Dr. Sama Banya – Puawui
The Sierra Leone Telegraph: 21 June 2014
Following the disgustingly shameful and embarrassing display on public radio by the leadership of the opposition Sierra Leone Peoples party, in which accusations and invectives were thrown at each other, a friend of mine who is a non-political party member called me the following morning and asked:
“Sama, what has gone wrong with your SLPP party? What utter shameful exhibition was on the airwaves last evening?”
Although I knew what was coming when I recognized my friend’s cell phone number, I was still knocked out by his question.
“What has gone wrong and why is all this happening, beginning from 2011 right through your 2012 Parliamentary and Presidential campaign?”
And then typical of him, he added with a touch of humour, which even coming from him I saw more as a rebuke: “E tan lek den do wuna” (It appears as if you people have been bewitched or fallen victim of some magical power).
My friend had always appreciated my quick, and in his words witty response to some of his needling statements. But this time there was silence at my end of the phone, for what may have seemed like hours.
And then I responded in the words of Lincoln: “ My friend, there are times when no one may speak.”
The party’s Legal team had just returned from the courts that morning, where the Supreme Court had overruled their initial legal objection to the summons of Ambassador Alie Bangura (Photo) and his colleagues.
The matter of the injunction, placed on the SLPP Parliamentarians not to boot out their minority leader was adjourned for another ten days.
Someday I shall ask a legal expert to educate me on the purpose and duration of court injunctions.
But there they were, the elected Chairman and leader of the party on the one hand and his deputy on the other, tearing each other apart on radio.
Only two weeks previously, Dr. Alpha Wurie’s team had met with the chairman and leader and his colleagues on the executive committee, to iron out some of the problems that had arisen among them.
Unfortunately the deputy chairman and leader, as well as the western regional chairman were absent at the meeting.
Notwithstanding that initiative, we left with the feeling that we had dealt effectively with the problems. And then only to hear those people on radio, tearing each other apart again.
My wife had called my attention that evening, when one of them was on air, but I refused to even listen.
I thought it was disgraceful. There is an appropriate English expression which refers to: “Washing ones’ dirty linen at home.”
Both the APC and the Alie Bangura team must be cock-a-hoop over the incident. But in my opinion, the Ambassador and his colleagues have contributed as much to the current situation as the warring executive committee members.
Once again, I shall attempt to walk in “Where Angels fear to tread” and say why.
But for now, I would admonish all supporters and lovers of our party – especially the rank and file who are baffled by it all, to stay calm and to have faith.
(Photo: SLPP Secretary-General – Tejan-Sie).
Yes Things may appear to have fallen apart, but I am confident that out of this apparent confusion, a stronger, more united and vibrant SLPP would emerge.
John Drinkwater’s Abraham Lincoln was one of our set English Literature Text Books when I sat to the Junior Cambridge Certificate examination from the Bo School back in 1946.
Two women were with President Lincoln. One of them whose son had died in the civil war was protesting to President Lincoln about the evils of war and of the particular war.
The other woman can rightly be compared with today’s sycophants and bootlickers who hover around President Ernest Bai Koroma.
They specialize in telling his Excellency what they perceive he would like to hear or what they would like him to hear rather than what the President MUST hear.
She was extolling the Presidents stand on the war and talked about how everyone ought to make sacrifices for the country.
President Lincoln quickly saw through the façade of her hypocrisy and told the woman outright, that although he did not agree with the first woman, yet he respected her position – particularly as one who had lost a son in battle.
And the President turned to her and said the following words: “There are times when no one may speak; I grieve for you madam, I grieve for you.”
What is happening to the SLPP party is indeed a shame and any well meaning party loyalist ought to be concerned about the future of the party.
The current impasse has been compounded by people such as Mr. Ali Bangura and others who think that the only redress they have to change the course of events within the party is to take the party to court.
Not to belabor the point, but it appears to me that Mr. Bangura backed the wrong horse during the chairmanship tussle and he lost.
Like any good gambler you might think that he would have made peace and worked for the betterment of the party, instead of nursing his bruised ego.
Concerning our embattled minority leader, the less said the better. However, let me say that in her position she is expected to voice the concerns of the opposition. It might not do her image well if she is silent and seen as another Yeleba (praise singer).
As for the current Chairman, I hate to say, this was bound to happen.
Maybe as a party, we really should start to look from within our base when electing a chairman. Since when has APC ever elected someone from the South East to be their chairman.
Our obsession with having a Northern face in the leadership hierarchy in the party is what has reduced us to this internecine rivalry. The party will do much more in the north with effective campaign methods than relying on the pull of any one individual.
Did the party gain anything from the Tejan Kabba experience besides winning the 1996 and 2002 elections? I will let you be the judge of that.
Did Ali Bangura or APC ask Prince Harding and his pa-o-pas to suspend the party leader? Did he have any say or influence over the pa-o-pas in the NEC?
Whilst Ali Bangura has been seeking a legal redress to the rigged election which put these characters in charge of running the NEC, he cannot be held responsible when the members of the executive cannot work together. He cannot be held responsible for their disgraceful conduct in public media.
Members in the NEC have no legal right to pass a vote of no confidence in the leadership of the party. This is a decision that should be left to the party conference to take because the entire NEC hold their respective positions at the behest of the party members who elected them.
What Sama Banya should be concerned about and indeed the question he ought to be asking is: why should the NEC pass a vote of no confidence now, is this not because the pa-o-pas in the NEC could not manipulate Chief Kapen or bend him to support their pa-o-pa candidate for the flagbearer-Julius Bio?
Soon after the NEC election, an SLPP observer told me that the people elected would not be able to run the party affairs. How true this has become.
This dispute has nothing to do with Ali Bangura or the APC. For a deputy to go head to head in disagreement on public radio with his leader, causes an irreparable damage to the party. It should not happen. The deputy is not in office and should only be heard as a deputy and not as a challenger in public disagreement.