By Mohamed Sankoh (One Drop) :
When the roof and walls of a house fall in, says Chinua Achebe in his novel “Arrow of God”, the ceiling is not left standing (p85). By the same token, if the head, torso and feet of the Sierra Leone People’s Party (SLPP) are all falling apart, then what will be or is left of the SLPP? A walking or working skeleton? Your guess is as good as mine.
But for the moment, let’s forget about the SLPP’s 2012 failed presidential candidate Julius Maada Bio’s bigamy escapade with a Gambian woman in Britain. We could even pretend as if a group of SLPP MPs has never been reportedly collecting signatures of other MPs in preparation for an impeachment action against the SLPP’s Minority Leader in parliament Dr Bernadette Lahai. Yet, let’s assume that the SLPP, as a party, is ultra-united with the Catholic-polygamous Julius Maada Bio as the most popular reference-prone (he has never scored 40% in any election in his entire political life) personality within the SLPP.
But the press release, issued by the Ambassador Allie Essa Bangura faction within the SLPP, on 7 November 2013, tells us or is telling those who are not part of SLPPdom that that party is at present beset with the Dickensian tale of two extremes or, better put, tales of contradictions. Or, to put it more poetically: the SLPP is currently facing the Yeatsian theme of disintegration. Except for the tribalists and supremacists within the SLPP who are still feigning blindness to such realities and are conjuring up would-be election victory in 2018; the fact is: the SLPP is at present a whitewashed sepulchre!
But on a more realistic note the Allie Bangura camp’s press release, under review, is hinting at the Achebean proverb of “a debt may get moldy, but it never decays.”(“No Longer At Ease”, p74) Because a content analysis of that press release shows that the August 2013 Bo National Delegates’ Conference was, and still is, the knife which had, and still has, slashed the SLPP into two. And that despite the so-called arbitration by the Political Parties’ Registration Commission (PPRC) between the two warring factions and the SLPP’s attempt at putting into motion a wishy-washy Reconciliation Committee heady by the Maada Bio-loving-stuttering Dr Alpha Tejan Wurie; the Allie Bangura camp is still seeking and asking for its pound of flesh!
Furthermore, the Allie Bangura faction is still maintaining that the current SLPP National Executive, headed by disgraced former Chief Somanoh Karpen, is an imposter which figuratively went to a White House ball hanging on someone else’s tailcoat. And that the PPRC seems to be working in concert with the imposters as it “has still not issued either an interim or a final report (which is expected to proffer an opinion and possibly make recommendations) to address the claims of the petitioners [the Allie Bangura faction]”.
The SLPP’s Dickensian tale of two extremes or its Yeatsian theme of collapse becomes more interesting when the Allie Bangura faction notes that they “will like the general public to know that as a team, [we] have refused to recognize [the Reconciliation] Committee. Among the reasons for non recognition is the biased composition of the Committee as over 95% were open supporters of Chief Somanoh Karpen handpicked by him, the lack of neutrality by certain key members, the known divisive roles of some of its members prior to, during and after the Bo convention”.
And just like the opening paragraph of Charles Dickens’ novel, “A Tale of Two Cities”, the Allie Bangura faction removes the knife from the split yam in a sort of staccato stanza: “…we will ensure that the democratic credentials that our party is known for is protected; we will strive to ensure that reconciliation is built on a firm foundation of truth telling wherein the truth is spoken and offenders accept responsibility for their actions; we will use all legitimate means at the disposal of law abiding citizens ( not eliminating recourse to our courts) to ensure that impunity such as intra party vote rigging is brought to end”.
What could be deduced from that excerpt above is this: That the current SLPP national executive has taken democratic tenets to the abattoir; that the party’s current reconciliation move is nothing but a sham; that the current SLPP leadership speaks with tongue-in-the-check, and that since the delegates’ conferences that brought ex-President Ahmad Tejan Kabba(h) and former Vice President Solomon Ekuma Berewa to the rudder unto the one which brought the 2012 failed presidential candidate Julius Maada Bio to the fore; the SLPP as a party has made “intra party vote rigging” an innate trait.
So, if the king’s wife comes out from her husband’s chamber and tells members of the king’s court that her husband is impotent, then who are you to deny it? Before now it was an open secret that the SLPP is a party of two extremes. But for such to have been confirmed by hardcore SLPPians is frightening. Frightening because sit-on-the-fencers now know that there is a powerful faction within the SLPP that no longer has faith and trust in the manner in which the SLPP goes about choosing its leadership. And worse still, while one faction does not believe in the PPRC; the other faction doesn’t believe in the judiciary of Sierra Leone. So, which institution will the SLPP now go to when it wants to seek arbitration in internal and external matters? If I should use the cliché, your guess is as good as mine.
Now Sierra Leone is faced with two SLPPs: One believes in ramming its autocratic antics down the throats of decent law abiding people; while the other believes in democratic decency and the Jeffersonian “marketplace of thoughts”. So like the opening paragraph of Charles Dickens’ novel, “A Tale of Two Cities”, it is definitely and horribly the “…worst of time…the age of foolishness…the epoch of incredulity…[and] the season of darkness…” for the SLPP.