By George S. Khoryama……….
He ascended to the leadership of the Sierra Leone People’s Party (SLPP) on a silver platter to ascend further on to the throne of the Presidency of the Republic of Sierra Leone. The ease with which he came to rule his country however, came to a standstill, consequence of becoming the first leader in the history of Sierra Leone who had to grapple with a war situation; I mean an internecine war of grave magnitude.
But trust the diplomat, the humanist, the unifier, the patriot and the God-fearing man in the person of the late President Dr. Ahmad Tejan Kabbah. He was soon to surmount the storm of the war to become Sierra Leoneans own Moses who delivered his people Israel from bondage in Egypt. President Kabbah ended the war and brought his people from slavery, suffering, statelessness, human indignities and hopelessness in the refugee camps in Liberia, Guinea, The Gambia, Ivory Coast and elsewhere in the world. Others that found sanctuary in the caves, forests, “sokoihu”, mountain tops, valleys and ravines around the country came out to freedom.
After nearly eleven years of war, President Kabbah declared in 2002: “De waa don don (the war is now a relic of the past). He formed a government of national unity but not before first, declaring that his own government was not one for even the SLPP that made him President but instead, for all. And indeed, he brought the rebel leaders into governance; he brought then opposition All People’s Congress (APC) party members into governance with then APC leader now President, Dr. Ernest Bai Koroma conspicuously playing active roles.
The late President Kabbah’s leadership was tribal-blind, regional-blind and ethnic-blind as the case is unlike today; he estranged his own party people if only to encourage the opposition.
The late President Kabbah from the ashes of war set the pace for a sustained national reconstruction, reintegration and rehabilitation. He built roads all over the country without media drum-roll; he secured funding for the Bo-Kenema road, Kenema-Koindu road, Makeni-Matotoka road, the Rogbere Junction-Panalap road, Hillside Bypass road, etc.
He established the National Commission for Social Action (NaCSA) the National Social Security and Insurance Trust (NASSIT), the National Revenue Authority (NRA), the Anti Corruption Commission (ACC); he reformed the justice sector, modernized the police and military; he devolved the administrative machinery to empower the people. President Kabbah (Moses) did not only bring his people from bondage to abandon them. He reintegrated the families, he rehabilitated their destroyed environment; he reconstructed their war-ravaged homes; he built schools, hospitals, and homes for Paramount Chiefs and restored their dignity.
President Kabbah inherited a public debt to the tone of US$1.6 Billion and went on to pay it off. At the end of his term of office the country enjoyed a total debt relief status, leaving in the treasury a buoyant, mouth-watering and whooping sum of Le500 Billion.
In essence President Kabbah laid the groundwork for development and good governance which the present government espoused and it is only improving if not, destroying the fabric today.
President Kabbah will surely enjoy a peaceful repose because over his remains the ruling government that had all along claimed the achievements of the late man as theirs during their tributes over his remains confessed that indeed, he did everything for them and that they are only enjoying the gains of his hard work.
Therefore, what better tribute could the SLPP pay to their fallen hero than reconciling their bitterness, hate for one another, their pride and arrogance, their division and disunity that forecasts no future for the party, and their bloated egos – for the good of the suffering people. Peace and love must now take over the occasional offensive rhetoric just fit for the gallery that only serves the purpose of self-aggrandizement. The SLPP cannot remain in its present tattered form to face the 2017 elections without going to the walls again, thereby extending further the suffering of its huge following. Let the different internal factions swallow their pride and face the reality that “united we stand and divided we fall”. And what a big fall that will be again.
MAY PRESIDENT KABBAH’S SOUL REST IN PEACE AND MAY HIS LEGACY LIVE FOREVER.