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The Third Term Debate: Who The Cap Fits

By Alpha Rashid Jalloh – Media and Political Analyst

I have been following with keen interest the debate and speculations on successorship to Ernest Koroma by 2018 and have observed that for now all eyes are on Ernest Koroma for a third term even though he has not said anything openly about it.

There are varying views on the third term itself. I have been sounding the minds of elites both within ad outside the APC. There are three categories; The first are the positivists who say if the constitution which is the grundnorm of the society; from which all other laws owe their legitimacy, says, “Two terms”, it shall not be changed whatsoever, but if the people who have the general interest of society and whose interest surpasses all other interests say in a referendum, “That there shall be a third term” then there is nothing wrong about it because the peoples’ interest is the best interest.

The second category are those who believe that there can be a third term but without Ernest Koroma. These are the liberals. It could be the same APC but with a different leader. They cite examples of Western countries like the UK where Labour or Republican in the US could go for a third term but with a different leader. They however observe that in such countries the change in leadership comes from within the party itself, it is not outsiders who agitate for the change. They (Westerners) know how to do things on their own and they are conscious of the fact that when peoples’ likeness for a leader has waned or because of the emergence of new generations on whom the leadership of the party does not appeal, they need to find another one who could even be a Blackman just to change the face of history.

The third category is the sentimentalists who say, “The Pa don woke” and therefore should go for a third term. To them, it is not a matter of law; it is a matter of performance. If the leader has performed tremendously well within two terms, he should be given the chance for a third term. They argue that two terms are too short for a leader to fulfill all his dreams especially if he is the dynamic type of leader. These are people who have too much likeness for the Pa; “If we the people den lek am, ‘e’ don don. Na for try di Pa watem more”. These are people who also perceive Ernest Koroma as a redeeming type of leader who differs from his predecessors who engaged in issues that were more theoretical elusive but sweet sounding to Western institutions; issues like institutional capacity, Millennium Development Goals, gender empowerment, you name them.  But when you construct roads, provide regular electricity, you are generous and not stingy like your predecessor, declare more holydays for people who live in perpetual poverty to have more time to sweeten their lives without feeling the pinch, you are the leader who uses the psychological approach which is  likely to invoke sentiments, then after U na U. You are the Julius Caesar of the day, even if you said you did not want the crown for the third term, people would force you to put it on. Twice they would offer you the crown even when you give it back to them though perhaps on the third time the temptation would be there not to take it off. They would say after “U na U” though critics would say after “U na V”.

There is one thing about the Caesarean society; when people have a sentimentalistic perception about your leadership, when you speak even if what you say is Greek to the academics, the people would still wave their sweaty dresses in the air and shout hilariously. You may have your shortcomings but the people who have the last verdict may not see them.  The president himself has categorically stated that he does not wish to go for a third term but different minds that perceive issues differently have sparked the debate and the judgement has obviously been varying. Tell me what thou thinkst of this third term; after U na U or after U na V?

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