September 28, 2022

The question of who will be flag-bearer for the main opposition, All People’s Congress (APC) has been the most frequently asked.

The answer is yet to be provided, but it is clear that the flag-bearership revolves around two personalities-Dr Samura Kamara and Chief Sam Sumana. The two, no doubt, have tremendously contributed to the APC owing to the sacrifices they have made.

This editorial closely examines the two characters without providing an answer as to who should be the flag-bearer.

Dr Samura Kamara is widely known as an outstanding technocrat who served renowned inter-governmental organisations including International Monetary Fund and the Commonwealth. In almost all organisations he served, Dr Samura Kamara held leadership positions and his contributions remain in the sands of time.

In his motherland, Dr Kamara served in critical sectors of state governance. He was governor, Bank of Sierra Leone, Minister of Finance, Minister of Foreign Affairs among other posts.

Dr Samura Kamara has represented former President Koroma in renowned UN and other global conferences where he showcased the country’s development aspirations. Samura was credited to have largely contributed to the formulation of the Agendas for Change and Prosperity. The two agendas were very instrumental to the development of Sierra Leone between 2007 and 2018 during the reign of former President Ernest Bai Koroma.

The restoration of electricity in a dark country, construction of good roads, and pronouncement of a Free Health Care Policy to save lives among other services is tied to the two agendas. Owing to his significant contribution to and positive impact on the APC, Dr Samura Kamara was chosen at the APC convention at the North-eastern headquarters of Makeni to bear the party’s flag in the 2018 elections. Being a reserved personality and introvert in the academic world, Dr Samura Kamara at that time, was little known, but was willing to take on the current President, Dr Julius Maada Bio.

However the outcome of the elections was not in his favour as President Julius Maada Bio defeated him in a narrow margin.

Dr Samura Kamara initially was determined to challenge the elections in the courts, but love for country compelled him to drop the intention. The week that followed after the pronouncement of the elections was characterised by turbulence, violence and thuggery.

The youths who have achieved notoriety for ephemeral intervention into politics as thugs and hooligans were let lose for an operation to recover what the new government referred to as “stolen assets.”

In the midst of such horrific circumstances, the defeated flag-bearer, Dr Kamara led a delegation to President Julius Maada Bio to respond to incidents of political violence in the country.

Samura’s action brought respite to the looming violence on the streets of Freetown and other cities in the country. Samura was among the only minister whose name did not appear in the list for persons of interest in the defunct Commission of Inquiry.

Suffice it to say he led a clean public and international life. Today he has gone quiet and still remained in the APC, the party of his forefathers.

However, the people of Sierra Leone still need him to lead them although the gentleman may want to take the back seat owing to age. On the other side, Chief Samuel Sam Sumana has proved to be and he is still a dominant personality in the country’s body politic.

Chief Sam Sumana appeared on the political scene when he was made APC’s running mate in 2007 to bring back to power a party nobody expected will win a village election. The Chief’s coming to the APC at that time was significant and timely as the party had been swimming in the sea of opposition for close to 15 years.

Needless to say, the party was definitely in dire need of funds to keep it up and running and bounce back to power. The young Chief did not spare his resources to render a devastating blow to the late Vice President, Solomon Ekuma Berewa who capitalised very strongly on the powers of the incumbency.

The late man was still Vice President when he contested for the presidency with former President Ernest Bai Koroma. The combined force of the two personalities-former President Ernest Bai Koroma and Chief Samuel Sam Sumana saw Berewa humbled in the polls. Chief Sam Sumana became Vice President in 2007, the first to have emerged from Kono district in the east.

He humbly served his boss, President Koroma and everything went well. The former Vice President lost the status following a row that broke out between him and the former President in 2015.

The accusation of anti-party activities against Chief Sam and his arbitrary expulsion from a party held dear and in high esteem were precursors to his eventual sacking from Office of Vice President.  The former President wasted no time in seeing the back of Chief Sam Sumana from the Vice Presidency after it was clear that he had been asked out of the party.

As a law-abiding and peace-loving citizen, Chief Sam challenged the former President’s action in the Supreme Court of Sierra Leone. Although his removal was unlawful in light of constitutional provisions especially sections 50 and 51, Supreme Court found it extremely difficult to rule against the President at that time.

Since he could not get justice in the country’s highest temple of justice, Chief Sam sought solace at the ECOWAS Court. The West African Court ruled in favour of Chief Sam Sumana and ordered government to compensate him and allowed him practise politics in his homeland.

Chief Sam found and led his own party, the Coalition for Change popularly known as C4C.

The young party made remarkable history when it took over eight parliamentary seats hitherto APC seats in the district. Many Sierra Leoneans never hesitated to link the Sam Sumana Factor in Kono to the defeat of the APC, a situation akin to the Berewa-Margai’s.

The most decisive moment in the country’s politics came in 2019 when Chief Sam Sumana rolled his caravan form his home town of Kono to the north-eastern headquarters of Makeni, the home of former President Koroma. Sam Sumana’s move was overtly reconciliatory, and the discussions he had with his former boss remains a closely guarded secret.

But, APC members were appeased by the beautiful smiles, warm handshakes and hugs between former President Koroma and Chief Sam Sumana. The meeting between the two marked a fundamental turning point between C4C and APC as the reconciliation united the two entities than ever before, and that unity will surely surface in the polls of 2023.

Chief Sam’s humility and reconciliatory spirit did not go down well with members of the ruling Sierra Leone People’s Party who had hoped to score political points had the bad blood continued unabated. In what appeared as an outburst of rage and anger with Chief Sam for coming back home to the APC, government ordered the withdrawal of security details from the Vice President with immediate effect.

Chief Sam was left unprotected as the one privileges due a former Vice President has been unjustifiably stripped of him, but God protect him.

To date, he is hale and hearty and safe and sound and conducts himself within the confines of the law. Government has paid twice, retirement benefits and allowances to ex-President President Koroma and his ministers, but Chief Sam has been deliberately and illegally left out.

However, Chief Sam remains unruffled in the face of such provocative and heart-rending circumstances. The Chief is now APC, and seems determined to be the next flag-bearer.

It is now up to APC members to choose between Dr Samura Kamara and Chief Samuel Sam Sumana.