character in Sierra Leone’s turbulent politics , has not only jumped on board the wagon but has come of age as a hard-hitting opposition leader capable of keeping the stubborn Tejan Kabbah government on its toes to deliver the goods to an impoverished people at last.
Koroma’s New Year message to the nation hit a chord at home and in the diaspora and if Sierra Leoneans were looking forward to another disappointer masquerading as their spokesman , like some of our other opposition leaders who fell on the wayside, they have been given new optimism that the government will not be allowed to get away with it.
This in no way discredits the efforts of former opposition politicians like John Benjamin , who during his short spell as leader of the National Unity Party ( NUP) also contributed marvellously in keeping the government under check before he was undermined and forced to throw in the towel by overambitious members of the party .However, the fact cannot be disputed that some who in the past have called themselves opposition leaders have only ended up harming the cause of the ordinary people by selling out to the government for filty lucre.
Our leaders in Sierra Leone are tortoises who need that periodic fireburn on their behinds to speed them up. They are not the kinds of politicians one would trust to deliver the goods on their own volition. They need a firebrand on their backs to remind them about campaign promises and empty rhetoric and to push them to perform. Left to themselves, our leaders would just crawl into their shells and just fatten themselves and their concubines and hangers-on with the precious resources of the people. They would not move a limb to lift burdens off the shoulders of the ordinary masses.
If the Kabbah government were honest, they would have no quarrels with the criticisms made by Ernest Koroma. They will accept the fact that all is not well in the nation. For all the changes of governments in Sierra Leone since 1992, the lot of the Sierra Leonean has not improved one bit. Infact, their woes have worsened. with escalating prices of basic commodities, rent , transportation education, and everything else that our people need to survive.
The SLPP sing-song is that the APC destroyed Sierra Leone , but it is not the APC that is in power now that the majority of our people go to bed hungry. It is not the APC that is in power when our people cannot even enjoy clean, pipe-born water, electricity and all other basic amenities. The SLPP must be honest to admit that things have spun out of control under their rule. Playing the Blame-Game with other past governments is just a worn-out ploy to shift responsibility . If the APC ruined Sierra Leone , what has the SLPP done so far to rectify the situation ?
Yes. The SLPP is right. The APC destroyed the Sierra Leone economy and all her essential social institutions .The APC instututionalized corruption. But has the SLPP made any difference ? Have they tried to show better examples ? Is it not the “ogri “teasing the “kaindah” for its smell ?
However, the SLPP comes out with some commendation from all this free speech and expression of one’s true feelings, as Ernest Koroma has done. The SLPP may have mismanaged the economy like the APC , but truth to speak, they should enjoy some praise at least for seeing a democratic atmosphere emerge under their rule. It is one area where the SLPP has beaten the APC hands down. It was inconceivable in the Siaka Stevens APC days for an opposition leader to criticise the government, let alone give a New Year’s Speech where he reduced the ruling government to calumny. All true Sierra Leone must lift their hands to God and thank him for this change that has happened in our country, courtesy of SLPP rule. A country that was once about the most despotic , lawless and undemocratic in West Africa can now boast of a vibrant opposition that is free to pulverise the reigning government verbally.
It is hoped that the government would accept Ernest Koroma ‘s chastisement as not the enemy action the undemocratic ones would take it to be , but just an essential part of responsive and responsible governance in Sierra Leone. Indded, the opposition and the ruling government hold the chips in the political governance of the country. Rather than be enemies, they are symbiotic twins who efforts should complement the other in ensuring that the people get what they voted for.
This is indeed a good sign that our country is inching out of the darkness . Long live multi-party democracy.