Is Sierra Leone moving towards national cohesion or civil conflict?

MC Bah (NDA party Leader): Sierra leone Telegraph: 3 June 2019:

The horrific and conflict style images of police firing tear gas at the APC Party headquarter on Friday, May 31, 2019 are a grim reminder of a nation at conflict with itself.

It anxiously captured the ugly memories of our troubled past – about a nation that still has not learned from the wrath of violence and conflict. And a people who still see themselves as common enemies rather than co-existing citizens of the same country.

What about a judicial court ruling that selectively cherry-picked those who violated sections of our public order act not to receive compensation from the consolidated funds when running for public office?

Is the court being used as a political instrument to carry out the wishes of the executive branch of government? How about what is good for the goose is good for the gander’s political equation?

If the High Court heard the SLPP petitions, why hasn’t it ruled on the 34 MP’s that were petitioned by the APC party and even the NGC?

How about the constitutional requirements to adjudicate such matters within a 4 month time frame or vacate any petition filed?

Then, it is the dark shadow of the former ruling APC party that spanned a trail of constitutional abuses – disqualifying elected SLPP MP’s in 2007, changing the rules and process of electing the Speaker of Parliament and even removing the former Vice President without the due process of the constitution.

Indeed, two  wrongs cannot make a right. An eye for an eye will only leave everyone blind. This vicious cycle of violence and the politics of revenge will only stifle national progress, deeply widen the political divide and move our nation closer to the brink of conflict.

Such political mindset will produce nothing but damage our international standing and diminish our credibility to a war-mongering nation, full of parochial leaders who are hypnotised with the culture of hate and revenge.

I think the “Paopa” SLPP government is moving away from the path of national cohesion and briskly going towards the dangerous tracks of national conflict.

They are preparing Sierra Leone towards the direction of confrontation and conflict.

While I have been a strong supporter of its free education plans, its robust revenue mobilization, the public hygiene on national cleaning exercise and the promotion of discipline in the workforce, the Bio administration is now becoming the problem – rather than the solution.

At the same time, the APC is still living in self-denial that they are now in opposition. More conscious efforts are needed for them to realize that the SLPP is the ruling party, mandated by the people to govern.

But the images of a poor woman drenched in blood with party officers chanting the jargons of war and trigger happy policemen flexing their muscles, sadly do not attract foreign direct investments, create jobs for the youths and pay tuition fees for a young girl in Bonthe or Kabala.

This challenging time increasingly warrants a courageous and visionary kind of leadership that is ethically and emotionally competent to bring the nation together on a common platform of unity and cohesion, rather than yielding to the demands of the angry hawkish clowns within the SLPP party who are calling for paybacks and widespread revenge.

Visible and substantial changes on the approach and attitude towards governance in Sierra Leone must be the new opportunity President Bio must pursue and embrace.

Collectively engaging former President Ernest Koroma and the various political party leaders, is an inclusive strategy that will deflate unnecessary tensions and promote national cohesion on a comprehensive footing. (Photo: Former president Koroma – APC is still living in self-denial that they are now in opposition.)

The SLPP also need to reset its governance button. That being trivial about gaining majority in parliament is less important than addressing the critical social and infrastructural demands the country badly needs today.

For instance, expanding the water infrastructure network to accommodate the Eastern part of Freetown. Building the Orogu dam that could pump 75 million barrels of water is an urgent national priority.

Furthermore,  the digitalization and importation of  biomedical equipment and X-ray machines for hospitals to identify diseases and providing access to quality drug treatments,  are serious works that need to be done.

But it serves no valuable purpose to define power as a combative tool, to marginalize the opposition and weaken our judicial institutions for the sake of political expediency.

If we can provide access to a strong broadband network where every institution, both private and public are digitalized and computerized, where we no longer use ledger books to enrol primary school children, then we can adequately utilize modern technology and advance the livelihood of our citizens.

Governance is about changing lives and building the character of a nation.

We must really outgrow ourselves from this political pettiness and avoid the politics of ruthless emotional retribution. They take us nowhere and provide no way out.

No institutions can be built on such egocentric pattern of behaviours. The Bintumani 111 conference must translate into something tangible and different.

The government should have a national master plan for expanding electricity coverage beyond the current 28% threshold, and work towards diversifying it with partial thermal, solar and even coal energy generation.

These are the serious national battles that really need to be waged and fought, not the culture of “an eye for an eye” that can only result in the loss of innocent lives and increase the deficit of mistrust. They are nothing but the same old political play books we have seen for the past five decades.

It is time to reverse and change course. A New Direction should not be the same old direction.

President Bio must therefore think creatively and strategically, rather that yield to the dangerous voices of the retributionists who are obsessed in blindly plunging our nation into chaos and conflict.

The main opposition APC party also must understand and accept that their time in governance is over. They must mentally and cognitively yield to the reality of history, that the SLPP party won the election on March 31, 2018.

Everyone must therefore move on and help to rebuild Sierra Leone.

12 Comments

  1. It is annoying that obscure politicians from equally obscure political parties would lie in wait for an opportunity to attack a very hard working president.

    What has a man like Mr. C. Bah got to offer Sierra Leone? Why would he blame president Julius Bio for everything happening in Sierra Leone even when some are isolated incidents not having anything to do with the presidency?

    It is a shame that Mr. Bah could not even sum up the courage to direct his shots at the Inspector General of Police or the irresponsible leaders of the APC with their fake blood. Yet it is president Bio that he blames as if president Bio is the babysitter of the police and the cowards leading the APC.

    Are many of these guys jealous of president Bio’s achievements? Could Mr. Bah achieve in five years what president Bio has achieved in one year?

  2. The major problem with APC is themselves because it seems as if since they lost the 2018 Presidential Election and the Speakership of parliament they have this inner voice confusing them. They have blamed everybody under the sun for their abysmal failure including N’fa Alie Conteh, the British High Commissioner, the ECOWAS team especially John Mahama, the police and even the Pope that former president Koroma introduced to his clowns (presidential aspirants). They are even blaming God for giving them President Maada Bio again, but unfortunately they are afraid to blame their leadership. They definitely lack peace and happiness from within so no one should expect much from them.

    In their confused state of mind, the sun has fallen and the world should be in total darkness and confusion until they return to power, then the sun will rise and shine on us again. I really pity them because the worst fight anyone can face is with yourself because ‘you can never run away from yourself’

  3. Mr Bah and Co, could you please congratulate the police for responding swiftly to violence by individuals in our society? If you were a police and should maintain law and order, what would you have done, where a whole lot of people throw missiles at you? Is the police not a family? Don’t they have protection at all?

    I have never been wanted by law because I don’t adhere to the call of politicians to violently demonstrate and make other citizens uncomfortable.I am not supporting any extra excessive force applied by police outside the ambit of the law. But when have you come out to condemn violence by political parties against us the peaceful citizens?

    Are you really honest to your conscience and country? Any form of attempt to throw missiles at the police in the discharge of their duty is rebellious. Do you understand that such nature of actions by our brother and sister youths, it will spill into further violence?

    Do you love our youths to be good citizens for themselves, families and country? You people who call yourselves politicians are very much dishonest. Since we have a new government, what have you done to accept the outcome of the elections and join the government to foster development in this country, as a political party leader? Or you want to be seen by people as trying to speaking the truth?

    You people are justifying the violent actions of our youths in society, rather than totally and strongly coming against it. What if your children act same way to you at home when you want to apply discipline at home? Are we really serious as Sierra Leoneans? Are the actions of our youths the same as those in the overseas country you go? How do you justify the actions of politicians calling their membership to assemble at party offices to challenge court authority and police?

    Is that a justifiable way to address court actions that has gone against a political party? The party now in power were in court many times before elections in 2018, to some point that we nearly were fed up with them. Did they barricade streets and disturb your peace? Instead we see them dance behind their leaders accompanying them to their party office.

    The past government used to attack them violently using the police and to some extent their APC party thugs to cause mayhem against the SLPP. What did you ever do? How many cases or political incarceration cases that members of the SLPP in opposition suffered in the hands of them government, and them taking to the street to create unrest in our society?

    Can you show us any violent actions by their youths then? And you people continue to write and talk issues out of hate, insincerity and hypocrisy against certain values of the government. We have been in a country where every facet of the society, including you politicians (whose candidature in elections registrations were paid for) by the former APC government.

    Our MPs were silenced by corruption by the former government, youths were used as thugs to invade towns like Kono, Kenema, Kailahun, and even Freetown between 2007 to 2018. What was your duty as a citizen and politician? I wonder whether you have done before what you are doing now. You are a corrupt politician. You allowed the past regime to use our tax payers monies to pay for your candidature fees in elections.

    Please condemn yourself first. You people like to negatively portray your country in a different phase to the world. You people have shown no leadership qualities towards solving issues bothering our country. The police will have no leverage to assort peaceful citizens, if the very citizens would behave peaceful. You do not deal with the roots of problems, you don’t say the truth, but you talk and support politics.

    Most of you are against the fact that this particular government does not encourage you politicians and hungry citizens to be corrupt anymore, so you will never say any good things about them. Talk about the quality road constructions all over the place, the free quality Education flagship of this government, the strides the government is taking now to improve our economy, agriculture, the scholarships and fees paid by this government for university students, the security reforms, the effort of the President to rebrand our country before, fighting corruption and lawlessness, etc.

    I want to see you suggest development issues to the government. Do not condone violence or any act that is/are to aid and abet violence.

    • Wow!! This is like calling the politicians to order for selective thinking and reporting. Does anybody have right to disrupt the lives of the public, damage roads by burning tyres, spill invectives and throw missiles at the police when they try to carry out their constitutional mandate to: “Protect Life and Properties”?

      The Sierra Leone Police for the very first time behaved professionally for four hours by trying to contain members of the APC in their Railway Line Headquaters in the face of prior warnings. The turning points came about when the members from the building became bolder to confront the SLP disregarding the warnings by Hon. Mohamed Bangura to stay back.

      At some point the Publicity Secretary was grabbed by the police but somebody in the building fired teargas at the SLP which led to the escape of the Publicity Secretary. The SLP were clearly humiliated by this and other issues so they changed tactics to arrest the protesters.

      The use of fake blood (Vampire Blood) by some people within the building to paint the SLP and Sierra Leone in bad light was so cheap a propaganda stunt that it was unmasked by some of the victims laughing while others were wailing.

      What our politicians should be doing now is to work towards making Sierra Leone a better place for us all. They can always have people to fool due to the fact that a smaller percentage of our youths are poor and on drugs, so they can always prey on them. However, the youths that are misused for political reasons can also become double edged swords with disastrous consequences.

      What we need desperately is an implementation of the recommendations of the CRC which should start with a “White Paper” from the new Bio – led Administration. This should involve judicial reforms and other issues as
      stated in the 132 recommendations. There are several innovative programs introduced by the new administration which can uplift the country from the present challenges.

      The former President should “walk the talk” by abiding with his pronouncements to step down from his Leader and Chairmanship position of the APC and give chance to Dr. Samura M. W. Kamara to reorganise their party. Long live Sierra Leone.

  4. It seems history tells itself to trash it down for a better Sierra Leone. I am sure both the AP and the SLPP can work together to find a broad and equitable way to bring the nation together and forget their enemity. They know Sierra Leone is not just for them, it is for all those born in the country. They must work hard to find a common ground where every party is brother to another with no difference.

    Sierra Leone is a small country and easy to develop and likewise liquidate the poverty that is roaming around. The president can do much and not to listen to anyone uninterested in the country. Some external countries are only interested in bargaining of civil strife.

    Please brothers and sisters forget the old activities of the APc and come to term with them. Tit for tat ideology is just nothing but putting the country into ruthless problem – the country had suffered since 1990. Until we all forget these problems, the stake for development is yet far away. The police as a unitary force ought to work for the country and not for any specific people.#
    Our brother, the president is supposed to take action to put the rule of law back to its position, not allowing anyone go against the laws of the country. We all are the same irrespective of the language we speak. As brothers and sisters we have to work for this unity and we should try to forget our recent history.
    Sierra Leoneans, please come all together and work for the betterment of the country. GOD BLESS SIERRA LEONE AND HER PEOPLE. AMEN.

    • Chase, I can’t agree with you more! Bah’s article is one of the most biased pieces I have ever read in a while. His outright bias and prejudice against the present SLPP government is so blatant that it can be observed even by a toddler from start to finish. The article defies all logic and reality.

      Since this new government came to power last year we have all seen the hatred, violence and disorderly behaviour exuded by the APC, its northern alliance parties and its cartel of the most corrupt individuals in the country. The pre-eminence of their selfish interests blurs not just their perception of reality and patriotism but above all their moral integrity.

      Bio and the SLPP are fighting a formidable battle and it won’t be easy to win. So far all the other parties have refused to throw their weight behind the government to fight this battle. Because in principle they do not believe in the fight agaist corruption. But the government can find solace in the fact that the majority of ordinary Sierra Leoneans are behind their government. And that’s what’s paramount!

  5. Well balanced and equally well written piece. Hope all sides will heed the invaluable piece of advice of Mr.Bah for the betterment of poverty-striken and tribalistically-driven Sierra Leone.

    • A very good and balanced article. “WHEN YOU TELL THE DOG, YOU TELL THE BONE”

  6. There is a political party leader adult with Oppositional Defiant Disorder (ODD) who may feel mad at the society and lose his temper regularly or even daily. This may manifest as society rage or verbal abuse. It may cause tension with authority figures and trouble with work that is in the general interest. They may tear apart relationships.

    Here is what the government needs to know about oppositional party defiant disorder in adulthood. Oppositional Defiant Disorder in Adults Party members with the oppositional defiant disorder (ODD) display a pattern of negativity, hostile, and defiant behaviour that lasts at least six months and may include four (or more) of the following symptoms:
    • Often loses temper • Often argues with family and Co-party members
    • Actively defies or refuses to comply with rules and laws
    • Deliberately annoys society
    • Blames government for his or her mistakes or misbehaviour
    • Easily annoyed by other politicians
    • Angry and resentful to other party members
    • Spiteful or vindictive attitude

    Adults with ODD are more than just aggressive and irritating from time to time. They feel mad at the government every day and lose their temper regularly. This may manifest as verbal abuse or the nonconformist rage. Adults with ODD defend themselves relentlessly when society says they’ve done something wrong.

    They feel misunderstood and disliked, hemmed in, and pushed around. Constant opposition to authority figures makes it difficult for adults with ODD to keep the focus on assignment objectives handling government affairs, and to maintain relationships and statesmanship. They are quick to anger; they are impatient, and they have a low tolerance for frustration.

    To uphold Sierra Leone’s values, our Youths are an important segment that is vital in the realization of sustainable peace, cohesion and integration in Sierra Leone. The overall objectives of the Sierra Leone Commission are to encourage National Cohesion and Integration by outlawing; 1) Discrimination on ethnic grounds 2) Discrimination through victimization 3) Discrimination in employment 4) Discrimination in membership of organizations 5) Discrimination in access to and distribution of public resources 6) Discrimination in property ownership management and disposal 7) Discrimination by other agencies 8) Harassment based on ethnicity and 9) All hate speech.

    Sierra Leonean bore the Commission out of the realization that long-lasting peace, sustainable development and harmonious coexistence required deliberate normative, institutional and attitudinal processes of constructing nationhood, national cohesion and integration.

    As a native of Sierra Leone, it is important to note that not all speech or expression with racial or ethnic perspectives amounts to hate speech. As patriots, Sierra Leone calls us to build our national identity and values, mitigate ethnopolitical competition and motivated violence, eliminate discrimination on ethnic, racial, party affiliation, and religious basis and promote national reconciliation and healing.

    Citizens of Sierra Leone are a community comprising citizens striving with all their essence for one peace, one nation, and one destiny. As a way of encouraging National Cohesion and Integration, we remind ourselves that ethnopolitics is a threat to peace and goes against the boundaries of freedom of expression.

    Speeches and actions that insight and use provocative language or use stories that profile people and communities. We are one people of Sierra Leone, One Sierra Leone Nation, and One Sierra Leone Destiny. Promoting National Cohesion and Integration is about building hope and aspirations, confronting fears, stereotypes and prejudices.

    As a native of Sierra Leone, our common vision should concentrate on integrating all people of Sierra Leone with a clarion call of ‘One People, One Nation, One Destiny.’ The youths and women are the key players in advocating for peace in all Communities, not the influences we experience from the adults engaged in politics.

  7. Mr. Bah, I reckon that you are not only a POLITICAL PARTY LEADER but a MEMBER OF PARLIAMENT. What I would like you to do is, to work with your colleagues in the OPPOSITION to put PRESSURE on the INSPECTOR GENERAL OF POLICE to come out with a STATEMENT on that BLOODY and UGLY incident that occurred at the APC HEADQUARTERS. And also to put PRESSURE on the government to IMMEDIATELY and WITHOUT DELAY conclude all the PETITIONS filed against the SLPP by the other POLITICAL PARTIES.

    By doing so, the last statement of your article will hold. I didn’t see how we the people and you the politicians will move on without what I just mentioned. What I just mentioned will be a RESET and would at least help to dampen the ANGER that is out there. GOD BLESS AND PROTECT US ALL FROM ALL EVIL. AMEN AND AMEN.

  8. The Great William Shakespeare, once wrote in his literary masterpiece – The Merchant Of Venice – “If to do was as easy to know what to do, Chapels would have been Churches,and Poor men’s cottages, Prince’s Palaces”. Those are among the rarest words of truths in the whole of Existence, I have ever heard.

    And those timeless words should not be taken for granted, but studied and pondered upon because they fit our present predicament as a nation perfectly, like a key inside a padlock waiting to be opened.

    If this nation must move forward, mutual respect between the APC and the SLPP must become the foundation on which we begin to build on all over again. We must wipe the slate of past wrongs and injustices clean; and start from scratch with a newer mindset, guided by genuine forgiveness by both sides. Only then, will we begin to see eye to eye and approach the glorious light harmoniously together…Rising sun Will Rise Again.

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