From Awareness Times Newspaper in Freetown

COMMENTS & OPINIONS
THE NEED FOR A NATIONAL AGENDA FOR CHANGE
By Bartholomew B. Bockarie
Jan 14, 2010, 17:12

One of the foremost writers of the world William Shakespeare noted in one of his popular plays that the time of life is short and to spend that baselessly will be worthless. What Shakespeare succinctly expressed was that people should take advantage of time by making full use of it. This was because time, once lost would hardly be regained. This is what I intend to take up with the entire membership of the Sierra Leone Peoples Party (SLPP) whose reckless handling of vital issues resulted into once more entrusting precious political power into the ruthless and utterly corrupt hands of the ruling All Peoples Congress Party (APC).

Members of the Sierra Leone Peoples Party both at home ( Sierra Leone) and in the Diaspora need a shock reminder that this is 2010 and that the general elections ( Presidential and Parliamentary) are scheduled for 2012. For those who have little idea as to what electioneering involves, may see 2012 as still not only long but enough time for those elections to be held. I therefore wish to starkly bring to the attention of members of the Sierra Leone Peoples Party that time is not in their favour and that the rigging of elections does not only occur on the day of the elections. It is but a cumulative process which is eventually climaxed on the day of the elections. Thus the Sierra Leone Peoples Party ought to be reminded that as they continue in disarray the All Peoples Congress Party are busy plotting and executing mechanisms that would entrench them in power.

I am not raising this concern because I merely want to see members of the Sierra Leone Peoples Party at the helm of political affairs in Sierra Leone. I am doing so because the continuous existence in power of the All Peoples Congress Party would definitely mean perpetrating the suffering that Sierra Leoneans across the board must have been subjected to by this current regime.

It could be recalled that in the march to the general elections in 2007, the All Peoples Congress party, with the help of the current Information and Communications Minister, Alhaji Ibrahim Ben Kargbo waged a negative and deadly propanganda on the Sierra Leone Peoples Party government under then President Ahmed Tejan Kabbah.

The depth of that negative propaganda was such that it virtually succeeded in surreptitiously ‘wining’ over the minds and hearts of the growing (youth) population that had hitherto not experienced what ills the All Peoples Congress Party was capable of doing. Thus with their little background of the treachery of the All Peoples Congress party, that party was able to make a dubious come back thereby taking over the mantle of political leadership. Today, it is becoming apparent that members of the All Peoples Congress party are quietly appreciating the Sierra Leone Peoples Party as they are now realising that governing a post conflict nation, particularly like ours is really not as easy as how people imagined it to be.

The promises by the All Peoples Congress party to transform Sierra Leone into gold, getting rid of hunger and all forms of corruption are now a sham. Painfully, rather than helping to improve situation the APC is ignominiously retrogressing it, reinforced by the degree of hardship people are experiencing more than ever before. This assertion here is largely perceived to be correct by Emmerson Boackarie’s latest release of "Our yesterday is by far better than our today." Someone only needs to listen to that track keenly so as to be able to interprete it correctly.

Minister Alhaji Ibrahim Ben Kargbo, whilst he was President of the Sierra Leone Association of Journalists could not even endeavour to be professional but came out too open in support of the All Peoples Congress party. That was the least that was expected of someone who was expected to be neutral in a national political contest. Strangely enough, I B Kargbo did not only become outspoken against then Sierra Leone People Party government but went the extra mile of recruiting his likes in that ‘noble profession’ in his deadly fight against the Sierra Leone Peoples Party government. Was he doing all that for the love and concern for the people of Sierra Leone or for selfish reasons for finding ways and means of ‘gbesigbesing’ for his retirement age?

It’s worthy to recall these things because it is good to ask Minister I.B. Kargbo whether the current system prevailing in Sierra Leone was actually what he was advocating for when condemning the then Sierra Leone Peoples Party Government. Do Minister Kargbo and his likes who advocated for that dastardly change know that people are suffering across the board in that country more than ever before?

Another reason why this is worthy to raise now is to bring to the attention of Minister Kargbo that it was under him as President of the Sierra Leone Association of Journalists that that profession went unprofessional and took a political posture. Above all, it was under your hegemony as President that the Sierra Leone Association of Journalists did the greatest disservice to Sierra Leone by misleading and deliberately misinforming the people which eventually culminated into the wrong decision of voting for the All Peoples Congress party. Were Minister I B Kargbo and his recruits of the All Peoples Congress party not heard on virtually every FM Radio in that city? I am sure in his new found wealth and power, Mr. Information and Communications Ministers would never have time to sit back and reflect on the way things are going in that country. Sadly enough their devilish activities have resulted in pushing Sierra Leoneans into the doldrums of endemic poverty and totally unacceptable misery for a set of people in the twenty first century.

The All Peoples Congress should know that people are suffering and living in squalor and misery. As one of the observers, I am extremely concerned about the level of poverty and misery because it’s a potential source for ultimate civil unrest in any given society. Thus considering what that country went through for almost eleven years (1991-2000), no meaningful Sierra Leonean would even want to dream of that ugly scenario again. It must however be understood that human endurance obviously has a limit, and therefore we don’t want to sit idling by until the suffering of the masses reach the limit of their endurance and patience.

A possible solution to this unacceptable suffering inflicted upon our people is to see that as a party, the Sierra Leone Peoples Party galvanise their effort in an manner that would put an end to the bad dreams now obtaining in that country which members of the All Peoples Congress Party are imagining it to be running a government.

It’s an open secret that under the APC all the vices people fought against over the years have now reared their ugly heads. There is discrimination at the highest levels against South and Easterners as manifested by their selective dismissal from the civil service in particular. There is corruption as it is now sung by that country’s musicians. There is tribalism and sectionalism, to name but a few. Were those not the vices that contributed to the almost eleven years of war in that country? Where does this regime of the APC party want to take this country to?

From the way things are going in Sierra Leone, there are all indications that the activities of the APC party itself will help to throw that party out of power come 2012. This is because, by the time we come to the close of this year, things must have taken different dimension to the point that people must come together like they did in the past with then infamous rebels of the Revolutionary United Front and later the National Provisional Ruling Council before 1996 general elections and throw out this growing infamous APC party out of power. Certainly it will not be too long when the final whistle will be blown for those marching orders. We are not talking of Sierra Leone of yesteryears but Sierra Leone after years of hardened war and over five years of modern democracy enjoyed under The SLPP.

This being the case, the membership of the Sierra Leone Peoples Party ought to brace up themselves and play their part of ensuring a popular and peaceful return of their party to power come 2012. This is what is expected of every party member regardless of which part of the globe they might be. It’s more than time for members of this party to know that with the present crop of growing youth population in Sierra Leone, the issue of primitive or traditional loyalty for the Sierra Leone Peoples Party is virtually a relic of the past. The party is now expected to go the extra mile by comparing life and general condition of living under the Sierra Leone Peoples Party government and the current regime. There is no doubt that there are many things that this party can preach to help them win the hearts and minds of even the youth population in Sierra Leone. It’s important to emphasise here that the issue of complacency no longer has any place in the rogue politics of Sierra Leone and that people must be prepared to take the bull by their horns if need be.

There is also no doubt that if people can make up their minds and be prepared to make the necessary contributions in whatever form or shape, the Sierra Leone Peoples Party can have an easy come back and help to take Sierra Leone from its present debasing and morass conditions to a status that would be the envy of it’s neighbours within that sub region and Africa as a whole.

Above all, I wish to categorically emphasise that Sierra Leone, whether from within the Sierra Leone Peoples Party or not, requires a national political agenda. This therefore demands an agenda for a meaningful change that can be put forward to the people that they can buy and vote on. It ought to be understood today that modern politics obviously provide a definite agenda for which the people must vote on. One only needs to spare time to read thoroughly President Obama’s Change We Can Believe In to see why the American people, in spite of colour or background, voted him as president of one of the greatest nations on earth. He certainly presented to the American people a definite agenda for change and demonstrated that he was in total control of all that he was saying to Americans.

For all intends and purposes, this has been a missing link in the politics of Sierra Leone for quite a considerable period because we had hardly voted on principles or policies and have never been able to hold the politicians accountable for the implementation of their so called party manifestos. Thus a national agenda that can chart a definite way forward for that country is what the people will require to make a decision come 2012. It thus stands to reason why every party must put its house in order. As a nation, we cannot certainly afford going backward at all times when all other nations are on the fast forward. It’s more than time for SLPP to have a cohesive national agenda which the APC can hardly provide, which will take this country forward in a manner that can help it regain it place amongst other decent communities of the world.



© Copyright 2005, Freetown, Sierra Leone.