Sierra Leone’s 2018 Elections
-Who Becomes Next Vice President?
Whatever the outcome of Sierra Leone’s Presidential Run-off elections between the ruling All People’s Congress (APC) of ex-Central Bank Governor and Ex-Foreign minister Dr. Samura Kamara, and the main opposition party candidate ex-junta leader Julius Maada Bio’s Sierra Leone People’s Party (SLPP) will be when Sierra Leoneans go to the polls on March 27, 2018, what is crystal clear is that a Sierra Leonean Fulah, most probably of Guinean descent will be elected the country’s next Vice President. This is because the Vice Presidential candidate of the ruling APC, who happens to have been the ex Speaker of the Sierra Leone Parliament, Hon. Chernor ‘Cherikoko’ Jalloh, while the SLPP also nominated another Sierra Leonean Fulah who was residing in the United States, Mr. Mohamed Jalloh to serve as the vice presidential running mate to Julius Maada Bio, the party’s standard bearer.
According to reports from Freetown, this is indeed a significant shift of attitude towards Fulah people in that country, who, though at the vanguard in business and the propagation of Islam in that country, it took years before they can make such a significant impact on politics in Sierra Leone.
Many people interviewed on the streets of Freetown say that one peculiar thing about the Fulahs that has brought them to that level of trust is that they can be counted upon for votes and are quick to mobilize to garner ethnic support, financial and dedication to the cause of a political party to ensure electoral victory.
Traditionally the two arch rival political parties have a checkered and long history for relying on Fulah or Mandingo support to capture votes. In fact during the APC opposition days, this was a major sticky point in the relations with the SLPP which brought the country to independence as each traded accusations for encouraging foreigner interference and participation in Sierra Leone elections.
The late President Ahmad Tejan Kabbah of the SLPP who became president during the elections conducted under junta leader Julius Maada Bio Was a Mandingo, although he was at the time married to an indigenous Sierra Leonean. He was democratically elected on the ticket of the SLPP in that country’s first post war elections.
An old observer of that country’s political scene recounts that the country’s two most established political parties fielding Fulah vice presidential candidates was not achieved overnight. ’There were moments during the Siaka Stevens era in the past when anti-Fulahs sentiments for supporting the SLPP during elections were so rife that the Sierra Leone Police deported hundreds of them towards the guinea border only for a large number of them to return and stay in a new settlement in the outskirts of Freetown called Calabar-town which today accounts for why Calabar town in Wellington in the East of Freetown today has a large Fulah population,’ he said.