By Mohamed Sankoh (One Drop) :
In no political organization, the world over, can one find celebrated cry-babies than in the Sierra Leone People’s Party (SLPP). Since the September of 2007 to date, members of that Grand Old Party (GOP) have always found occasions to either cry wolf or shoot themselves in the head.
Even if a presidential candidate of the SLPP is appointed Chief Electoral Commissioner in the very election s/he is standing in; the SLPP will still find reasons to cry wolf. Why not? Wolf-crying has been the lot of the SLPP since 1967. And that is something which seems to be part of that party’s DNA.
And true to its known trait, the SLPP has been crying wolf for the last two years now to the extent that sane and rational Sierra Leoneans have started asking whether most of its members are not suffering from chronic nightmares of a “very long winter” (to borrow the phrase of Dr Sama Puawui Banya) or whether they are now constantly sleepwalking in the sun. The SLPP, as a party, seems to have developed the propensity to oppose everything and anything.
Whether it is by wilful design or otherwise, the SLPP has developed the habit of always seeing apparitions where there are only angels. Even before the Constitutional Review Committee (CRC) could even find an office space to start its work; the SLPP cried wolf of perceived “manipulated and flawed constitutional review process”. Even before Statistics Sierra Leone (SSL) could find a date for the now postponed national housing and population census; the SLPP cried wolf of an APC-nized and northernized SSL even though the reality shows that the current SSL has wider national flavour than its south-east colourations during the SLPP reign.
The SLPP is so fixated with the next general elections so much so that when most of its members go to bed all they see in their dreams are spectres of 2007 and 2012. And it is because of this “programmed” (to borrow an American phraseology) state of mind that the SLPP has already started fantasizing about ballot-stuffing and election violence at a time when the National Electoral Commission (NEC) doesn’t even know whether the next general elections would be held in 2019 or 2020.
But the trouble with wolf-criers is that when the actual wolf appears amongst their flock; their voices would have been so croaky that no one would hear them or no sane person(s) would actually take their SOS calls seriously. And to muddy the already muddied waters further the SLPP’s mouthpiece, the Unity newspaper, of “Monday 9th 2015” editorialized the SLPP’s standpoint thus: “There is enough time for boundary delimitation after census”.
According to the argument posited by that newspaper, which by Wallace-Johnson Street logic and “Kailahun Court Barray” standard is the SLPP’s position, if the 2004 Local Council election was held without fresh boundary delimitation then the next general elections should be held without the completion of the constitutional review processes and the conduct of the census. The logic (the SLPP’s, of course) behind that warped logic is that, “… if that precedent has been set, what prevents it from happening this time round if we are caught up in a similar situation?” (Page 3 of the Unity newspaper under review).
My answer to that rhetorical question is twofold: First, the situation might be similar but the circumstances might be different in the sense that it was only a “Local Council Election” in 2004, while we are now talking about four-in-one elections (Presidential, Parliamentary, Mayoral and Local) in 2019 or 2020 (delete where applicable!). Secondly, nations are not expected to follow bad precedents but to emulate good ones! If Dr Christiana Thorpe had followed the bad model of Dr James Jonah’s electoral practice of “subtraction” of superfluous votes; then there would not have been the need to invalidate surplus votes in 2012.
The SLPP is, at present, feeling uneasy simply because during its eleven years’ rule, there were many things that were done wrongly which the current Koroma-led government is trying to make right. And the problem with that GOP is that it believes in political untidiness and haphazardness. During its reign, it set up a Constitutional Review Commission which ended up not reviewing anything. The national housing and population census it conducted was a comedy of errors as most of the data were either sexed-up or doctored; while the 2002 election it conducted was an epitome of rigging and intimidation.
And to add hemlock to vinegar, the SLPP’s “Access Course” at our universities and its “Sababu Project” were not only untidy at best but substandard at worst. Even its creations of the National Revenue Authority (NRA); the National Social Security and Insurance Trust (NASSIT), and Office of National Security (ONS) were cloudily intended to be tribal and regional guinea pigs. And if I decide to catalogue the many white elephant projects under the SLPP; the list will definitely be marathoned simply because it will have cause to be marathoned!
So, the SLPP should stop its perennial wolf-crying antics and try to accept the fact that the ruling All People’s Congress (APC) knows very well that cry-babies could be lulled to sleep by lullabies. And the lullaby seems to have just begun…