From Awareness Times Newspaper in Freetown

Three Years of Political Controversy Under President Koroma
By Abdul Karim Kargbo
Sep 17, 2010, 17:06

Politically, President Ernest Bai Koroma assumed power in 2007 in controversy and he has since been ruling controversially. This is why he has been fighting desperately for recognition beyond his ethnic and party constituencies in the past three years. The extent to which he has succeeded in building his clout as a leader of national character, as his predecessor Ahmad Tejan Kabbah once was, is still much to be desired. 


The presidential election results which Christiana Thorpe proclaimed on September 17 2010 that Koroma had won were announced in the middle outrage and resignation of two of the country’s four regional election commissioners (50%) which was controversial.


Thorpe said Koroma won the elections by 55% but the International Crisis Group says Koroma’s actual votes was 51% with the victory margin of 1.1% over Solomon Berewa (ref: ‘Sierra Leone: A New Era Reform’, ICG, 2007). This was also controversial!


In absence of Christiana Thorpe’s failure to publish proof that over voting had ever taken place during the 2007 presidential run-off elections which could have justified her cancellation of vote casts from 477 polling stations in mostly opposition strongholds, the supporters of SLPP still believe that Ernest Koroma did not win the elections. Had Ernest Koroma won the presidential polls in 2007, they reason, Christiana Thorpe would not have ordered the destruction of the post-election ballot papers and boxes when she came under pressure to publicize the over-voted figures. This was another controversy.


In addition to having come to office controversially, President Ernest Koroma’s style of governance has also been controversial since. Just after his assumption of power, the expectation from the leading international players in Sierra Leone was that the new president should have started off with olive branches and carrots and not thuggery, tear gas, petrol bombs and arson, given the circumstances under which he assumed power. But the vengeance and violence he came to office with were unimaginably astonishing to his international king makers. And this bad start has since impeded the political gains he is now desperately seeking to garner beyond the Limba, Loko and Temne ethnic groups in Sierra Leone.


Ernest Bai Koroma’s APC has hurt the Madingoes so much now he wants to be seen by most Madingoes as their leader. Most do not see him like that.


Ernest Koroma’s APC thugs threatened and drove the Fulas away into Guinea before the advent of the 2007 elections and continued their deadly threats against Fulani traders across various trade centers and marketplaces in the country. Now he wants to be seen by the Fulas as their leader. Most do not see him like that.


The Susu supporters of SLPP in Kambia and their Yalunka and Madingo counterparts in Kambia, Koinadugu and Bombali Districts were prior to the 2007 elections subjected to several APC threats, including physical assault and arson. Now Ernest Koroma wants to be seen by the Susus and Yalunkas as their leader. Most do not see him like that.


Similarly, he wants to be seen by the Korankos as their leader. Most do not see him like that. He wants to be seen by the Kissis as their leader. Most do not see him like that. He wants to be seen by the Sherbros as their leader. Most do not see him like that. He wants to be seen by all Krios as their leader. Most are quietly slipping away from him. He wants to be seen by all Konos as their leader. Most defiantly do not see him like that they are the ones who have faced the biggest brunt of rape, physical assault, and oppression since the APC came to power in 2007.


As if he is day dreaming Ernest Bai Koroma also now wants to be seen by the Mendes as their leader to the extent of attempting to groom J.B. Dauda to replace Sam Sumana as his next running mate. He himself knows that he cannot amend his three years of sacking spree in the public service, 90% of whom belonged to the Mende ethnic group. It is definite that there is no dice for APC here.


Of course he wants every single Temne, Limba and Loko man and woman behind him. But this is not exactly happening! A substantial number, including a Temne Paramount Chief and one of Sierra Leone’s most educated Temne women, are now openly defying Ernest Bai Koroma and strongly dissociating themselves from his tribalistic and partisan extremism.


In short, Ernest Bai Koroma’s three years of fanatic partisan and tribalistic policy of equating the Government of Sierra Leone (GoSL) with the red APC party, with over 90 percent preference for people having Limba and Loko ethnic backgrounds, especially those from Bombali and Tonko-Limba, is now haunting and impeding his second bid to become SLPP (the Sierra Leone Peoples President). It will be interesting to see in 2012 what will come out of it. 

© Copyright 2005, Freetown, Sierra Leone.