“Our constituency is in a very funny situation because all the areas you are talking of governance is lacking and also there are lots of deprived communities like big wharf, the hill top areas where basic facilities like water, good roads and health centers are lacking.”- Issa Kolleh Dumbuya
Two vacant seats in constituency 86, Pujehun and 106 in urban Freetown will on Saturday 10th be contested for. The two seats became vacant when in constituency 86, the candidate who won was petitioned against and in 106, due to death. Four candidates from the ruling APC the minority SLPP and PMDC are battling it out for the vacant seat in constituency 106.
Awoko’s Ishmael Bayoh caught up with two of the contestants from SLPP and NDA who readily made themselves available for an interview. The first to be interviewed was the SLPP candidate, Issa Kolleh Dumbuya (Coachy) who was met at the parade grounds in a football competition.
Awoko: Why are you contesting for the vacant seat?
Issa Kolleh: I believe I should serve the people and my country and the service I want to give to my people is that the political life of my country is yearning for positive action and I believe some of us will be able to advocate for the people and make sure that their cries are heard and what they are looking out for be accomplished.
Awoko: How long have you been in the constituency?
Issa Kolleh: I have been in this constituency all my life and I am 44years old now attended the Christ church primary school in 1971 and the Albert Academy Secondary School in 1978 and later the Collegiate in 1986 after which I enrolled at the Sierra Leone Navy and in the year 2000 I worked at the Commission for the Consolidation of Peace and to date, I have not moved away from this constituency. I am part of all the happiness and sorrows of this constituency.
Awoko: What do you think you should do if elected?
Issa Kolleh: Our constituency is in a very funny situation because all the areas you are talking of governance is lacking and also there are lots of deprived communities like big wharf, the hill top areas where basic facilities like water, good roads and health centers are lacking. And if elected, I will have the responsibility to bring life to the constituency and mind you, very recently people are paying their taxes for which they expect returns of development in their constituencies but there is nobody around to question that. One part of my job is to advocate on the people’s behalf.
Awoko: What have you done so far for the constituency?
Issa Kolleh: Mind you that I was so instrumental in bringing cease fire to the country in January 6, 1999 and after May, 2000 the commission for the consolidation of peace I engaged the RUF in peace negotiations in Makeni where a resolution led to the peace accord. I have always been part of my community a social mobilizer and partaker.
Awoko: Should you win the elections what is going to be your priority?
Issa Kolleh: My foremost responsibility is to unify the constituency because from what I am seeing the country as a whole lacks unity as this political divide is so soaked in the people and this partyism is becoming a problem even at the family level. I will preach that we unify ourselves first. When it comes to development, Kolleh cannot do all he needs every body on board for development.
Awoko: What other plans do you have for the youths if elected?
Issa Kolleh: The youths are part of my development plans and they are the bulk of the country’s voters but they have been used by greedy politicians for nothing and being neglected. What I am presently doing is to target community football teams in the area of social development.
Awoko: How would you tackle health, sanitation and employment?
Issa Kolleh: I plan first to do a census of all those who are employed and those that are not and those that are sick and not sick. We need to bring new ideas in the political field and the census will greatly help in that area of health, sanitation and employment.
Awoko: Do you have any other thing to say?
Issa Kolleh: I want people to know that it is because the APC knows that they were the only one representing Freetown that is why they are misplacing their priorities and let them vote me for checks and balances.
Sheriff Barrie is the Parliamentary candidate for the National Democratic Alliance and here is what he said to Awoko in this interview.
Awoko: Why are you contesting the bye- election?
Sheriff Barrie: Am contesting because the constituency lacks basic amenities and has been neglected by the APC and SLPP. The constituency is also about 60% represented by youths who are unemployed and I think should I be voted on Saturday, progress will be made in the areas of training for self reliance. The water crisis in the constituency is a great problem and that too is going to be a concern to me. The business sector too is affected in the area of heavy taxation so also will be the fight for the free access to information.
Awoko: Being a youth what have you in store for them?
Sheriff Barrie: I am a youth man there is no doubt about that and being that, I know their problems and needs. Before I made up my mind to run for the post, I have been working in series of youth groups and a campaigner for youth development and mobilization. I know their problems I have been part of it and I am ready to face the challenge.
Awoko: How do you hope to agitate on their behalf in terms of job opportunities.
Sheriff Barrie: If you take a look at the TRC report it is boldly stated there that youths should be gainfully employed and the setting up of the youth commission. But one thing that I am against is how the youths are continuing to be marginalized. The APC has it in their manifesto to cater for the youths but alas! Is that happening? I will agitate for them in the well of Parliament and I shall let it be known to the NGO’S the problems of the youths.
Awoko: How would you tackle the problem of sanitation?
Sheriff Barrie: First and foremost, due to the negligence of the city council, people are paying their dues but at the end receive the wrong purpose. If we are to tackle the problem of infant mortality rate, the health sector should be readily tackled and I will engage every body through education that health is wealth.
Awoko: Do you have any other thing to say?
Sheriff Barrie: Let me say this to all in constituency 106 that this time around, let us vote and vote our conscience and lets forget about sentimentalism and regionalism it will not help us and let us look for the component candidate to represent us regardless of party. Come out massively on that day to vote in Sheriff Barrie, the candidate that will best represent them.