SLPP is at crossroads

Amadu Kamara

Sierra Leone Telegraph: 30 August 2015

TEJAN KABBAH 2

SLPP is now at cross roads, and the survival of the party will depend largely on whether or not they win the 2018 general and presidential elections.

But the problem my dear party is facing right now, is the fact that politically the party has been making the same mistakes since Sir Albert Margai in the 1960s.

Sir Albert sidelined many party members, including M.S. Mustapha and John Kerefa-Smart, which led to many Northerners leaving the party to join Siaka Steven’s APC.

Initially, Paramount Chief Bai Faramah Tass of Kambia district agreed to step down to allow Sir Milton Margai lead the party.

The agreement among party elders then was that, after Sir Milton’s reign the party’s leadership must rotate to the North. But upon the great man’s death, his step brother Albert (Photo: Below), forced his way into becoming the leader of the SLPP, and this led to the defection of many northerners to APC.

albert margai
Albert Margai

But yet there were many northern paramount chiefs who maintained loyalty to the SLPP, and who as a result of their loyalty, moved to prevent the newly formed APC from campaigning in their areas.

A few of these chiefs – included Bai Koblo, Pat-Bana (Lunsar), Bai Shebora Yumkella (Kambia), Adekailie Modu (Port Loko) and Komkanda of Lungi.

This led to them being ousted by the Juxton-Smith military-led government, based on the recommendations of the Dove Edwin commission.

The current vicious attacks on the northern SLPP party members, is reminiscent of those bad old Albert Margai days, as he is remembered for sidelining many northern leaders in order to take over the SLPP party.

Instead of placating the aggrieved members, Margai replaced them with Southerners, and since then, SLPP is being perceived as a regional party (mainly southern – if not exclusively southern).

Tejan Kabba and Solomon Berewa made great efforts to restore the SLPP’s image as a national party.

Yumkella and SLPP chairman KapenBut the recent ousting of Alie Bangura from the party, and the attacks on party chairman – Sumano Kapen and presidential aspirant – Dr. Kandeh Yumkella (Photo), even to the extent that a man whose family suffered in the hands of APC is now being labelled APC, because he is from the north, do not bode well for the party.

This negative attitude is cementing SLPP’s position as a regional party, rather than a national party.

SLPP needs to know that it can only win as a national party. The party needs support from every corner of Sierra Leone, and not just a few selected districts.

So, if Maada Bio is really serious about becoming President of Sierra Leone, and not just a perpetual flagbearer, he has to stop attacking Northern members and please make efforts to win support across the country, especially APC strongholds in the north.

Can SLPP transform itself on time before the 2018 general and presidential elections?

2 Comments

  1. Thank you Sierra Leone Telegraph for publishing my comment on your frontpage as an article. We need to get the message across that SLPP can only win by building alliances. This new campaign of exclusion will only further reduce our base

  2. A short, but well written piece. I am neither APC nor SLPP, I am first and last a Sierra Leonean, who wants to see a lively political atmosphere, dominated by brilliant ideas and policy arguments.

    However, at gunpoint, I would like to see Charles Margai’s PMDC in power, so as to thrust the two major parties (APC and SLPP) into the political wilderness for a few years, so that they can take stock of themselves and stop taking the people for granted.

    Indeed, the greatest weakness SLPP has is that, they are slow in the head – perhaps because of conservative thinking. Even when something hits them in the face, they don’t see it.

    So many opportunities have presented themselves for them to act decisively as an opposition party, but they let them slip away, causing people like me to wonder whether they are living in the real world.

    Take the recent audit report into the stolen $14 million Ebola funds. This was a Godsend moment for them to hold Earnest Koroma’s feet to the fire. But SLPP fell asleep at the controls, having got tired from fighting among themselves.

    The author of this article is right. Only an all-inclusive SLPP can successively beat APC at the polls. APC are nimble and dexterous in cutting deals to grab power. And if it means jumping into bed with the devil for a few hours, they will do it, after which they will run to a church or mosque to spiritually clean themselves.

    They now have a Mende man – Victor Foh as Vice President. Please help me somebody to do the political calculation of this move.

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