REFLECTION: Ten reasons why Samura Kamara lost

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By Ibrahim Labor Fofana

The June 24, 2023 multi-tier elections have come and gone. President Julius Maada Bio won re-election with ‘No Run-Off’. Even before the elections, Samura Kamara and his APC operatives started to cry foul. They declared war on Electoral Commission Sierra Leone (ECSL) asking for Voters’ Register, for new Voters’ ID cards, for ‘poomwee’ to run the elections, for Mohamed Konneh and all Commissioners to resign, to postpone the election, etc, etc. In a word, the unpreparedness of the APC and Samura Kamara to participate in the elections was obvious. In order to hide from this fact, Samura Kamara and his operatives complained about everything except themselves.

This notwithstanding, the elections were held, and was to a very large extent peaceful. Sixty percent of polling stations results were announced initially by ECSL and the figures gave President Bio a comfortable lead with no run-off in sight.

Prior to this announcement, APC operatives including Presidential candidate Samura Kamara posted on social media that they have won. In addition, their supporters and members took to the streets in jubilation of this fake news and false hope. The sixty percent announcement kept them quiet for a while before emboldened APC social media propagandists started tweaking the interpretation of the sixty percent result.

As if to cut a long story short, Chief Electoral Commissioner and Returning Officer, Mohamed Konneh announced the final results on the eve of Eid ul Adha. As was expected, President Julius Maada Bio won with no Run-Off with 56% while Samura Kamara had an impressive and surprising 41%.

Though he lost, Samura Kamara has refused to concede and accept the outcome of the elections. He has put forth reasons why he is not going to agree with ECSL’s Mohamed Konneh.

Now for the benefit of the general public and for putting the records straight for posterity, let me give you ten (10) reasons why Samura Matthew Wilson Kamara, the APC presidential candidate lost the June 24th 2023 Presidential Elections to President Julius Maada Bio.

  1. Samura Kamara with the APC was ill-prepared for these elections. There was no sign of readiness or preparedness to face the incumbent Julius Maada Bio. Several opportunities were available to the APC and Samura Kamara to use against the SLPP and President Bio but none were taken advantage of. Not even the economy was taken advantage of.
  2. Samura Kamara and the APC had no campaign team for the elections. Only his Running mate, Chericoco and the Mayoral candidate, Orfinnoh Emmanuella Yvonne were with Samura Kamara. All prominent APC members were visibly absent in the campaign. The Alimamy Pepito Koromas, Joseph Fitzgerald Kamaras, Pallo Contehs, Richard Kontehs, Dianna Konomanyis, the Pat Sowes, the Logus Koromas, the president Ernest Bai Koroma brothers and all former APC ministers and government functionaries were nowhere near the presidential candidate or the campaign team. Samura was a lone ranger for the most part and lone rangers don’t win elections.
  3. Samura Kamara was not his own man. He was being remote controlled by the hidden hands of Ernest Bai Koroma and his surrogate Adebayor. To win a presidential election one has to be on top of one’s game and be able to make tough decisions when necessary. If you cannot be your own boss, how do you expect to control, manage or direct your own campaign?
  4. The Kono factor: Because Samura Kamara was not his own man, he allowed his principal to dictate to him and the people of Kono were sidelined by his godfather to his own peril. The APC Kamakwei Road national executive was devoid of any other significant regional alliance, Kono, a swing district not included. In fact the APC godfather sidelined the Konos in such a bad way that the anger was taken all the way to the elections. To make matters worse, on the incitement of Adebayor, EBK’s surrogate, Diana Konomanyi had her house burnt down and Samura Kamara was on video saying that Kono is no more important than Bonkelenken or Sanda Tenerin. This acrimony festered until close to the elections before efforts were made at assuaging Diana and the Kono people but it was too little, too late. It is therefore not surprising that the SLPP and President Bio cleared the entire Kono district with his message that “Kono Matters To Me”.
  5. To win elections in Sierra Leone, no party must rely on its stronghold ALONE. You do that, you lose. This was a big mistake of the APC and Samura Kamara. No effort was made to woo smaller parties ahead of the polls. By the time the APC got Charles Margai to throw in the PMDC towel at Samura Kamara, Maada Bio had clinched NGC Kandeh Yumkella, C4C Emerson Saa Lamina and a host of other small parties. With the Progressive Alliance under Maada’s belt and C4C by SLPP’s side, even if Sam Sumana had supported Samura Kamara, APC would still lose.
  6. Samura Kamara and the APC campaign lacked focus and direction. While the SLPP and the presidential, vice presidential candidates and the First Lady were traversing the country selling President Bio and spreading the campaign message, Samura Kamara and the APC were declaring war against ECSL over procedural matters. This misplaced energy, if put in campaign activities would have helped Samura and the APC.
  7. Election campaigns are not cheap and if you spearhead a broke campaign, you’d get poor results. This is simple. Elections and campaigns are expensive. What the APC and Samura Kamara presented to their party supporters and members during the 2023 campaign and elections period was a broke party. A broke party which cannot organize itself, which cannot buy campaign materials, which cannot entertain or energize its supporters and which cannot articulate its vision for the country. If you cannot do any of these, how can you win an election?
  8. The APC party was hugely divided and Samura Kamara did nothing to unite the warring factions. Even on the eve of elections one faction was in court with Samura Kamara and his godfather’s faction. If it wasn’t for the kind consideration of the Judiciary to let democracy prevail, Samura Kamara would not have been qualified to participate in the elections.
  9. The Victor Foh and Alpha Khan factor: For the very first time in our political history, an immediate former vice president abandoned his party and declared his loyalty and support for the party he had fought against all his active political life. This speaks volume, especially when juxtaposed with the active role of the former APC Presidential Spokesman and government minister Alpha Kanu in support of President Bio and the SLPP. These two defections and declaration are different from the normal political cross carpeting. They showed how determined president Bio was in winning re-election with no run-off. There were many other such APC declarations for president Bio. There were members of Parliament, councillors and others who declared on masse for President Bio. Those who did not declare publicly supported the SLPP and President Bio from the back.
  10.  Social Media reliance: Samura Kamara and his APC caboodle relied heavily on lies and propaganda on social media to drive the APC and his campaign agenda. Since social media became the powerful communication platform it is, I am yet to see a political candidate who had used it effectively to win an election anywhere. Former United States president Donald Trump used it and lost re-election. NGC relied on it in 2017/18 and it did not help Kandeh Yumkella. Peter Obi of Nigeria trusted it and was humiliated by Bola Tinubu. Samura Kamara wasn’t paying attention so he followed social media hypes as a gauge of his popularity and his chances to win the elections. The minute sixty percent (60%) of the presidential results were announced, all those social media propagandists disappeared leaving Samura Kamara and the APC in the cold. By the time the final result were announced, Samura Kamara and the APC had seen their folly…but it was too late.

With these ten reasons why Samura Kamara lost the presidential elections, I am certain well meaning Sierra Leoneans and our international partners would now come to the realization that, Samura Kamara and the APC party lost the elections even before polling day. They missed out on many of the pre elections activities such as the 2022 population census and the voter registration exercise.

Were you surprised that a huge throng in Makeni took to the streets chanting “we wan vote”? How can you vote when you did not register?

With these few points I pray that as a people, we will reflect on our yesterday, focus on today in order to give our children a better tomorrow.

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