Eyeball to Eyeball: Will the SLPP or the APC Blink First?

Written by Alie Formeh Kamara :

The 2012 elections in Sierra Leone is full of drama. Just when it is thought to be all over with the Electoral Commissioner announcing that His Excellency Ernest Koroma is victor, then came a new bombshell from the main opposition with a Press release stating categorically that all SLPP Parliamentarians, Councilors and Mayors are boycotting the respective governing body sessions till further notice due to unresolved complaints about election malpractices. Additionally, the Opposition is making demands from the government as a precondition for ending the boycott.


Clearly, politics in Sierra Lone, at this moment, is raising the temperature of the atmosphere to nervous limits. Like the saying ‘one bad apple spoils the whole bunch’ some are saying that the participation in national politics of Julius Maada Bio as flag bearer of the SLPP is responsible for the thunderous rumblings and the tsunami like warnings Sierra Leone experienced during and after the elections.

Julius Maada Bio is a former military officer, who self-promoted himself to Brigadier and later as Head of State after a successful coup that toppled the former APC government of Late President Momoh and another coup that toppled the Head of State of the succeeding Military government headed by Captain Valentine Strasser. Apart from his history of initiating coups and his self aggrandizing taste for power Julius Maada Bio participated in acts of terror to wipe out perceived APC sympathizers such as the 29 innocent citizens brutally murdered extra-judicially that included Sierra Leone icons- Bambay Kamara and Salami Coker.

At issue following the conclusion of the elections is the threat of a boycott by the SLPP. This is not a surprising maneuver, to say the least, as intercepted emails of the top bras of the SLPP published publicly for all to see in Awareness Times Newsletter indicated desperation from the losers to employ tactics that will cast doubts on the results of the elections and to ignite chaos through violence with hopes that the end result will be a power sharing mechanism that imitates the Kenyan model.

The new battle line has been drawn by a fake Brigadier who does not want to go quietly. There are talks by speculators of a looming plan for South eastern secession from Sierra Leone. The temperature of the country is rising to boiling point. People are feeling the heat and soon it would cause erratic movements within the country by nervous citizens reminded of the horrors of the ten years civil war that just ended a little more than ten years ago.

The million dollar question is that eyeball to eyeball who will blink. Is this latest threat by Bio of the SLPP worth the paper the press release was written on? Could Bio pull off this new scheme and force the APC to compromise? My simple answer to all of the above questions is emphatically NO. This is a last ditch attempt by a disgraced toothless lion to hide his shame.

A boycott by SLPP legislators is voluntary and what seem to give the SLPP press release any sense of power is that the Legislature is closed for sometime. My guess is that as time draws near for the reopening of Parliament, infighting in the SLPP will intensify. The idea of a boycott of this magnitude and with the potential of disenfranchising the party, by someone whose leadership of the party is in question due to his defeat in the elections, may have certain constitutional problems.

In the worse case scenario, if parliament is to reopen and SLPP legislators fail to show up for thirty consecutive days, then they may lose their seats in Parliament. The Apc does have a quorum and the business of government can proceed with or without the SLPP’s participation. Furthermore, bye elections would have to be conducted for the vacant former SLPP seats and I will suggest that the APC abstains from putting up candidates but allow minority parties to run for those seats in order to restore the operation of our multiparty system and remove the specter of a one party system.

Knowing how lame this latest maneuvering of Bio and his SLPP cabal is especially with the possibility of the unseating all SLPP legislators, my guess is that the SLPP will blink first and change course.

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