The story is still being told of how, on the eve of the 1996 run-off elections between Ahmad Tejan Kabbah of the SLPP and John Karefa-Smart of the UNPP, a senior SLPP Politician telephoned Tejan Kabbah (believing that he was talking to Karefa-Smart), informing him that, he was happy that, for the first time in the history of Sierra Leone, their tribesman (Temne/Loko) was on the verge of becoming an elected President of Sierra Leone. He prayed fervently for him to win the elections “hands down”.
After his long supplications, Kabbah identified himself and said, “Thanks for praying for me”. The man, having learnt that, he was talking to the wrong person, turned around and shamelessly said, “Tejan, I was playing politics with you”. Kabbah never considered him for an appointment in his government.
This year’s Hajj (Pilgrimage) to the Holy land of Mecca was poorly handled. It has become a national scandal.
A senior ruling party MP told me yesterday that, he was disappointed that, even the two slots allocated to him were, sold to the highest bidders. His two nominees had to spend three days at the Miatta Conference Hall, sleeping on the bare floor, with no food to eat and no water to drink.
They were later informed that, their names were left out of the master list from State House. When they went to collect their Passports from Minkailu Mansaray’s office at Youyi Building, they were each given Le10, 000 (Ten thousand Leones).
A senior Imam at Waterloo almost committed suicide, when he was told at the Lungi International Airport that, his Passport had gone missing between Miatta Conference Hall and the Lungi International Airport.
Last Friday, the Imam locked himself in his house and refused to come out, to lead Jumah (Friday) prayers, because, he had announced to his congregation that, President Koroma had offered him a scholarship to perform this year’s Hajj. Now, the Imam is being called Alhaji Lungi.
Such is the devastation caused by the poor handling (or should I say, corrupt handling) of this year’s Hajj by some top guns in the APC party.
How can people, put in charge of handling the Hajj, involving just eight hundred people, mess it up like this? Are these the same people who want to lead seven million people? If you cannot properly supervise arrangements for Hajj, how can you properly supervise the running of a country?
The President has surrounded himself with some people who have no moral scruples. They are in office only to make money for themselves and their families. They don’t care about the welfare and even wellbeing of ordinary people.
These are the people, who continue to mislead the President and make him look bad in the eyes of his admirers.
On Thursday 24th August, 2017 President Koroma publicly assured the visiting Special Representative of the United Nations Secretary General for West Africa and the Sahel Region, Dr. Mohamed Ibn Chambers that, “The current predicament will not in any way affect the electioneering process scheduled to take place on March 7, 2018”.
Just a day after that meeting at State House, the Chairman of NEC (National Electoral Commission), Mohamed N’fah Alie Conteh and some of his top management staff met with President Koroma and his Cabinet at State House, to update them on voter registration as well as the exhibition of the Provisional Voter Register.
It was at that meeting that, the Minister of Local Government and Rural Development, Maya Kaikai stood up and reprimanded the NEC boss for pressing ahead with elections even though the country was (is) in a state of mourning after the devastating landslide and flooding that ravaged some communities in and around Freetown on 14th August, killing almost five hundred people.
How Dare You, Maya Kaikai?
Does Maya Kaikai expect the NEC Chairman to postpone the March 7, 2018 elections just because we are dealing with the aftermath of the devastation caused by the August 14 landslide in Freetown and its surrounding communities?
From whose script was Maya Kaikai reading? Whose views was he expressing at that meeting? That can certainly not be the views of His Excellency President Dr. Ernest Bai Koroma!
Maya Kaikai knows that, he cannot serve as a Cabinet Minister in any sober administration. For him, President Koroma should continue to stay in office until doomsday!
Why can’t Maya Kaikai advise his political mentor and Godfather to postpone the elections and face the consequences?
President Koroma knows that, in the last one month, the APC Party has become very unpopular even in their own strongholds in the Western Area and the Northern Regions. The introduction of the toll charges, the landslide and now the Hajj-gate have destroyed the reputation of the APC party. The party cannot even now go ahead with their flag bearer election/selection because three of their leading flag bearer aspirants have allegations of corruption hanging over their heads.
The APC is in disarray! The party cannot afford to put up any flag bearer candidate that, they would have to spend the whole campaign period defending. That is no brainer!
The late President Kabbah once noted that, in politics, when you succeed, you win a lot of false friends.
These are not good times for the APC Party. Certainly, not for President Koroma!