Written by Hadi Bah    PDF Print E-mail
For third term supporters, Sierra Leone president's name says it all
News - Politics

Putting aside his middle name Bai which means chief in the Temne language, if only supporters of President E. B. Koroma knew the history surrounding his first name, they will say it is proof that God wants him to stay in office for more than his constitutionally mandated two terms.

ebkAccording to the Dictionary of First Names by Kate Hanks, Patricia Hardcastle and Flavia Hodges, the name Ernest comes from eornost, an Old High German word which means, "serious business, battle to death." George I of England, a monarch of German origin is credited with introducing the name to the British Isles in the 18th century. The name has been associated with the adjective earnest which means "showing determination, sincerity and seriousness." Sheknows.com writes that people named Ernest tend to be "compassionate, passionate, intuitive, romantic.... and chose professions where they can serve humanity."

The most famous bearer of the name is Ernest Hemingway, the American writer. But Oscar Wilde, the Irish novelist, playwright and poet also wrote, "The Importance of Being Earnest" a play based on the name in which a character says, "There is something in that name that seems to inspire absolute confidence. I pity any poor woman whose husband is not called Ernest."

Will he or won't he? With a first and middle name that imply a man in charge, jittery civil society organizations have called upon President Koroma to repudiate a plea from his party's youth wing to run for a third term. The president's silence has pushed Social Media into overdrive and prompted suspicious Sierra Leoneans to brush aside his last pronouncements on the issue.

But President Koroma is on record thanking Sierra Leoneans for giving him the opportunity to serve a second term and renouncing any third term ambitions. In 2010-11 when indicted former Ivorian President Laurent Gbagbo refused to relinquish power, President Koroma was among the African leaders then believed to have the democratic bona fides to negotiate a way out of the political crisis. Finally, his September 29 speech at the UN General Assembly included the words "accountable and democratic governance."

Will he or won't he? The man has said he won't, take his word for it. Now go worry about food, healthcare and education for Sierra Leoneans.