November 13, 2017
Respected Sierra Leonean academic and international civil servant, Professor Yusuf Bangura, has in a seminal article opined that a victory for Dr. Samura Kamara and the All Peoples Congress in the March 7, 2018 presidential election would be bad for Sierra Leone.
In a widely publicised article, Professor Bangura gave five (5) reasons why in his view a victory for the handpicked APC presidential candidate would mean business as usual in the way and manner in which the country is being governed.
“The first is that the party has run out of steam. It is now too mired in patronage and corruption, with the missing Ebola funds and stealing of hard earned pilgrims’ payments for the 2017 Hajj by government officials with links to State House being the most scandalous. Because of corruption, Sierra Leone failed to qualify for a grant that may have been in hundreds of millions of dollars from the US-sponsored Millennium Challenge Corporation in 2013. In addition, it will be difficult for the party to ditch the very bad deals it struck with mining companies, estimated in 2012 to have cost the state USD224 million through overly generous concessions. The party is too embedded in the dynamics of rent-based accumulation in the mining sector to be able to commit to more demanding job-creating growth strategies,” he said.
Professor Bangura, who wrote a similar article just before the 2012 elections, entitled ‘Lopsided Bipolarity: Lessons From The 2012 Elections’, predicting an APC victory, gave as his second reason the fact that, “the [APC] party has regressed much further in democratic politics. Koroma is now larger than the party, having been allowed to choose the party’s standard bearer and his running mate. An undemocratic party stifles internal debate and renewal.” The revered academic was apparently alluding to the sham convention in Makeni in September which led to the selection of Dr. Samura Kamara by President Ernest Koroma, although some 28 aspirants had expressed their desire to lead the party and despite their constitution giving such power to the national delegates’ conference.
The erstwhile blue-chip researcher at the United Nations Research Institute for Social Development, identifies his third reason thus: “The choice of Kamara (North) and Chernoh Maju Bah (Western Area) suggests that the party has given up on the South and East, which account for about 40% of our population.”
Professor Bangura, who has authored several books and articles, went on to state his fourth point as, “[Dr.]Kamara is likely to be beholden to Koroma, who did not even give him the opportunity to choose his own running mate. If Kamara wins and Koroma remains as chairman and leader, as is being hinted, Koroma will be the most powerful man in the country as he can remove the president and vice president from office by causing the party to dismiss them from the APC.”
The respected academic concluded that, “even though [Dr.] Kamara is a decent man, and has worked in our financial institutions for more than 30 years, he comes across largely as a bureaucrat without a passion for new ideas.”