The March 2018 general election has revealed a few unknown possibilities about the people of Sierra Leone.
Resilience to Maintain Peace without Succumbing to Intimidation:
All observers (National and International) agreed this has been a significantly free and fair election to the surprise of many who had anticipated violence because of a few incidents that happened in the days and weeks before the elections.
There were few incidences of heated arguments or near unrest, but this was quickly doused by either the intervention of security personnel or the international observers.
The credit goes to the citizenry, the civil society organizations and the media houses who all contributed to the peace before and during the elections. The acid test now will what happens after the release of the results.
The international observers in their initial reports all encouraged the people and especially the political party leaders to continue to maintain peace regardless of the outcome of the results.
Money not a Guarantee for Votes
The March 2018 elections in Sierra Leone has proven that money alone will not determine the electorates choice as the result showed abysmal performance of a few parties that had overwhelming turnout at their rallies only to suffer devastating defeats at the polls.
Even the threats of benefactors in the diaspora to their wards in country did very little in influencing the pattern of voting in the elections.
People collected money and T-shirts from political parties and still did not vote for the party.
Emergence of Strong Opposition Parties
Unlike in the previous elections where there emerges only one fairly strong party apart from the main opposition party, this year’s elections has two fairly strong parties which will definitely make a runoff election very interesting and unpredictable because of the dynamics this will bring to the mix.
It is not just APC and SLPP + any other party, NGC and C4C have brought in a new dimension to Sierra Leone politics whether they will last longer in relevance than the PMDC of Charles Margai whose alliance in 2007 helped the Ernest Koroma led APC to beat the Solomon Berewa led SLPP.
The issue will not be as simple as just beating the APC party but the real issue will or could be who can one support now that can come back in 5 years’ time to compete with and have a fair chance of winning.
Unpredictable Runoff Requiring Serious Back-End Negotiations
If there happens to be a runoff in this year’s elections as has been widely projected from early results, the outcome cannot be easily or casually assumed.
Alignments might not be so easy to achieve and the voters also seem to be maturing and demonstrating some amount of independence in their decision making so it might not be enough to just reach out to the two new underdogs (Kandeh Kolleh Yumkellah of NGC and Sam Sumana of C4C) and expect the people in their strong holds to vote accordingly.
Sam Sumana – C4C –
Who will he go with? Will he accept apologies from his old comrades and will they be willing to apologize and meet his demands? Will the Kono people forgive and trust the APC after the incidences of abuse and executive (order from above) interferences in the socioeconomic life of the people?
Will Sam Sumana and the Kono people go with SLPP or in the rare possibility boycott voting during the runoff?
Dr. Kandeh Kolleh Yumkellah – NGC –
Who will he go with? Will he welcome overtures from his old comrades who at some point (while still in their fold) were very rude and violent towards him refusing him the freedom and opportunity to contest for the party’s presidential ticket?
He has expressed at various times his lack of confidence in Rtd.General Maada Bio’s leadership abilities to lead a party talk less of a nation. Will he rather support Samura Kamara of APC whose party he has accused of Rankanomics (stinking economic policies?)
If he decides who to support will the NGC Kambia supporters follow him?
Will he boycott the elections and ask his supporters to do same?
The real issue will not be as simple as just beating the APC party or helping the SLPP party win the runoff.
But the real issue will or could be who can the electorates support now that can come back in 5 years’ time to compete with and have a fair chance of winning.
The NGC and C4C decision will certainly be their making or breaking…..
Interesting days still ahead…stay with BEN TV for unbiased analysis and reporting.