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Don’t ‘Joe Demby’ Sam Sumana
By John Pa Baimba Sesay (Telephone: +23276477100)
Nov 12, 2009, 17:04
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He is Chief Alhaji Samuel Sam-Sumana, Vice President of the Republic of Sierra Leone. He is a thorough born and bred Konoman. A ‘blue blood’, if you like. His father was one of the most prosperous diamond merchants in relatively diamond-virgin period of Kono in the 1950s/1960s, through to the 1970s.

Unbeknown to many APC partisans today, Chief Sam-Sumana’s father was one of the first big time money men who invested substantial funds into the APC when the APC was still a baby party challenging the formidable SLPP in the 1960s. And, this close relationship with the APC continued with Sam-Sumana’s father when the APC Leader/Founder, Dr. Siaka Probyn Stevens, took power in 1968. Shaki, as he was famously known, would always pay courtesy calls on the Sam-Sumana’s residence whenever he would be in Kono – and there was reciprocal relationship between Shaki and Sam-Sumana’s.

There is reliable information got by this writer that Shaki had a written understanding between himself/APC and Sam-Sumana’s father as to what role Sam-Sumana’s father would play should an APC government boot out the SLPP after the 1967 parliamentary elections. That is history. But, that is the history of almost ‘genetic linkage’ that Chief Alhaji Sam-Sumana has with the APC; so, he is no ‘Dr. Joe Demby’ of the SLPP; so, those who are orchestrating some campaign against Chief Sam-Sumana in the media thinking that they can ‘Joe-Demby’ Chief Sam-Sumana ought to be guided on not only the history of the man, but, the reality of his present.

Until he was chosen by President Koroma as running mate, Chief Alhaji Sam-Sumana was living in the United States of America as a successful businessman. He had established several local businesses, and he was obviously in the Biggest League; and, was personally able to play one of the most crucial roles for any political party that needed the wherewithal to challenge an incumbent party.

There appears to be a plan to undermine the Vice President; dent his credibility; drive a wedge between him and his Kono kinsmen, and indeed, caste a pallor over him within the APC. It could be that certain people within the APC itself have Hidden Agendas to ‘Joe Demby’ Chief Sam-Sumana. (By the way, ‘to Joe Demby’ in local parlance means: to replicate what the SLPP did to its first Vice President, Dr. Joe Demby – that is, they used the mass appeal of Dr. Joe Demby in his Bo District area to win the 1996 General Elections; but, when the SLPP was strengthened, they dropped Demby as running mate in the 2002 elections).

There are areas we must try to look at when discussing Sam Sumana: in the first place, when the APC was struggling to capture the votes of people in this country, it was only few people, including President Koroma and Sam Sumana, who sacrificed to finance the almost broke APC to ensure the party, would win the 2007 General Elections. This was enormous sacrifice on the part of Chief Sam-Sumana. Imagine if the APC had lost that election. All the business interests of Chief Sam-Sumana would have been jeopardized; or, he would have been harassed into exile again by a reputedly vindictive Solomon Berewa. So, please, those who are directing their venom against Chief Sam-Sumana be reminded that the APC is NOT the SLPP. The APC has a reputation of being a ‘kombra party’, a party that is grateful to those who ‘fordom for dem’, then, ‘APC sef go fordom for dem’. APC is a grateful party.

Also, the Vice President is dynamic, eloquent, with just the right type of experience and attitude to make President Koroma’s vision of ‘running Sierra Leone like a business’ into concrete reality. In nearly all ways, Chief Sam-Sumana is diametrically opposed to the SLPP’s Joe Demby – so, he cannot be easily ‘Joe Demby-ed’.

While the elderly Dr. Joe Demby was tongue-tied, an excellent student in the sciences, but, barely able to make three sentences without embarrassing grammatical blunders, Chief Sumana, on the other hand, is eloquent, can reel out the English language with ease, charismatic, and, sensitive to the needs of even the common man when he is dialoguing with them. Also, coming from the East, from Kono, Chief Sam-Sumana is a bridge builder, forging unity in the country. As regards helping to unify the country more, Chief Sam-Sumana is proving himself quite a master in that. As he would regularly hold meetings with opposition figures, opening his door to them; imploring them to work together to build a country that we all would be proud of.

There is little doubt in my mind that as the Acting Minister of Health and Sanitation, the energetic Chief Sam-Sumana (who is as avid a sports man as President Koroma himself), has the trust of President Koroma – and would live up to that trust. I would continue to highlight more of the positives of this gem of an APC Vice President.

© Copyright by Awareness Times Newspaper in Freetown, Sierra Leone.

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