Increase Text Size Decrease Text Size Default Text Size
 
OOPS. Your Flash player is missing or outdated.Click here to update your player so you can see this content.
Featured Links:
Banner
ExpoNet
EXpoNet Services!
Banner
Subscribe Now
Subscribe Now.
Lessons !! SLPP’s ‘success’ in the Constituency 066 Tonkolili bye election PDF Print E-mail
Written by THE OSWALD HANCILES COLUMN   
Monday, 27 February 2017 11:27

The APC won the bye elections last week at Constituency 066 in the Tonkolili District – in the area where the biggest iron ore mining company, Shandong Minerals, is located; and where the largest hydro-electric facility in the country, Bumbuna Dam, is also located: 7,393 votes for the APC’s Rosemary Bangura (61%); and 4,678 votes (39%) for the SLPP’s Musa Bendegu. But, the SLPP are jubilant. They lost; but, they, paradoxically, felt they ‘won’. How so?

In the 2012 presidential election, the APC polled 145,479 votes in Tonkolili District – 92.6% of votes cast. In the abovementioned Constituency 066, the APC candidate, Hon. Taworo Tara-Koroma, won 88.21 % of the votes cast – juxtapose that with Rosemary Bangura’s 61%, and you can see why the SLPP are rejoicing: the APC candidate scored 27% LESS votes in 2017 than in 2012. The SLPP is apparently hoping that this could be a trend in the APC strongholds in the Northern Province.

The SLPP did not get high votes; Musa Bendegu did
“It was not the SLPP that scored that high a vote in Constituency 066, it was the candidate that the SLPP put up, Musa Bendegu, that caused the high SLPP vote. It was more of a vote FOR Bendegu, and less of a vote AGAINST the APC”, said Hon. Hassan Abdul Sesay, when I interviewed him at Parliament Building on February 21, 2017. Hon. Hassan Sesay of Constituency 059 in Tonkolili District said that it was simple TRIBALISM that won the SLPP candidate the high votes; that was the same view of Hon. Abubakar Sesay of Constituency 063 (also Deputy Chairman of the APC in Tonkolili District). This was what was explained to me.

The bye election came about because the former MP in Constituency 063, Hon. Taworo Tara-Koroma, died. He was from the Bendugu area of the constituency. In the 1996 Proportional Representation system, and in the 2002 to 2007 parliament, the MP for Constituency 063, Hon. Alie Sankoh, was from from Bendegu also. The choice of Rosemary Bangura – who Hon. Abubakar Sesay said is “classed as a Limba”, from Mobenthor village – as the APC candidate could have angered the Korankos of Bendegu (there is also the macho culture of the Korankos that got many males to say, “It is unthinkable to have a woman being out leader!!”), and stimulated what Hon. Hassan Sesay called a “protest vote”. How so?

Hon. Abubakarr Sesay explained to me how the choice of Rosemary Bangura came about. When it was time for the APC in the district to choose a candidate for Constituency 063 bye election, the District Executive Council conducted an interview of the 10 aspirants. This District Executive comprise of all MPs in the district; all chairpersons in the constituency; all other party executives: they number 39 persons. The interview of the aspirants took place in January, 2017, at the Teachers’ Center in Magburaka Town. Hon. Abubakarr Sesay chaired the meeting. Rosemary Bangura emerged as the favorite among the APC aspirants who were interviewed; but, there was some dissent as to the suitability of Rosemary Bangura. Since the choice of Rosemary Bangura was not unanimous, the Constituency Chairman, Hon. Minkailu Bah (the current education minister), advised that the matter should be referred to the Governing Body of the APC in Freetown. Rosemary Bangura was again endorsed by this higher body. Why?

According to Hon. Abubakar Sesay, Rosemary Bangura would actively participate in all district APC meetings; she has a great working relationship with all the APC executives in the district; and in APC meetings in Freetown, would always be part of the those representing Tonkolili District .

He who provides jobs is our savior
Musa Bendegu , the SLPP candidate, had earned his immense popularity this way: He had gotten a contract to fix stones on the railway tracks to keep them firm – tracks being constructed by the African Mineral Company (AML) when they started operation about 2009. Musa Bendegu consequently gave a lot of jobs to men, women, and youth in the constituency and district. Musa Bendegu adopted a tactic of spreading out jobs to as many people in the area as possible; in some cases, even ‘withholding taxes’ from those he would employ, and giving it as charity to others in the area who he would not be able to employ. Hon. Abubakar Sesay said that the slogan of Musa Bendegu chanted by his supporters was “He who gives us jobs has given us life”. Musa Bendugu’s reputation as a job provider, and his Koranko ethnic genes, got the Koranko people to massively vote for him in Constituency 063.

Demands on government and Expectations
Hon. Hassan Sesay and Hon. Abubakar pointed out to “voter apathy” in the constituency. This he said has been stirred by some of the grouse of the people that the government has not been able to address. “The road between Bendegu and Bumbana are horrible”, Hon. Abubakarr Sesay said. The people in the area felt cheated that they would have such poor roads when the American Mineral Company is operating in the area. Another serious complaint is the inability of the people to use their mobile phones almost always. They have lobbied for government to get one of the mobile server companies, Airtel or Africel, to construct a mast that would make communication as easy as it is in Makeni, for example. They are not sensitive to the reality that Africel and Airtel are private companies, and they respond to the capitalist logic of demand and profit.

The Youth Factor and Great Expectations
Hon. Abubakar Sesay told me that youth in Tonkolili District generally are “disgruntled”. They bitterly complained that the African Minerals mining company (now Shandong) has employed only a few of the indigenes in the district in significant positions; preferring outsiders. Hon. Hassan Sesay told me that the “expectations of the youth are quite out of proportion to the resources available to parliamentarians, indeed, resources of government”. To cater to the regular demands of the people, both parliamentarians said they have been using their own personal funds. “I spend about Le50 million every year to pay school and colleges fees for children and youth in my constituency”. That does not include what both MPs say they spend every week on funerals and marriage ceremonies; hospital bills; on Poro, Ojeh, and Sande rite-of-passage ceremonies, etc. According to Dr. Abubakarr Sesay (who told me, “I have 45 people in my house at Makeni that I daily feed!!”) the people don’t even seem to appreciate what politicians like him are doing. “When I was a medical doctor at Yele, I was a hero. I performed over 200 hernia surgeries at the hospital at Makeni; now, I am a politician, too many people are cussing me. I am frustrated by this; angry at the selfish attitude of too many people in my constituency”, said the bespectacled medical doctor, Dr. Abubakarr Sesay. He showed me a Whatsapp message in his phone from a youth with an ominous ring: “Dark clouds are gathering for you”.

Work done in their constituencies
Both Tonkolili parliamentarians reeled out to me development work they have stimulated in their constituencies. Hon. Hassan Sesay said that in the Mayatah Section of his constituency he put his personal funds to help build a community center. And in the Linelenken Section, he again used his personal funds to provide 85 desks and chairs for the Nursing Training School of the Masanga Hospital. (More on this later).

Hon. Abubakarr Sesay, a medical doctor trained in Malaysia in the 1990s, has an illustrious track record of helping his people with their medical needs – since 2002 when he started constructing the 70-bed Magbenthe Community Hospital. He also takes credit for “Taking the Dutch to Yele” – an impressive and model development project that involves a mini-hydroelectric project; an oil palm plantation, and soap making factory, and, a referral hospital; now being managed by a Dutch medical team. (More on this later).

Lessons for the APC
Hon. Hassan Sesay said that the surprising good showing of the SLPP has “given us an opportunity to know that we have more work to do. Parliamentarians should consistently and constructively engage the people”. MPs of governing parties have to show on the ground what they have done, and what their government in power has done: both men gave me a long list of achievements that cannot be captured in this article.

Judging from what the two men told me, I have my own lessons for them – and, implicitly, for all the APC. Most of Africa’s educated elite, especially politicians, most often than not fail to CONFRONT problems, and would keep on clinging to small lies and Big Lies until bad situations become worse, until political parties lose power. In Sierra Leone, there is the over-reliance of both the SLPP and APC on their principal ideological weapon: Political Tribalism. How come the Korankos of Constituency 063 who had traditionally voted for the APC… this time stuck together as an ethnic group for a Koranko man, and swung their votes to the opposition SLPP? (Remember what happened to Solomon Berewa’s candidacy in 2007 when Charles Margai’s PMDC was able to woo away votes from the SLPP in what was believed to be the religiously fanatical Mende-speaking/SLPP people of the South East?).

Another thing is the failure of the parliamentarians to continually showcase what they have achieved; and, importantly what government has achieved and how it has positively impacted the ordinary people in their constituencies. A lot of video documentaries and video dramas would have to be done to educate the people.
Importantly, the parliamentarians appear not to know how to MANAGE THE EXPECTATIONS OF THE YOUTH. In the 21st Century, political parties in Africa, where the youth are the disproportionate majority, that fail to manage the expectations of the youth, fail to harness the energies and ingenuities of the youth, are doomed to failure. The spike in the votes for the SLPP in the traditional APC stronghold of Constituency 063 should be a wakeup call for the APC countrywide.

 

Editorial

2016 Global Peace Conference to be held in Freetown---as IPRA 50th Birthday confab ends in Istanbul

 

The 26th biennal conference of the Internatonal Peace Research Association (IPRA) is billed to take place in  Freetown, Sierra Leone in November 2016, marking the second time Africa has hosted the conference since the founding of IPRA in 1964. This was announced following the re-election of  the two IPRA Secretaries-general, Dr Ibrahim Seaga Shaw (pictured) and Dr Nesrin Kenar, who co-ordinated the 25th  IPRA conference in Turkey,  at the organisation’s administrative meeting on August 14 during the 25th  IPRA  conference in Istanbul  to serve a second term of two years.

Read more...

Business News

Why Parastatals should be Socially Responsible: the Case of NRA

In Sierra Leone, the notion of corporate social responsibility has always been associated with the private sector. No wonder some people see the active involvement of the National Revenue Authority (NRA) in corporate social activities as strange, and many have opined that a tax collecting body should not be engaged in corporate social responsibility activities.

However, the impact of corporate social responsibility (CSR) on corporate image is immense, even for tax collecting bodies. The perception that tax collectors are monsters vigorously bent on collecting people's earnings with no care for the environment or the vulnerable in the community they operate is evolving. Indeed, many revenue authorities in Africa are today socially responsible.

The Zimbabwe Revenue Authority (ZIMRA) in an article in its website argues that "the nature of Revenue Collectors' mandate makes them the hill of the nation such that whatever they do is mirrored and echoed by many".

Read more...

Media News

44 Journalists in Beijing for China Development Studies and Media Exchange

The 4th session of the China Africa Press Center (CAPC) Program hosted by the China Public Diplomacy Association (CPDA) was officially launched on Wednesday 1st March 2017 in Beijing, China. This year’s event is running simultaneously with the China South Asia Center 2017 program. Both programs brought together forty-four journalists from Africa and South Asia.

The program you will give journalists the opportunity to cover major domestic and international events in China such as the upcoming Two Sessions, i.e, the 5th Session of the 12th National People's Congress (NPC) and the 5th Session of the 12th National Committee of the Chinese

People's Political Consultative Conference (CPPCC) (similar to Parliamentary sessions in many countries) in March, the Belt and Road Forum for International Cooperation in May and the 9th BRICS Summit in Autumn this year.

Read more...

Commentary

Dr. David Tam-Baryoh: A New Broom in Sierra Leone Politics

Dr. David Tam-Baryoh is a household name in Sierra Leone, mostly because of his“Good Governance” popular radio programme called monologue. In fact the programme has become sopopular that most people prefer to call the presenter “Mr. Monologue”. Recently Mr. Monologue said in two or three of his programmes that he would be going intopolitics. It looked like a joke the first time he said it. But after saying it over threeor four times it is no longer a joke.

So Dr. David Tam-Baryoh is going into politics in 2018. Those who are very closeto him will tell you that this is a fact. The Doctor has made up his mind. Afterdiscussing and editing serious national issues on newspaper pages and on the airwaves for almost twenty five years, hehas decided that he cannot achieve much for the people behind the microphone and the pen. He now wants toengage into something that will make a direct impact on the lives of Sierra Leoneans.

And the Doctor thinks politics is the best way to do this, if we look at politics as“the authoritative allocation of scarce resources within a nation state.” He wants tobe part of the allocation of Sierra Leone’s scarce resources.

Read more...

View Point

Precious Minerals, Public Trust and Government’s Openness

By late 2001, the Anti Corruption Commission arrested then Sierra Leone's  transport and communications minister, together with his wife, “for involvement in illegal diamond mining” in Kenema district.  Large quantum of illicit diamonds had been found in their possession, according to a BBC report at the time.

With some diamonds said to have been smuggled out of the country by the minister, the incident happened at a time when the rebel war was raging and the key perpetrators- the RUF were also seriously involved in illicit mining and smuggling. The minister was later jailed in 2003 for two years for illegal possession of diamonds.

Amongst other factors, Sierra Leone’s civil war was fuelled mainly by diamond, specifically “conflict diamonds”- those diamonds that originated from territories controlled by rebel forces (UN definition).

Read more...

News - Press Release

LAB resolves dispute over property in Kissy

The Legal Aid Board’s Alternative Dispute Resolution on Tuesday, 7 March 2017 resolved a long standing dispute in respect of a property on Newcastle Street, in Kissy, Freetown between one Mr. Solomon Samba Mansaray and his seventy-seven year old elder sister Madam Marian Kamara who is in the country on holiday from the United States of America.

The two who had not been on speaking terms were reconciled. Both promised to work together in the interest of peace in the family. In this vein, Madam Marian Kamara agreed to cancel a U$ 400 debt owed by Mr. Mansaray. 

While the tension between the two had been lingering several years,Mr. Mansaray decided to report the matter to the Board in Freetown when he got information that Madam Marian Kamara was planning to sell theproperty.   The owner of the property who is the sister of both parties had died over a decade ago without leaving a will.

Read more...

Society -Local News

LAB secures discharge of ‘violent’ youth

As the Legal Aid Board prepares to provide legal assistance to indigents and children engaged in election related violence, it has successfully secured the discharge of a twenty-five old from Wilberforce in the West of Freetown charged with violence.

The Legal Aid Defence Counsel Hadiru Daboh secured the discharge after drawing the court’s attention to the failure of the complainant to attend court sittings for seven consecutive adjournments. What’s more, the complainant has not furnished the court with any reasons for his absence. Magistrate I.S. Bangura agreed with the Defence Counsel and discharged the matter. He noted that discharge would not stop the prosecution from reinstating the matter in future.

The accused, Alpha Kanuwho plied his trade as driver and apprentice at the Wilberforce lorry park got involved in a fight with his boss Michael Aruna in February 2017. He was arrested and taken to the Congo Cross Police station following a complaint by his boss. According to Alpha Kanu, his injuries were ignored by the police even though they were more serious. He spent fifteen days at the Congo police station before the matter was charged to court.

Read more...

Development

U.S. Africa Command Launches a 33-Nation Maritime Exercise: Sierra Leone Maritime “Full Speed Ahead”

During March 23-31, the U.S. Africa Command (AFRICOM) issponsoring “Obangame Express”, an in-port Command Post exerciseand at-sea maritime exercise designed to enhance maritime security in the Gulf of Guinea.The exercise includes 33 partner nations, as well as the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) and the Economic Community of Central African States (ECCAS). 

The exercise is designed to improve cooperation andinformation sharing, and to refine tactics, techniques and procedures among participating nations.

The “Obangame Express”exercise will be based on realistic modern-day scenarios such as piracy, illegal fishing and hijacking.  During the exercise,Maritime Operations Centers (MOCs) will be challenged to recognize illicit acts and share trackinginformation with other MOCs throughout the region.

Read more...

Politics

Ansumana Usman Koroma Urges Sierra Leoneans To Support the Registration Process

The winner of the Pride of Australia Award, Ansumana Usman Koroma popularly known as AUK has called on all Sierra Leoneans within and outside Sierra Leone to support and fully participate in both the ongoing voter registration that has started March 20 to end April 19 2017 and the forthcoming nationwide civil registration process slated April 24 to June 11 2017.

AUK who is a Political and Policy Analyst working in Australia said the mass registration of every citizen is a very important process in the development agenda of the country. He therefore appealed to all Sierra Leoneans to put politics aside and understand that the process would help government consolidate citizens’ data and enhance effective service delivery and improve monitoring of government programmes and policies.

He stressed that the national civil registration authority is created to promote a greater sense of nationalism and common identity.

Read more...
Copyright © 2017 expotimesonline. All rights reserved.