By Mohamed Sankoh (One Drop)
The current internecine squabbling between the Yumkellarists and the Maadarites within the Sierra Leone People’s Party (SLPP) seems to have given, or giving, majority of Sierra Leoneans the Hobson choice: Return the ruling All People’s Congress(APC) to power in the next General Elections because the SLPP is seriously unserious. And frighteningly fragmented!
And given the fact that presidential elections, in Sierra Leone generally, are only won by likeable characters with national appeal than manifestoes, both Dr Kandeh Kolleh Yumkella and Julius Maada Bio might not be winnable candidates when it comes to national elections. I will give you a palmful of reasons in a jiffy.
Now let’s, for the sake of argument, say Dr Yumkella is given the SLPP flagbearership on a bed of thorns (even in their wishful thinking, the Yumkellarists know deep down their hearts of hearts that their candidate would not be given the SLPP leadership on a platter made of gold and diamonds); he will still not be able to beat the would-be APC presidential candidate. This is because for many people, both within and outside the SLPP, Dr Yumkella passes off as someone who has repeatedly shown traits of the Tejan Kabbah arrogance simply because he has worked for the United Nations. And, nationally, the grassroots see him as an embodiment of elitist snobbery which the Abacha-Streeters distaste with the hatred with which people of God or Allah (delete where applicable) should have or expected to have for Lucifer.
Secondly, if the SLPP finally settles for the ex-UN man then it will be sending the message that that party’s modern leadership is solely meant for United Nations retirees who may have never shown interest in the SLPP’s activities prior to their interest in the party’s leadership. Added to that, a Dr Yumkella flagbearership will create the same 1996 spiteful effect: Ex-UN Ahmad Tejan Kabbah was used to spite Charles Francis Margai. Will the ex-UN Yumkella be used this time again to spite Maada Bio? And if Dr Yumkella will (or should I write “should”?) be registering “legally” (in its disrobed sense) as an SLPP member only this year and still happens to be the party’s mascot in the next presidential election; then the SLPP will be cementing the “monkey wok; babu eat” philosophy.
And even Dr Yumkella’s so-called birthright to the SLPP flagbearership, simply because his father was one of the founders of that Grand Old Party (GOP), will be his undoing in a presidential election because his late father was reportedly hated by majority of his subjects when he was Paramount Chief. For many indigenes of Kychom, Dr Yumkella’s father was a personification of dictatorship and heartlessness which was why one of the ex-UN man’s brothers was rejected when he stood up for the Paramount Chieftaincy few years ago. Maybe, the birthright of the son might give him freehold to the SLPP flagbearership; but the sins of the father might cost the son many vital votes in his birthplace in a presidential election.
But what about Julius Maada Bio? His would-be flagbearership of the SLPP will, surely, reopen the cupboards of his military junta days and skeletons will be tumbling out and down like September Rain. Again, it will lead to the re-examination of the decomposed corpses of Bambay Kamara, Yayah Kanu et al. And it will also provoke the yanking of Pandora boxes that will see the flying of accusations of him being a passport siphoner (is there such an English word in any dictionary or is it a One Dropian dropped word?).
And when those complicities, above, will be potpourried further with accusations of Julius Maada Bio being a bigamist and tribalist coupled with the fact that he might be the only politician in Sierra Leone without a current profession or established business entity; then the SLPP will be trying to do the feat of a salesperson trying to market freezers to the Eskimos.
Julius Maada Bio might only appeal to those who want the perpetration and perpetuation of the tribal and regional agendas; but he might be a put-off to thousands of thousands of Sierra Leoneans at national level. And, no doubt, he will be hunted and haunted by his past so much so that supporters and party faithful will spend the better part of their energies defending than selling him to the wider electorate.
But with the Yumkellarists and the Maadarites now ripping themselves open with political intolerance, lawlessness and bloodthirstiness; I’m constrained to say that the SLPP might be masturbating with caustic soda while at the same time playing Russian roulette. And I don’t think any sane person might want to witness the ejaculation or how the Russian-rouletting finally plays out!
Though my metaphor might be very sharp, graphic and nauseating; nonetheless, I think it captures the would-be by-product of the current SLPP decimating wrangling. For while the Yumkellarists and Maadarites might think they are scoring political points through mudslinging at the moment; the ruling All People’s Congress (APC) will be stockpiling those muds for future use.