During the past couple of weeks, there has been a flurry of newspaper reports with headlines ranging from “market women beat soldier”, “armed robber killed by police at Lumley” to “SLP lifts ban on political parties” and “Charles Margai and his plan “A” and B” political mantra he delivered during the Sierra Leone People’s Party (SLPP) convention held last July. Connecting with Sierra Leone news from a physical distance thousands of miles away, the non-familiar political observer might hastily jump to the proclivity that the use of violence in resolving social issues was (is) not a peculiarity in a country like Sierra Leone that just recuperated, or rather, still emerging from the ashes of an eleven odd years of war. Nevertheless, for some of us who witnessed that distasteful part of our beloved country’s recent past following that debilitating war, the focus of this commentary is on the rather insidious statement made by the embattled leader of the People’s Movement for Democratic Change (PMDC), Charles F. Margai that come the 2012 polls, he has a plan “A” and a plan “B” that would show the ruling All People’s Congress (APC) party the exit door from State House. He however did not elaborate, but largely succeeded in appealing to the emotions of his SLPP audience as he was blindly given thunderous applauses without any effort from that “intellectual” gathering to at least rationalize what Charles Margai least meant with his plans “A” and “B”.
Honestly, one would have just dismissed such an ambiguous statement by a wave of the hand and relegate it as coming from a desperate, irate politician who would befriend and dine with the devil so long as it would serve his political interest. But the question that keeps on desperately begging for answers following Charles Margai’s insidious statement is whether his so-called plan A was his conviction that the PMDC is still such a relevant party that it would team up with the SLPP to get rid of the APC from office come the 2012 polls through the ballot box, or whether his plan B is an apparent insinuation that the PMDC and the SLPP would conspire to use any “means” possible, including Machiavellian ploys and other undemocratic means including force at their disposal, should they smell defeat in the 2012 polls? The purpose of this article therefore is not in any way to reinvigorate the political controversies that have come to symbolize the political career of Charles Margai in recent times. Rather, it is about how someone like Charles could stoop to making indistinct political statements that left observers like us wondering whether his trumpeted “plan B” during the SLPP convention was just a preposterous political incitement or not?
To therefore say that Charles Margai always wanted to be on the spot would be an understatement. This is so because having lost the political finesse to lead the PMDC, the only available opportunity that availed itself was the SLPP convention and this he conveniently exploited to deliver his plan “A” and plan “B” political mantra. Since Charles Margai left many a political observer at bay for them to discern what he meant, it becomes particularly worrying because of the composition of his audience that included former military coupists, passport racketeers cum extra-judicial killers, and self-confessed civilian coup-sponsors turned civilian politicians. It is thereof as a result of the ambiguity that plan “A” and plan “B” generated, coupled with the audience of coupists and assassins it was delivered to, and the consequent political fracas in Bo, Southern Sierra Leone that the attention of Charles Margai and his political cohorts should be drawn to sections of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission (TRC) set up to investigate the causes and conduct of the civil war in the country that reminded Sierra Leoneans and the world at large that political violence contributed in no little measure in preparing the bed for the civil war that ravaged this nation for more than a decade.
In recognition of that fact, it was therefore no surprise that President Koroma in one of his maiden speeches on peace and national security delivered on October 5th, 2007 stated that “…the maintenance of law and order in our nation is a necessary ingredient for peace and tranquility…” The challenge of attaining that necessary peace and tranquility should therefore serve as the impetus for civil society organizations to be more pro-active and seen to have the muscles to fully monitor the compliance of decent politicking and non-violence come the 2012 Presidential and Parliamentary elections so that the plan “A” and plan “B” of Charles Margai could not only be rendered useless, but blow the whistle on time to ward of any form of political violence as the least thing Sierra Lone could afford in her peace-building progress is to relapse to yet another political chaos with all the human rights and humanitarian ramifications that come with it.
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