Bob Massally: Sierra Leone Telegraph: 14 May 2020:
How low a depth of despair and despondency the SLPP/APC rivalry has sunk is clearly illustrated by a video that has gone viral on Facebook, depicting two Sierra Leoneans, apparently on a manhunt in the streets of Eindhoven, The Netherlands, for the real or fictitious “Adebayor”.
Adebayor is accused by SLPP supporters and the Sierra Leone Government of inciting and fuelling the spate and wave of riots in Sierra Leone, from the relative comfort of his living room in The Netherlands, with a cheese burger in one hand and a KFC chicken leg in the other hand.
The video showed the two SLPP supporters visiting a McDonalds and a police station as part of their itinerary, and was swiftly followed by another gentleman, claiming to be the hunted Adebayor posing outside the same police station.
There is a real risk of this SLPP/APC turf war playing out in the cobbled streets of Eindhoven, Rotterdam, Amsterdam or the Hague – the main cities in the “Low Country”.
One could have thought that the Sierra Leone Ambassador to the EU ought to have been tasked to undertake a delicate and sensitive mission to trace and track the designated villain, even though the threshold to prove a conspiracy to incite is set higher in democratic Netherlands.
It is rather unfortunate that the job is left with the two scruffy-looking guys claiming to be executive members of the SLPP Netherlands.
If Adebayor is an Asylum-seeker in the Netherlands, that video has just strengthened any case of persecution he might have filed with the Asylum authorities at Aanmeldcentrum Schiphol AC in Amsterdam.
The seeds of the balkanization of Sierra Leone have been sown since the late 60s but our propensity of being tribal has gone up another notch in 2018.
The outcome of the elections two years ago, painted a picture of a country that has never been so polarised along tribal and regional lines.
Nowadays, even Kono and Kambia have carved out their own political fiefdoms. The words of former Head of State, Juxon-Smith about the intense and unsustainable political rivalry and tribal politics in the country are so prescient.
Developed nations are contemplating and planning how to cope, post-corona, with the predicted worst recession ever recorded. Scholars who specialise in 20th Century History attributed the hate politics of the National Sozialismus in Germany and other dictatorships of the time to the harsh socio-economic conditions, not only due to the first world war but also due to the after-effects of the pandemic Spanish flu in 1918.
As sure as hell, like other African countries with aid-dependent economies, this Corona pandemic will hit Sierra Leone hard, and the social fabric of the nation stretched beyond its elastic limit.
More rioting could not be ruled out. It is pathetic, therefore, that with such dire Corona socio-economic warnings and our perennial challenges of uncontrollable population growth, low export earnings – subjected to the vagaries of the commodity markets and unchecked or undeterred looting of our treasury by the elite, courtesy flexible conduit to offshore bank accounts beyond the reach of our Anti-Corruption Commission, we are busy tearing ourselves to pieces.
It is time for cool heads, not labelling of non-SLPP supporters or sympathisers as terrorists.
Some people who strongly believe that both APC and SLPP are up to no good, and could have harboured any ambition of finding a third way in the Sierra Leonean political landscape, might just reassess their positions and adopt a pack mentality in the face of such blanket name-calling of a party, and by extension a whole region.
Adebayor is an attention-seeker, perhaps chasing more social media clicks and the attendant benefits it brings as an influencer. The two guys in the video claiming they represent SLPP Netherlands are trying their very best to have the attention, favour and respect of Bio.
I hope his Excellency the President could wise up and ask those two supporters to stop what they are doing in the Netherlands.
If Adebayor is eventually lynched, the two SLPP guys will be prime suspects, the Freetown Government will offer them no protection and the folly will potentially trigger a diplomatic crisis.