By Mohamed Sankoh (One Drop)
The ruling All People’s Congress (APC) launched its people’s manifesto yesterday (5 February 2018) at the Miatta Conference Centre in Freetown. And the aura that aura-ed that conference centre was one of ‘unbeatability’ and ‘winnability’ (are those words One Dropian?) of the APC. And when one adds the throngs that have been thronging the countrywide sensitization tours of the APC flagbearer with his runningmate, then one will come to the logical conclusion that the APC will breast this year’s electoral tape at the first ballot.
But please allow me to beat a dead horse a little; for I need to gloat over the shock which all the naysayers of the APC had on 26 January 2018 when the APC presented its presidential mascot and would-be parliamentarians to the National Electoral Commission (NEC) headquarters, Tower Hill, in Freetown.
Indeed, all anti-APCers were shocked by the awesomeness of the crowds to the point that they were, and still are, in self-denial that people were not Okada-ed, Keke-ed, and Poda-Poda-ed from the provinces to Freetown as a show of force. And there are still others who are consoling themselves with the thought that those crowds might have been rented.
But let me for the sake of idle argument, or even to satisfy the figment of an opinionated fool’s imagination, say the crowds that came out in Freetown, Bo, Koinadugu, and other parts of the country when the APC had its nationwide nominations were rented. The commonsensical logic here is that: If the APC is capable of renting such crowds for its nomination processes; then it follows that the APC has proven that it is capable of renting majority of the would-be voters on March 7 this year?
That’s not my logic but the naysayers’! If the APC is able to convince majority of the would-be voters to come out on nomination day, it logically follows that it will equally be able to convince them to re-vote the APC in March this year. For they who that have the crowds and votes will form the next government. That’s simple electoral logic.
What has always put the APC five steps ahead of its political competitors is the fact that the APC builds its strategies on political realism and common sense. The Sierra Leone People’s Party (SLPP) and their cousins in the National Grand Coalition (NGC), on the other hand, have been building theirs on fantasies and false premises. Politics, in my opinion, is not about a situation wherein parents keep telling bedtime stories even when their children have grown up. Politics is all about knowing when and how to walk and work the trenches.
And the ruling APC has learnt how to walk and work the trenches for donkey years now. As Dr Samura Kamara, the APC’s mascot for this year’s presidential election, noted in one of his first radio interviews: “You don’t build policies based on a false premise”; the SLPP and their NGC cousins have been trying to convince a landlocked country to build a naval base—figuratively. But what they are failing to realise is the fact that you can’t use pre-NPRC (National Provisional Ruling Council) and post-AFRC (Armed Forces Ruling Council) propaganda in the current political narrative. Whilst the SLPP and their NGC cousins are using out-dated political communications tools, the APC is showing that they are far more advanced than them.
Again, it is Dr Samura Kamara who, during his first public lecture at Fourah Bay College (FBC) on 25 January 2018, highlighted the “meaningless semantics” of the SLPP and their NGC cousins. Both have been parroting about “change” without giving specifics of what that “change” would be or is about. Except that NGC’s Dr Kandeh Yumkella keeps tailoring his campaign messages in personalised self-flagellating monologues; while the SLPP’s Maada Bio keeps stammering like an actor who forgets his lines on stage at critical moments whenever he is asked to give specifics on his “New Direction”. But the APC, on the other hand, is stripping political semantics with Abacha-Streetness (Is this another One Dropian dropped word?), making politics to look like a one-plus-one issue!
And the tragedy of Dr Julius Spencer, the NGC campaign spokesman, and other communications freelancers in the NGC is that they are still stuck in the Radio Democracy propaganda of the AFRC-era than facing the realities of modern Sierra Leone. One cannot help it also but to always laugh one’s sides out whenever the cacophonous SLPP communications outfit tries to sell their presidential candidate in the manner in which a group of PR rookies might want to sell bauxite to Sierra Leone. The point is: The SLPP and their NGC cousins cannot use semantics to call a spade a garden spoon. For the Abacha Streeters (used in its generic form here to refer to the grassroots) know that real change shouldn’t be talked of in abstraction but must be seen in the physical as personified in the current APC government’s implemented projects and policies.
And it is Barack Obama, the immediate past President of the United States of America, who notes in his book “The Audacity of Hope” that an argument of whether it is raining outside can be settled by stepping outside. That’s exactly what the ruling All People’s Congress did on 26 January 2018 when it laid to rest doubts of whether it is still popular in the capital Freetown. The January of 2018 has settled that argument. This is so because whenever Freetown speaks on any issue; that issue is normally settled in its finality.
And as the adage, or rather cliché, goes: “Coming events cast their shadows”; the crowds that crowded Freetown, Bo, Koinadugu, and other parts of the country when the APC had her nationwide nominations were, and still are, an indication that the APC is still the party of the people’s hearts. In fact, 26 January 2018 was just a dressed rehearsal. The real show is yet to come!