If there was any doubt as to who is favourite to win in the coming November presidential elections in Sierra Leone, after seeing the throngs of people who came out in solidarity for the nomination of President Ernest Bai Koroma and his Vice President, Samuel Sam Sumana, it was all laid to rest yesterday. Even diplomats and heads of foreign missions who may have had doubts about the support the head of state and his VP can muster, were all left stunned. Freetown, the capital, was brought to a standstill, as the presidential mortocade had serious difficulty negotiating its way through the packed streets of the Western Area as the people of Sierra Leone came out in numbers to demonstrate their appreciation to the two leaders who have taken them out of the shackles of economic abuse and depravation to a new dawn of infrastructural changes that have ushered in amazing transformation of their way of life.
The support shown by the masses was clear indication of the direction the people want the country to take. Despite the thousands who took part in the unprecedented show of love and admiration for their leaders, the event passed on with no incident. Sierra Leone has indeed moved on. In the past, such rallies would spark uncontrollable violence that would get the attention and involvement of law enforcement agencies and the international community. Those who have doubts about the resolve of President Koroma and his government to ensure a violent-free elections should take note!! But the people clearly demonstrated that they have embraced change One that was brought about by the implementation of a serious Agenda at the heart of which was an attitudinal and behavioural change itinerary to reclaim the cherished traditions and customs that was so viciously snatched away when terror visited the country’s towns and villages over a decade ago.
Sierra Leone is no more the country it used to be. Not only has there been a change in the way the people are governed, there has also been a change in the way the country engages the rest of the world. The leadership is taken more seriously than ever before, and the economic prospects that looms as investors line-up to engage the natural resources the country has to offer, is a clear indication that prosperity has become an inevitable concept. A lot has been said and done to make the leadership look daft and incompetent, but many would hang their heads in shame as the amazing outpouring of affection for the leadership tells a completely different story.
Never in the history of the country has their been such a remarkable demonstration of support for any incumbent leadership vying for a second-term opportunity. But the Sierra Leonean people cannot forget what they have endured at the hands of those seeking for power once more on the opposite side. The main opposition SLPP led a reckless brigade of first class embezzlers as they brought the country’s economy to its knees during their ten-year rule which brought untold misery and suffering to a people who least deserve it. The SLPP attempted to reinvent itself, but their idea of change was one that saw them crown a mass murderer and human rights abuser as their candidate to challenge the current leadership. A stupid attempt to redemption that will finally confine them to the history books of the politics of this West African nation.
Julius Maada Bio is at the fore-front of the SLPP leadership campaigning for a change of political direction. Bio was one-time military junta leader after overthrowing his comrade in arms in a palace coup that brought about carnage and the summary execution of innocent men and women who were brutally massacred in cold blood. The audacity of the former barracks boy to even contemplate running for leadership of Sierra Leone after the despicable atrocities committed during his tenure as NPRC leader and Head of State, is simply an insult to the people of this amazing country. Bio and others who line-up to once more subject the people and country to abject poverty must now recognise that the people have shut the door on their faces, and have clearly shown that November is not going to be about contemplating who will lead them for another five years, it would be about making sure the development process currently taking place is not reversed. Once more, the people will vote red, but not to shed blood this time, but to prevent it from spilling once more.
Photos credit: Awareness Times Newspaper
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