The People’s Movement for Democratic Change (PMDC) of Charles Francis Margai seems to be dominating the attention of the news media once again. This time, it has nothing to do with Charles Margai’s often-controversial statements but one that is directly connected to the very lifeblood of the party, its ability to survive as a formidable political organization in this country.
|Margai: facing consequencies of political opportunism
Starting with rumors of splits within the party to that of an eviction from its headquarters on Hannah Benka Coker Street in Freetown, the rumors have quickly graduated into speculations of a possible rift between Charles Margai himself and one of his major financiers, and now to that of a leadership crisis of unimaginable proportions. Whatever it is, the message is becoming simplistic: that the PMDC is on the verge of disintegrating like a political amoeba. But what will be the bi-product of this fragmentation is still everybody’s guess. Some say, the party will be submerged into the dustbin before 2012. Others argue that it will result into the emergence of a new dynamic leadership that will move the party forward.
For instance, many of us were taken aback few days ago when Moijueh Kaikai, one of PMDC’s founding members, announced his resignation from the party and joined ranks with the All People’s Congress (APC) government of Ernest Koroma. Moijueh Kaikai told the United Nations Radio in Freetown that recalcitrant leadership mars the PMDC and he believes that the APC’s vision echoed by Ernest Koroma was a sufficient seductive penchant that lulled him into the embrace of the APC.
Of course, most PMDC defectors have cited that the PMDC leadership fails to consider the diverse opinions within the party on matters of crucial significance. Whether this is true or not is irrelevant to this discourse. What is of concern here is the origin of this seeming crisis that hovers around the PMDC. The question before us is whether the PMDC will surely disintegrate and finally collapse into the abyss of history? Or will it survive this current political storm?
Truly speaking, the seemingly ongoing collapse of the PMDC is not unprecedented in the political history of this country. In the early 1990s, the People’s Democratic Party (PDP) of late Thaimu Bangura, founded on similar circumstances like the PMDC, created sleepless nights for the APC and made shocking waves during the mid 1990s. The greatest challenge posed by the PDP at the time was the division it created among the Temnes of the north. But when the party merged sides with the former SLPP government of Tejan Kabbah, its life was never long. Today, the party exits only as a nostalgia in the minds and brains of those who admired Thaimu Bangura and saw him back then as the hero of the north.
But while the PDP may have collapsed due to absence of charismatic leadership (in fact the party itself was built around Thaimu Bangura’s personality), it seems the cancer of political opportunism, the motivating factor behind the formation of the PMDC, is now devastating the party from within. It is my view that most of those who engineered the formation of the PMDC are political opportunists; individuals who were drifted into the party not because of an absolute commitment to the "positive change" they espoused but people whose desire was abundantly motivated by vaulting political ambitions and intoxicating power aspirations. It was political opportunism per excellence, epitomized by Charles Margai’s political desires and ambitions to lead Sierra Leone at all costs, that underlined the formation of the PMDC and not the excesses of the SLPP under Kabbah.
I hold the view that the emergence of the PMDC was a juvenile response to the fading popularity of the SLPP at the time; a response triggered by stark political opportunism and in no way an attempt to create the much-needed political alternative in the country at the time.
It is worthless to state that there was no way Margai could have formed the PMDC if the SLPP had allowed him to lead the party to the pools in the elections of last year. The fact that the decision to form the PMDC came only as a response to Margai’s defeat during the 2005 convention in Makeni is a clear demonstration of opportunism. Those who quitted the SLPP for the PMDC back then were all trapped by that opportunistic tendency that sought to exploit the unpopularity of the SLPP at the time to accomplish their selfish political aspirations. It never worked and now one by one, the PMDC opportunists are slowly and gradually quitting the party and seeking for greener pastures with other groups. But they haven’t stop at that. They are shamelessly casting aspersions on Charles Margai, calling him all sorts of names while they themselves are equally blemished and besmeared by the same political mess.
It is no doubt that Margai’s political career itself is now locked in a dilemma; a very unfortunate situation that was produced by his alliance with the APC in the run-off elections of last year and now compounded by the current fragmentation of his party. Whether the current crisis and brouhaha will result into a formidable PMDC or a more fortified Charles Margai remains the greatest puzzle of all times.
The truth of the matter is this: Margai and the other opportunistic forces within the PMDC never understood that political change and social transformation cannot be effected by spontaneous political response and activity devoid of any concrete, material programme for the masses. What were the principles that guided and bounded the PMDC cadre with each other than the revengeful anger of Charles Margai and his enthusiasts against the SLPP? Margai was vexed because the SLPP, which he sees as his father’s party, is denying him the opportunity of ruling Sierra Leone. That was the motivating factor behind the PMDC and nothing else. And this is opportunism at its core!
Now the very opportunistic foundation that triggered the formation of the PMDC is crudely tearing it apart. As the saying goes, a house built on rocky ground will not last. It is the cancer of political opportunism that has produced the current crisis of the PMDC.
© Copyright by Awareness Times
Newspaper in Freetown, Sierra Leone.