Beautiful Sierra Leone just concluded first stage of a landmark election. As a frequent visitor to that country and a regional business operator, it was shocking seeing the full results of the election. About 43 percent, quite a large number held and affirmed the erroneous belief that a former tyrant can transform into a genuine democrat.
That is simply a false belief. The current experience of a top country within the region suffices. But before even going into that lane, it is worthy questioning why a substantial segment of the population can attempt restoring the inglorious past of that nation.
I wonder why it was so. Several reasons were cited. The first, which is becoming potent by the day is the increasing evidence of systemic fraud and malpractices that characterised the elections.
Reports noted that the opposition allegedly infiltrated the electoral body and got their sympathizers appointed into critical collation and voting positions. Police are making arrests in this regards. On this point, the argument is that Sierra Leoneans did not actually thumb printed support for that inglorious past.
The second argument on ground is that many sierra Leoneans have suddenly forgotten the pain of the past and discounted the grave implications of endorsing perpetrators of human right abuses as new rulers of the land. Some may assume such tyrants had reformed.
But reality is that such dictator usually returns with vengeance which normally hunts and paralyze the nation. The dictatorial tendencies are unleashed with such ferocity that those who sponsor the return always emerge as the victims.
Another reason is what a friend in Freetown called heavy dose of propaganda and a bit of complacency within the ruling party. I think this is also real especially as both the outgoing President and the presidential candidate of the ruling party, Dr Samura Kamara took some critical tactical issues for granted. In a battle like this, the best brains and hands among your team must never be sidelined.
You must deployed the most radical hands before and after the elections. It is not acceptable that the ruling APC could leave her flank so open as to be egded out in the first round.
There is also a possibility, which I disagreed with. Is it that the ten years of APC government was that bad that Sierra Leoneans decided to vote them out? That is simply not true because there is a national and international consensus that Dr Bai Koroma did wonderfully well considering the circumstances.
The phenomenal infrastructural development across the country was unprecedented. Surviving two major natural disasters-Ebola outbreaks and Mudslide- are impressive successes. Agreed that there may be some shortcomings, the APC records cannot definitely be 43 percent it scored at the polls.
That then means two things must have happened. First, massive rigging are now being published in several dailies. Even Dr Yumkella team have also voiced out against alleged rigging. Two, there may probably be a sense of let start something new. The premise may be a General Madda Bio is now a full democrat who can be trusted.
As a friend of Sierra Leone, let me shout it on rooftops across the districts that dictators never reform. A current case is ongoing in a West African country. Those who installed a former dictator are always the first victim. The tyrant’s second assignment is to go on revenge mission.
From his days in power to his years of struggle for power, he will hunt down enemies and settle old scores. The quiet jails will witness stream of victims. Old tribal wounds will be re- opened.
The dictator will subjugate constitution, paralysed state institutions and even attempt reopening of old battles from the civil war. He state will return to the old era rather than progress into the future. A tyrant is preoccupied with settling old scores ; so he is incapable or mentally unsuitable to work positively for the present and the future.
A Sierra Leone that has emerged from decades of backwardness and infighting risk relapsing and hopes of further economic growth destroyed. A country that has exited energy and power poverty may be plunged into darkness again. Anti-democratic forces will hold sway.
This is not a scaring moment. Nobody is attempting to scare any voter. It is a reality currently unfolding in a top West Africa nation.
Why should outsiders tell us how to vote? This is our destiny. Yes. That is right. However, the last time enemies of people took hold of the state, the last time military dictators colluded with rebels to kill thousands, Sierra Leone was a burden for all West Africa. Nobody prays for instability again in Sierra Leone especially after the progress of the last one decade.
The expectation of outsiders fro Serra Leone is to move into the future in prosperity and greatness. A technocrat like Dr Yumkella or Dr Kamara fit the bill. Nevertheless, with Yumkella out, Kamara is clearly the option.
Whatever shortcoming of the outgoing President, he clearly scored about 50 percent as a leader in time of crisis and peace. Having a world-renowned economist, level headed democrat and a national development planner as his successor is the hope of the world and Africa for Sierra Leone.
Don’t harbor false belief about an old dictator becoming a born again democrat. It is all falsehood. Leopard cannot change it colour.
…Adele, an international business executive, sent this piece from Port Harcourt, Nigeria