Sierra Leone Telegraph: 30 August 2015
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.
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.
But 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?