Ansu Momoh – SLPP UK & Ireland Branch Secretary General
Sierra Leone Telegraph: 16 September 2015
The Sierra Leone People’s Party (SLPP) as a political party, is currently finding it difficult to see that winning power is the essential prelude to generating change in the lives of our fellow Sierra Leoneans. This has to change and fast.
At this rate, the party faces a long haul to State House, no matter who wins the flagbearership.
And the prospect of government for our grand old party, seems a long way off, given the current impasse.
Opposition parties do not exist to oppose themselves. Unfortunately, this is exactly what the SLPP is currently doing to itself.
Admittedly, political parties by their nature are a collection of people with different shades of opinion. Therefore, it is not unusual when individuals or groups within parties share divergent views.
What is not expected is when these divisions become so pronounced that, the opposition party itself becomes two opposing groups, dealing with their internal issues to the detriment of national problems that deserve their attention.
The SLPP have over the past two years shown that it has lost its purpose of being an opposition party, because of the internal bickering that they have allowed to become their main concern.
As an opposition party, the good people of Mama Salone expect us to provide them with alternative programmes that will make the citizens see us as a serious option.
Hence, it is in the supreme interest of our party and nation that, we must now reach for the greater good, and consider all options necessary to reach a solution that unites all sides.
The long lasting solution should deliver our collective goal of a strong and united party, capable of offering a strong opposition now, ready and prepared to govern.
Let us collectively challenge ourselves to learn from the painful experience of the past. (Photo: Mr Ansu Momoh – the Secretary General of SLPP UK & Ireland Branch).
That means, putting aside all differences and pulling together for the good of our party, but more importantly for our country, because otherwise, a divided SLPP will be resoundingly rejected by the people of Sierra Leone in 2018.
Unity is not an option, but one of strategic necessity.
For our party to govern, elevate and bump up the fortunes of our country, we must unite. But disappointingly, those at the helm (I mean yourself Mr Momoh included), should not be sitting on the fence playing the waiting game as to who you support.
You should be coming out and positioning yourselves. Unity cannot be achieved when we have so many hypocrites in our party.
Unity can be achieved when we are blunt and honest with each other. The rules are meant to be respected. If we cannot obey our constitution then where is the Unity?
Mr. Secretary, I have the utmost respect for you as an individual and respect for your office. But too many people in the SLPP National Executive and all the Regional Executives are hypocrites.
This must stop, and NOW IS THE TIME.
For the SLPP to move forward it needs to acknowledge the parlous state of the party’s affairs and address the real problems that it has. No political party in the world has a single set of ideas that all members of the party are fully signed up to and in that sense all political parties have a broad spectrum of ideas, beliefs and values. This is not a unique phenomenon to the SLPP.
Similarly, during elections these division are made more apparent as political rivals vie for the votes of their members and constituents. Again this is not a phenomenon that affects the SLPP.
The quest for party unity and discipline is one that all political parties have to ensure happens, if they are to remain effective and successful, and this becomes more challenging when a political party is in opposition.
The real problems the SLPP faces are problems the leadership at national and regional levels do not wish to address head on. The central problem of the SLPP at the present time is that the collective interest of the party has been supplanted by the personal interest of one individual – Julius Maada Bio.
His personal and self interest has been given primacy over the collective interest of the party and the people they seek to represent. Bio has effectively put the SLPP in a stranglehold which is choking the life out of the party.
Bio has been able to station a group of thugs at the party’s head office, without any concerted effort from the national executive to seek their removal. Bio holds no official role within the party, yet has a mural of himself prominently displayed outside the party’s office.
Is the same status afforded to the founding fathers of the party or current leadership? Being the 2012 flagbearer is not an official position in the party. And the inability of the leadership of the party to carefully spell this out to Mr Bio and to ensure that he adhere to the party’s rules is clear evidence of the power that he wields over the party.
The SLPP leadership can no longer run away from this issue. They have allowed this problem to be created in the run up to the 2012 elections and immediately afterwards. They must now address it.
The second problem that the SLPP needs to address is that the South Eastern / Mende hegemony which Julius Maada Bio peddles does not speak to the aspirations of all Sierra Leoneans. And I would challenge the idea that it speaks to the aspirations of my South Eastern / Mende brothers and sisters.
This is essentially a con trick and it seeks to exploit the ignorance of people, and only creates division .
This tribalist approach to politics at best is manifested in nepotism and at worst – ethnic cleansing of the sort that we have witnessed in Serbia and Rwanda, and must be resisted at all times.
As Sierra Leoneans, we have witnessed the full extent of human barbarity to each other during the civil (or rebel) war and we don’t need to follow this path again.
The third problem the SLPP faces is that it subscribes to the same politics of patronage which is the form of politics practiced in Sierra Leone. In this sense there is no difference between these parties. Essentially both APC and SLPP are opposite sides of the same coin.
The desire to gain power is motivated not because of what can be achieved for the people of Sierra Leone. Instead it is about seizing power and seeking to maximise as much as possible by embezzling public funds.
During the APC one party era – those who were disaffected with the government of the day, would identify with the SLPP. Today, it is apparent to the majority that the party does not speak to the aspirations of the poorest and most vulnerable.