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Saturday, June 25, 2022

Like Charles Margai, Like KKY?

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A Commentary By Ranger

Once upon a time in the recent past, there was a very powerful political kingmaker called Charles Francis Margai. So powerful was he, that he and his political party, the People’s Movement for Democratic Change,(PMDC) working in partnership with the then opposition All Peoples Congress (APC) party succeeded in unseating the ruling Sierra Leone People’s Party (SLPP).

The rise and fall of Charles Francis Margai, both as a politician and as a political party leader, should be very instructive for the likes of the leader of the National Grand Coalition in Parliament, Dr Kandeh Yumkella who is being actively wooed by the leader of the Sierra Leone People’s Party to side with him ahead of the 2023 Parliamentary and Presidential elections in 2023.

President Bio knows the importance of having numbers on his side and has already successfully brought onboard his campaign train the influential in the North-West Hon. Alpha Khan and Victor Foh, both of the APC.

There are in our society people of immense influence who can galvanize popular support in their communities. Having the support of such people of influence in a political party brings good dividends in the area of electoral advantage.

The success of a party in a certain area depends to a great extent on their support. These are known as populist leaders who are many a time even more powerful than the men and women that elect.

To win the support of such people brings rewards at election time. The governing party therefore always tries to weaken an opposition party by persuading such community leaders to defect to the Government side as it brings benefits to them.

Political defections are not new in Sierra Leone politics. A governing party always tries to weaken the opposition. This is what Sierra Leoneans learned from the politics of Sir Milton and his half brother Sir Albert Margai. The two Margais were experts in fishing out big fishes from the net of the APC in the 1960s.

After the return of democracy in 1996, ahead of the 2012 elections, it can be recalled that Joseph Bandabla Dauda returned to the APC fold, followed by heavyweights like Tom Nyuma of Kailahun. The popular Western Region Chairman of the SLPP, Lansana Fadika, quit the SLPP and defected to the APC.

Popular SLPP politician and one time aspirant for the SLPP aspirant for SLPP flag bearer, Alhaji Usman Boie Kamara and Kadie Johnson-Cole, quit the SLPP and defected to the ruling APC.

Former APC politician Alhaji Yayah Deen Kamara returned to his ancestral party. Lansana Fadika, Usu Boie Kamara, and Kadie Johnson-Cole, Late Sanfa Adams of Magburaka, were all defectors. So also was Stephen Ngaojia who quit the PMDC to join the APC. Even Ernest Koroma at one time joined PDP-Sorbeh.

Thus, cross carpeting or political defections are a normal feature of the game of politics that has been played over the years by both SLPP and APC parties that have ruled the country since independence.

It is therefore not a big deal as such as every governing party wants a comfortable and steady majority to easily pass legislation in Parliament and thus make the opposition impotent.

(C) The Calabash Newspaper

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