Tuesday’s workshop on the development of SLPP’s manifesto was a success

Dr. Sama Banya – Puawui

19 July 2012

On Tuesday of this week, the Presidential candidate of the opposition Sierra Leone Peoples Party (SLPP) – Retired Brigadier Julius Maada Bio, delivered another of his powerful statesman-like speeches.

He spoke at the “Launching of the DEVELOPMENT MANIFESTO FOR THE 2012 ELECTION”, in the recreation centre of the Bank of Sierra Leone, in Freetown.

In the statement, he outlined the party’s ‘New Direction’ in those areas, which had in the past been the cause of dissatisfaction and disaffection among the people of Sierra Leonean.

He has put the problem of youth training and unemployment at the centre of his agenda and as a top priority.

Other areas of emphases included; the efficient and effective use of the nation’s natural resources, along with the economy, human development through quality education and improved health care, eliminating hunger, fighting corruption and improving accountability, respecting human rights and upholding the rule of law.

During the Siaka Stevens’ and the succeeding Joseph Saidu Momoh’s presidencies, corruption was most rampant, education was considered a privilege and not a right, and there was total disregard for human rights.

Large sections of society were marginalized. The minority corrupt ministers and officials along with their selected contractors got filthy rich, as the expression goes.

On a state visit to Sierra Leone, during which he addressed the people in Makeni, the then Nigerian head of state – General Ibrahim Babaginda, taking note of the uneven composition of the government and the uneven distribution of authority, cautioned his host – President Joseph Momoh, that he was carrying a particularly heavy responsibility.

But President Momoh did not heed his friend’s advice and life went on as if there was no end to it.

Among the human right abuses which were already rampant under Stevens, was the one against the people of Pujehun district, culminating in the murder of a prominent citizen, which led to the notorious Ndorgboryosoi affair.

With the blatant marginalization, coupled with corruption, which was aggravated under Momoh, the youth who were the main victims of that thoughtless policy became easy recruitment targets for Foday Sankoh’s devastating eleven years of rebel war.

Sankoh had been granted sanctuary by the recently convicted war crimes criminal, former Liberian President – Dakpana Charles Gbangay Taylor (to give him his full vain title), whose kran fighters formed the advanced attack corps of the RUF.

Almost everyone in Sierra Leone paid a very heavy price for the selfish and mad policies of the APC regime.

And yet, no sooner Ernest Bai Koroma assumed the Presidency of our nation in 2007, all of those regional, ethnic and politically divisive and corrupt policies, once again raised their ugly heads, some of which Maada Bio pointed out in his Tuesday’s speech.

Some of us who had seen it and been through it in the past and could see it coming again, have not stopped calling the attention of the ruling party and the general public, especially its potential consequences.

Of course there have been very modest cosmetic dressings here and there, but the policy of APC has largely remained the same.

If anything, it has now been exacerbated by a biased and trigger happy police force ‘for evil’, most of the Local Unit Commanders of which, are conspicuously biased in favour of a particular region and heavy handed in dealing with the opposition SLPP.

This administration ushered itself in, with unbridled violence against the SLPP, which went on during every bye election, culminating in the Bo incident, which took place during Retired Brigadier Julius Maada Bio’s ‘meet the people’ visit.

The President, after much pressure – especially from the international community, the inter-religious council and civil society groups, appointed a commission of inquiry into the incidents.

But then, sat on the aspect of the report which was critical of some of his men; the list is endless.

That is why it makes me almost want to throw-up, when anyone would accuse me by name of “inciting and inflaming tribal and ethnic resentment and divisions.” Can readers see the disgusting hypocrisy of it all?

As a proverb in my part of the country says; “The person who throws a filthy rag into the village well, never gains notoriety, except the one who pulls it out”. That is, when everyone yells; “Look, that man has just pulled that filthy rag from the well,” as if he put it there in the first place.

If calling attention to the possible causes of a future flare-up is what makes me a monster in the eyes of some of the new converts to the APC, then I am proud – very proud to carry the label.

There is only one proviso, that neither I, nor any critic of APC policies, would have cause to say in future; “I told you so.”

But one day, and sooner rather than later, the people of Sierra Leone would come to identify those hypocritical praise singers, whose motive may not be far from a desire to get into the poor man’s bedroom.

The result of Tuesday’s workshop on the development of the SLPP manifesto was very successful, as committed participants put everything into it.

That is what the SLPP stands for: “ONE COUNTRY ONE PEOPLE; ONE MAN (Maada Bio) ONE WOMAN (Kadi Sesay).


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