When President Ernest Bai Koroma announced in Makeni that he was prepared to make the tough decisions that would secure his legacy and the future of the All Peoples Congress in power, some may think he was just musing on the choice of the flag bearer for the next election but none could be more wrong than that. President Koroma has had a long time to think about his succession plans and the World respect that he commands underscores how important that decision has to be for him. However, he is concerned at this time about the welfare of the ordinary man and woman in Sierra Leone, knowing full well that a wrong choice for APC flag bearer would have a telling impact on the future of this country. President Koroma wants to avoid the unfortunate occurrences in the USA and the United Kingdom, where inadvertently, the polls gave the people the wrong choice or better still for the want of readiness by the people who desire to see good for their countries, the opposite took hold and the voting process gave a result that angered most of the reasonable ones who failed to stand and be counted.
President Ernest Koroma is an astute World leader, highly respected across Africa for his fairness and sense of justice. He has been asked to lead on some of the most intractable issues facing Africa, such as the Committee of ten charged with the responsibility to secure a permanent seat for Africa on the UN General Assembly. No other duty can be so grave for the continent at this time and the deliberations on that committee has progressed smoothly and with some good results under the leadership of President Ernest Bai Koroma. More recently, he was part of the delegation that was asked to engage Yayah Jammeh of the Gambia to respect the will of his electorate and hand over power smoothly and without bloodshed to his successor. Such statesmanship is unrivalled in the annals of the history of Sierra Leone. The burden therefore on the shoulder of President Koroma at this point is that of choosing a successor who would follow in his footsteps and build on the respect and admiration that he has carved up for Sierra Leone.
Firstly, any choice of successor cannot be made on sentiments. In the event, President Koroma is mindful of the danger of choosing someone who may be accused of being a choice simply out of proximity to him by way of family ties or ancestry. This is a subtle caution o all aspirants from Bombali. The seeming insinuation that those who hail from Bombali are taking advantage of the President’s love for his home District is backfiring as the days wear on. There is concern in the country that to hand over power to someone of that ilk would send a very wrong message that the President may be subject to allegations of nepotism in such a choice. While it is clear that some very good aspirants have come forward from that District, it is also clear that others with better charisma and pedigree would by way of a better argument be given the chance to compete openly and freely for the President’s attention particularly in his role as Chairman and Leader of the All People’s Congress Party, on whose procedures that the eventual choice would have to rely for ratification.
The test is on the efficacy of choosing a successor from the APC stronghold both in terms of tribal affiliation, connections with other tribes, regional balance and linkages with the Western Area, a key constituency for the Party.
In his admonishment to the country and speaking directly to Party stalwart, President Koroma has been emphatic that he has thus far neither given his support to any candidate nor encouraged in any way, the aspirations of any one. This is a fact that is resolute on the sense of fairness that the President, Chairman and leader of the APC party has exuded throughout this period. He has however accepted that some have had their heads above the parapet for a while now and thus his caution that anyone who so desires to stand for the office of leading the next APC Government cannot do so openly when that person holds an office of state, enjoys the confidence of the President as a strategic appointee or holds any high office as a representative of his Government. In the event, President Koroma has laid out very clear grounds for political ambitions and only those with the true grit for political leadership would show such eagerness at this time by doing what is reasonably sensible to do. One cannot seriously hold an ambition to further one’s career for political leadership and still hold an office to which total loyalty has to be in the fulfilment of the another’s agenda. To do so would be to bite the hand that feeds you.
This is the reason why the President’s statements have so much relevance to his eventual choice that he may have to make. I think President Koroma would respect someone who can be candid enough to make his intentions known to him and pledge to support his agenda outside of his Government. It is not uncommon for a person of such high calibre to come forward because this is in some say, the mark of a true leader who may be ready to risk his personal welfare for the duty to high office and the sacrifices that has to be made to achieve that. Such a leader or potential flag bearer would have demonstrated that he is looking to preserve President Koroma’s legacy as a founding principle by avoiding insider rumblings as he attempts to replace the very man to whom his loyalty is desired. Such a person may be better able to support the unity of the party by demonstrating that his ambitions are being devised so as to keep in tune with President Koroma’s expectations, and that he is ready, able and willing to succumb to the diktats of the Chairman and Leader of the Party.
The APC Secretary General was supportive of the sentiments espoused by the Chairman and Leader even as he singled out His Excellency Ambassador Alimamy P Koroma for some recommendation and his support to the Party Headquarters at Makama, Makeni District. He mentioned that Ambassador Koroma’s donation has been outmatched only by that of President Koroma’s and for a project that has been stalled for such a long time, its successful completion is now assured. In the event, the efforts of Ambassador Koroma is a demonstration of how committed he is to the sustainable future of the APC party, in seeking to establish a party infrastructure that would outlive many and in following the vision of the Chairman and Leader. When you consider that his actions have been done without any claim to succession, that in itself is the mark of a true leader. With such people in the APC, this party is destined to be successful for a very long time yet.