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We Know Why
By The Progressive Youth Group Sierra Leone
Apr 1, 2009, 17:12
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A bulk of the SLPP membership is hardly disposed to engage in any other vocation than power politics. This is why power is apparently the only telltale sign of life for them. Their existence surrounds it and their wellbeing is in turn surrounded by power. No matter what happens they have to be within the power bubble or risk being asphyxiated outside of it. Sadly enough, their thought process is tailored towards this grim reality. And that is apparently why they must do all within their might to save their last breath when they face the reality of drowning in the sea of party politics.

To see the thread of our argument one only has to brood over the history of multi party politics in Sierra Leone. In 1967 when Siaka Stevens All Peoples Congress won the elections in a similar manner as in 2007, Sierra Leone was going to set a pace in Africa as the first country to see the democratic transition of power from a ruling party to the opposition. But the SLPP would not let it be. Brigadier Lansana, the military Chief-of- staff found himself obliged, by dint of his relationship with Sir Albert Margai and the SLPP upper echelons, to defend the ruling circle at all cost. He and a certain corporal who was ADC to Sir Albert interrupted the swearing in ceremony of Siaka Stevens and declared a martial law. Thus they staged the first coup detat in what otherwise was going to be an unaltered democracy. That is how Sierra Leone started plunging into chaos and our democratic bubble started deflating.

When finally in 1968 Siaka Stevens returned from exile and was reinstated after a couple of counter coups, the SLPP was still not going to stay put and allow the country to be run smoothly. Instead they took to sectarian rampage in some parts of the country to the extent that a district like kailahun would opt to secede from the nation state of Sierra Leone. But Siaka Stevens, as shrewd a politician as he was, was apt in his response to the impasse. They then developed a siege mentality and withdrew from positive governance, albeit not from posing problem for the political dispensation.

On the contrary, when the APC was ousted from power in a cosy coup in 1992, it submerged without fuss, only to keep surfacing when elections approach and stayed peaceful when they lost. In the 1996 elections they won only five seats in Parliament but knew they had to stay calm in order to get a larger number in the next elections. Hence in 2002 they secured 27 seats and emerged as the leading opposition party.

Our drift here is that the APC did not pose threat to the security of the state when in opposition because the bulk of its membership had other engagement than politics. Though accused of having grass root and mainly illiterate patronization, most of this assortment played politics only as a second fiddle to their main enterprise. Some are farmers, traders, miners or some skilled personnel of a sort. The party leaders are either in the professional sector (like law and medicine) or run big business enterprises (like in the case of the leader).Therefore power politics is not the be all and end all for this group of politicians. And they demonstrated this in their opposition era. They were so accomplished in their calmness that the same detractors who were the ruling elites taunted the leader as being a silent opposition leader. Little did they know that in his partys silence, Ernest Bai Koroma was paddling underneath whilst the surface of the water was calm. And through that silence he saw himself to power in the most democratic of means.

In the case of the SLPP power proves to be the only enterprise. Even when they have professionals in other fields and call themselves an elitist party, their libido cannot thirst for any other achievement than dominating people. Unfortunately though, when they have this power greed could not allow them to maintain it. Their only achievement would be to stuff their henchmen into the power-centres of politics and cram every vacancy in the civil service and armed forces with fellow tribesmen. Now the power has come adrift of their hold, their life jacket would not stay buoyant forever and they cannot find life in the landscape of farming nor grasp the business branch. The shenanigan of politics and the accompanying perquisites of power obsessed them to a rate where they see their official calling very boring. They are drowning. And we know that.

But they cannot afford to drown alone. Either somebody must go with them or somebody must be blamed for the path of self-destruct they had chosen. President Koroma in his pronouncements after he assumed power in 2007 promised the people of this nation that he would turn this country around in thirty-six monthsthree years. If he fulfils that promise, two things would have come out clear. He would have sealed the possibility of another term for himself and his party, and the SLPP would have received their deathblow. Now the only way they would prevent that from happening is by throwing a spanner in the work of the ruling party and distract them. Whilst he would be concentrating on skirmishes started by the opposition, the President would barely have time to complete his projects to meet the thirty-six months timeline. And come 2012 they would present a strong argument against the APC. That is their current gimmick.

They have failed to realize that it is not by picking a quarrel with the ruling party or by provoking the people to violence( through starting it) that they will win the support of the majority of Sierra Leoneans. From all indications it is the people of Sierra Leone they are provoking not the APC. Or how else could they have thrown a bottle at the Mayor of Freetown when he was celebrating with well wishers at his own office premisesas ceremonial and democratic as his office is. Could people be so power thirsty as to disturb the peace of their own nation to attain power. How democratic are they ? Probably through calmness the SLPP would be able to "pick themselves up and dust themselves off", if we are to borrow Obamas words, and save themselves once again from drowning. However, the Progressive Youth Group will not sit back and see a clique of power hungry freaks drive this nation to anarchy. We will expose them.

© Copyright by Awareness Times Newspaper in Freetown, Sierra Leone.

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