By Sorie Fofana…..
President Dr. Ernest Bai Koroma’s vision for the APC is beginning to manifest itself. It appears as if the President wants to handover the Party to the young generation of APC Politicians. Whether one likes it or not, Ernest Bai Koroma is the architect of the “New APC”.
The “New APC” under Ernest Bai Koroma has won two successive general and Presidential elections. This, in my view, is one of Koroma’s greatest legacies in the APC Party.
Ernest Bai Koroma has made the APC Party very attractive to an extent that, even some Lebanese businessmen are now card-carrying members of the Party. Under Koroma’s leadership of the Party, a good number of South/Easterners have been gravitating towards the Party in Chinese numbers.
Battle With The “Old APC”
Before becoming President, Koroma had thirteen court cases hanging over his head. All of those court cases were brought against him by the “Old APC”. Koroma’s greatest enemy is the “Old APC”. And he knows that very well!
When he became President in 2007, Koroma brought almost all his adversaries in the Party into his government. Some of them were even appointed as Cabinet Ministers and Ambassadors.
After almost nine years in the driving seat, Koroma has humbled his opponents in the Party. They have all become his foot soldiers.
The Succession Battle
President Koroma’s democratic credentials have never been in doubt. He has consistently said that, he will not stay in office, a day after his final term comes to an end. Those of us who have been privileged to interview him on many occasions (both as Leader of the Opposition and President of Sierra Leone) have never doubted his commitment to leave office after his final term comes to an end.
Koroma has been very soft-hearted and compassionate as President. He has narrowed the gap between himself and the electorate. He is one of the easily-accessible leaders I have ever met. His demeanor is easily disarming. Many people will miss Koroma for his hands-on approach to governance issues. The main issue that has continually dogged the APC Party is the succession debate within the Party.
A senior member of the APC Party, Hon. Alhaji Ibrahim Ben Kargbo was quoted in the “Awoko Newspaper” of Tuesday November 1st, 2016 to have said that, the Party will soon begin the process of electing its leaders including its standard bearer. He said that, the President has given them the go-ahead to start the recruitment process in earnest. Hon. Alhaji I. B. Kargbo said that, at the end of the day, the Party will put up a Presidential candidate that will be acceptable to every Party member and supporter. The APC have a tradition of rallying their troops behind their battlefield commander.
Joseph F Kamara
It appears as if Joseph Kamara is the man to beat in the APC Party. His campaign has been gathering unstoppable momentum. And he seems to be a likeable personality. Very recently, he was given the “Leader of the Year” award by a prestigious group of business executives.
Before then, he had been crowned by the Sweissy Jewellers as their Godfather and Goodwill Ambassador.
On Saturday October 29th, 2016 Joseph Kamara was crowned by the Council of Paramount Chiefs in the Eastern Region as “Chief Kailondo”, the legendary warrior from Kailahun for his “exemplary leadership and performance in all sectors he has served in this country and beyond”.
Very recently, Joseph Kamara celebrated his fiftieth birthday. If he becomes the APC flagbearer in 2018, he would have been the youngest flagbearer in the Party’s recent history. He hails from Bombali district. He is a Temne by tribe (the largest tribe that supports the Party). He sings Temne songs with utmost ease and he dances to Temne songs masterfully.
From the way he dresses these days and from the way he talks, it would appear as if Joseph Kamara is Koroma’s heir apparent. He is the only intending APC flagbearer candidate that was publicly introduced to the people of Bombali by the Vice President, Ambassador Victor Foh, when he was appointed as Attorney General and Minister of Justice.
He recently headed a major sub-Cabinet committee that drew up the austerity measures announced by the government. And he has been given some very serious state functions that can only be handled by a man who is being prepared for a leadership role in the country.
I have told my friends in the SLPP that, with Joseph Kamara as APC flagbearer in 2018, they have a tall mountain to climb, because, he is younger than all the flagbearer aspirants in the SLPP.
Is Joseph Kamara the APC crown prince? Only time will tell!