West African nation’s VP, wife have local connections
Sierra Leoneans in Minnesota gathered on November 3 at a private residence in Eagan to send a congratulatory message to the newly elected All Peoples Congress (APC) government in Freetown, the West African nation’s capital. The wife of Sierra Leone’s vice president, Kadia Sam-Sumana, rushed from the airport to join the gathering after having attended another social function on the East Coast.
“Thank you for your support. I am very delighted that you have decided to come together…,” said Sierra Leone Vice President Samuel Sam-Sumana in a phone call from Freetown. “On behalf of my family, and myself, I thank you and appreciate it. May God bless us all.” Vice President Sam-Sumana will be serving under President Ernest Bai Koroma.
“The political boat is a small boat that cannot take many people onboard at the same time,” said retired Sierra Leone Military Force Captain Alie Brima Kamara in his opening remarks. Kamara said Sierra Leone is at a critical stage, and so it needs its citizens’ help. He congratulated Kadia Sam Sumana for becoming the country’s “Second Lady.”
At the gathering, Sierra Leonean community elders Alfred Bangura and Pa Alpha Yayah Kabba said Christian and Muslim prayers respectively. On behalf of her husband, Kadia Sam-Sumana accepted a glass plaque from the community presented to her by Bangura.
“I am very happy. I have to thank each and every one of you present here today and those that are not here, on behalf of my husband Sam, myself, our daughter Sia, and my beautiful sister-in-law…,” said Kadia Sam-Sumana. “This means so much, and I promised each and every one of you present here tonight you’ll never be forgotten. Right now, ‘thank you’ is not enough…”
Samuel Sam-Sumana holds a Bachelor of Science degree from Metropolitan State University. He returned to Sierra Leone in 2002, while his wife and daughter, Sia, stayed in Minnesota.
Kadia Sam-Sumana was not in Sierra Leone during the country’s 10-year-long civil war (which ended in 2002), but her relatives and her husband’s parents went through the bitterness of the war’s atrocities. About 50,000 people were killed in the war, a conflict that was infamous for the use of child soldiers and the dismemberment of civilians, among other atrocities.
“…We are now fighting for [both APC and the opposition party] to work as a team, to work together for Sierra Leone to move to a better vision. Thinking about the war, we all know what atrocities we have gone through,” said Sam-Sumana in an interview with MSR. “We need to make sure that whatever the politicians, His Excellency the president, the vice president — my husband — and all the ministers have promised for Sierra Leone, they should make sure that they fulfill their promises.”
With her husband as vice president, Sam-Sumana said she would focus on finding solutions to the problems left behind by the war. Additionally, she said, “Being the Second Lady, I’m going to be involved in the women’s movement [in Sierra Leone].” She also wants to start meeting and talking with Sierra Leonean women in Minnesota to “put our differences aside and do whatever possible to help the children of Sierra Leone.”
Sam-Sumana was not present during the election campaign, but she frequently talks on the phone with the APC women’s wing in Sierra Leone; she said she talked to the group almost every day during the campaign.
“…When my husband was campaigning in every town, every village, and in the city, he used to tell them [Sierra Leoneans] that ‘my wife is there [in Minnesota], [and] she can’t join us now. She is taking care of the house and the family, but I promise she [will come] here [to Sierra Leone],’” said Sam-Sumana. “So, they are all aware of why I wasn’t there.”
With the victory of her husband and President Koroma, Kadia Sam-Sumana will be going to Sierra Leone to join her husband and Sierra Leoneans for the new government’s inauguration in Freetown. She hopes to make frequent visits to Sierra Leoneans in Minnesota.
“Sierra Leone today is very lucky to have somebody like my husband, and I know he will not fail them,” said Kadia Sam-Sumana. “He [will] do whatever he promised them.”
Issa A. Mansaray welcomes reader responses to firstname.lastname@example.org.