Saturday September 17, 2005 :
Spurning all appeals for reconciliation, splinter groups within the ruling SLPP have continued their plans to form political parties. Chief Hinga Norman , who traversed hills, valleys and mountains to fight for the SLPP during the heady days of the RUF rebels and renegade AFRC soldiers , has now revealed plans to form a broad-based party that combines forces with the RUFP and the PLP to defeat the SLPP and APC in the 2007 General Elections.
The Rev.Alfred Samforay , who speaks for the Committee -To-Elect Norman revealed yesterday that the formation of the party could be announced by the end of the month or latest next weekend. The most startling feature of Chief Norman’s plans, as revealed by Samforay, is the supposed combination of the Chief’s party with the RUFP and the PLP, two parties formed by the very men that Chief Norman fought ferociously and tempestuously during Sierra Leone’s deadly and bloody war, leading to the war crimes charges against him presently.
The RUFP was founded by Sierra Leone’s Public Enemy No.1 , the brutal human butcher and rebel leader Foday Sankoh who converted his Revolutionary United Force ( RUF) , a rebel group that hacked off the limbs of innocent people and killed tens of thousands of Sierra Leoneans , into a political party. The RUFP contested the May 2002 General Elections with rebel official Alimamy Pallo Bangura as Presidential candidate and fared poorly.
The Peace and Liberation Party ( PLP ) was formed by AFRC Junta leader , Johnny Paul Koroma, whose renegade soldiers joined the RUF to commit horrid atrocities against innocent people after the junta was chased out of power by the multinational force , ECOMOG, which was an alliance of military forces from several West African countries, notably Nigeria.
Samforat’s revelation did not go down well with many people and Mr. Sammy Sandi-Gorglei, a highly-respected debater at Leonenet and perrenial Hinga Norman supporter and opposer of the Special Court which is trying Norman for alleged war crimes, quickly shot back :
“This is either a big joke or the worst mistake ever. We all know about RUFP. It is definitely a sign of abject depravation to align with RUFP to fight SLPP. With the image of RUFP, SLPP need not raise a finger to win the fight. PLP??? Who or what is PLP. I don’t think these two parties in themselves or by themselves are capable of posing any threat to anybody.”
He went on : “Please! Please! Please! with strategic planning and proper timing, the Chief can cause the SLPP to implode. The broad-based approach suggested in this posting is not needed. In fact, it is not broad-based. I don’t consider PLP and RUFP as having any base.”
Opinion-maker Joseph Fomba of New York, who reads Leonet postings through the archives, complained to COCORIOKO yesterday that the information might be a mistake because he could not imagine Chief Norman even entertaining the very thought of aligning himself with the very people he fought so hard that he almost lost his life and whose conquest made him a national hero.
But some Sierra Leoneans this newspaper consulted for their views said that was the essence of politics. It creates strange bedfellows, they averred , asserting that they saw nothing wrong with Chief Norman aligning with his one-time antagonists to fight the very party he battled these forces to protect. Many of them opined that this desperate move by Chief Norman showed the depth of his frustration with the SLPP.
With Charles Margai, the son of former Prime Minister,Sir Albert, also soon to form his own party, some concerned citizens have started calling for reconciliation and forgiveness in the ruling SLPP. At least three of the Sierra Leoneans consulted by COCORIOKO yesterday warned that the dismemberment of a huge party like the SLPP did not augur well for peace during the 2007 Elections. “There is too much bad blood in the party and if things do not go the way of some of these feuding parties, they could resort to violence to address their grievances “, Samuel Lavalie warned.
READ SAMFORAY’S RELEASE YESTERDAY :
NORMAN CONTEMPLATES BROAD-BASED PARTY FOR ALL SIERRA LEONEANS
We are reliably informed that the Committee to Elect Hinga Norman will make a formal declaration for a new political party by the end of September and as early next weekend. Mustapha Vonu, Western Area Chairman of the Steering Committee, says consultative meetings are ongoing through tout the country and that the consultants have been given until next weekend to come up with a firm commitment and framework for the new party.
There are also strong indications that the new party will present a united front with the People’s Liberation Party (PLP) and the Revolutionary United Front Party (RUFP) to challenge the ruling SLPP and the opposition APC. PLP leader, Rev. Dennis Morrison, is said to be in consultations with the Norman campaign. There presently appears to be no collaboration between the Norman camp and the camp led by Charles Margai. The Margai camp is also in consultations with supporters and is likely to announce a new party presently.
Meanwhile, the Steering Committee to Elect Hinga Norman announces its four Regional Chairpersons as follows:
Arthur Koroma ————- Eastern Region
Hadja Dankay Moorie ——- Northern Region
Hassan Feika —————Southern Region
Mustapha Maada Vonu——-Western Region
Following the consultative meetings, the committee will decide on a national chairman as well as nomenclature, party symbol and headquarters. Supporters at home and abroad are asked to submit any proposals for these and other modalities for the new party.
The goal of the new party is to establish a broad-based political movement not based on regional, religious or ethnic affiliation. According to Vonu, there now appears no possibility of reconciling the differences between Mr. Norman’s supporters with the leaders of the SLPP who have hijacked the party and its ideals to form a private club for a handful of the party leadership.
“We fought a hard fight to establish democracy in this country. We have endured an equally hard and bitter peace to establish peace and unity for this country to become the property of a few men and women,” says Vonu.
Alfred M. SamForay,
Campaign to Elect Norman.
(812) 841 – 1000