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EBK, set the rules and tame MPs!

The disclosure by President Ernest Bai Koroma that supporters of the ruling APC party will be given the opportunity in choosing those to be awarded party symbols at this year’s elections specifically at municipal and parliamentary levels, has created quite a stir, not least amongst especially sitting parliamentarians.
Whilst it is welcome news for the party’s rank and file, a greater number of MPs have been shocked and dismayed at the president's statement and some are having their frustration being openly directed at their constituents. But that is an issue I will come to later.
As the last 2007 elections approached, it was becoming increasingly clear that the people were looking for an alternative regime to the SLPP, which shot itself in the foot by being indifferent or too slow to act on the things the people wanted to see practically done; and then the coup de grace through its poor voter appeal presidential candidature in Solomon Berewa.
For some of us who thought the PMDC could be an untried alternative for the majority of the electorate were greatly disappointed as the people reverted to their myopic North/West, South/East regional and tribal alliances as manifested in the polls, though the PMDC, in spite of its infancy, would eventually become a decisive factor in the outcome of the polls – a destructive element to the SLPP’s aspiration at continued governance and the APC’s ascension to power.
A good number of the APC parliamentary candidates at the 2007 polls came from the diaspora and because the people wanted to put their trust in the ‘’new’’ APC of Ernest Bai Koroma, they voted them. Also the uncalled-for superior view people here have for the diaspora folks also helped paved their way to Tower Hill. With years overseas, the people expected much from them.
Despite our so-called growing enlightenment toward democracy in Africa, we hardly peep through the man presented to us for public office. We are often than not, carried away or influenced in our judgement if any at all, by the wave of the moment, which is overwhelmed with unbridled patronage of varied nature.
President Koroma’s statement will rattle sitting Parliamentarians, the more than Councillors. The people have lost faith in their MPs, be they APC or SLPP, but that the latter are in opposition will offer them with some amount of sympathy from their constituents to give them another try.
Councillors in all honesty are hardly empowered by the central government to undertake any meaningful development in their wards. Their salary is derisory to say the least. MPs’ take-home-pay is not impressive either but with their high profile and far better contacts in government, the people had hoped they would have brought development to the areas they represent, particularly ruling party Parliamentarians.
MPs might argue that they lack the resources to undertake projects in their respective areas but that argument may sound hollow simply because others are creating impact in their constituencies. As Parliamentarians, they should be visionary, creative and result-oriented. Perhaps some need to take a cue from APC’s Chericoco or SLPP’s Falley. Frankly speaking, Western area MPs are the most out of touch with their people and I can’t see even half their number being endorsed by the people to contest the elections under the APC---- that is if the President’s idea is well executed by having the right people to sound out the genuine thoughts of the masses about their honourables, reporting to the party hierarchy carte blanche, and the leadership mustering the guts to deny the non-performing MPs symbols. We are going to watch how this whole idea is to be implemented. I am already experiencing first- hand the resolve of the people in an East Freetown constituency in objecting to any attempt to have their sitting MP represents them again. APC supporters there are now throwing their weight behind another potential candidate for the party symbol who seems to be working in their interest.
The sitting MP (from the diaspora) who interestingly holds a very senior position in the APC believes he’s got the all to have a second inning. He is heckled at in gatherings but continues to demonstrate unbelievable arrogance. The other day he reportedly described himself as an insecticide and those opposing him as cockroaches which he will surely finish off! If a man entrusted with the responsibility of representing his people in parliament could be so glaringly rude and insensitive, then one begins to wonder why men of such reprehensible character ever went to parliament in the first place.
I am somehow confused as to whether this MP is banking on his position in the party and that the people’s wish can be swept aside or he still believes he enjoys ‘’ popularity’’.
The other day, he had a bitter exchange with the leader of a team of youths in the constituency overseeing the clearing of a huge pile of rubbish that had almost claimed half of the road. The shadow APC parliamentary candidate or the fellow hoping to clinch the party symbol had financed the exercise and there was this sitting Parliamentarian shamelessly, if not childishly, telling the youths he was about to get the rubbish off the road. Can you beat that! Where was he all this time that he should now be the challenging people for getting rid of something he had turned a blind eye on? He left the scene after making threats against the youth leader. Yes a ‘’good’’ example of our political elite!
Our politicians have taken us for granted before and have incurred dire consequences. Yet some still fail to learn from history. This message is for all the political parties; if you are fed with the wrong information and went ahead having a candidate not of your supporters choice, you will lose and dishonourably too!
For you men and women who returned home from overseas hoping that money grows on trees at Tower hill which you can pick, too bad bros. We had expected you to have first checked on those foundations supporting worthy causes in the developing world and brought them over, which could have made a difference in the lives of your impoverished constituents. That is if your ‘’ intentions’’ in helping develop your country were genuine in the first place.
As an example, some MPs upcountry have dished out scholarships to students in their communities and their interaction with their people is perfect. For these my bet is that the people will show their appreciation in return come the November polls.
Already many people have lost faith in our diaspora men and women and have vowed to give more ‘’home base’’ a chance, that is if their party leaders listen by awarding the right people with party symbols and not be tempted with Forex notes.
A day in politics is a long time not to talk of five years! Complacency took hold of many and at this eleventh hour, there they are scurrying all over their constituencies from fighting over clearing of rubbish to flexing sagging muscles at ward elections. At this time next year, many of you will be mere visitors at Parliament and nothing more, that is if you can stomach retracing your steps to the very symbol of your rejection by the people!