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COMMENTS & OPINIONS  

POLITICAL IMAGERY REFLECT PUBLIC PERCEPTIONS
By Titus Boye-Thompson
Nov 2, 2012, 17:02
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National heroes and heroines have been known to come from warrior type generals, fashion icons artistes, entertainers, humanitarian and compassionate philanthropists. In Sierra Leone the current political process is giving way to praise singing of such magnitude that renditions describe in flowery language the bravery, courage and hard work of those in public life and otherwise those seeking elected office. In some cultures, prowess and strength do not go well with compassion and generosity. It is more vaunted to equate a leader to that inner strength that restrains the inclination towards abuse of power, to good governance and to an enviable record in human rights and justice. African societies struggle with corruption in ways that politicians in Western democracies find very hard to understand yet in Sierra Leone, a leader emerged who had the temerity to increase the effectiveness of the Anti Corruption Commission to such an extent that friends and acquaintances in politics or otherwise have been caught in that Institutions web, prosecuted and convicted. To such a leader may very well come the spoils of public acceptance, admiration and reverence.

 

The songs about President Koroma tell of him as a performing President who has done a lot of good for this Country. It is significant also that a matching perception is that the First Lady has been a significant partner in the effort. The public warms to the First Lady as a woman of substance, a kind, compassionate and caring Mother of the Nation who has made deliberate and firm efforts to contribute to the welfare of those less privileged and otherwise susceptible to disadvantage in Society. So when they sing of the Presidents hard work in Governing the Country they also tell of the First Lady making a positive contribution with the sterling work she has done in raising awareness of infant and maternal mortality, profiling the health of women and children, supporting girl child education and other pertinent issues.

 

Titus Boye-Thompson, Development Consultant

 

A popular line is de pa dey woke en de Mammy dey cook, if you open you yai, you go see for yousef. Which can be paraphrased as It is self evident that the President is hard working and his wife does her bit as well. The contribution of the First Lady in strengthening the Presidents position should not be underrated or taken lightly. They have both equally shown a maturity quite unheralded, a love undiminished and a partnership much admired. At this time of elections, when the President goes back to the Country to ask for their votes, his wife is by his side, giving the Country the assurance of a stable and loving family, a compassionate father an understanding wife and doting children. These solid relationships say much more about the man than anything else. As the songs tell of the Presidents character, charisma and charm they lambast in almost equal measure, the opposition leader for his infamy, his exuberant but errant youth, his lack of respect for authority and high office and his complicity in various crimes, misdemeanours and malpractices. His wasted youth and recalcitrant past go badly against him and the audacity of his approach has also gone against him.

 

The attempt to label himself a bad act was not a good one, hence the reason why when he calls himself the Tormentor backfired as quickly as the songs came out.Whilst bad boys in entertainment wows their fans, it is clear that the public was very hard put to attach a positive swing on that word or appellation. The stretch of imagery favours President Ernest Bai Koroma but for the opposition flag bearer, Rtd. Brigadier Julius Maada Bio, imagery has been unkind to him and therefore the songs that tell of his exploits have in the main undressed him as a person unworthy of high office. If the stretch of imagery is reflective of public perception then there is a clear manifestation of how revered and much loved the incumbent Presidential is and how much he is perceived to be an achiever and a man worthy of praise. The preponderance of political songs weigh heavily in President Koromas favor and if public opinion is to be taken as a measure of voting intentions, then projections on the forthcoming election results would not be too hard to fathom. It is clear that President Koroma is leading the pack by a very long shot and for all intents and purposes, he should expect a landslide victory come November 17th 2012. This time, NO RUN-OFF.


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