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COMMENTS & OPINIONS  

National Assignment Versus Political Party Loyalty : Pondering the Pondered Decision of Andrew Keili
By Captain Saio S. Marrah (Rtd)
Jul 23, 2014, 16:21
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Expert in International Relations and International Security Following Mr. Andrew Keili's call for national duty by His Excellency President Ernest Bai Koroma, a cross section of the SLPP have expressed resentment and anger if not total consternation at the nationalistic and patriotic decision made by this exemplary gentleman. The debate was tense but actually lacks substance, justification and commonsense hence every able-bodied Sierra Leonean has the constitutional right to serve Sierra Leone when called upon by the President or the state for national service.

 

Mr. Andrew Keili is one of the few Presidential Materials within the SLPP but taking up a national duty doesn't make him a member of the APC party. President Koroma's administration is an "APC led government" and I need not waste any energy in over-simplifying that phrase "APC led government". He didn't take up an APC job (as some Skeptics and Critics have argued), but Mr. Andrew Keili - a professional Engineer was personally handpicked by the President to serve as a Board Member of the Electricity and Water Regulatory Commission because he is a qualified Sierra Leonean fit for that position.


As Sierra Leoneans, we all know how the Electricity sector of the country is ramshackle and tumbledown by qualified but inefficient and disorganized officials who were charged to generate light for us but were busy doing other things that resulted in the dismissal of the top management of the ministry. What we were expecting from the President was to appoint not only qualified and experienced individuals in these positions but dedicated hands-on and unwavering individuals that will perform with exceptionality.


Captain Saio S. Marrah (Rtd)

It can be reasonably argued that, President Koroma defied nepotism and favoritism if not tribalism and ethnicism by appointing Mr. Andrew Keili who is neither a member of the APC Party nor a Northerner but a disciplined and assiduous Sierra Leonean with an impeccable and unblemished track record with admirable experience in the Electricity Sector.


Mr. Andrew Keili is a prolific and seemingly objective Columnist imbued with unique writing skills and sense of decency. As an intellectual and political guru, it can be imagined that Mr. Andrew Keili meticulously pondered the offer before making his decision to take up the appointment. Mr. Andrew Keili has always urged us to ponder his thoughts but now we are pondering his pondered decision for answering an Executive call for national duty. In an ideal world, this is not a debatable issue but in a polarized society like Sierra Leone where everything and anything is politicized and magnified, we need to intervene to bring sanity and objectivity into the problematized debate.

 

If President Koroma, who in his capacity as leader of the Opposition APC, answered "Yes Sir" to President Tejan Kabbah (RIP) when called upon to serve the nation, what really will prevent Mr. Keili from serving his country? Nevertheless, some critics have maintained that President Koroma turned down a ministerial position during the SLPP led government - underscoring their argument that Mr. Keili shouldn't have taken the appointment based on this fact.

 

But what these critics fail to note or rather put into perspective is that, as leader of the Opposition APC Party, President Koroma couldn't have taken up a ministerial position. The reason for this is that, if he had, it will appear as if a coalition government has been formed. In similar vein, if he had accepted the presumable ministerial position (based on conspiracy theory) - the opposition APC would have become quiescent and dormant that might have led to an autocratic and apparently self-styled one party SLPP Government there by thrashing Democracy.

 

Although Mr. Keili is a potential flag bearer for the SLPP but before his appointment, he was neither a Member of Parliament nor the leader of the SLPP. In plain and simplistic terms, he was an ordinary citizen or a free agent who could serve in any position whiles he awaits other opportunities.

 

In 1996, Career diplomat and distinguished gentleman Dr. James Jonah conducted the General Election which resulted in the victory of President Tejan Kabbah. Later in his first tenure, President Kabbah appointed Dr. Jonah to serve as his Minister of Finance.


Dr. James Jonah who could have easily rejected such appointment for moral, ethical and diplomatic reasons anchored on impartiality and neutrality, decided to take up the appointment against all odds. Many thought he was wrong to take up the appointment hence he was the arbitrator in the election that led to President Kabbah's victory; which many thought was highly contentious. By accepting the job from President Tejan Kabbah, Critics were quick to conclude that he was rewarded for the 1996 Elections he rigged in support of President Kabbah. Nevertheless, all those allegations and assumptions didn't deter the patriotic career diplomat from answering the national call of duty.  


In light of this therefore, I want to personally congratulate Mr. Andrew Keili for his patriotic and nationalistic stance. You have demonstrated that our national interest is and must always be above all else. My only concern is, do we still have to ponder your thoughts as you pick up you new assignment?


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