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.