The NGC faces the dilemma of choosing between the governing APC and the main opposition SLPP in a runoff election on March 27, 2018. There are some in the party who believe that the NGC should not participate at all by way of endorsing either of the two parties.
As a co-founder of the KKY Movement and a foundation member of the NGC, I believe that the survival of NGC depends on which of these two parties occupies State House after the runoff. I will proffer ten reasons why I believe NGC voters should vote en masse for the SLPP ticket. The NGC does not have to be in the cabinet to influence policy changes. The NGC could use the moment to push the SLPP to agree to certain policy changes without asking for ministerial positions for fear of collective responsibility.
Here are ten reasons why we NGCers should vote for the SLPP candidate on March 27:
1. The problem KKY faced in the SLPP was engineered by the APC in collaboration with some SLPP executives. The APC believed that KKY would be a far more formidable threat as the flag bearer of SLPP than any of the other aspirants. While President Kabbah used his powers to strengthen the opposition, EBK used his to sow discord within the main opposition. The APC will, therefore, be reaping what they sowed if NGC paid them back in their own coin.
2. NGC is angry, and rightly so, at the brazen corruption of this APC administration and we believe that the APC should not be rewarded with a renewed mandate. That’s why we ran in the first place. Staying neutral or sitting on the fence will ensure an APC victory, and this is not an option. This brings to mind the famous quote by Archbishop Desmond Tutu: If you are neutral in situations of injustice, you have chosen the side of the oppressor. If an elephant has its foot on the tail of a mouse and you say that you are neutral, the mouse will not appreciate your neutrality”. I am not, of course, in anyway implying that the SLPP is a mouse.
3. The APC government is not done with Dr. Yumkella just yet. It still has a case pending in the Supreme Court disputing his citizenship. The APC will not entertain someone like Dr. Yumkella in parliament. His presence in our parliament means he will be always talking about corruption and embarrass the kleptocracy on a consistent basis. With a renewed mandate, assuming they won, the APC will not hesitate to instruct a corrupt judiciary to rule against Dr. Yumkella, thus kicking him out of parliament.
4. The NGC got most of its votes from the Northwest and Northern Regions, a stronghold of the APC. The APC would leave no stones unturned in ensuring that they destroy the NGC to stop any threats posed in future elections. They could achieve this through bribery, fraudulent legal challenges and physical violence of key NGC members.
5. During the one and only presidential debate, the SLPP presidential candidate admitted diasporans weren’t treated fairly, and the SLPP manifesto promised to address the issue. It is necessary first step to push one of our key campaign issues for diasporans to vote overseas by next general elections in five years.
6. Staying neutral and having the APC reelected to another five year term will put State House further away from the NGC. The NGCs chances would be far better to face a five-year old SLPP administration than a fifteen or twenty year uninterrupted APC misrule with its concomitant advantages of more cash, a coerced judiciary and the security forces to use at their beck and call.
7. The NGC makes a better argument against Alhassan and Alusine when after a five-year slpp administration; we could point to the lapses of the slpp. As it stands, the only record of the slpp available is a good one with Late President Kabbah. Dr. Yumkella himself referred to President Kabbah as the father of Sierra Leonean institutions.
8. A renewed mandate for APC would be rewarding them for all the ills they have caused our country and her people. As a Muslim, I was horrified at the treatment meted out to fellow Muslims during the Hajj-gate. I don’t peddle in conspiracy theories, but the way the government handled the Ebola crisis was grossly inefficient and made it the pandemic it became that claimed thousands of lives. The mudslide that also killed over a thousand people is another example of the ineptitude of the APC. NGC believes in holding politicians accountable and I believe we should hold APC accountable by kicking them out of office.
9. Dr. Yumkella has always reiterated that the country risked returning to a one party dictatorship if the APC continued beyond two terms. If a governing party struggles in an election, forcing a runoff, with state resources and security forces at their disposal, it indicates that the mood of the electorates is for change. NGC will not falter to help bring that regime change.
10. The APC presidential candidate has been part of our nation’s economy for more than 30 years. He claimed before the whole world that his government failed in making the lives of our people better in the only presidential debate. Yet he claimed EBK has done great things for the country and he would like to continue on the same trajectory.
For these reasons and several more, I would like my fellow NGCers who truly would like to see Dr. Yumkella become president and see NGC as a viable political party to vote against APC and for the SLPP ticket. With these few words, I hereby endorse Rtd Brigadier Julius Maada Bio as our nation’s next president in the March 27 elections.
Foday M Daboh is Cofounder KKYMovement Foundation Member of the National Grand Coalition.