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COMMENTS & OPINIONS  

Why Dr. Kadi Sesay Should be Next President
By Professor Kelfala M. Kallon in Colorado (USA)
Jul 20, 2011, 17:00
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Whenever aspirants for the SLPP nomination or their surrogates have asked for my support in the past, I have responded that I will support the candidate that I believe stands the best chance of returning the SLPP to State House in 2012. My position has been based on the following principles:

1)      Even before the fiasco of the failed presidency of Ernest Bai Koroma, history has taught me that when it comes to minding the peoples business, Sierra Leone is in good hands with the SLPP in control because the worst SLPP government is always better than the best the APC can provide. And the fact that our APC friends claim the Koroma presidency as their shining moment vindicates my hunch.

 2)      In winner-take-all politics, there is no consolation prize. Hence, it behooves all political parties to select their candidates on simply one criterionelectabilitybecause gaining and retaining power is the most important raison dtre of any political party.

Therefore, given the bi-polar, ethnicity-laden nature of our polity, all other things being equal, I believe that either major party can walk into any national election and expect a third of the votes. Hence, to win, they need to add another 17-percent-plus-one voters to their respective coalitions. The APC know this very well, as evidenced by their odious vote-buying attempts in the SLPP heartland, which will no doubt intensify in 2012. To checkmate them, the SLPP also needs a workable strategy to infiltrate the APC heartland in the North and the contestable Western Area. Specifically, based on my own review of the 2007 presidential results (even as soiled as they are with Christiana Thorpes fingerprints), the SLPP can pull out a victory by winning a minimum of 80 percent of the votes in Kailahun, Kenema, Pujehun, and Moyamba; 50 percent of the votes in Kono and the Western Area; and 35 percent of the Northern Province votes. The plain truth, however, is that the SLPP will not win the next elections even if every voter in its heartland votes for us. To win, we must make very strong inroads in the Northern Province and the Western Area. Therefore, our job as a party is to nominate the candidate that can best bring the Northern Province and especially the Western Area on the SLPP bandwagon. And I believe that out of the 19 aspirants for the nomination, Dr. Kadi Sesay is that woman!

Being who we are as a party, it is not surprising that any of the 19 aspirants for our partys nomination can make a better president than Ernest Bai Koroma. Thus, my support for Dr. Sesay is not based on a belief that she is the only person out there that can clean up the mess that President Koroma has created and return Sierra Leone to the buoyant economic growth that the last SLPP government (in which Dr. Sesay was an influential cog) bequeathed to him. And my conclusion that she is the most electable aspirant available to us is not based on her Northern heritage per se, even though it plays a part. It is primarily based on the fact that her candidacy will appeal to women across the nations political spectrum, thereby giving us a veritable inroad into the Northern Province and the Western Areain more ways than any male candidate could.

We must remember that in the run-up to the 1996 elections, the leadership of our party wisely decided that we needed a Northern flag-bearer to end the partys almost thirty-years in the political wilderness. That wise decision eventually led to the election of President Kabbah over a strong Northern opponent, Dr. John Karefa-Smart, who our leadership had unsuccessfully tried to recruit as our partys nominee.

I believe that the factors that compelled the 1995 conclusion that only a Northern-Southeastern ticket could take us to State House were less compelling than what obtains today. In the 1996 election, none of the parties that contested the elections was in control of the governmentin spite of the fact that the NUP was aligned with the ruling military junta. Hence, the political parties contested the elections on an equal footing. Today, we have a virulently tribalistic APC, which sees democratic norms and political fair-play as humbugs to their grand plan for retaining power by all means. And at the core of that plan is the belief that they can retain their hold on Northern voters by dishonestly parlaying the lie that the SLPP is a Mendemans party. Therefore, the nomination of an accomplished Temne intellectual like Dr. Sesay would once and for all banish that lie to the rubbish heap of history and forever portray the SLPP as the party of all Sierra Leoneansregardless of ethnicity and gender. This will force the APC to not shroud themselves in their usual tribal protective garb, thereby making the elections a referendum on only one questionwhether Sierra Leoneans (in those even the North) are better off today than they were on September 17, 2007.

We must also be mindful of the lesson of 2007, especially the International Communitys complicity in the most blatant electoral fraud in our history. That the same International Community, which declared the fraudulent disenfranchisement of voters from 477 polling stations as free and fair, were quick to reject a similar disenfranchisement of voters in Cote dIvoire should teach us a valuable lesson that even when we get the votes, we need an insurance policy that will ensure that we will not be cheated again out of a victory. Therefore, given the current interest in gender equity in the politics of developing countries at the United Nations and in especially the Nordic countries of Europe, an accomplished female SLPP candidate like Dr. Sesay will provide us with powerful allies to checkmate any influence Tony Blair might bring to bear on behalf of the APC in what is expected to be a close election in 2012. Knowing that the International Community always gets its way in weak states, as they demonstrated in both Sierra Leone and Cote dIvoire, we will be foolhardy to underestimate their influence on the ultimate outcome of 2012.

More importantly, given the APC incumbency and their revealed propensity to mortgage the future of our country (as recently demonstrated by the pace at which they are railroading the Petroleum Bill), they are going to stop at nothingfair or foul (even if it means looting the Treasury)to use their incumbency to finance President Koromas reelection. Hence, the SLPP will face an uphill battle in raising sufficient funds to even mount a respectable campaign in 2012, let alone match them. Learning from the lessons of Liberia, I believe that an accomplished female candidate like Dr. Sesay can open the purses of many a Sierra Leonean in the Diaspora and many friends of Sierra Leone to help the SLPP make history once againthis time, as the political party that elected the 1st female president of Sierra Leone.

Most importantly, no truly committed SLPP member would want the party to remain in opposition for another 5 years under a pungently tribalistic government with an unparalleled record of incompetence and vindictiveness. Simply put, there will be nothing to write home about Sierra Leone if the Wrecking Crew of this Always Poil Cuntry (APC) caboodle is allowed to misgovern Mama Salone for another 5 years. Therefore, the delegates at the partys forthcoming nominating convention are urged to fully appreciate the enormous responsibility they bear (essentially for the soul and future of the SLPP and the country that we so dearly love) and only vote for the candidate that they truly believe can deliver State House to the SLPP at Sharp 12, 2012. If they pay due diligence to this sacred responsibility, I believe with all my heart that after fully reflecting on the reasons I have given in this endorsement, they will without reservation nominate the next President of the Republic of Sierra Leone, Dr. Kadi Sesay.

May God bless the SLPP and the Republic in whose service lies our true calling!


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