As we continue in this new dawn of guaranteed freedom from a constitutional perspective, we must not hesitate to work real hard and demand that our hard won democracy in this new Republic should be nurtured and allowed to work.
One very clear way it can work is to tell the President of our beloved motherland that he should not entertain the notion of ‘selecting’ his successor despite the pressure to do so as encouraged by the Constitution of the political party that has made him Chairman for life, but rather should be democratic enough to allow the due process to be followedso that the membership of the ruling party can be given the opportunity to elect the possible successor to the current President so that everybody can breathe a sigh of relief and draw the conclusion that APC is truly democratic in the modern era and not remain in the dark days of one party rule and the psyche of coronation.
It could be recalled that under the one party rule of the APC party with Siaka Stevens as President for life, this nation was plunged into utter political darkness with the ‘selection’ of Joseph Saidu Momoh as the ‘anointed’ successor to Siaka Stevens, the man who laid the foundation for bad governance in Sierra Leone. With all the manipulations that characterized the presidency of Siaka Stevens, his very bad legacy came alive during the reign of his chosen successor, Joseph Saidu Momoh. Consequently, the rebel war that engulfed the nation under the reign of Joseph Saidu Momoh was a clear manifestation of the wrong choice of Siaka Stevens through the infamous decision that the membership of the APC party then could not question.
As it stands now and as undemocratic as the process was in the past, nobody should this time around allow one man to get his way in choosing a leader for the APC party, but rather it should be demanded on the basis of the true tenets of democracy for the successor to be elected instead of being ‘selected’. Therefore, September 6, 2017 in Makeni should not be a re-enactment of the process that saw Joseph Saidu Momoh succeeding Siaka Stevens.
As we reflect on the catastrophic consequences of using ‘selection’ instead of election in getting a successor to the current President, the many flagbearer aspirants for the ruling party should be prepared to go the long haul and not allow themselves to be cowed into submission, but should rather insist on genuine democracy to prevail in the internal dynamics of the ruling party as prescribed in Section 35, sub-section (2) of Act # 6 of 1991 so that the same can be reflected in the grand design and politics of the nation. If democracy is to work this time around, everybody should be prepared to take a stand for democracy and not give in to any semblance of dictatorship as the best interest of this nation can only be served through the religious observance of democracy.
In the interest of fair play and in accordance with the principles of democratic good governance and in the true spirit of democratic consolidation, nothing should be done in the interest of one person or a group, but rather everybody concerned should be given the opportunity to express their views in the most democratic fashion preferably through secret ballot as encouraged by Section36 of Act # 6 of 1991. It should be noted that the successful practice of democratic good governance is predicated on willingness to tolerate each other and avoid any unhealthy competition that might degenerate into violence and other forms of chaotic activities. There should be a willingness to embrace the true tenets of democracy and allow the voice of the people through the delegates to the convention to be heard with a strong commitment to seeing the nation progress on the right footing. As such the desire of the people to see change in the body politic should not be short-circuited for any parochial interest, but rather room should be made for our democracy to work beyond lip service.
In this regard and this time around, stakeholders should not allow themselves to be bought over, but should be seen to be asking for the right thing to be done without being complacent so that posterity does judge this generation adversely. With the needed courage and putting aside selfish tendencies, nobody should allow the destiny of this nation to be mortgaged on the altar of patronage. Consequently, it is needful that the old order should give way to the new by allowing for a mindset that can accommodate change in the best interest of the people.
It is therefore incumbent on the people of this nation to have the courage to stand for what they believe in and should have the gut to ask the question: ‘whose interest does ‘selection’ serve in the ruling party?’ Accordingly, it does not serve the best interest of the ruling party and the nation. No wonder many more people are coming forward to express interest for the top position in the ruling party as an indication that the membership is clamoring for fair play and a more democratic dispensation in the operations of the ruling party. It is also in the best interest of the ruling party and the nation to listen and adhere to the present clarion call in order to open up the ruling party to new ideas and accommodate dissenting views without recourse to any subtle means of coercion.
The nation and the world are watching as activities progress towards the day and the people await the outcome of September 6, 2017 and other conventions to be conducted by political parties with wider implications for the March 7, 2017 election. A word for the wise is quite sufficient!