APC and SLPP Parties Recycle Sierra Leone to the Dustbin of History!
By Emmanuel Saquee (28/02/18)
Sierra Leone's two oldest political parties, the SLPP and the APC, are the greatest disappointments in the country's history!
The clarion call for them to replaced is getting louder by the minute. The Presidential Debate is over, and we have had various opinions on who won or didn't. Whilst the raucous continues, I would like to look back at the history of post Independence politics with special focus on SLPP and APC misrule.
I intend to lay the facts bare as I know them, and hope they'll make sense to the ordinary Sierra Leonean who has been the ultimate victim of the bad governance by both parties.
History tells us the SLPP dominated pre and the immediate post Independence political landscape of Sierra Leone up to 1967. The APC took over for most of the period from 1968 until 1992. I'm deliberately minimizing details of military rule in order to narrow my readers' focus on how the SLPP and APC have in duality of action/inaction put our country backwards over 56 years since Independence.
Starting out with One Party politics, for most who do not know, I would like to present that the idea was first floated by the late Sir Albert Margai as Prime Minister under SLPP rule in the mid 1960s. This idea was staunchly opposed by his former comrade turned-arch rival named Siaka Stevens. By 1966, Sir Albert was forced to drop the idea. Fast forward to 1978, when Siaka Stevens was at the helm under APC, he succeeded in convincing so-called diehard SLPP folks to team up with him and declared Sierra Leone a One Party State.
As a little boy in boarding school in Kenema I didn't understand the implications of such at that time, but as I grew older, and as a middle aged 2-sim guy, things have become clearer by the day. The year 1978 marked the beginning of the SLPP sellout. If the same Siaka Stevens who vehemently opposed the idea of a One Party state under Albert Margai and SLPP would end up convincing the SLPP that it was a good idea under the APC, what does that say about the SLPP?
The years that followed 1978 up to 1992 by every estimation should the remembered as the period of massive free-for-all corruption. The term "wusai den tai cow nar dae ee dae eat" (cows graze on the grass around them), was popularized as a justification for corruption.
This came from no other person than Siaka Stevens himself, and what followed after that was a race among civil servants as to who will get rich faster. The Military, Police, Judiciary, Educational Institutions and all Government Institutions became openly corrupt. Even with the uncovering of the Vouchergate scandal, corruption continued unabated.
Tribalism, nepotism were also revamped and the wonderful Ekutay (a Limba tribal organization) was birthed and became a parallel government. Within that period you had prominent politicians from all over the country registering as Ekutay members and there were rumors of some even building houses in Binkolo (Headquarters of Ekutay).
In summary, what all these led to was disgruntlement amongst the ordinary Sierra Leoneans and some took it too far as to going to the bushes and launching the bloody Civil War which spanned from 1991 - 2002.
The NPRC coup of 1992 that overthrew the APC Government of J.S Momoh, was viewed by many as a rebirth of hope for the ordinary Sierra Leoneans. What it also presented was an opportunity for Sierra Leoneans to send the APC permanently to the political wilderness. To the contrary, both didn't happen. The military boys who were young and clueless soon found themselves doing the same things they overthrew the APC for. They were unable to end the war, they committed extra judicial killings, harassed civilians, engaged in unchecked corruption, and generally abused their power.
Back to 1991, before the overthrow of the Momoh government, the foundation for the return to plurality rule was laid in the new Constitution. With the war still going on, the pressure on the military to return the country to civilian rule, and the apparent condemnation of the APC to the political wilderness, the people of Sierra Leone voted the SLPP back in power in 1996. With the war still going on, the country was still too shaky to govern.
The AFRC interregnum in 1998 and the January 6, 1999 rebel attack on Freetown attest to that. However, with a lot of international support the war ended in 2002, and the SLPP continued in power until 2007. Before then, with all the post war international support, the SLPP had more than enough opportunities to get the country back on track, but "as usual as SLPP's as usual", they slept at the wheel of governance. They failed to improve the quality of life of the ordinary Sierra Leonean, corruption was not attacked, tribalism showed up again, opportunities were not created for the youth, disgruntlement remained a part of many people's lives. All these perfectly laid the foundation for an APC comeback in 2007 with Ernest Koroma as President.
So, in all sincerity, with the APC at her lowest ebb, if the party could comeback and defeat SLPP in an election, what confidence should we put in SLPP again? It is very clear from this narrative that these two parties have not proved to be capable of taking the country forward since Independence, and to trust anyone of them with steering the ship of state come March 7, will amount to an endorsement of their maladministration.
If for more than the period of the life expectancy of the average Sierra Leonean (46 years), these two parties have not moved the country forward, is it not insanity to continue to vote them in? Wake up Sierra Leone and vote for change during the March 7, 2018 presidential elections. Vote for Dr. Kandeh Kolleh Yumkella, leader of the National Grand Coalition NGC.