Sierra Leone opposition SLPP at the cusp of a long awaited peace deal
Sierra Leone Telegraph: 9 February 2017
After years of self-flagellation which almost led to the calamitous downfall of Sierra Leone’s main opposition SLPP party, there is news today of an end to its downward spiral.
Peace it seems has finally returned where there was once anarchy, division and infighting among party leaders aspiring for the presidential candidacy of the party.
All of the presidential aspirants of the SLPP had a fruitful peace meeting yesterday at the party office in Freetown, after which they all walked together across to the capital’s historic landmark – the Freetown Cotton Tree where they made public speeches to embrace the arrival of the new normal – peace.
Speaking to the Sierra Leone Telegraph last night, Alie Kabba – the architect of the peace deal and mission, said: “I am delighted to see that peace is returning to this our great party, and I pray that it will be sustained for the good of democracy in Sierra Leone, and the members of the party to whom so much is owed.”
In an interview on the 22nd of January 2017, en-route to Sierra Leone, Alie Kabba told the editor of the Sierra Leone Telegraph Abdul Rashid Thomas , that he will be calling on all SLPP party grassroots supporters of flagbearer aspirants across the country, to form Peace and Unity Brigades (PUB) as a platform for mass mobilisation and promotion of internal party harmony at all levels.
Today he has not disappointed supporters and well wishers of the SLPP. “Grassroots supporters must rise above divisive personality-centred politics and embrace the common foundation of what is good for the party and country,” said Alie Kabba.
He emphasized that it is the responsibility of the grassroots membership “to hold party leadership collectively accountable for ongoing problems, including the perennial failure to positively position the party in strategic ways that will enhance national electability”.
Like many true party loyalists, Alie Kabba did not shy away from expressing his utter exasperation at the crippling inability to prevent the party from being stuck in what he described as “the drag-down and stuck-in mud of incessant personality squabble and counterproductive actions”.
Alie Kabba firmly decried the futility of fighting each other in the party, instead of focusing energies on how to defeat APC and take SLPP back to State House in February 2018.
“SLPP must urgently end internal feuding and quickly heal self-inflicted wounds”, he re-emphasized, stressing:”There are no winners in selfish divisions and acrid acrimony. We are all losers when we fail to see merit in collective victory”.
On the question of how he hopes to achieve the elusive party unity, Alie told Abdul Rashid Thomas that “unity will have to come from the bottom up – not top down, because those at the top have failed to deliver us from internecine conflict”.
He maintained that he is a strong believer in the power of ordinary party members to apply needed pressure on those at the top, which will compel the rest to work towards lasting peace and unity.
“It is time to move from who is right or wrong, or which side you are on, to how we can bring everyone on board, leaving no one out,” said Alie Kabba.
“It is naive to count on anyone in the ruling APC government to deliver peace and unity for us in the SLPP,” he underscored.
In his characteristic approach as an activist and a unifier, Alie Kabba called on fellow SLPP party stalwarts to “roll up our sleeves and work selflessly in pursuit of an all-inclusive solution to our current internal challenges, for peace and unity will not fall from the sky; and, above all, we must resist the easy temptation to throw the baby out with the bathwater in frustration or anger at each other. We are all branches of the same mighty tree – SLPP!”
Here is Kabba talking peace: