So far, the campaign process has seen some of the contenders and their supporters fabricating stories about their opponents as a strategy to make them look bad to the voting delegates. Whether this strategy will give any aspirant any added advantage over their compatriots is not for me to say.
Surely though, we know for certain that if they continue to propagate negative stories about their people without any evidence and just in the name of winning, that will only succeed in destroying the best people they have. In this case, it is possible SLPP supporters will end up destroying the very person whose leadership they need at this time. Therefore, our advice to all 19 aspirants and their die hard supporters is to think twice as they embark on their propaganda battle.
We have seen out of desperation of scoring political points sometimes people questioning the credentials of one of their leading contenders, Alhaji Usman Boie Kamara (UBK). The propaganda battle has seen some people reducing themselves to believe that UBK is a newcomer to the SLPP and as such delegates should not vote him as their flag bearer. How unfortunate that those SLPP members are failing to focus their energies in identifying the qualities of their individual candidates, rather than promoting lies about them.
For many Sierra Leonean voters UBK is seen as the man who is capable of causing a huge upset to the Ernest Bai Koroma lead government in the 2012 election. Many believe that he is the man to shatter the confident dreams of the APC to stay in government for a second term or for another 30 years. His popularity amongst Sierra Leoneans continues to grow and makes him the favourite to ensure SLPP make that historical comeback.
Throughout the campaign process, UBK has continued to win the hearts and minds of many, both SLPP members and Sierra Leoneans in general. He is one of the few, if not only aspirant that has continued running a proactive and responsible campaign. His campaign is done without being negative about any of his colleagues. In addition, his campaign messages are not short of the continued call for party unity.
Unfortunately, there are still a minority struggling to accept that UBK is their hope and he is not new to the party. However, a brief research on the leading aspirants will uncover that contrary to their allegation of UBK being a newcomer to the SLPP. My findings suggest that UBK inherited his Green Blood. The Boie-Kamara family is always synonymous to the SLPP.
UBK is the son of the late Alhaji Mohamed Boie Kamara, a popular and respected Freetown based butcher and businessman. As a member of the SLPP, Pa Boie as he was fondly called served as a treasurer of the party. He worked closely with other respected SLPP members including; the late Sir Albert Margai, Hon. Kandeh Bureh, Hon. Alhaji Sanusi Mustapha, Alhaji A.B Tejan Jalloh, Hon. R.G.O King and Hon. H.E.B John. Through his active involvement, he ensured that his family and particularly, UBK embraced the SLPP as their own party.
Therefore, his long term affiliation, involvement, love and contribution to the party can be traced back to the early days of the party. As young boy UBK enjoyed the company of his Dad and had the opportunity to attend with him several SLPP meetings and activities across the country. He was part of the young men of the late Baba Sillah alongside the likes of Shamsu Deen-Cole, Alusine twin, and other s from the then East 2 constituency.
Over the years, UBK’s generosity and support to the party is unquestionable. He had always supported the party in cash and in kind even though his participation in politics was constrained by his position as a public servant. As a man of principle he upheld the code of ethics of the Public Service and stayed neutral from politics throughout his service. Despite him staying away from active politics, he ensured to the best of his ability, he maintained close links with the SLPP but without compromising his public career.
From all indications, his generous attitude to the party is something he picked up from his late Dad who made both financial and moral contributions to the party. Pa Boie as a grassroots politician gained the respect of his SLPP colleagues for both his financial and physical contributions to the party.
Sometimes, Pa Boie’s selfless contribution to the party was done at the expense of the Boie family. After UBK witnessing his father’s role to the SLPP, the saying "you put your money where your mouth is" is not a new concept to the flag bearer aspirant. However, borrowing a leaf from his late Dad’s book, UBK learnt to stay discreet and humble regardless of his contribution. He is always known to be a man of more action than words and dislikes the idea of "self praise." So, it is understandable for people to misunderstand his humble persona and end up referring to him as a newcomer to the SLPP.
In the 1960s, Pa Boie’s contribution to the party was immense. But because of his humble approach this is not known by many. He was the man who nominated and financed the late Baba Sillah to contest as the SLPP candidate in the East Two constituency. In 1962, UBK’s Dad nominated Alhaji M.S.Mustapha to contest for SLPP against Alhaji Gibril Sesay. In 1965 Pa Boie also nominated Alhaji A.B. Tejan Jalloh for the SLPP symbol to contest as Councillor in the East Two Constituency. Also, not many people are aware that when Sir Albert Margai visited the Madingo Mosque in the 60s for Friday prayer, it was UBK’s Dad who introduced him to the Jammah. Throughout this process, the old man ensured that UBK travelled with him to many meetings and campaigns even though he was a small boy then.
Since his return to Sierra Leone in the 1970s after graduating from The Imperial College London, UBK served Sierra Leone as public servant in the Mining sector. He served both in the Ministry, SLST and NDMC – in total for about 37 generous years. His first posting was in the Kenema District. Therefore, as a matter of principle he had to remain neutral in the political process of the country.
However, though not in a political active capacity, he ensured he maintained affiliation with the political party he had known all his life -the SLPP. His support to the party started several years before his thinking to become the Party’s flag bearer. Above all, his support has always been unconditional and expecting nothing in return. Since the revival of the SLPP in 1996, UBK’s financial contribution to promote the work and activities of the party has run in to thousands of US dollars. Among other things, he has contributed to the renovation of some of the party’s regional offices including; Kenema, Kailahun, Port Loko, and Kambia party offices. Also he paid for most of the furniture they use in the Kenema party office today, and in addition he provided them with a free DSTV for which he is still responsible for paying the subscription. He also, donated 50 bags of cement to the construction of the SLPP office in Kailahun. When the SLPP lost the 2007 elections, UBK and few others founded the Palm Root Foundation to ensure they develop strategies in ensuring the party bounces back to power in 2012.
In the North, SLPP supporters in Port Loko and Kambia are ever grateful to UBK’s countless support to both the party activities and individual members. In Tombo he provided SLPP supporters with four bundles of zinc towards the construction of their community centre. In Koinadugu district he donated approximately eight million Leones to the construction of a Community Centre for SLPP supporters in Fadugu, in the Koinadugu District. Most recently, he donated three motorbikes to the young generation of the SLPP to enable them reach out to their supporters in the South, East and Northern provinces. We are sure there is a lot more he has done for the party for which we are not privileged to know.
Those who have dealt with UBK either in an official or private capacity have known him to be amongst the few consistent and trusted Sierra Leoneans one will ever meet. He is always known to be true to his word and committed to whatever pronouncement he makes. Therefore, we are convinced that if elected he will put all within his power to lead the SLPP to victory in 2012.
Looking at the brief historical background of UBK’s links, affiliation and financial contribution to the SLPP party, it makes it hard work and very challenging to prove he is a newcomer to a party he has known all his life. There is no doubt he will always remain a true Green. Therefore, it becomes the role of all true SLPP supporters for the good of the party to concentrate their energies in appreciating the continued physical and financial contribution of one of their true sons - Usman Boie Kamara.