The countryís main opposition Sierra Leone Peoples Party (SLPP) has issued a front page apology to the entire Mandingo tribe in the country for the partyís rude insults made against Mandingos. SLPP has also profusely apologised for the same publicationís attempt to whip up negative tribal sentiments between Fullahs and Mandingos.
Writing the front page apology was SLPP Editor Mr. Buakay Willful Bockarie (aka BW Bockarie) who wrote: ďWe did not absolutely mean to hurt, embarrass or disregard the entire Mandingo tribe across the country. We did not mean to promote tribal hatred either.Ē Continuing, Bockarie wrote, ďWe regret any embarrassment or embitterment that article might have causedĒ.
SLPPís apology to Mandingos which was published on Friday June 8th 2012, referenced an earlier publication of the SLPP dated June 6th 2012 with a screaming lead headline calling for Fullahs to beware of the ruling APC party, which opposition SLPP alleged to have funded Mandingos against Fullahs in neighbouring Guinea.
Maada Bio: Has a lot to learn
It can be recalled that it took the patriotic efforts of a group of journalists standing up for the truth in politics, to stem what had been overt incitement by SLPP, of the Temnes against smaller tribes like the Lokos and Limbas. As if that was not enough, the SLPP was again waging tribal animosity, this time inciting Fullahs against Mandingos; all in a bid to win votes at the expense of unity in the country and the subregion as a whole.
It is a fact that the primary propaganda tool of the candidacy of the SLPPís presidential candidate Julius Maada Bio has revolved around negative tribalism. At the slightest chance, the SLPP deploys tribal sentiments into the political landscape thus leading to much condemnation for the party.
Koroma: respects all tribes
A recent unprecedented mass defection from SLPP membership cadre gave reasons to be tribal sentiments have overtaken the previous fine values for which the party was once known. The APC Leader, President Ernest Bai Koroma, received much commendation for his show of respect for all tribes when he chastised a former SLPP Youth Leader speaking ill of the Mendes in his presence.
ďIn a clear show of the ruling APCís distaste for negative tribal sentiments, a former youth leader was publicly chastised by the APC Leader and President when he spoke against the thinking of the Mendes in his former party. It however appears the opposition does not have such men of character in their midst,Ē said Haja Mariama Daramy of Bo District. The reaction, from Mandingos to the belated apology from the SLPP has been mixed but the reaction from another large tribal grouping towards insults levied at them by the SLPP has not been subdued. Members of the Temne tribe have been demanding an apology from the SLPP in like manner to the one recently rendered to the Mandingos.
Senior Temne figures who spoke to this writer are not happy over several publications in the SLPP newspaper stating that the Temnes do not vote according to policies and issues like health, roads, electricity, peace & security, water supply and education but vote for parochial reasons like tribal alliance.
ďThis is unacceptable to us as Temnes. The way SLPP leaderships have been presenting the Temne tribe makes us look like primitive people who do not have values for civilised democracy but instead prefer primitive tribal loyalties. I have been waiting to see who amongst the SLPP leadership will be the first to realise the extent of the insult they have thrown at the Temnes but none of them has developed the personal integrity yet to apologise to us Temnes,Ē Pa Santikie Alhassan Bangura of Port Loko told this newspaper in a phone interview this weekend.
Many Sierra Leoneans are sick and fed up with the opposition SLPPís tribal and regional slant in politics. The gutter levels to which the partyís newspaper and its spokespersons have descended have also helped to rip apart the previously pristine image of the SLPP. On page 3 of the same June 6th edition which B.W. Bockarie was apologising for, was a demeaning reference to a leading female newspaper publisher with the term of ďwhoreĒ. It appears the Independent Media Commission is too weak to effectively curtail the tribal and gutter madness of the opposition SLPP.
ďSLPP is molesting by tribes. If it is not Temnes today, it will be Mandingos tomorrow or Fullahs the next day. Other times, they will be discarding other tribes and saying the Mendes and Temnes is what matters to them. All the time, SLPP is using tribalism and the Political Parties Registration Commission is unable to discipline them,Ē said a retired veteran journalist who did not want to be named for fear of SLPP members like the infamous Kalilu Totangi going to the gutter levels with him and his parents as is now the calling card trademark of the SLPP.