By Sorie Fofana……………………………..
Many of us must have read the “48 Laws of Power”. I like the forty-seventh one which says, “In victory, learn when to stop. The moment of victory is often the moment of greatest peril. In the heat of victory, arrogance and overconfidence can push you past the goal you had aimed for, and by going too far, you make more enemies than you defeat. Do not allow success to go to your head. There is no substitute for strategy and careful planning. Set a goal, and when you reach it, stop”.
In 1998, as President of Sierra Leone and Leader of the SLPP, President Alhaji Dr. Ahmad Tejan Kabbah wanted his friend, Prof. Daniel John Newman-Smart to become National Chairman of the SLPP. Prof. Newman-Smart was, obviously, not the Party’s choice.
The Party put up Maigore Kallon against Kabbah’s candidate, Prof. Newman-Smart for the post of Party Chairman. At the Cape Sierra Hotel, Kabbah’s candidate was floored by the veteran SLPP Politician, Maigore Kallon.
As Party Leader and President, Kabbah accepted the verdict of the election but did not cooperate with Maigore Kallon. Kallon’s tenure as Party Chairman was less eventful.
In 2002, Kabbah put up Dr. Sama Siama Banya alias Puawui to run against Maigore Kallon for the post of Party Chairman in Bo. Banya defeated Maigore and Kabbah openly embraced and even hugged Banya for his victory.
Banya remained Party Chairman until he was also defeated in Makeni by Solo Bee’s candidate, Alhaji UNS Jah in 2005.
Jah remained in office until the SLPP was voted out of office in 2007.
Chairman/Leader For Life
At the APC National Youth League Conference in Port Loko last week, the APC Youth League called on President Dr. Ernest Bai Koroma to retain his current position of Party Chairman/Leader throughout his lifetime.
Truthfully, President Koroma brought the APC Party from political wilderness and made it electable in 2007 and 2012.
He has also made the APC Party so attractive that, all sorts of people are now joining it. The APC’s new converts were all in Port Loko last week to attend the APC National Youth League Conference.
Most of the new comers in the APC (especially the so-called young businessmen) were all SLPP members before 2007. They are always ready to defect to any party that wins a general election in Sierra Leone.
I met with a young Lebanese businessman last week. He was proud to say that he had joined the APC. And he even showed me his membership card. I almost laughed my sides out when he said in Krio, “Who dat marade mi Mama, na in ar dae kol Papa”, meaning that, he will support any party that comes to power after the APC in 2018.
Beware Of Chairman For Life
President Koroma does not need to retain the post of Chairman/Leader after he shall have retired as President of Sierra Leone in March 2018. There is no way he can have absolute control over the party when there is a sitting APC head of state at State House.
If the APC Presidential candidate wins the 2018 elections, naturally, he would want to have total control over the Party. And he can only do so, if he becomes Party Chairman/Leader.
Some of these issues always lead to a fractious relationship between a retired President and their handpicked successor. We saw what happened between President Siaka Stevens and his handpicked successor, Joseph Saidu Momoh.
Leonard Balogun Logus Koroma (the APC 2018 National Elections Coordinator) has written a very sycophantic Op-ed on social media, which we have decided to publish today. In that piece, Logus Koroma wrote, “I also salute him (President Koroma) for reminding all aspirants who have jumped the gun and threatened to form their own political parties if they are not awarded the Presidential symbol to go ahead and do so”.
The questions that come to mind are: What will happen if Victor Foh, Alimamy P. Koroma, Dr. Kaifala Marah, Joseph Kamara and John Sisay feel cheated or even aggrieved and decide to form a new political party? Will that not just kill the APC Party in this country? It is better for the APC to stay together than to split right in the middle as a result of arrogance from some of its leaders and members.
When Charles Margai left the SLPP in 2005 and formed the PMDC, the SLPP was voted out of power in 2007 because some of its supporters joined the new party of Charles Margai.
When Thaimu Bangura left the APC and formed the PDP (Sorbeh) in 1991, what happened to the APC in their Northern stronghold?
Life After The Presidency
Most of the people dancing and singing behind President Koroma today, will one day abandon him especially after he leaves State House.
I remember in the Month of Ramadan, how people use to visit President Kabbah at State Lodge, Hill Station in the evening to breakfast with him.
When the man retired, just a few (I mean a few of us) use to visit him at his private residence at Juba, to breakfast with him,
I recall on one of those occasions, when Pa Kabbah asked, “Where are my friends today”? He was fond of saying that, “In politics, when you succeed you win a lot of false friends”.
I once accompanied President Kabbah to see his personal banker, Magnus Kamara at the Sierra Leone Commercial Bank. We met one of his former Ministers in the banking hall. Pa Kabbah asked him, “Do you still have my cell phone number”? And the man answered affirmatively. He later told me that he last saw the man some three years ago. And these were the guys that served in Kabbah’s inner circle.
Some of the people running behind President Koroma today will one day abandon him as if they never knew him before.
Bottom line: Quit whilst you are ahead.