Ernest Bai Koroma: Sierra Leone’s Dangerous Man?

By Aki Cole (The Ombudsman)……

President Ernest Koroma appeared to have stunned the nation last weekend when he announced that Dr Samura Kamara would run for President under the All Peoples Congress party at the March 2018 elections. Though Dr Samura Kamara has served in various capacities in Sierra Leone since his first appointment as financial secretary in 1994, most people still consider him to be relatively unknown compared to his former rivals for the APC party flag.

Arguably, household names like Victor Foh, Alpha Khan, Joseph Kamara and others resonate more in the minds of APC activists and the wider public; so during the recent APC flagbearer campaign, almost all the aspirants thought that showcasing their popularity within their party and the country was enough to gain the delegates confidence and win the party flag. Little did they recognise that they were competing for the unitary approval of an outgoing president who still seeks to wheel political influence long after his presidency.

Dr Samura Kamara’s selection to run for president may have sent shock waves across Sierra Leone last weekend, to the point that almost the whole country froze, before responding spontaneously ‘we nor sabi am’ – but there may be more to this move.
All of our Presidents and Prime Ministers in history have served as chairman and Leader of their respective parties; but this is about to change in 2018. If the SLPP is reinstated to power, their party chairman and leader will continue to be Dr Prince Harding, while President Ernest Koroma has re-emerged from the APC ‘beauty contest’ in Makeni last weekend in rheostat of the position of APC party chairman and leader ‘for life’.
So what powers if any, does the surprise APC flag bearer have?

Will he be the one rallying the popular vote and managing his own campaign? Oh no……it’s the job of the chairman and leader ‘for life’.
Are the lower ranks within the party structure answerable to him? Hell no… they continue to be answerable to the chairman and leader ‘for life’? Could the surprise flagbearer exercise the power to choose his own running-mate? Oops….. that power belongs to the chairman and leader ‘for life’. But what, if he wins or the APC rig the election successfully and the surprised flagbearer becomes president? Hmm….things could get even more interesting.

Under the pretext of a Samura Kamara presidency, President Koroma seeks to continue to be the most powerful man in Sierra Leone. For example, if in the middle of Samura Kamara’s first term in office, he stops dancing to President Koroma’s tune and President Koroma decides to use his massive influence within the All Peoples Congress party to withdraw Samura’s APC membership for ‘insubordination’ or for ‘being insincere about his purported PhD’, hehehe…… are you remembering what I’m remembering?

We could be faced with a constitutional crisis in a colossal proportion and that could trickledown to our streets and potentially descend into a brouhaha that nobody wants.
Precedent set in Vice President Sam Sumana’s case gives political parties enormous powers over the President of Sierra Leone; so much so that if Samura Kamara is expelled from the APC party in the middle of his term, he could be forced to step down as President with ‘immediate effect’.

APC’s aspiring Vice President Chericoco is not Dr Samura Kamara’s pick; he is President Koroma’s choice. Samura and Chericoco are both working for President Koroma and the APC interest group.
Chericoco does not owe any loyalty to Dr Samura Kamara, his figure head boss and things could get ugly if the young man sees an ineffectual Samura Kamara presidency as an opportunity for himself to takeover if President Koroma decides to force Dr Samura Kamara to step down as the constitution and caselaw demands.

To avoid a weak Samura Kamara presidency as described above, you have to vote this abysmal APC interest group out of office. The role of chairman and leader ‘for life’ has no place in our democracy and the way President Koroma has been conducting himself, it’s easy to see him pulling the plug on a Samura Kamara presidency at his whim and caprice. Don’t forget that Samura Kamara himself is heavily reliant on President Koroma because he is toxic, unpopular and lacks charisma, that’s why he fits in well with Koroma’s frightening plan to hold the future head of our state to ransom in the name of the APC party interest group.