Where are the APC flag-bearer aspirants?
The call for ‘more time’ or whatever phraseologies relating to the extension of President Ernest Bai Koroma’s tenure of office may have overtaken the struggle in the governing All People’s Congress (APC) for the flag-bearership position of the party, but many names have been coming prior to the bombshell that was dropped by the APC National Youth League at their national convention held in Makeni this year. The APC National Youth President had asked that President Ernest Bai Koroma be given ‘more time’ to continue with his exemplary development strides in the country. And it seems they are pushing forward with their infamous demand as evidenced by the clash between two youthful groups at State House this week over the ‘more time’ campaign.
Prior to the ‘more time’ campaign for President Ernest Bai Koroma, reports were doing the rounds that some stalwarts in government were to declare as flag-bearer aspirants for the APC. The names of certain Ministers came up though they did not admit openly declaring for the coveted position. The Minister of Finance and Economic Development, Dr. Kalfala Marah, Minister of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation, Dr. Samura Kamara, Minister of Mines and Mineral Resources, Alhaji Minkailu Mansaray, and Minister of Fisheries and Marine Resources, Captain Alie Pat-Sow were some of the names that came up in party circles. The former Minister of Works, Housing and Infrastructure, Alimamy Petito Koroma, was also rumoured to be interested in declaring as flag-bearer aspirant. But all these names went into oblivion when the ‘more time’ campaign for the President was kick-started in Makeni a few months ago. Are these guys afraid of coming out public to declare their intentions for the 2018 presidential candidacy of the APC because the President may have an intention to extend his tenure of office by whatever means?
At present, there are only two stalwarts in the APC that have not minced matters when they openly declared for the flag-bearership. They are the Vice President of Shandong Steel and Iron Company that succeed the African Minerals Limited, Mr. Moseray Fadika, and the Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of Sierra Rutile Limited, Mr. John Bonnoh Sisay. Both personalities have influence and affluence to push their way through given their opulent wealth that is very potent in persuading delegates to side with them.
Both Messrs. Moseray Fadika and John Bonnoh Sisay have already formed their movements to promote their political intentions for the APC leadership and chairmanship ahead of the 2018 presidential election provided President Ernest Bai Koroma steps down after the end of his second tenure.
While Mr. John B. Sisay is still mobilizing support in the country especially in the Northern Region where he hails from, Mr. Moseray Fadika has gone a step ahead by not only touring the length and breadth of the country to familiarize himself with the people especially the youths, but has also taken his campaign abroad to consult with APC members and supporters in the Diaspora for their total support. His overseas tour took him to the United States of America (USA), Germany and other European countries, and the United Arab Emirates (UAE), before he returned home a fortnight ago. Mr. Moseray Fadika’s overseas tour was reported as very successful as even some Sierra Leoneans from the other side attended the town hall meetings that were organized for him by different branches of the APC in the Diaspora.
But following the formation of the JBS Movement which coincided with the death and burial of his beloved mother, not much has been heard of Mr. John B. Sisay in the APC except criticism from certain quarters that he is the first cousin of the President and that the APC leadership is not a dynasty to be dominated by siblings of the same family from Kamabai. Nonetheless, you cannot underestimate his ambition for what he is gunning for because Sierra Leone politics, whether you take it or leave it, is all about money, tribal and regional sentiments and John B. Sisay has the financial might to spin the heads of delegates going in for money. He is also well educated and exposed to the outside world but the only problem about him is many people have claimed that he does not speak the lingua franca fluently and the APC which comprised mainly grassroots supporters may not see one who does not speak the Krio to lead them. If that information about him is true and he is still nursing the ambition to become a flag-bearer aspirant in the APC, then my advice to him is to start taking frequent lesson in Krio to march with the true character of APC as grassroots political party; otherwise, how would he campaign to the illiterates across the country?
The profile of Mr. Moseray Fadika will qualify him as true grassroots politician capable of stooping down to conquer. Quite apart from being a wealthy Sierra Leonean with massive investment in the mining sector, the Shandong Vice President’s generosity cuts across the strata of society. Countless government officials, stalwarts in the APC, the unemployed youths and many other categories of people have benefited from his largess ceaselessly. His willingness to give freely without any string attached, his passion for assisting vulnerable and needy and his penchant for funding traditional masquerade groups during occasions has won the hearts of many supporters and members of the APC who see the young man as their next redeemer.
In fact, since Mr. Moseray Fadika declared as flag-bearer aspirant, many of the names that previously showed up for the flag-bearership suddenly subsided as though they wouldn’t want to contest against their man who has been lavishly generous to them in the buoyant years of AML. I can’t name names but there are many Members of Parliament, Government Ministers and other senior officials in the Koroma administration that benefited from the generosity of Mr. Moseray Fadika though they can’t confess that in public. Now, the one-million-dollar question is will any of these beneficiaries have the temerity to step on the toes of their financial by also declaring their interests in the APC flag-bearership? I believe something must be happening behind the scene that would force many stalwarts that had declared earlier for the coveted position to back out of the flag-bearer race if the ‘more time’ campaign does not work.
On his academic background, Mr. Moseray Fadika, who is a very successful businessman, has claimed having double Masters’ degree from an overseas University and some of his close friends have confirmed that to me. But when the time is ripe for the real flag-bearer contest, he would be bold enough to present his credentials to the general public for proper vetting. I believe that mood would be necessary on the grounds that some flag-bearers from the opposition are educationally equipped to defend their credentials in any podium with academic finesse. For instance, we have someone like Alhaji Dr. Kandeh Kolleh Yumkella of the main opposition Sierra Leone People’s Party (SLPP) whose academic credentials and eloquence is as smooth as hot knife running through butter. Any flag-bearer aspirant that is not academically equipped will have a tight tongue debating with him on national and international issues. I’m certain Mr. Moseray Fadika, who is also a University graduate and has lived abroad for several years, can prove himself worthy of challenging any flag-bearer aspirants in national debates when the time comes. So the ball is definitely in their court to prove who is who in the pre-election period ahead of 2018.
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