Good Music From The Wrong Artist

By Ahmed Sahid Nasralla (De Monk)
He may not be the right candidate the women of Sierra Leone want to hear this from, but the message should sound good to their ears nonetheless.
Standard bearer aspirant for the People’s Democratic Party (PDP), Osman Tarawallie, wants to put women in charge of the governance of the small West African country if he becomes the next President.
“My constituency is the women and girls of this country. They have suffered a lot. They cook, they clean and fetch water with their babies strapped to their backs. And I know how my mother suffered to give birth to me and raise me up. Women make up the bulk of our population, so if they vote for me I will win and become the next President of Sierra Leone. And I will put them in charge. All Ministries, Departments and Agencies will be headed by women and men will serve as their deputies,” said Tarawallie, who proudly calls himself The Challenger aka Salone Trump.
When he becomes president, Tarawallie will not have the trouble of consulting with party members and elders, or any group whatsoever, on composing his Cabinet as he’s already done his assignment. He has a list of popular and credible women he’s assigned to various positions. His Minister of Finance and Economic Development will be the current disciplined head of the country’s Audit Service, Laura Taylor-Pearce while the popular Manager of Radio Democracy 98.1FM, Asmaa Kamara-James, is her Minister of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation.
Other notable women in her visionary Cabinet include the Executive Director of Campaign for Good Governance, Valnora Edwin, as Minister of Trade and Industry; the Executive Director of National Elections Watch, Marcella Samba Sesay, as Minister of Political Affairs; Head of Peace and Conflict Studies department at Fourah Bay College, University of Sierra Leone, Memunatu Pratt, as Minister of Tourism and Culture; Brig. Kestoria Kabia as Minister of Defence; head of 50/50 Group, Dr. Fatou Taqi, as Minister of Education; Deputy Commissioner of the NAYCOM, Aminata Sillah, as Youth Affairs Minister; young and enterprising presenter at Skyy Radio 101.6FM, Martha Kargbo, as Minister of Fisheries and Marine Resources; Mamadie Gobeh Kamara as Minister of Sports; wife of the late President Ahmed Tejan Kabbah, I. J. Kabbah, as Minister of Mines and Mineral Resources; and the ever controversial current Minister of Social Welfare, the right honourable Sylvia Olayinka Blyden, as Minister of Works, Housing and Infrastructure.
The only woman that will probably serve in a deputy position is his vice president, Fatmata Claire Hanciles.
Additionally, Tarawallie said his party will give all its symbols to women to contest in the local council and parliamentary elections.
All deputies of MDAs will be men, he said, and pleaded with them to understand as ‘this is the time for women’.
To show the Trump in him, Tarawallie said he would build a wall across the border with Liberia and Guinea to prevent ‘illekal immikrants’ from entering Sierra Leone.
"I will fence our borders in a way that no cockroach or mosquito will be able to cross over 'illekally' into Sierra Leone from Liberia or Guinea. They are the reason for our backwardness as a anation. They bring filth and diseases.
The war came here through our borders… also the Ebola Virus Disease…We have to lock our borders tight to prevent further trouble,” he said.
However, Tarawallie’s idea of a wall, unlike his mentor Donald Trump, is to retrain the security forces to be able to efficiently man the country’s very porous borders.
Sierra Leone has more than 60 unmanned crossing points along its borders with Liberia and Guinea, and many are just walking distances.
Beyond that, Tarawallie said he would bring down the current seat of power, State House, and build a Blue House in its place.
This is probably in line with his PDP party colour, which is blue.
On youth employment and food security, Tarawallie plans to send young and able-bodied men into the seas to fish and to cultivate the vast stretch of fertile green land. He believes there’s more wealth in our seas than beneath the main land.
“Our young people will be trained on mechanised fishing and gardening, and we’ll send them to fish and farm to feed the nation. With one stone we would have killed two birds.
The youth will be gainfully employed and there will be abundant fish and food for every household in this country. Our over dependence on rice will be over,” he said.
Tarawallie is aware that certain people are waving him off as comic relief to the mounting political fever in the two main political parties in the country- the ruling All People’s Congress party and the opposition Sierra Leone People’s Party- but he’s confident they are in for a big surprise.
“I know many people underestimate me when they see me. But whenever I open my mouth to articulate the issues, I have seen people growing goose pimples and crying just listening to me,” he boasted, adding that he understood most of the issues affecting the development of Sierra Leone.
Meanwhile, there seems to be no place in Tarawallie’s government for madam Zainab Hawa Bangura, the only woman who has declared intention to lead her party, the APC, to the next elections.
“She’s APC, so I will not give her any position,” he said, but could not defend why an APC Minister in the person of Sylvia Blyden was on his list of cabinet ministers.
Amazingly, The Challenger asked this reporter: “Are you married? Give me the name of your wife, I have a position for her.”
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