If elected president in 2023, Dr. Samura Kamara will be the oldest president to occupy that office in the history of modern day Sierra Leone politics.
Former President, Alhaji Ahmad Tejan Kabba, became president at the age of 65 and retired at 75. Also, former president Ernest Koroma became president at a much younger age of 54 and retired at 64.
Current president, Dr Julius Maada Bio, is much younger than both of his predecessors.
He came to power at 53, and if everything remains the same, (ceteris Peribus), as the economists would say, he will retire at 63.
It is honestly believed that, Dr. Samura is in his late 70s, almost one or two steps to 80.
In Sierra Leone, a civil servant age is quite different from that of one’s natural age due to escaping early retirement.
Dr. Samura has recently come under intense pressure from young people over his old aged presidential bid. They say, he is too old to run for president and can’t perform the rigorous functions of a president, citing, 83 years old Alpha Conde, Nigeria’s Buhari, Senegal’s former president Wade, amongst many others.
They say the job of the president is too physically, mentally and psychologically demanding and therefore, with the age at which Dr. Samura is vying to become president is too late.
Its not surprising that, former president Ernest Koroma openly called on older folks like Dr. Samura and others to step aside and make room for younger and energetic youths to step forward and take the party to another higher level.
Political commentators believe that, Dr. Samura will be more of an armchair president who would exclusively be depending on delegated responsibilities to individuals whose sole interest would be to enrich themselves.
Recently in Makeni on a radio talk show interview, the same question about his old age came up but unfortunately, he couldn’t convinced the listeners that his old age couldn’t be an impediment to his capability to run the affairs of president.
It could be recalled that in 2018 presidential runoff election between President Bio and Dr. Samura, the vast majority of youths voted for president Julius Maada Bio because of his youthful age.
Sierra Leone now has a youthful population of about 70%, who would definitely want to see one of their contemporaries at state house.
Meanwhile, if Dr. Samura looses again in 2023, that will be the third opportunity given to him by the APC. The first was when he was nominated by former president Ernest Koroma to run for the position of president of the African Development Bank in Abidjan, Ivory Coast where he lost at the first rounds. The second was when again president Koroma single-handedly appointed him as flag bearer for the APC in the 2018 parliamentary and presidential election which he again lost to current young president Dr. Julius Maada Bio.
Will the APC give Dr. Samura Kamara a third chance to run against the now much stronger president Bio in 2023? Only time will tell.