Tony-Bee3 (1)By Tony Bee :
The recent frequent opposition Sierra Leone Peoples Party (SLPP’s) so-called intra -party political violence is a case for concern. It should therefore, be condemned by all peace-loving and development-oriented Sierra Leoneans.
I know some unpatriotic and short-sighted partisans will tend to disagree with me. Most people are much more concerned with party politics than with the safety and development of Sierra Leone. Some will say that expressing concern over another party’s welfare is a gross interference into the party’s internal affairs. Well, I don’t think it is wrong to say the truth to your brother Sierra Leonean if he is not doing the right thing for the interest of the country. Therefore it is good and commendable for all right-thinking Sierra Leoneans to tell the SLPP to stop tearing itself apart before the elections next year. “Things fall apart, the center cannot hold.”
Those who can remember will recall that the destructive war that has plunged our country into backwardness began with petty crude politicking until it became a raging volcano that engulfed the whole nation. Such intra-party politics can easily extend beyond its own confines to involve all Sierra Leoneans in its conflict. Who doesn’t know that big things come from small things, especially in terms of conflict issues? Do we want another bloody war on our hands as 2012 elections approach? A big NO!
The genesis of the 11-year-long brutal civil war, which was the creation of corrupt, greedy and self- seeking politicians and the so-called senior civil servants, started on a very small scale in the country. Many Sierra Leoneans initially took it with a pinch of salt and brushed it off as a minor political or tribal/regional conflict.
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The symptoms of the war were noticeable in the late 1960s, just after the death of the first Prime Minister of the country, Sir Milton Margai, which followed his late brother, Albert Margai, taking over as Prime Minister. To be precise enough, it was just after the 1967 general elections that Sierra Leoneans began hearing about rampant cannibalism in the country and about Ndogborwusu, accompanied by school and college unrests. This situation was fanned by the introduction of Ghadaffi’s Green Book ideology, especially at Fourah Bay College, the University of Sierra Leone, where student demonstrations against the ruling government became more prominent and more frequent in the 1970s and 1980s. Some of those rebellions were quickly nipped in the bud by the action-oriented President at the time, late Siaka P. Stevens. President Stevens, with all his ruthlessness and poor human rights records, never compromised his government or the nation’s security.
Sierra Leone’s conflict situation came to the head in the late 1980s when rebels from neighboring Liberia invaded Sierra Leone through Charles Taylor the Liberian leader’s quest for diamonds to fan his war of attrition. The rebel leader, who later became President of Liberia, made some very acidic remarks about Sierra Leone and its chances of tasting the Liberian war. Indeed, he did put his words into action and Sierra Leone was eventually invaded in 199
Sierra Leone wouldn’t have gone to war if the opposition parties at the time were not keen on ousting the ruling All Peoples Congress (APC) government of late President Joseph Saidu Momoh, who was much more preoccupied with frivolity than affairs of state. As a result, many people who were opposed to the APC joined the rebellion and went into the jungle. They were more concerned with party politics and were ready to destroy the whole of Sierra Leone if only they could eventually succeed to unseat the APC government. Indeed, they succeeded and the opposition SLPP came to power. The SLPP came to power through a flawed and manipulated election which the people of Sierra Leone at the time could not oppose because of the fear of the dangers of war that had eaten deeply into the country. If the elections were conducted in ordinary times, the SLPP wouldn’t have attained the throne of government; late Karefa-Smart would have been among the list of Sierra Leone’s Heads of State.
Whether that unforgettable brutal war that brought untold suffering on poor, innocent and defenseless Sierra Leoneans was a tribal or regional conflict will be left for posterity to judge. What matters now is that after the war, anything that borders on fiery conflicts should be avoided. As SLPP is busy seriously fighting against itself, it should be a cause of concern for all peace-loving Sierra Leoneans, because when their internal conflict blows out of proportion, it will be a repeat of our ugly past of 11 years of brutality. No right-thinking Sierra Leonean would want that revolting history to happen in Sierra Leone again.
As a result, it is not a matter of SLPP fighting SLPP. It should be a national concern by all patriotic Sierra Leoneans. The condemnation of the situation should not be done through political undertones as it is already evident through the political comments made by die-hard supporters of the party. We should not forget that in spite of the destructive years in our country, there are still some people, because of political reasons, including power hungry ambition and political hatred, who would want those destructive years to come again. They are enemies of progress who wouldn’t mind burning down a whole building to kill a rat!
Moreover, if the main opposition party starts to eat its own party members, which party will be strong enough to stand against the ruling APC government when 2012 elections come? It will be a clean-sweep for the APC, which is not what is expected in a democratic situation.
My Sierra Leonean brothers and sisters let us put aside our unpatriotic tribal, political and regional hypocrisy and learn to call things by their real names. Let us condemn when necessary and give praise where praise is due. Let us not allow our corrupt, unpatriotic and power-hungry politicians to divide us through the use of their outdated divide-and-rule tactics which has succeeded in branding Sierra Leoneans as “northerners, easterners, or southerners”. It will only benefit them and their families and not us. Therefore we should stand firmly against such divisions and call ourselves Sierra Leoneans – undivided Sierra Leoneans. If we continue to bow to their calls, they will surely abandon us as they had been doing in the past after they have achieved their hideous aims.
In view of that I would suggest that SLPP take serious measures against any violent-loving party member(s) in order to save the name of the party and to save the nation from becoming another battle field. My advice to the ruling APC government of President Ernest Bai Koroma is that the government should put all state security apparatus in place to deal accordingly with any individual or group that may engage in any act that would disrupt the peace and quiet of the country. All skirmishes or unrests that may be at the detriment of the poor masses should be dealt with accordingly without fear or favor, otherwise the present light Sierra Leone is seeing at the end of the tunnel will disappear completely out of sight. Therefore, I am appealing to all Peace and progress living Sierra Leoneans to wage war against any form or forms of violence in the country, regardless of which corner or political party it will come from. We should say NO, NO to violence to our beloved mother SALONE. NO MORE VIOLENCE TO OUR SWEET SALONE.
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