Most people in Kono District, especially the elite, were faced with a political conundrum the day results for the run-off elections were announced last year, declaring Ernest Bai Koroma President, and Sahr Samuel Sam-Sumana Vice President. The situation really was this: how do we receive the appointment of Sam-Sumana? Do we accept him as our son and brother, or do we ignore him as if nothing has happened? It has been a complex situation. And it will continue to be a complex situation if wisdom and common sense are not invited to fight against political sentiments.
Political sentiments. This has been responsible for sending many a vision to an untimely grave in Kono District. When a man comes up with a vision in Kono District, and he is in a position of responsibility to rally people around him to see that the vision comes to reality, the Kono people’s response to his call is usually not based on the content of his vision, but on his political affiliation.
Another vision killer in Kono District is age. Here in this District, people do not believe in the Wisdom of Solomon. They only believe in the Age of Methuselah. This is clearly brought out in the Kono proverb which says that “God and an old man are certainly not equal: but they have been living together for a long time”.
The Wisdom of Solomon was closely related to his destiny. Despite his age, Solomon became King of Israel after his father David. For this he needed wisdom, and he prayed for it. But he also needed all the people to support his vision so that he could fulfill his destiny. And the people supported him, despite his age.
It is true that age has a lot to do with knowledge and experience. But what can we say about wisdom, common sense, and destiny, especially destiny? Is it no longer true that every man comes with a mission to the world, regardless of age? And if he really has come with a mission to benefit his community, do we ignore him and pass by?
The problem we have in Kono District right now is that we have still not recovered from the elections of last year. Those of us over fifty are still struggling to accept the idea that a very young man (emphasis on the word “very”) has assumed leadership of the District because of his political position, while more elderly people have been bypassed by destiny. We have been struggling with this for six months. But do we want to continue struggling with it for another six months, while our roads and other infrastructure stand yawning for attention?
If we do not identify where our interest lies at this moment, we will remain the only people to regret it. This is not a matter of politics: this is a matter of development and collective interest, requiring total support for whoever has the political clout to move things on our behalf. Politics has divided us for far too long in Kono District, and this division was always used by past Governments- APC, SLPP- to keep us far away from asking for our fair share of the National Cake.
But I see the whole scenario repeating itself. Why don’t we see Sam-Sumana as an individual with the relevant political clout to do things for us in Kono District, if given the necessary support and encouragement? Why should we still continue to look at Sam-Sumana through political lenses?
Regardless of his age and political affiliation, Sahr Samuel Sam-Sumana is and remains to be the Vice President of the Republic of Sierra Leone. No other person in this District ever rose to such political prominence in this land. Why shouldn’t we focus on this alone, and look at every other thing as irrelevant?
This is Kono District’s finest hour. Therefore we must find a solution to this conundrum in a very realistic manner because our survival as a District (I am not talking about tribe, which to me is meaningless) depends on what we do Now with our Destiny. As Frantz Fanon rightly said: “Each generation must, out of relatively obscurity, discover its mission, fulfill it or betray it.” We have come out of relative political obscurity to prominence and therefore we must identify our mission, in order to fulfill it. Otherwise, our children yet unborn will never forgive us.
By Emmanuel Aiah Senessie