Friday March 25, 2006
First_Name: J. Alusine
State: Sierra Leone
Comments: THE NORTH TURNS OUT ?ORANGE’ FOR THE PMDC
BY J. ALUSINE KAMARA
When the People’s Movement for Democratic Change (PMDC) sensitization team spearheaded by Engineer Abubakarr Kamara and erstwhile SLPP Member of Parliament, Mrs. Rebecca Mballu Conteh, now Interim National Women’s Leader of the PMDC left Freetown for the Northern Province on Wednesday, 8th March, 2006, they were unprepared for the effusive welcome that greeted them on every stop on the way.
Travelling to Bombali, Tonkolili, Kambia and Port-Loko Districts, they were warmly received by well-organized and targeted groups of opinion makers who lost no time in expressing their gratitude to God for the divine intervention the PMDC had come to represent. For to long, they said, they had been bandied about by the two political Parties presently enjoying center-stage. Corruption and bad governance had, yo-yo like, swung from one discredited party to the other as rogue politicians played ?musical chairs’ with the destin of the country. Recycling of political garbage which had continued unabated was destined to end with the Movement’s promotion of moral tenets of governance.
Pa. Alimamy Koroma observed in Binkolo that the change he believes the PMDC promises will be positive and meaningful, with an improved standard of living, equal justice, probity and accountability ending the era of impunity. He had no doubt the Movement was on course to end the suffering of the marginalized people.
Engineer Abubakarr Kamara was introduced at every stop of the tour as a progressive and patriotic Sierra Leonean, who is of the belief that Sierra Leone should always come first. Although resident in the United States of America (USA) for over thirty (30) years, Engineer Abubakarr makes a trip home at least twice a year to visit his people, listen to their problems and sometimes solve them as best he could. He was not a ?Johnny-Come Lately’ (JCL) who would, butterfly-like fly in seeking ?political nectar’, and then return when his appetite is not satisfied.
As a matter of fact, it was stated that Engineer Abubakarr had at the urging of his mother, constructed two (2) Mosques, one at Back Street, Cassava Farm, Kissy and another at Grassfield, Kissy. This besides being an active participant in the Sierra Leone Relief Agency of California USA, which has an on going development relationship with the Scarcies Secondary School, in Kambia District.
After he had sought and lost the leadership for the SLPP together with Charles Margai, Abubakarr had teamed up with him to go on a ?thank you’ tour across the country. This unprecedented move was highly appreciated by the electorate as a singular demonstration of gratitude which was responded to by the masses who then mandated them to form their own party.
People were impressed with the PMDC’s sensitization team everywhere they stopped. Significant of note also was the presence of Mrs. Rebecca Conteh in the team. That she had sacrificed the ?sweets of office’ guaranteed political opportunists for a new party was in itself commendable.
Speaking in Makeni, the former SLPP M.P. reminded those who knew her well of the fact she would present a party for acceptance by the people only if she believed it offered the best solution to their problems. There were other political Parties one of which she had belonged to but since that same Party had woefully failed the nation, she saw no need to be a part of it. Only fools, she said would fail to change when it is obvious failure stares in the face.
While speaking in Magburaka, Alhaji Issa Munu, once a towering figure in the SLPP’s Northern axis said the PMDC portends setting aside the regional divisions that rogue politicians had used to exploit the people. The PMDC, he stressed, would be like a ?combra’ to all as it lives its promise to be always equitable and fair. This sensitization exercise was therefore intended to enlighten the people as well as give them hope. A speaker, who is commonly known as Ta-Taikeh – meaning ?Una lef’, in the Temne language, also told the Magburaka gathering about a proverb which literally translated means, “If a child knows how clean to wash his hands, he will be able to eat with grown-ups.” The PMDC should therefore be groomed in a way that would make it a Party of choice.
Mr. Karimu Turay said he had always been allergic to politics until he heard of the PMDC. Politics in Sierra Leone had been a game of round-robin with non-starters. He was thus happy to be at the gathering and would go out and evangelize with the people to tell them a new dawn is born. He had not gotten involved in politicking before due to lack of trust, because as he succinctly put it in a parable, “you don’t hold a stick in your hand and then beckon a dog to come and eat”
When the people in Matotoka complained to the entourage that they had seen the water which flows by them directed to Makeni without considering their needs, Engineer Abubakarr told them that the complaint was noted, and would be addressed when campaigning starts. Another complaint from Matotoka was that there was an uncoordinated influx of miners in the area who were without proper documentation.
The turn-out in Binkolo was very heartening as it comprised enthusiastic leaders of thought in the community. They wished the entourage to know that the days of, ?Mi papa im party’, tribalism and other societal ills were over and that what they wanted was the refreshing beginning the PMDC epitomized. As a cross-section of elders, youths and women listening with rapt attention, the ideology and conception of the PMDC was lucidly explained as being borne of a desire to meet the crying need for positive change.
Even though the team had not scheduled a stop at Mafaray – a town some 5 miles away from Binkolo, it was prevailed upon to make the trip, where a very pleasant surprise awaited it. As the crowd rushed to greet, the team was presented with a freshly cut palm kernel bunch, and two brooms – which are representative of the Party’s symbol. This act said it all even without singing and rejoicing with a song, which translated from the Limba dialect meant, “what God has destined, no man can ever change”
Speaker after speaker in Mafaray went out of the way to emphasize that as a people, the Limbas were very hard to make up their minds but, that once they do so, they keep to their vows. They were confident, according to one Mr. Abdul Bangura, that the negativism that once plagued the body-politic in present day Sierra Leone would be no more.
Although the task force arrived in Kamakiwe in the evening a sizeable crow of opinion leaders quickly assembled to hear Engineer Abubakarr admonish them to have faith as they await a new beginning. Hon Rebecca Conteh recounted that her decision to be a part of the Movement was based on convictions about its orientation. With an ideological bent focused on patriotic honesty of purpose, she said, what the PMDC stood for was what factored her decision.
J. Alusine Kamara, also a member of the task force then went on to dramatically explain the distinguishing difference separating the PMDC from malfunctioning political entities prevailing in the country.
Spreading out the two(2) brooms and the bunch of Palm Fruits thoughtfully provided by the people of Mafaray to outline the Movement’s symbol, Kamara observed that unlike other Parties’ symbols such as the APC’s red sun, the SLPP’s palm tree, PDP’s stars etc, the PMDC’s symbol features what can be physically carried around and handed over to supporters to touch and partake of its fruit. All were then invited to ?experience the difference’ by coming forward to touch and feel an integral part of it. This was done with relish.
N’Daimoh Turay prayed for God’s guidance as the Movement and its leadership promote the good governance Sierra Leoneans yearn for. She was optimistic that the PMDC will not prove ungrateful and uncaring as some other party she would rather not mention had been. Kabala people, she promised, were waiting for final registration of the Movement for them to show the world what they could do.
Moseray Sawanneh, alias ?JP’ a former strong man of the SLPP in the District, and who while shifting his allegiance to the PMDC had dramatically pronounced, “As of midnight last night, I was an SLPP member, .. As of 8:00am to-day, I still was,.. But, as of now,… I AM PMDC”, was again at his eloquent best.
He had been under undue and unrelenting pressure to rescind his decision with threats about relieving him of his Justice of the Peace (JP) status. Although being a JP accorded him the right to adjudicate over his people’s litigation he was willing to sacrifice all as it would in the long run turn out to be worth the sacrifice.
On the way to Kabala from Makeni the team had a vehicular breakdown at a town called Gbomsamba. A Young Generation activist in the entourage, Tommy Kargbo, approached a lady in the town with a view to sensitizing her about the Movement. The lady drew a blank stare until she was informed it was the Charles Margai-led Movement. The reaction was immediate and electrifying. She started jumping up and down, screaming for others to join her by saying “Dem don cam! Dem don cam!”
In no time at all a small crowd had converged, wanting to be fed the good news. As in all gathering however, there was one dissenter who claimed he would remain an APC diehard till death. Others in the crowd assured the team he would be converted in due course.