Breaking News

Breaking news as it happens in Sierra Leone

Grey Advert box

Advertise here

Blue Advert box

Advertise here

Yellow Advert box

Advertise here

Green Advert box

Advertise here

Red Advert box

Advertise here

Blue Advert box

Advertise here

Yellow Advert box

Advertise here

Green Advert box

Advertise here

Red Advert box

Advertise here

Grey Advert box

Advertise here

 

 

 

 

 

TURNING AROUND WITH JOSEPH SYL-BAUNS 076-809798

SLPP RADIO DISCUSSIONS AND INTERVIEWS

The build up to the past SLPP delegates’ conference in Bo that elected their present national executive generated a lot of controversies, acrimony and distrust. The radio discussion and interviews involving supporters of contesting candidates did not make the contest healthy and the ugly trend continued even after the election. However, a new scenario seems to be emerging after the arrest of Mayor Harold Tucker of Bo City and brought down to Freetown for questioning on the allegation of taking part in an “illegal meeting”. When I attentively listened to the interview of the Deputy Mayor Wurie Jalloh who accompanied the Mayor to Freetown over FM 103.5, I realized that indeed there are still matured politicians in SLPP across the age brackets. Before the interview started, I had the fear and apprehension that the Deputy Mayor will be presumptuous in answering questions relating to the crisis in SLPP; and as expected from the interviewer was the question as to whether the arrest of the Mayor was engineered from within the SLPP circles or not.

The Deputy Mayor completely broke away from the tradition of his predecessors (the I.Js and the Tamba Sams) by not blowing out of proportion the party’s internal crisis. Rather, his main focus and purpose I gathered during the interview was to say something useful to the numerous supporters and sympathizers that bring unity in the party and not divisions. What everybody in SLPP should remember is that party politics is purely a family party affair. Therefore to reconstitute political life in that family or party presupposes a loyal supporter of the ideals of the party; whereas, to have a recourse to creating bad blood and vulgarity which has been attributed to supporters of rival candidates before and after the election in order to achieve prominence in the party supposes disloyalty that destroys the unity and slogan of the party (One Country One People).

The arrest of the Mayor of Bo City Harold Tucker coinciding with the formation of the Reconciliation Committee, a committee that would have long been set up after the 20111 flag bearer election, offers a unique opportunity for the party to unite without relenting using all forces at its disposal to dispel all the negative publicity it is now suffering from.

The problem in the SLPP has a long history dating back to ex-President Kabbah’s era. The Reconciliation Committee has to critically examine both the remote and immediate causes of the deep seated mistrust within the party. The youth wing of the party has never been properly organized leading to their frustration, after losing two consecutive elections that has now been translated into violence, a culture alien to the party. The mismatch in the combination of selection of the flag bearer and the running mate of the party for general elections has been in part responsible for the party losing the two national elections. Ex-President Kabbah’s dumping of ex-Vice President Joe Demby and his forcing of Solomon Berewa and Momodu Koroma as flag bearer and running mate respectively on the party caused a lot of unease in the party especially when prior to 2007 election Ex-President Kabbah and Solomon Berewa fell out.

 Also Maada Bio selection of Kadie Sesay as a running mate ignoring the fact that the contest between him and Usu Boi was closely fought, contributed to the division in the party. Even though Usu Bio is no longer in the party but a majority of those who supported him remained in the party and some are members of parliament. A good number of them are still direct beneficiaries of the artificial confusion affecting the party like cabinet; parliament under the watchful eyes of SLPP Members of Parliament is operating on the principle of collective responsibility with no dissenting views which is not very good for our democracy.

Paul Kamara, Victor Foe, Mrs. Kala Kamara and Logus Koroma despite their shortcomings when they appeared before the Appointment Committee in parliament were showered with praises by both SLPP and APC members of parliament. Without reconciling the SLPP parliamentarians, there will be no true platform for bringing government to book. Because ninety percent of media houses in this country are pro-government and perverted; hence it is only an effective parliamentary opposition, which SLPP presently lacks, can save the people from the bad governance of the APC- led government.

Of great concern to every supporter and sympathizer of SLPP was the outcome of the past national executive convention. The position of Chairman/Leader of the party closely contested by Chief Kapen and Ambassador Bangura was a much closer contest than what was between Maada Bio and Usu Bio that left the party torn apart by defections and expulsions.

This brings us to the fact that politicians are the worst risk managers. The anticipated choice of the flag bearer for 2017 overshadowed the entire electoral process, resulting to unnecessary radio discussions and interviews.  From that point several options were open to party hierarchy when the party under the flag bearer of SLPP, Maada Bio at the 2012 general elections and before the dismissal of the election petition several options were opened to the party hierarchy; that was to review the operations of the party and identify the reasons why the party lost the 2012 elections and map out a way forward that will ensure the party’s victory in 2017. It was premature for the national executive immediately after the election to agree on Maada Bio and Kadie providing political leadership while the mandate of the existing executive then was still in force. The risk associated with creating a parallel structure in the party was too great and helped to nurture divisions within the party.

The argument for Maada to be given another opportunity to lead the party in 2017 has a lot of weights and has to be discussed at length pointing out the merits and demerits of such a decision. I vividly remember in one of his radio discussions the Secretary General raising the issue in passing though that was not the appropriate forum. Now that the Reconciliation Committee has been set up, which I hope with the understanding that it is acceptable to both parties. The issues raised above could form some of the basis for true and lasting reconciliation, because lasting reconciliation is easily obtainable in a situation where interest of all are the same, for discord arises from conflictive interest where different measures are advantageous to different party supporters. 

If indeed the choice of the flag bearer for 2017 general elections is the root cause of the instability in the party then the Reconciliation Committee should not shy away from discussing it with a view to knowing how it could be managed so that the 2017 general elections will be fought on the platform of unity and not disunity within the party. The experience of 2011 flag bearership election should be avoided at all costs. Against this background, there should be no parallel reconciliation committee; supporters of Maada Bio should learn from the experiences of Solomon Berewa, and the Pa en eye; they may have a valid case, but the polarity of Maada should be properly managed, hence let us wait for our elders of wisdom who form the Reconciliation Committee to build the broken bridge, not King Jimmy bridge, for the SLPP to safely cross and get to State House. 

In the end it is the principle of “give and take” and it is the party that will triumph and not individuals. Let negative radio discussions and interviews cease forthwith remembering the biblical saying that “when you fall into trials and temptations count it all joy for the testing of faith produces patience”. Let patience have its perfect work so that every supporter, member and sympathizer would be perfect and complete lacking nothing.