There comes a time in political dispensations when divisions within a party give the impression of a want for people to effectively steer its affairs, especially when it is in the opposition, to not only bring about reconciliation, but to also reclaim state power. The All People’s Congress (APC) is at such a crossroads. But who is it that can come to its rescue and save the day, as when one considers the current crop of leaders, there is only one name that can give Julius Maada Bio a run for his money?
For an answer, we should consider a political parallel from centuries ago. The biblical story of the patriarch Joseph and his 10 brothers is a story for this time. Today, biblical and political commentators would tell you that had Joseph not been sold by his brothers, the leadership qualities that he displayed in Egypt – that in effect saved his and generations of not only Jacob but the world as they knew it then – would not have happened. Therefore, the crucible of isolation and ostracisation was very necessary for his political and diplomatic credentials.
The story is told of a dreamer among a family of brothers so loved by his father that he became an enemy of his brothers who had long suffered under the tutelage and leadership of their father when he was going through his trials building up Israel at its formative stages. Seeing the young and inexperienced Joseph who had talked of visions of leadership told to him in dreams as a threat to their inheritance hence future prospects, they decided to sell him to Ishmaelite (Jacob’s uncle via Abraham’s first son, Ishmael) slavers on their way to Egypt.
Despite a standing inheritance practice then of passing wealth to the eldest son in that region, the culture of Abraham as passed on to his sons was one where the elder served the younger. Aware of that practice, they decided to keep this clear and present danger to their inheritance ambitions far from the pool of consideration.
But God was with Joseph from the empty well he was held until being sold to his relatives, to his long trek through the desert on the way to Egypt, the slave market, under Potiphar, in prison, and finally as number two in Egypt under the King/Pharaoh himself. Alone, the young man that feared God settled to become an Egyptian, taking on an Egyptian name Zaphnath-Paaneah, marrying Asenath the daughter of Poti-Pherah priest of On. But his greatness was measured for the wisdom God granted him to lead Egypt and the world through a harsh famine, to save his family from starvation, to forgive and so reconcile with his brethren, and started the nation of Israel in Egypt.
Today in the APC the man with a political story that parallels that of Joseph’s is Chief Sam Sumana, whose name is synonymous with a new dawn for Sierra Leone. To the initiated politics is game of strategy that leaves the unprepared exposed, as the machinations behind a certain move can have so many possible sources that one can be lost in translation trying to figure them out. So the first parallel between Chief Sam and the Patriarch Joseph is that his boss then loved him as Jacob did Joseph. Second, while Joseph’s brothers openly hated and were jealous of him and hence sold him, after his house was surrounded by soldiers, Vice President Sam Sumana was unconstitutionally removed or voted out of the party.
Falsely accused by his brethren of the tribal cabal that he as an Easterner wanted to form a breakaway party from the APC, the stage was set for his unconstitutional and unceremonious removal from his position as Vice President of Sierra Leone and future standard bearer after the illustrious Bai Koroma presidency.
His dreams and vision for Sierra Leone scared those of the ‘politics as usual’ cabal. Wanting him out of the way, as with Joseph, a hoax was concocted by Sam Sumana’s brothers that he wanted to usurp state power because he was a threat to their political and economic ambitions. Forced through the crucible of isolation and ostracisation, Sam Sumana was forced like Joseph to handle his time in the desert by starting C4C, which swept the small but very crucial Kono District taking all 14 parliamentary seats. Under Sam Sumana’s astute leadership, C4C has performed well in governance. Like Joseph, Sam Sumana became an effective party leader away from his home, for which God granted him success after success.
It was as if God was preserving Sam Sumana for something special, during his desert phase the APC top guns, including Ernest Bai Koroma, Victor Foh, Samura Kamara, and the like got embroiled in alleged corrupt practices for which the Commissions of Inquiry were set up that delivered a damning White Paper. Sam Sumana was the only key APC official that was not mentioned in the Report, and the only one that can effectively stand up and challenge the corruption and leakage credential of President Bio’s administration without fear of also being accused by the SLPP as being complicit in corrupt practices, as was the case between Bio and Samura Kamara during the presidential debate when it can be inferred that they admitted to US$18 million going missing under their NPRC tenure.
Now that Sam Sumana has returned to the APC fold, God has returned him to fulfil the destiny of his dreams of not only his brethren reconciling with him (as he has resolved and forgiven them), but to also return the glory of state power to the House of APC. Given the nature of how we easily we retaliate here in Sierra Leone, it would have been understood had Sam Sumana not forgiven his brothers for selling him out. But the Chief has returned with olive branches in hand reaching out to his brothers, especially at a time when a man is not only needed to bridge the divide in the party over who should bear its standard/colours, but one with clean and uncorrupted hands to really win the electorate’s confidence that this time around, it won’t be politics as usual.
The APC is the only party that can unseat the SLPP. But while the SLPP is presently sleeping and fumbling over their manifesto promises, the APC has been embroiled in a leadership struggle by men whose time has passed, who the electorate turned down as not being the right combination. The time has come for the party to consider its prospects for the next five years post 2023; does it want to go through another desert moment for failing to elect the right combination to face Bio?
It is time for God’s chosen to take his rightful place and lead the country and party out of its self-imposed exile from state power. Back stronger than expected from his forced exile, Sam Sumana comes with the necessary credentials, especially of discipline, integrity and respect for the rules and procedures of law to set Sierra Leone and the APC back on the right track. Only Sam Sumana can save the country and party, all others have been tainted by one form of scandal or the other. He is the Joseph of our socio-political time. So to rescue the country and party, Sam Sumana has returned, leaving the writing on the wall for the incumbent SLPP.