PENNY WISE: POUND FOOLISH

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By: Winstanley. R. Bankole. Johnson

For a long as I can remember, the Hon. Emerson Lamina’s political career has always been on a roller-coaster ride. Or life support?

As the District Chairperson in Kono he didn’t take long on seat to fall out with, and got booted out of the Council by his APC Party. My last ditch attempt to have rescued his career one early morning failed. And before I left his bedroom on that day I can recall that the Party Elder through whom I was interceding saying to me: “Mayor if you know how recalcitrant this boy can be, you would not be pleading on his behalf”.  By then the APC had long resolved that Madam Diana Konomani should replace him as the Kono District APC Chairperson.  

Unassailable

Buoyed up by local sympathy perhaps, Emerson Lamina wasn’t long in the political wilderness. He wasn’t only resoundingly elected to Parliament under the Coalition for Change (C4C) ticket representing a Constituency in the heartland of Kono District, but he also emerged as that Party’s Parliamentary Leader. But as the adage goes habits die hard (Trick na smoke!!).  So not too many years down the road, recalcitrance – or better still anti-party activities against the very “C4C” Party that sponsored him as their Parliamentary Leader – got the better of him and his political career again relapsed under life support.  I am reliably informed that his “C4C” Party hierarchy have tried – and failed – many times to clip his wings and even defrock him as their Leader in Parliament by writing /instructing the Hon. Speaker of Parliament to that effect, but Hon. Emerson Lamina has been smart enough to leverage from the precedents of predecessor renegade MPs whenever they fell out with their respective parties, like Hon. Bernadette Lahai of the SLPP and Hon. Legacy Sankoh of the Peoples Movement for Democratic Change (PMDC) — respectively – to quickly seek solace, refuge and access fresh political oxygen from the Hon. Speaker by aligning and cow-towing all government position to protect his back. Thus his continued stay within the “Well” and in his post as Leader of the “C4C” Party have so far remained unassailable.

Egregious

I am given to understand that on many occasions the “C4C” Executive had been livid by the Hon. Emerson Lamina’s lukewarm disposition, loyalty or outright disobedience towards their party that virtually made him, as was evidenced by his alleged implicit refusal to publicly criticize the ruling SLPP government in Parliament for egregious constitutional and human rights abuses especially pertaining to:

  • The way and manner the present Speaker of Parliament was elected
  • The occasional riots within the very “Well” of Parliament warranting interventions by security forces each time the leading opposition party has resisted this government’s  attempts to ramrod controversial Bills into Laws without following due processes
  • The extra-judicial killings within the Pademba Road Prisons, at Makeni, Tombo, Mile -91 and more specifically occasioned from the August 10th riots – none of which has been conclusively investigated to date to ascertain the precise casualty figures
  • His deafening silence on the removal of ten (10) APC Parliamentarians and the procedurally flawed processes applied towards their replacements
  • His overt championing of the processes for restitution of properties seized by the SLPP government of Ahmed Tejan Kabbah to Dr. Abass Bundu, which role the “C4C” Party Executive believe was to have been played by bona-fide SLPP MPs instead.

Counterproductive

In the view of “C4C” Party diehards, it is on account of all above actions – and more – that suspicions became rife that Hon Emerson Lamina was on the payroll of the government and for which he would do anything to be compensated with the SLPP symbol by inclusion of his names in their Parliamentary District Block/PR List for Kono for the June 24th multi-tier elections. Unlike the latent outbursts of the Electoral Commission SL (ECSL) Commissioner –South against the Resident EU Commissioner for the latter simply striking a note of interest, the Hon. Emerson Lamina probably believed his own castigations of the entire global EU organization in their own backyard during a recent EU-ACP meeting in Brussels needed to be much more bizarre so as to earn his SLPP Peeps. Regrettably the effects of his attempting to have been more Catholic than the Pope or even more SLPP/more Mende than Professor Bai Santos Kamara would appear to have been counterproductive and which I presume will continue to haunt him for long for three reasons:

  1. As an MP and member of the ACP/EU Committee the Hon. Emerson Lamina more than anyone else ought to have been privy to the protocols on the rational and relevance for political commentaries by any  Resident EU Commissioner, given their direct  interventions into our economy which includes inter-alia their contribution of EU7Million to the 24th June elections
  2. As a “C4C” Party  (opposition) MP it seemed odd for him to have been as irked as to have raised issues at a globally televised plenary that could either have best been left unsaid or at the worst relegated for mentioning by the Government/SLPP Leader of their delegation.
  3. In the view of the EU for the Hon. MP to have been so motivated was reflective a gross betrayal of trust and objectivity which quoting them: “…..does not correspond to the strong partnership and good relationship between Sierra Leone and the EU……” Unquote.

Disenfranchised

Pundits believe that the rather bizarre reactions of Hon Emerson Lamina may not be unconnected with the entire SLPP leadership’s premonitions that by their repetitive uses of words and phrases that the June 24th multi-tiered elections must be “Free, Fair, Credible, Transparent, Inclusive and Participatory, the EU are interfering into our domestic politics. Like most of us, the EU and other international partners are convinced that another five years of a Bio administration will definitely spell disaster for the entire sub-region, hence the full hidden inferences of their concerns that the elections be not only conducted Freely, Fairly, Credibly and Transparently, but that they should also be inclusive and participatory by all registered opposition parties. The further direct import of those words and phrases is that no matter what the SLPP does with or without assistance/involvement by the Courts or the Political Parties Registration Commission (PPRC):

  1. The APC and all other registered opposition parties must and will definitely participate in the next elections – Fully and unfettered
  2. All those 250,000 registered voters deleted by ECSL from the aggregated figures must and will be fully re-instated so that come June 24th Elections “D-Day”, everybody that was registered by the ECSL can vote. This in fact is what the EU means by the elections being “INCLUSIVE”. In other words insofar as one was registered, one should vote and should never be disenfranchised out of the recklessness, carelessness or seeming lack of independence of the ECSL.

Diabolical

It is on record that the original diabolical plans of the SLPP to obliterate the APC into oblivion remains an unfinished business on their political agenda to this day, and for which reason the membership of their party is still holding “The Tormentor” to account. And that could easily have been discerned from the toxicity of intolerance, belligerence and easily fraying temperament of the Deputy Minister of Internal Affairs when he threatened to “Crush anyone standing in their (SLPP) way”, when hosted together with his counterpart Publicity Secretary of the opposition APC Party Mr. Side Yayah Tunis on AYV TV recently.  Except for slight variations to those diabolical plans to:  

  • Persistently intimidate particularly the APC opposition through harassments, imprisonment, protracted Court hearings and deferred judgements based on false accusations right unto their victory.
  • Once that is achieved and the SLPP gets a second term (God Forbid) the Constitution will be amended piecemeal and without referendum to re-introduce a One Party State and
  • Finally pave the way for an “appendage” within the Bio Presidency to succeed President Bio after 2028 hitch-free.

Those speculations should neither be trivialized nor discounted having due regard to the fact that a PR Parliamentary assembly could likely be more malleable than the previous multi-cameral legislature.

Epitaph

The last few days we have witnessed a number of defections of members from the “C4C” Party to the ruling SLPP for which the Hon. Emerson Lamina has been described as the putative architect, all in the hope of paving the way for his biggest Pay-Day which is to ultimately clinch the SLPP Parliamentary symbol. But to all intents and purposes, the recent 2nd March brutal two-page Presser by the Resident EU Commissioner rebutting what they consider Hon. Emerson Lamina’s aspersions on their organization is now largely reading as a prelude to his political epitaph, likely to put paid to his political ambitions of seeking further life support through his migration to the SLPP. In the event it is now very unlikely that President Bio (himself walking the “One Term Presidential Plank) would risk rewarding Hon. Emerson Lamina their Party symbol, lest his action be misconstrued by international partners that the Honourable MP was acting at his behest and thus figuratively biting the very EU fingers that have been single-handedly funding our insatiable infrastructural needs. And there being no love lost between Hon. Emerson Lamina and his “C4C” Party, these recent developments could well be the death knell to his political career for behaving pennywise: pound foolish.

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