Sierra Leone VP: From Obscurity To Political Prominence

By Thomas Dixon

In the build up to the 2018 elections, everybody was thinking that the then opposition Sierra Leone People Party Presidential Candidate, Julius Maada Bio now President of Sierra Leone would select the obvious as his running mate.

Many people believed that President Bio would have selected one amongst Alpha Wurie, Umaru Borne Wurie and Alpha Timbo. In fact, Alpha Timbo was the already the presumptive running mate to President Bio.

I believe Alpha Timbo himself believed that he was going to be the running mate, having stepped down from the race to contest for the flag bearer of the party so as to allow Bio became the flag bearer of the party easily.

One may say it was a good political move of Alpha Timbo, knowing fully-well that Bio had the support of the people and his best bet would have been the running mate but politics being what it is, Timbo and the others were not lucky enough to have been able to get the second fiddle position.

In politics many things will happen in the twinkle of an eye and some decisions will be taken because of some grave political importance and survival or as a result of an action of the opposing party or parties.

People may want to say that the selection of Hon Chernoh Maju Bah (Chericoco) as running mate to the then ruling Party Presidential Candidate, Samura Kamara may have prompted the SLPP to think deeply about a running mate that may have the similar political appeal as Chericoco.

The only reason for the selection of Chernoh Maju Bah by President Koroma to be the running mate to his handpicked Presidential Candidate Samura Kamara was to appeal to Fullahs who have grown in number significantly in Freetown and other parts of Sierra Leone.

Chericoco was pure and applied fullah and would have lured the fullahs into voting for the APC but that very strategic decision pushed the SLPP into some form of deep political cogitation.

This political pondering of the SLPP brought about Mohamed Juldeh Jalloh into the political fray. Although the other people are fullahs but they are not as pure and applied fullah as someone like Juldeh Jalloh.

In Sierra Leone most of the fullahs considered fullahs with timbo, wurie and bundu surnames as not original fullah unlike the Bah, Jalloh, Sow and Barrie.

It was a surprise to many when the name Juldeh Jalloh was first floated on social media to test public reaction.

Fortunately, the reactions were not bad because he (Juldeh) has never been involved in the politics of Sierra Leone of whatsoever before.

Interestingly though, the name Mohamed Juldeh Jalloh (Dr.) was officially announced as the running mate of Julius Maada Bio to counter the strategic move of the APC.

At this point, it will be good to know that the Fullahs in Sierra Leone are originally sympathizers of SLPP but the move of APC to get Chericoco as running mate swayed the Fullah Community towards the APC.

It was not until the announcement of Juldeh Jalloh by Bio that the SLPP began to stabilize its usual fullah support.

Thus the announcement of Juldeh Jalloh as running mate to Bio came with political gravitas and increase Bio’s tempo in the race of becoming the President of Sierra Leone.

Unlike Chericoco, Juldeh Jalloh came out to be known as hybrid Sierra Leonean owing to the fact that his parents hailed from PortLoko in the North of Sierra Leone and was born and bred in Kono in the East of Sierra Leone added some amount of national appeal to the SLPP ticket.

Another political flare which Juldeh Jalloh added to the SLPP ticket is the international appeal and acceptance.

During the campaigns, the APC lamented so much on the idea that the Presidential Candidate of the SLPP Julius Maada Bio cannot be accepted internationally as a result of his role in the then NPRC junta government.

Little did they know that there is an international appeal in the selection of Juldeh Jalloh who had spent almost all of his life in the United Nations particular as Senior Adviser and Security Analyst at the United Nation Office of West Africa and the Sahel.

Thus, it is from that obscure background and from the political unknown that Julius Maada Bio took someone who is now the Vice President of the Republic of Sierra Leone.

However, historians may want to say that the same thing could be said of the then Vice President, Samuel Sam Sumana who was also selected by Ernest Bai Koroma from the political unknown to the limelight back in 2007.

All we knew then about Sam Sumana was that he was a businessman and that he has lots of money and as such, people will want to say that the same fate of Sumana awaits Juldeh.

But I may want to disagree because Juldeh seems to me a very humble and God-fearing personality with an international relations and diplomacy background that will help him steer the ship in rough sea of his political career.

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