The Sierra Leone Peoples Party (SLPP) and the All People’s Congress (APC): Two sides of the same coin?

Alpha Amadu Jalloh ( The FOX): Sierra Leone Telegraph: 5 May 2024:

In 2018, the erudite Editor Mr. Abdul Rashid Thomas of the Sierra Leone Telegraph posed a poignant question to the SLPP: “Has the Party Shot Itself in the Foot?” After the SLPP elected a Pro Maada Bio National Executive replacing Chief Sumano Karpen with Dr. Prince Harding ” Bullet” in 2018.

Today, that question resonates not just with the SLPP but also with its counterpart, the APC. These two parties, entrenched in Sierra Leonean politics since Independence, have often vied for power, each claiming to champion the interests of the people.

However, a closer examination reveals a history marred by tribalism, regionalism, and a relentless pursuit of power at any cost.

The SLPP traces its roots back to 1954 when it positioned itself as the “Country Man Party” against the “United Sierra Leone Progressive Party,” led by Cyril Rogers-Wright, a Krio descent. This early division set the tone for a politics of “us versus them,” pitting indigenous Sierra Leoneans against those of Krio descent, whom they perceived as outsiders.

Fuelled by tribalism, the SLPP garnered support from tribal chiefs, consolidating its power base without a clear ideological framework.

Under the leadership of Sir Milton Margai and Sir Albert Margai, tribalism and regionalism flourished, further entrenching divisions within the country. While the SLPP claims to be a liberal democratic party, its governance has often veered away from liberal principles, especially under leaders like Albert Margai and Julius Maada Bio.

The tenure of President Alhaji Dr. Ahmed Tejan Kabba stood out as a brief departure from this trend, marked by a commitment to national unity rather than partisan interests.

However, the resurgence of tribalism and regionalism under President Julius Maada Bio mirrors the darkest days of Sir Albert Margai’s rule, tarnishing the SLPP’s image as a party of national unity.

On the other hand, the APC presents itself as a social democratic party, adopting slogans like “Orwai Orsai” and referring to its members as “comrades.” Yet, beneath these populist veneers lies a history of oppression, corruption, and authoritarianism.

Drawing parallels with communist regimes in China and Russia, the APC’s legacy is tainted by its suppression of dissent and failure to address the root causes of poverty and inequality. Both the SLPP and the APC have perpetuated a cycle of poverty, hunger, violence, and fear, depriving Sierra Leoneans of their basic rights and freedoms.

As Sierra Leone grapples with the grip of these two dominant parties, it is evident that real change cannot come from within their ranks. The path to a better future lies in the hands of the people who must reclaim their sovereignty and reject the politics of fear and division perpetuated by the SLPP and the APC.

The SLPP and the APC may present themselves as opposing forces in Sierra Leonean politics, but they are ultimately two sides of the same coin.

To break free from the shackles of poverty and oppression, Sierra Leoneans must unite behind a new vision for their country, one that prioritizes accountability, transparency, and the collective well-being of all citizens.


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