10 Reasons Why I Believe The SLPP Lost The 2012 Elections (And They Are Still In Denial)

By John Moses Kamara  :

The National Elections Commission ( NEC )  declared Dr Ernest Bai Koroma of the APC as the winner of the 2012 Presidential Elections, after a careful consideration of the Sierra Leone People’s Party’s claim of serious electoral irregularities committed by APC and in some instances with full complicity of NEC staff that would have affected the true outcome of the vote.

PRESIDENT KOROMA , THE WINNER OF THE ELECTIONS

 

 

I have maintained for almost a week now that the allegations, although serious and were duly investigated by the NEC, were never going to change the fact that the SLPP was heading for a huge defeat.
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With Dr Koroma summarily sworn in for a second term, amidst suggestions that the defeated SLPP Presidential candidate, Julius Maada Bio had conceded, it is now clear from a press release issued today by the Party that “SLPP would be inclined not to accept the results of a rogue election” and will meet to consider their next step on Tuesday 27 November “to determine its reaction to the events that have occurred.”
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I still maintain that this is an ill-advised move that would alienate many more in the electorate who have thought that the will of the majority of the people of Sierra Leone has been settled. The only reason for this, as far as I am concern, is to provide a smokescreen for the SLPP’s failings in not articulating a credible vision for the country.
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I have identified the following reasons for their failure:
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1. The nomination of Maada Bio as the presidential candidate was not widely considered to be a wise choice by many who associated him with full complicity in many human rights excesses during the military rule of the NPRC. By making this choice the Party sent the wrong message that it was not a forward looking and progressive party desired for a post conflict democratic Sierra Leone
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2. The fall-out from the flag bearer elections in which some of the defeated candidates maintained that the nomination process was biased heavily towards a South Eastern candidature, due to a perceived inbuilt electoral advantage for a candidate from that part of the country. This led to disgruntlement amongst some of the defeated candidates that culminated in high profile defections, backbiting, disunity and lack of commitment to the cause
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3. The Party’s campaign strategy was flawed, with too much time, money and efforts spent on the converted and not sufficient time in areas that they needed to make inroads. Fundraising was widely believed to have been less than successful that resulted in too many financial constraints including not providing enough polling agents for the Party in parts of the North and Western Area, where many of the alleged irregularities took place. The Party could not even concoct a catchy slogan like the APC now famous Ampaa Ampoo!
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4. Notwithstanding the nomination of Dr Kadie Sesay as the Party’s Vice Presidential candidate, there was a widespread perception that the Party was not inclusive to many groups in the country outside its South Eastern heartland. The negative connotation of being regarded by many as the “Mendeman Party” persisted and therefore it was not been able to attract a broader based electoral support needed to achieve national victory
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5. The Party supporters did not engage enough potential voters they consider not to be sympathetic or natural supporters of the SLPP in order to persuade them to consider voting for the SLPP. In fact the attitudes of some of the Party supporters alienated many of these groups that they needed to appeal to
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6. Although the Party has been in opposition for the last 5 years they do not appear to have used this time efficiently to develop an attractive blueprint for Sierra Leone’s future. Save for the accent on youth training and employment, The New Direction failed miserably to excite many like me in and out of the country
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7. The Party appeared to show a fair degree of arrogance by failing to realise that some of its erstwhile supporters would automatically return to the fold to beef up their poll numbers after what they believed was a brief dalliance with Charles Margai’s PMDC in 2007 (as confirmed by the poor poll performance in Moyamba District) and for neglecting certain parts of its traditional heartlands (such as the stronger than expected showing of APC in Kailahun District)
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8. The Party apparatchiks led by John Benjamin, Sulaiman Tejan-Sie and Andrew Keili failed to sufficiently modernise the Party to meet the challenges of a resurgence APC led by Ernest Koroma, who is presiding over a party that employed sleek propaganda and clear ideas that resonated with many Sierra Leonean voters
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9. Although Maada Bio was nominated largely on the back of a huge youth support, and he himself is relatively young compared to recent party leaders, the Party has not been successful in attracting sufficiently younger, more educated and talented members to its leadership and campaign team to provide the professionalism and clear strategic direction it needed to appeal to a youthful and modern Sierra Leone
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10. The Party, quite frankly, did not appear ready for power and form a government in the eyes of many.
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This assessment may be disputed by many but they are my honest observations, which the Party must now address if it is to regain the trust of the majority of Sierra Leoneans. I personally feel that Sierra Leoneans like me would like to have a viable and credible alternative to choose from, and that alternative should be desirable and capable to be entrusted with the country’s future.

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