One-time Secretary General of the All People’s Congress ( APC), Mr. E.T.Kamara, who has broken his long silence, has said that the Sierra Leone People’s Party ( SLPP ) does not do anything without cheating and the party was responsible for the tactics employed by the late President Siaka Stevens during the APC administration.
Talking exclusively to COCORIOKO yesterday, Mr. Kamara said that all the methods of pseudo-politics in Sierra Leone, like returming candidates unopposed, fake voters registration, stuffing of ballot boxes, general elections rigging and eliminating political opponents were sown in Sierra Leone by the SLPP.
Mr. Kamara stated that when Britain gave Sierra Leone Independence in 1961, she handed over power to a country whose citizens were innocent and grounded in the traditions of British-styled Multi-Party democracy. Sierra Leoneans, Mr. Kamara went on, were also a peaceful and law-abiding country. Mr. Kamara however lamented that most of the problems in the country were created by the SLPP.
Mr. Kamara said most of the problems Sierra Leone had could have been avoided if the SLPP had done the right thing in 1967. Sierra Leone’s political and economic problems, he continued started that year when the SLPP refused to accept defeat in the 1967 General Elections. He said not only did the SLPP do everything to rig the 1967 elections–They had 9 unopposed candidates at the close of nominations , including the then Prime Minister, Sir Albert Margai. and the Dove Edwin Commission of Inquiry detailed subterranean methods carried out by the SLPP to cheat. Mr.Kamara said what made the SLPP fail was the overwhelming turn-out of the electorate in favour of the APC.
The SLPP , Mr. Kamara went on, were soundly defeated in the elections. The Paramount Chiefs, he said were not supposed to interfere in elections because they supported only the government of the day .He said it was the SLPP who first dragged the chiefs into partisan politics in Sierra Leone when they tried to include the results of the elections of the chiefs in the tally of the parliamentary elections.
The then Governor General, Sir Henry Lightfoot-Boston, considering the results of the parliamentary elections, and realizing that the SLPP had been defeated, summoned the then APC Leader , Siaka Stevens, to State House to swear him in as Prime Minister, but he lamented that the SLPP sent troops to State House under the command of the late Hinga Norman , to interrupt the ceremony. Mr. Kamara said the soldiers carried Siaka Stevens to Pademba Road Prisons and since the Gov.ernor General . was the representative of the Queen he was held under house arrest at State House. The then Force Commander, Brigadier David Lansana , who was the brother-In-Law of Sir Albert Margai, declared martial law .It was the first miliray coup ever in Sierra Leone and it was staged by the SLPP, Mr. Kamara explained.
Mr. Kamara narrated how other soldiers who later formed the National Reformation Council (NRC) and called on the Late Brigadier A.T.Juxon-Smith to lead them, overthrew Brig. Lansana and carried him to Pademba Road Prisons. The NRC formed Commissions of Inquiry which disclosed that massive corruption was perpetuated by the SLPP government while in power. Another commission found out that the SLPP did everything to rig the 1967 elections. The NRC were in turn overthrown by the Anti-Corruption Revolutionary Movement ( ACRM) and they called on the then Col. John Bangura to lead. Bangura , who formed the National Interim Council ( NIC), summoned APC ]s Siaka Stevens to form a civilian government.
When Siaka Stevens became Prime Minister, Mr. Kamara explained, the SLPP refused to accept verdict of the elections and the the new government. They pioneered political unrest in all the major towns, especially the South-East, he continued.The disturbances destabilized the country and Siaka Stevens had to rule through a State of Emergency throughout 1968-1971.
Mr. Kamara said that the SLPP, not satisfied, corrupted and enticed the then Force Commander , Brig. David Bangura, to overthrow the APC government. That was in 1970 . The soldiers went to Shaki’s residence at KingHarman Road where they tried to kill him .Guinean troops, who were then protecting the Prime Minister, repelled the soldiers who were led by Captain Farrah Jawara. The next morning , he went on, the soldiers followed Siaka Stevens to his office at Tower Hill where they also opened fire and tried to kill him.
Mr. Kamara said that the SLPP made it very difficult from Siaka Stevens to rule peacefully and this was the reason that the then Prime Minister used the methods he was being blamed for to protect the nation and save the state. He stated that the SLPP, for example, after using the army unsuccessfully, turned next to tribalism to ignite a civil war in the country. They tried to exploit tribal suspicions to set the South-East and the North at war. This, he explained , was the reason that Siaka Stevens turned Sierra Leone into a one-party state in 1978 to unite the country and its people.
The SLPP later used the Ndorgborwusei conflict and the Revolutionary United Front ( RUF) to bring war to the country , Mr. Kamara said. It was the SLPP, he said, who sponsored the RUF initially and the 1992 coup against the APC through Marda Bio, Tom Nyuma, and other soldiers from the South-East. That was why the National Provisional Ruling Council (NPRC) made sure that they handed over to the SLPP through the fraudulent elections of 1996.
Mr. Kamara said Siaka Stevens had a serious problem to rule peacefully because the SLPP were scheming here and there, and laying traps and making plots all over the place.Shaki, he said , had to use the tactics he resorted to because he was forced by the SLPP and it was a choice between anarchy in Sierra Leone, spearheaded by the SLPP or continous civil rule in Sierra Leone under Stevens.
Mr. Kamara described the SLPP as very bad losers and he feared that if they fail to rig this election and are defeated by the APC or PMDC , they might engineer another war like they did in 1992.
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