• March 6, 2023

Will Samura Kamara Translate NDC Victory To A Presidential Upset?

Will Samura Kamara Translate NDC Victory To A Presidential Upset?
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By Marcus A. Bangura

The embattled All Peoples Congress (APC) has had Dr.  Samura Wilson Mathew Kamara, the 2018 Presidential Aspirant, as their next Presidential Candidate for the 2023 Presidential election. What Next? Is Samura Kamara the next President of Sierra Leone?

It could be recalled that Dr. Samura Kamara overwhelmingly defeated 17 other Flag-bearer aspirants to become the enviable Standard-Bearer of the APC come 2023.  He would be contesting against President Julius Maada Bio, who defeated him in the 2018 Presidential elections, one that was highly rumored as regime change.  President Bio won the election with less than 2% of the valid votes cast. In the end, Dr. Samura Kamara claimed the election was stolen from him.  In 2023, Dr. Samura Kamara is on his Second bid, and this time, with a different narrative. The question of the day is, will Samura Kamara exploit his present experience to beat Bio in 2023, considering the spate at which President Bio is going to consolidate political power and state institutions under his control, which has been described by political pundits as ‘’State capture”; the new trend of totalitarianism.

It is glaring that Dr. Samura Kamara has fought the fight to become Standard -Bearer, but that is one side of the coin. On the other hand, the fight has gone beyond the dynamics of intra-party politics to the fight to take control of State House.  So, Dr Samura Kamara should be looking forward to how he should command a majority of the votes to get an absolute majority of the votes to win State House through the Ballot Box. As he fought the fight to win the hearts of delegates, so he should redouble his effort with a formidable team and a popular Running mate to win State House in 2023.

What would be probably different between the 2018 and the 2023 Presidential elections is the fact that in 2018, Dr. Samura Kamara was controversially selected at the distaste of his colleagues Flag-bearers, who undermined his campaigns and faced defeat at the hands of the President, by a small margin of less than 2%.  This time around, his case is different, in that he has been elected by overwhelming votes at the National Delegates Conference and is being supported by his colleague Flag-bearers, as they have all endorsed him. His landslide victory over his opponents was not a surprise, as over the years, he has worked gradually to gather support and make himself a magnet of attention within and outside his party, despite distractions of corruption allegations, the APC has gone ahead to elect him as the most suitable candidate for the 2023 Presidential Election, with the view that he has all that it takes to win the 2023 Presidential elections, as he is no longer the man with the mantra ‘’U SABI AM’’, which means  ‘’Do you know him”. This slogan portrayed Dr. Samura Kamara as an amateur and unknown politician, who knows very little or nothing about politics. However, today, the mantra has outlived its usefulness, as Dr Samura Kamara has transformed from U SABI AM  to WE SABI AM, and for the past five years, he has become a popular political figure, due to his extensive tours in the country,  interacting and making himself known to people of different shades of opinion, as demonstrated in the just concluded National Delegates Conference (NDC) in Makeni, where he crushed his opponents with a landslide victory.

As mentioned above, little was known about Dr. Samura Kamara, and those who knew him, regarded him as a technocrat on  15th October 2018, following his selection as Standard-Bearer, he came to the political limelight, and despite the political crucibles he faced, he rose from the propagated mantra of  ‘U SABI AM’ to’ WE SABI AM’

Today, Dr. Samura Kamara is better known, unlike before the 2018 Presidential Elections, when very little was known about him, despite the fact that he was one of the most promising Sierra Leonean, brilliant and loyal to his supervisors; from Strasser to Bio, Kabba to Koroma, and distinguishing himself as a technocrat who has shown great professionalism and commitment to his work for the good of the state.

Meanwhile, Dr. Samura Kamara was born on 30th April 1951 in Kamalo, present-day Karene District, which was formerly Bombali District. He attended St Andrew’s Secondary School in Bo and the St Edwards Secondary School in Freetown. He proceeded to Fourah Bay College and graduated with a Bachelor’s Degree in Economics in 1972.  He holds a Master’s Degree in Development Economics and Ph.D. in Development Economics in 1986 from Bangor University in Wales in the United Kingdom.

And, being that the APC has chosen Dr. Samura Kamara to run for a second time against President Bio, come June 24, 2023, it begs the question as to what confidence the APC has to endorse Dr. Samura Kamara to contest against President Bio, who defeated him in 2018, and who would leave no stone unturned to consolidate political power at all cost, especially when his predecessors have scored spectacular goals in their second term bids to state house. For Dr. Samura Kamara to make a difference, he should endeavor to usher unity within the party, show leadership, organization, and mobilization of the APC into like-mindedness and the utmost desire to obtain the mandate from the people and govern the country, so as to formulate and implement his policies, as provided in his manifest to the people of Sierra Leone. He, therefore, needs a running mate that is experienced and knowledgeable about governance.

This cannot be achieved in dreams and imagination; experience counts a lot.  One political analyst informed this media that with the experience of Dr. Samura Kamara, as one who has worked in many enviable positions with proven records in the country, it is no gain saying that he would play the magic and make a difference and put Sierra Leone on the right footing, taking credence from the fact that between 1994 and 1997, 2001 and 2006, Dr. Samura Kamara served as Financial Secretary for the Government of Sierra Leone; in 2006 and 2007, served as Alternate Executive Director, Africa Group 1 for the International Monetary Fund in Washington DC;  in 2008 and 2009, served as the Governor of the Bank of Sierra Leone and Minister of Finance between 2009 and 2012, and in 2012, became Minister of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation until his selection as a Presidential candidate in 2018.

As to what Dr. Samura Kamara has contributed to nation-building, one political pundit told this medium that whilst serving as Financial Secretary, Bank Governor, Finance Minister and Foreign Affairs Minister, Dr. Samura Kamara has contributed immensely to nation-building, stressing that in 1994,  Dr Samura Kamara was appointed Programme Manager by the World Bank for its structural support program to the country, and during this period,  he enhanced the effective use of international resources for the average Sierra Leonean, and enabled the protection of state resources from being extensively exploited by the junta government at the time. As Financial Secretary under the NPRC, he built trust in the management of the funds of international donors for the benefit of Sierra Leoneans.  In 2007, following the coming to power of the APC and as Bank Governor, he was the lead technocrat of the team that won the Sierra Leone debt cancellation. He was also Chair of the African Caucus Constituency, which resulted in Africa getting a 3rd Chair on the World Bank Executive Board. As Finance Minister, he crafted and implemented the Agenda for Change in 2007 and designed the agenda for prosperity in 2012, GDP growth reached 5.2% per year and designed and implemented programs that resulted in the reduction of poverty from 66% in 2004 to 53% in 2011. In his capacity as Foreign Affairs Minister, he prepared and launched the  Sierra Leone Foreign Service Transformation Strategy between 2014 and 2018, and as Minister of Finance, he made a lot of transformations by increasing staff capacity, salaries, and directorates, facilitated the training of staff, and upgraded ICT infrastructure among others.

In all of these accolades given to Dr. Samura Mathew Wilson Kamara, what is next? Is Samura Kamara the next President of Sierra Leone?

 Credit: © C4D Media Newspaper

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