By Alpha Bedoh Kamara
Sierra Leone is presently on political whizz with the ruling All Peoples Congress (APC) announcing their presidential flag bearer on Sunday, Oct 15, 2017, in Makeni, the northern district capital.
The announcement of Dr. Samura Kamara, former Minister of Foreign Affairs of Sierra Leone since 2012, put to end nationwide speculations about the person to be chosen amid rumours and fear that president Dr. Ernest Bai Koroma might contest for a third term.
The pronouncement of the APC flag bearer came after the majority opposition political party, the Sierra Leone Peoples Party (SLPP, announced Brigadier (Ret.) Julius Maada Wonie Bio as their flag bearer for the 2018 presidential elections.
Now that both parties have chosen their representatives in the 2018 presidential polls it is now left with the people of Sierra Leone to make their assessment and vote the one who will be the next resident of the Republic of Sierra Leone. Unfortunately, despite the country’s history of political mishaps, mostly influenced by tribal and regional sentiments, rather than voting in people based on their credibility and the ability to be good leaders, Sierra Leoneans will again go to the polls to vote, to choose a leader to again continue the process of economic development.
If the wrong people are voted in power, the country will get skewed policy implementations. This could be avoided through nationwide constructive engagements and dialogue by civil society, the media, youth groups, and union organizations, to inform the wider public about the profiles of the people vying for elected offices.
Millions of people in the country are either illiterate or semi-literates and mostly look up to the few in society to enlighten them about the people they will be voting for. For most of these people, their motive for voting is to ensure their countrymen are in power and nothing else.
Tribalism and regionalism are always the motivating factors for the people to vote and have unfortunately created a divided mentality shaped by the regions in the country.
As the country grapples with the challenges of corruption and transparency, the people’s decision in the national polls could be the starting point for effective positive political change, a decision, if taken in the interest of economic development and not based on tribal and regional lines, will bring about total change in public administration and willingness by everyone to monitor public processes.
The people now have a choice to again decide who they want to be the president of Sierra Leone but that choice should be taken with responsibility and not be influenced by nepotism. The future of the country lies in the power of the people to vote in the right people to serve in the house of the legislature and the executive. Sierra Leoneans should come out of the tribal and regional shell and put the country first on national politics for effective accountability in governance; without which, the country will continue to struggle amidst growing economic challenges.
2018 could be the beginning of economic progress but that optimism starts from the Sierra Leonean thinking. Now is the time to think positive and vote for the right person!