What kind of politics is John Leigh playing ?

Tuesday May 23, 2006

BY E.P.J VANDY

Reading through the piece written by Sahid V. Vandy of Awareness Times in his May 15, 2006 article caption: John Leigh Goes Berserk again in Sierra Leone, I couldn’t help but laugh aloud, when the writer said, and I quote”…. out of the whole host of dignitaries, the loudest and most vociferous of all those who were asking the people of Port Loko to give their fullest support and vote in 2007 for what he termed as “the abled leadership of Solomon Ekuma Berewa” was John Ernest Leigh”.

There could be a mistake, as this could not be the John Leigh, who has made the world believe that he was above such nonsense; the only man standing today and equipped t0

clean up the administration’s political wreckage and avert chaos; the man with 35 years of experience in economic development, and according to him has the ability to create national wealth and knows how to circulate money to the grassroots. These are his words, not mine. He has maintained and sharpened this line of attack, considered harsh by many but nevertheless accepted by his supporters. Not any more. The question that we should be asking is, “why the sudden u turn of mind”?

John Leigh’s hypocrisy is noted in his criticism (April 11, 2005) of defenders of the current administration and leadership triage of Dr. Sama Banya, Vice President Berewa and President Kabbah as heroes, refereeing to it as spirited and misplaced defense. In his eyes, they are no heroes. Today, he adores and courts them, and has become the advocate and mouthpiece, and quoting his exact words in his conversation with the Awareness Times reporter:

“The momentum for this SLPP Party is growing everyday. SLPP Government, Tejan Kabbah and Solomon Berewa cannot satisfy everybody all at once but they are doing their level best by targeting the most needed areas.” A complete irony and policy shift in his position.

What were you thinking, Mr. Leigh, when you had this to say on the failed policies of President Kabbah and his SLPP led administration:

“Since his inception, there has not been any policy adopted that has benefited the ordinary man. They are benefiting just themselves while the majority of the people are living deplorable lives.”

Did you not say that the government’s economic policy was static and cannot be sustained? How are you going to reconcile these two positions? These are mixed messages you are sending. Did I hear somebody say, you’ve metamorphosed overnight as the PR for a man you considered less fit to be the leader and President of our beloved nation; the man you said is a lawyer and knows nothing about administration? This is the same man you’re are now clapping for and dancing to his tunes, and like the reporter puts it; “he clapped and danced so hard that he sweated profusely all over the light blue shirt he was wearing”. Oh poor John Leigh. Desperation and frustration can force people to be jokers.

Let’s face it: every politician at one time or another will have to change his announced position to meet a changed situation. They all flip-flop, like we all do sometimes in this changing world. Here it is unique, as John Leigh the brave, the bold has been caught with his pants down.

The photos were shocking revelations of how people can fall so low in their quest for power, recognition, and water down their moral dignity, which is priceless. As a public figure, and nation builder (as he claims) and when placed in context with his political ranting and ego bashing all over the media , this flip-flop and flim-flam from him cannot go unnoticed.

Yesterday, it was JB Duada who lambasted the VP, as the most corrupt person he has known only to turn around and kneel for power, and he got what he went for; Special Assistant to the President. Moral decadence has caught up with that generation in their zealousness for power, and it is about time that the civilized community takes a stand to correct this decay and deceitful politicking and hold accountable people like John Leigh, Abass Bundu and JB Dauda for such shameless acts. Like my favorite radio talk show always says, we are in a “savage nation” and heading for doom, if men and women with sound mind do not cage these flip-floppers in the political zoo.

Let me move you through virtual memory of John Leigh’s in-depth view of the so-called failed administration he is now bedding and dining with? In his response to John Manah in the article: ETERNAL VIGILANCE IS THE PRICE FOR NATION-BUILDING-April 11, 2005, he wrote:

“People such as Mr. Mannah ought to realize that there is a major distinction between us, the purported marginalized but productive Party members and workers, on the one hand; and on the other hand, the failed LEADERSHIP of ungratefulness, greed, selfishness, lies, kahlow-kahlowness, vindictiveness, marginalization, incompetence, tiredness; piss-stink-and-stench; heaps of garbage in public thoroughfares and market areas; stagnant and smelly polluted fluids and garbage in public drains; persistent blackouts; bold, ubiquitous disease-carrying flies buzzing all over; blood-sucking unopposed mosquitoes injecting debilitating killer diseases into people including farmers, mothers, children and babies. Then there is the same LEADERSHIP of persistent cronyism, nepotism, favoritism, willfulness and failure”.

And on the VP, John Leigh’s cynical words are many and varied, and using his exact words amongst others has said about Berewa:

“What has Berewa ever done for the SLPP and, if any, when?

He has not only questioned the VP’s membership, but his commitment and loyalty as well. We knew about Berewa’s non refusal to make financial contributions, through John Leigh, and his infamous remark ?How, nah all Mende man day join SLPP? Bo lef me yah!’.

Leigh has said that Berewa “thinks a whole lot about his so-called presidential apprenticeship that he received from someone who himself never underwent any presidential apprenticeship and who was never a president-in-waiting”.

Continuing in the same vein, he has lambasted the VP about his perceived cronyism, nepotism, favoritism, and his woeful inadequacies in the area of economics, finance, business, international affairs and management. In short, the VP is not qualified to lead him, not alone the nation.

Putting two and two together, and after careful analysis of current events, there seems a connection between the present position statement of John Leigh and his recent remarks in the media for which he was slammed and scorned by the PMDC loyalists (and other well meaning compatriots) after reference to their base and supporters as mostly low grade noisemakers – san san boys, Honda drivers, ex-combatants, carwash boys etc.

Perhaps his purported country wide tour might have been a clandestine peace mission conducted to roller coast with the VP on his 2007 victory cruise ship??? Like Abass Bundu, John Leigh knows that his political comeback can only be guaranteed with a Berewa ticket. Getting on board now is better than being late, as the gate is closing down on their type, and he follows in the footstep of Abbas Bundu, who at least had the nerve to face the nation and pour out his destiny, past and present with the party.

Do Sierra Leoneans deserve at least the same too from John Leigh, on his flip-flop, his bickering and of course the sudden u turn??

This is a hunch, which is deep seated: that outside the SLPP, John Leigh cannot command a voting bloc in any given constituency, and I want to challenge him to prove me wrong by contesting for a constituency election.

He would be defeated hands down by one of these “san san boys”, he decries and looks down upon. Talk and say what you may, write the usual 21 pages edition to refute these insinuations, but pretty much right meaning Sierra Leoneans really do not care and give a damn on those ego shots. It just doesn’t have the same ring anymore. John Leigh’s political career path is history, like Karefa Smart’s.

Serious Sierra Leoneans at some point believed in John Leigh, thinking that he could just be that person who would do things differently. His words and his vibes particularly during the interregnum period and his push for the restoration of constitionality (but not with the lion share of the burden as he put it) spoke for itself.

I remember when some sections of the press and his opponents were right on his heels as a whistle blower on the administration in the infamous NOPEC Oil Deal in April 2001; some of us stood behind him, knowing that he was doing the right thing and putting nationhood first before cronyism.

Those were the good old days, when John Leigh was the one many came to revere. His inconsistency, and rhetoric now lack conviction, particularly before and after the convention, heightened in the light of the Awareness Times publication of his shasa dance with the VP.

His vociferous defense of a man he had chastised, condemned and accused in every aspect, is a colossal political mistake. Where are your principles John Leigh? Let me hear your ranting and defense on this matter. Sierra Leoneans deserve to know. Mending fences with the VP is very laudable but to be frank, you put yourself on the spot by your blaa blaa, and bashing of a man whom many hailed as hero. You were out and about in the media all day long. See what you have got yourself into?

Remember, Sierra Leoneans who had your interests at heart cautioned and threw in a few words of advice to consolidate efforts and work with the other leadership contenders, to ensure an all out victory against the incumbency, who was tough to beat. What did you say?

Overconfidence and your ego got the better judgment of you, brow beating all who meant good for you. You had nothing good to say of your fellow contenders. Name bashing was the campaign tool. And now, you are back to square one buddy, tailgating the VP and coasting for recognition and a taste of the pie. TIME OUT, Mr. Leigh. The VP knows you right through. He knows about your diabolical plans, and mark these words; you will be used and dumped just like the Pa did. When you cry wolf, nobody will come around this time.

Please don’t tell the nation that you are wooing the SLPP and Solo Bee for another lucrative deal, position or even the hotly contested VP position still out for grabs. What a good conduit to recoup the few thousands bucks spent on the party leadership bid, and to recover those hard earned money $90,231.81 the Kabbah Administration owes him since September 2002. John Leigh in his entire pronouncement has been hammering on monies spent on the party. Your bet is as good as mine; he wants it all back, maybe not.

Check this one out; a self proclaimed champion of democracy, free speech and the media is now running away from the media, those very institutions he had used as PR machinery, to launch his political bid for the highest office. John Leigh has scorn for the media particularly papers that challenge him. There is no exit from this ugly situation. This is a man who doesn’t like a contrary view, and once expressed as long as it goes against his own, will counter and fume with lyrics and vibes. He took on John Mannah, Karamoh Kabbah and many others.

A bitter John Leigh (though he asserts he has never been bitter in his life, and I beg to differ) following a failed leadership bid and without a nomination, said this on the ” conbention” as he puts it, on the elected choice as “thoroughly unpopular, and a brutal imposition”, that will be difficult to market.

Records have shown that you’ve been bitter all the time, just like we all have one way or the other. Don’t even say that you have not been bitter when things fall apart and do not go as planned. Were you not bitter in your description of the SLPP administration (just before the conbention) as “too kalokalo and full of swegbeh policies and tactics” which in your own words, “have got people disgusted.”

The monies you spent for which you continue to roar are not free lunch, as there is no free lunch anywhere. These are monies spent to buy your way to power and the sweets of office that follow it. This is for personal gain. Had you stayed the course and held upright on your principles, then it would have been a different matter. Just maybe, nobody would have been bitter. I am not bitter because of your support for the VP, or the SLPP party. I am bitter simply by taking you on your words. Period. Do you want to know why I care? National duty and vigilance, just like every other well-meaning compatriots.

People never learn from mistakes. Read my lips, just like the SLPP folks, rudely insulted him in March 2002 in the part naming convention, John Leigh is going to be going to be disgraced one more time, like it happens for all failing politicians, who’ve outlived their usefulness. So dust off those flip-flop sandals of yours and come straight and square with the nation. We demand answers and an apology for those words against the VP and the SLPP as a party, and all that believed in you before.

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