By KABS KANU
During the last United Nations General Assembly, the Dag Hammarskjold Plaza at the UN witnessed such an intense war of words, wits , slogans, ill-will and verbal hostilities between rival Sierra Leone’s political factions that had gone there to demonstrate against one another that even foreigners ( who included UN diplomats ) expressed fears that if the hostilities among Sierra Leoneans are not curtailed, the country might go back to war.
The bitterness and the intensity of the hostilities demonstrated by supporters of the All People’s Congress ( APC ) and the Sierra Leone People’s Party ( Never mind the fake nomenclature of “Concerned Citizens ” ) against one another clearly raised red flags that Sierra Leoneans have not learned any lessons from the last bestial civil war that killed 50,000 people and left a colony of amputated and disabled citizens and that unless God, in his mercy intervenes, there might be a repeat performance of the carnage that also left the country’s infrastructure in ruins.
The so-called Concerned Citizens were so full of unbridled rage that some of their belligerent members broke through the barriers set up by the Police and threatened to lay hands on Sierra Leoneans demonstrating on behalf of President Ernest Bai Koroma and the APC Government. This indisciplined scenerio had been repeated at the White House and the World Bank in Washington DC where the two factions also clashed in previous demonstrations , some of the hostilities provoked by a sister of the former Vice-President Alhaji Sam Sumana. An Adviser to the President, Dr. Sylvia Blyden and the Publisher of this newspaper, Leeroy Wilfred Kabs-Kanu, were almost manhandled by wild and out-of-control supporters of Mr. Sam Sumana, led by the former VP’s sister and a gentleman in jerry curls , believed to have been intoxicated with diamba.
Relationships between Sierra Leoneans in the diaspora have become so polarized by hostilities and naked hate , due to bitter politics between the APC and the SLPP, that the distinguishing characteristic of Sierra Leoneans abroad is our bitter animosities for one another. Everybody abroad now knows that there is a country called Sierra Leone, whose citizens can hardly tolerate one another. The intensity of the hate is demonstrated by the alarming vitriolic epithets , slurs and violent verbal abuse Sierra Leoneans bandy against one another in forums and the social media.
As if that is not enough , Police have now started being called out to break up violent confrontations between factions in the opposition SLPP in London. There are reports that bitter and violent SLPP intra-party duels , fueled by the dirty rivalry for the presidential flagbearership between Mr. Maada Bio and Dr. Kandeh Yumkella , have been going on in the party’s branches in American and European cities. That the SLPP flagbearer war has spread in the diaspora represents a sad and damaging interlude before the 2018 elections.
The incident in London was disgraceful and we are now washing our dirty linens internationally and demonstrating to the world not only our dislike for one another , even within our own political parties , but our political intolerance and the sad and untenable state of our politics. We are no longer content with exhibiting our hate for one another at home. We have now decided to bring the charade abroad. What a shame.
Instead of providing strong, dynamic and healthy rivalries between contending personalities within our political parties , some of our political entities, especially the SLPP , have become chaotic theaters for the expatiation of hate and intolerance against one another. Instead of becoming intermediary and rallying organizations of liberal democracy linking citizens healthily with the state, some of our political parties, especially the SLPP have been vehicles for spreading disunity, disaffection , intolerance and hate among our people.
It is a shame.