How to solve Sierra Leone’s problems: Remove SLPP, APC and their cronies from politics – Op ed

Saidu Bangura PhD: Sierra Leone: 02 June 2022:

We need to purge these two parties from our political ecology through the ballot box and ban all their reprobate members and collaborators from ever taking public office in our country for their part in the perennial pillaging of our economy or for not creating a country worth living in.

Sixty-one years of independence and sixty-one years of sociopolitical and socioeconomic damage and backwardness, coupled with nepotism, tribalism, and corruption orchestrated by these two political parties have led our country to become one of the poorest countries in the world with a low human development index rating of its people, our abundant natural and mineral resources notwithstanding.

The more we give these two political parties an opportunity to govern our country, the more they take us down the drains. The downward spiral is unending. It is time to give new political actors the opportunity to govern our country, and hopefully free our people from their economic woes.

A country like Cabo Verde with no mineral resources and no rains for six consecutive years now, yet most homes can boast of steady clean running water and constant electricity; boast of strong and independent institutions which have stood the test of time; people are paid on time; there is a good urban and inter-urban transport system; good roads; good and strong internet coverage; good and free public school system with no bogus data quality basic and secondary school bla bla bla system; an encouraging e-governance system that is being developed progressively year after year; young, but robust tertiary institutions which were not interrupted by Covid-19; no fake degree industries and scandal; no mischievous statistics institution running a syndicate of engineered data for political gains; no unpunished public financial misappropriation actors, that is, no sacred cows; hence minimal corruption practices by the political elites.

The political parties that have ever governed Cabo Verde since independence in 1975 have never connived to deprive us – the people, of our basic needs. In fact, they compete to deliver good service to the people – the reason why Cabo Verde is a Middle-Income Earning country irrespective of the fact that it was deemed impossible to survive when it gained its independence.

The one singular natural resource that has helped Cabo Verde is its human resource capital and the consequent progressive steps the country has made in building strong institutions through the human capital progressive mindset of its people and the efforts the politicians have made to implement best practices in all its institutions.

What has Sierra Leone and its people done to deserve these two rogue political parties?

Sierra Leone is where it is today because of these two political parties, their subset political renegades and their thieving collaborators. If we have a good leader who is honest with a good track record of integrity and discipline and humble enough to know that s/he was employed through the ballot box to serve the people of Sierra Leone, no Sierra Leonean will see the need to leave Sierra Leone for other countries and end up developing his/her host country that lacks the natural and mineral resources that we have; no Sierra Leonean will see emigration as an economic avenue and end up becoming a beggar in other countries that should have begged from Sierra Leone; no Sierra Leonean will be poor and hungry in a country like ours given the natural and mineral resources we have; no Sierra Leonean will be uneducated considering the historical trajectory of our educational institutions within West Africa and beyond; no Sierra Leonean will sleep in darkness because we have failed to tap into our natural resources for the production of clean energy; no Sierra Leonean will drink unclean and unsafe water from a dug well in Freetown and other major cities and towns considering the fact that we have six months or more of rains and our rivers are not short of that natural liquid.

We will all live at home and contribute to our collective development, happiness, peaceful co-existence, and enjoy our beautiful country blessed with a lot of natural and mineral resources.

After these two political parties have failed to make our diamonds, gold, iron ore, rutile, bauxite, and other mineral resources work for us, there are now rumours of oil and gas reserves to be explored and exploited by foreign companies.

If this is true, and the negotiators fail to think Sierra Leone first, second, third, fourth, fifth, and they dare think of themselves and what they stand to gain, Sierra Leone is gone and will become a failed state permanently. If this is true, and we fail to include the current economic decadence that we face as a nation at the negotiation table, then we are doomed for life as a people and country. If this is true, and we fail to include the prosperity of all Sierra Leoneans at the negotiation table, then we have lost our country and people.

If this is true, and we make only a cheap bargain for individual reasons and gains as we have done in other natural and mineral resources’ explorations, Sierra Leone will be wiped off the map of potentially and economically viable and prosperous nations. If this is true, and we do not think of changing the course of our nation, our children and children’s children will not have a country to call home.

Still, if the current administration allows whoever it is to explore our oil and gas reserves and we end up becoming exploited, we will have no country to call home.

If the current administration allows itself to be financially colonized by whoever it is and does not think of nationalizing the whole venture, we will have no country to call home. If the current administration allows itself to be bullied by whoever it is or any other billionaire to explore our oil and gas reserves without the country taking the lead, we will have no country to call home.

If the current administration tries to play political games for the 2023 elections with our oil and gas reserves, they will fail their party and their cronies and hence our country since they represent us as a government; for our people will continue to be fooled by another set of vague and flamboyant electoral promises.

If after sixty-one years of independence we cannot explore our natural wealth and cannot negotiate well for the benefit of all Sierra Leoneans, I think we will have no option but to go back to the drawing board for a new politically independent Sierra Leone which will give birth to an economically independent and sustainable country.

We have once sold our country to some foreign agents helped by our former colonial rogues, and they have ever been reigning economically on our natural and other resources. Now, new buyers are warming up to enter our field of mineral resources while our people’s sufferings are never in the agendas of these two thieving political parties and their associates.

What do we need to do now as a people and country?

Let us do all that we can to change the status quo established by these two unpatriotic, unprogressive, and myopic political parties that have stagnated us as a nation and people for six decades through the ballot box, come June 2023. (Author: Dr Saidu Bangura).

We need to educate our people about the evil plans of these two political parties to continue to keep most Sierra Leoneans poor and hungry; to continue to keep Sierra Leoneans and their unborn generations uneducated irrespective of the bogus human capital bla bla bla that we keep hearing about, and to continue to keep every Sierra Leonean dependent on them.

Let us change them and ban their most notorious thieves from ever taking us as their political and economic hostages again. Sixty-one years of the reign of these two enemies of Sierra Leone have not brought any sustainable economic and human development to our country and people.

Let us try other political actors that are not part of these chronic thieves that have deprived Sierra Leone and its people of everything, and that have divided Sierra Leoneans by politicizing our sociocultural and ethnolinguistic peaceful co-existence as a people. Enough is enough!

About the author

Dr Saidu Bangura is Director of Masters in English Studies: Linguistics and Language Teaching; Coordinator of Specialized Commission, Languages and Literature in the Faculty of Social Sciences, Humanities & Arts, at the University of Cabo Verde.

8 Comments

  1. I personally believe that Sierra Leoneans need to work with what we have in our hands rather than what we have in our heads. The reality is, getting rid of the SLPP and APC is just a WISHFUL THINKING. Unfortunately, what is lacking in our nation is honest discussions based on the fact that t”there is no perfection in humanity”. Sierra Leone used to be described as “Paradise on Earth” which was not only based on its beautiful landscape but for its Human Capital Development on Education-“Anthem Of West Africa”.
    I was fortunate to have experienced life in the late 60’s to early 70’s when real democracy and developmental issues were discussed and implemented. During those “Good Old Days” our standard of living was like the above description as Cape Verde, but unfortunately the IDEOLOGY AND MINDSET of ONE LEADER of the APC party decided to outlaw the opposition SLPP party which resulted in ONE PARTY DICTATORSHIP.

    He also succeeded in changing the Mindset of most of the people about EDUCATION, that Bailor Barrie who was a very successful and prominent businessman with low standard of education, was much better than Davidson Nicol who was a role model for Education in our region. “Den say Bailor Barrie, U say Davidson Nicol”. That Mindset was cemented with President Siaka Stevens’s close association with Jamil Sahid Mohamed Khalil, who dominated the diamond,fisheries,tourism, construction and aviation sectors. Corruption was also rampant and

    unfortunately, the BAD LEADERSHIP of the APC resulted in our 11 years civil war. Fast forward to 2007, ANOTHER LIFETIME LEADER President Koroma, declared that he will “Run our country as his personal business”, and based on the 2018 COI, the Ministry of Education was the most corrupt institution during the 11 years of the APC. Fake universities were established and examinations malpractice was legalized, which also reduced our Human Capital Development. Unfortunately he is not only the RICHEST MAN but left our country in AUSTERITY. Let’s continue to support the initiative of the Free quality education program and Human Capital Development, which I believe within 10- 15 years, will once again change the Mindset of our citizens.

  2. If only Juxin Smith had been allowed to succeed in ridding this country of the tribal malaise that is now prevalent, ours would have been a much better place to live comfortably by now.

  3. I agree completely with Dr. Saidu Bangura. These two parties have taken advantage of the high illiteracy rate of the population and especially that of the youths who they have often used to carry out atrocities against the populace. They offered dangerous drugs to these youths to keep them where they want them to carry out their pillage of this country and these people are there to clap for them and heave praised upon them even as they suck the blood out of them. The blind loyalty which out people have for these two parties have led this country to where it is today. They play the country one region against another or tribe against tribe .

    I hope the youths of this country can see the light and realize their future is being mortgaged by these politicians whom they have come to adore and look upon them as Gods. Look at they way these people already see Dr. Samura as the savior coming to redeem Sierra Leone. It is going to take a lot of education of the youths to let them know their future of that of their children is being destroyed by the politicians they have come to look upon as Gods and are willing to sacrifice their lives for them who are stealing their furures. Gd help out country.

  4. “ We need to purge these two parties from our political ecology through the ballot box and ban all their reprobate members and collaborators from ever taking public office in our country”…

    Roughly 80% of the nation.

  5. Dr Saidu Bangura have hit the nail on the head. Totally agreed with his assessment about how Sierra Leone and by extension the citizens of Sirrra Leone have become hostages of their own making to two of the most ruthless , leaderless political parties that have dominated our political landscape on and off the the field for the past sixty years , and to date nothing to show for their efforts in trying to develop our country.The Genesis of our problems didn’t just started after Bio took office , it stated well before the participants of the independence campaign laid the foundation stones of political , tribal , regional divisions in our country. Bio is just part of the problem not the solution. The story of Bio is the history of Sierra leone that can be told by looking at his individual .His autobiography might just tells us more about our country than his life as a little boy growing up in a big royal family house in the South .

    Trying to teach a gullible population that is clearly suffering from what can be called the Stockholm syndrome diseases , that is when a hostage start to identify with the causes of their hostage takers, we realised we have long ago entered a political midfield, full of uncertainties and our journey to economic and political liberation made all the more hazardous because we are led by a political class that is blind and can’t see beyond their noses for what really means a government for the people , by the people and for the people. To crystallise it further we need to ask the why?The answer is simple .These two political parties have been used by corrupt politicians as vehicles for personal enrichment, never mind what happened to the rest of the population.The APC is identified as the party of the North and anyone else caught in-between that is the Freetown and it’s residents .The SLPP party is seen to have it’s support base coming mainly from the South and Eastern part of Sierra Leone .This two parties are mostly dominated by two of the largest tribes in the country. Hence the cancer of corruption in the country.Because the leadership of this two parties have managed to play on the fears of their tribesmen and women to maintain absolute control of the political discourse in out country .Their support base might not necessarily benefit when they are in power but having your own brethren in State House is a tribal pride even if their families goes hungry .Seemed to me being royal to your tribe trumps everything else .

    So the corrupt politicians turn a blind eye to their sufferings and take it in turns to steal the natural resources of the country for their own private use .So no one party feels left out in the great corruption race to the bottom for our country. The only way out for our country is through education , a third party candidate,or a demographic change .As the recent census results shows we are a long way off that chart .

  6. Doc, it is a shame you will get hoodwinked by malicious rumours of oil/gas being discovered in Sierra Leone by a little known company probably of Nigerian origin. Have you checked their website? Have you read it in the Financial Times or The Ecomomist? Are they trying to boost their share price if they are listed in any stock exchange or are they in cahoot with the Sierra Leonean Government to lift dampened and pauperised spirits in Freetown and the country at large by peddling misinformation? For God’s sake, there is an election around the corner and there are pies to be painted in the sky, mirages to be created and red herrings to be thrown at to deceive once again the long-suffering and the sea-gull-like Sierra Leonean electorate in the midst of one of the worst economic and social crisis gripping the nation for decades. Do you know that the prospect of Sierra Leone becoming an oil producer was also bandied about when the former President Ernest Bai Koroma was seeking a fresh mandate from the electorate? We are approaching another election cycle and here we go again. Head winds are on the way to scupper Bio’s re-election chances in a free and fair contest hence this ploy to complement the already orchestrated elaborate scheme of emasculating the opposition using the rogue, corrupt and compromised judiciary and Anti-Corruption Commission as well as manipulating the electoral process through a fake and rogue census that will be manipulated by the newly-christened Electoral commission Sierra Leone which is overpopulated by Bio’s school mates (or cynics will say tribesmen) to create an artificial and doctored electoral register.

    One of the oldest, if not the oldest political parties in Africa, the SLPP and APC, are notorious in taking it in turns in a not-so-funny game of musical chairs in treating Sierra Leoneans as mugs. I have turned it into a pastime and a habit of mine, since the NPRC Government days, to google the UN’s Human Development and/or Happiness Indices to check whether it is for real whenever Government propaganda machines are wheeled out in form of press releases or conferences to paint rosy pictures or trumpet a life of honky dory in Sierra Leone. (https:///country-rankings/hdi-by-country, https:///country-rankings/happiest-countries-in-the-world). In the latest rankigs, we are only better than 7 countries ( Eritrea, Burkina Fasso, Mali, Burundi, Sudan, Chad, Central African Republic, Niger) most of which are live conflict zones in Sub-saharan Africa. Once again, we are gradually heading downwards and are propping up or toting our next door neighbours Guinea and Liberia in the rankings. The trend and extrapolation is clear. Few more years of SLPP or APC will see us come last (tote buckit in krio), conflict or not. What a shame? The other day i was having my maiden drive on a new bypass road built by my local council – one of the best on all fronts. The road was built to divert traffic from the town centre. I could not help it but as i was coasting along i was reflecting on life and conditions back home. When have you ever heard a Sierra Leonean head of state addressing their nation and talking about unemployment rate, GDP per capita, inflation and foreign direct investment – the bottom line when it comes to economic performance metrics? Instead they will be going on and on about roads, roads and roads.

    It is only very few of us who have smelt the coffee and after deliberate and thoughtful reasoning made our final conclusions that: whether it is our tribesman, our area man, schoolmate or college mate is at the helm in Sierra Leone, he is destined and bound to fail miserably, for one reason or the other, in meeting the basic needs and expectations of our people as long as he or she is under the banner, auspices or the umbrella of the SLPP or APC. The penny has to drop into the consciousness of a critical mass of Sierra Leoneans to change the narrative and fallacy that the arrival of our twins “Alusine and Alhassan”, our two peas in a pod and the two partners in crime “SLPP and the APC” – if you like, is the best thing that has ever happened in the motherland since toast bread. How many of us really believe that Sierra leone needs a new start, a new slate and a reset? Who is gutsy and ballsy enough to clean the stables? We are tired and fed up of leaders who come to power, grab a fake doctorate degree (honoris causa PHD degree -“philosophie doctor” in Latin – does not give you a free pass to use the doctor title) and spout bogus and meaningless slogans which never see the light of day.

    The ludicrous and infamous ones include the redeemer (Valentine Essegrabo Strasser and NPRC), Green Revolution (Joseph Saidu Momoh and APC), Longest Lungi Bridge ever (Ahmad Tejan Kabbah and SLPP), Agenda for this…and Agenda for that…(Ernest Bai Kargbo and APC) and Circulation-motion-like New Direction with indeed a change direction but in tge worst direction and transversing the well-trodden trajectory of corruption, economic mismanagement and tribalism ( Maada Woni Bio and SLPP). I could give a minuscule of credit where it is due to past Sierra Leone leaders such as Sir Milton Margai, Siaka Stevens, Valentine Strasser, Ahmed Tejan Kabbah and to a lesser extent Ernest Bai Koroma. Although they were economic dunces and invited more or less all the tribes to ravage the country, they did not not exploit and manipulate the country’s gaping demographic faultlines without any compunction to further worsen national unity and cohesion. It is more or less fair to state that the same could not be said of Albert Margai, Joseph Saidu Momoh and my man Maada Bio. Bio imbibed with that proud Bo School tradition of inclusiveness and diversity should have done even better than the aforementioned in that regard.

  7. A well-written article which highlights the core reasons for the socio-political and socio-economic quagmire in which Sierra Leone finds itself after 61 years of independence. As a patriotic Sierra Leonean, I feel your pain, share your concerns and subscribe to the ideas you have presented in this article. I hope and pray it brings about enlightenment and positive change for our country.

    My main worry is that it does appear that majority of Sierra Leoneans have been hypnotised by the APC and SLPP to the extent that they would vote for these political parties no matter the pain and suffering their respective bad governance has unleashed on them. To prove me right, just watch the space. Some of their social media hooligans will be become very offended after reading your article – some will not comment at all, while others will come out all gun-blazing as if you have stepped on what keeps them alive.

    Over the past few years, I have been pondering over the phenomenon of blind loyalty to these two political parties in the face of the atrocities they have committed and continue to unleash. This has left me wondering whether there is any such thing as addiction to poverty and pain. The attitude of some of these diehard supporters defies logic.

    The NPRC had a golden opportunity to reconfigure the political landscape of Sierra Leone and deliver the country from the stranglehold of the APC and SLPP, but they messed up big time and metamorphosed into the corrupt and destructive elements they initially claimed they had come to get rid of.

  8. When you say we, who do you refer to? Will you be thinking that most people in Sierra Leone has voted APC or SLPP? In that case how are you going to eliminate the people?
    My take is to have a very good leadership. It is not about the party but the individual who in their wisdom will take our country to where it should be. You cannot get rid of a party because it is made up of people. Those very people are going to be a part of your wider dream.

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