By Mohamed Sankoh (One Drop)
As someone who is no longer wet behind the ears in terms of journalism and Mass Communications; it should be understandable that I only engage writers or journalists, on intellectual duels, who I regard as worthy of my reply or replies. Those who I think do not deserve my attention or a sip from my One Dropian goblet, I ignore. And I always laugh to scorn those who intend building a reputation from my One Dropian reputation!
That is all there is to say on the issue of me either engaging or ignoring writers or journalists who might want to “chicken-foot” (have you watched “Prison Break”—the “Sona Prison” episode?) me to an intellectual combat. I always choose my adversaries for the simple fact that one’s level of comprehension or grasp of contemporary issues is determined by those s/he decides to engage with in an argument.
But in today’s One Dropian dropping, I have decided to engage in a generalized partisan argument which I think is becoming a fight for both the soul and survival of the ruling All People’s Congress (APC). In recent days, some of my “comrades” in the APC have been repeatedly accusing me of being more pro-Ernest Bai Koroma than APC. Their argument is that I have always been projecting the image and policies of the President than the APC itself. And that I always see nothing bad about the party’s Leader and Chairman. To that, I owe nobody an apology for being an unrepentant Koromaist. A Koromaist I am; and an unapologetic Koromaist I will always be. It is President Koroma who reawakens the ‘political animality’ in me than the APC itself. And it is President Koroma who gives me hope that the APC can be much better than the APC which Eddie Turay and others of the old school wants it to be.
That brings me to the thrust of this One Dropian dropping: The revivalism of the Eddie Turay-Serry Kamal faction within the APC. The current argument in the APC is being skewed towards those who believe that they are true-blooded APCers and those perceived to be “invited guests”. The Turay-Kamalists believe that the APC is their bonafide property and that the “invited guests” are usurpers or hijackers. This argument is being propagated in an audio making the rounds on several pro-APC WhatsApp groups. The propagator on this audio is asking Eddie Turay and others to take over the APC because they are the supposedly true APCers. The audio infers that the APC has been hijacked by the PDP faction within the APC, and that the APC can only be saved by “the true APC”.
Now who can be called the true APCers? Is it the Turay-Kamalists who personify the unattractive APC of old with all its negativities? Are they the stick-in-the-mudders who are bulwarking reforms within the APC at present? Are they those who believe that the leadership of the party should be handed over to them just because they were around when the late Siaka Stevens and others were around? Or are they the progressives who made, and are still making, the APC attractive for state governance?
From their clouded argument, it seems as if the Turay-Kamalists have just one criterion for the party’s leadership: APC blue-bloodedness! But the history of the APC itself has made, and will always make, such an argument illogical.
This is because the late Siaka Stevens who first brought the party to power and prominence was not one of the original founding fathers of the APC. He was an “invitee” who later made the APC great as its leader. The contribution of the late Sorie Ibrahim (SI) Koroma to the APC’s trajectory is so great that the history of the APC cannot be completely written or re-written without series of chapters dedicated to SI’s numerous feats. But he too, like Siaka Stevens, was an “invitee”. What about the late Christian Alusine (CA) Kamara-Taylor? He too was an “invitee” like Stevens and SI. But CA’s contribution to the evolution of the APC is something that cannot be shrugged off. And where was the late Joseph Saidu Momoh when the original founding fathers of the APC were in the east end of Freetown cracking their heads for a name, logo and motto for their would-be political party? The late Momoh was far away in Binkolo doing God knows what! He was not even an “invitee” but that did not prevent him from being handed the APC leadership by Siaka Stevens.
And with all the then talks of an APC blue-bloodedness from people like Eddie Turay, Serry Kamal, Mohamed Lamin Bangura et al prior to 2007; it only had to take an untainted and likeable “invitee”, Mr Ernest Bai Koroma, to yank back the APC from the political wilderness and make it great again—with prospects for greater greatness! So, what is this mumbo-jumbo from the Turay-Kamalists that the APC can only be saved by “the true APC”? If anything, the greatest threat to the APC’s future survival is the Turay-Kamalists’ Divine Right mentality.
What every member of the APC should be concerned with currently is that when the party goes to the next National Delegates’ Convention to choose a presidential candidate, someone who is marketable with a national appeal should emerge. That person should have the Ernest Koroma-like persona. That person should have the Ernest Koroma-like political realism. And that person should have the Ernest Koroma-like understanding of the electorate’s psyche. What the APC doesn’t need now is the revivalism of the Turay-Kamalists’ Stone Age mentality of leadership and governance.