Normally, its quite difficult to gauge the people’s mood when you have a few formidable and well respected personalities vying for the highest office of the land during an election period. But this time round, the small West Africa state of Sierra Leone wil be heading to the polls with the people having a clear mind and set objective as to what direction they want their country to go. The country was deprived of the unique opportunity to have a main opposition candidate that has the reputation, record, and integrity, to match the incumbent, President Ernest Bai Koroma, when the SLPP decided to choose a mass-murderer and human rights abuser as its flag-bearer for the all-important November vote.
The SLPP’s choice to select a man with blood on his hands, clearly revealed its true intentions as a political party. And the senseless process that was played out in the media to select who should lead them to the election, was one that spelled doom for a party that had already suffered massive defeat at the last polls in 2007. The SLPP’s idea of politics is not about presenting a clear case to the people of Sierra Leone, and convincing them that they are a political force for good, but one where the intent to seek power is to have access to loot state coffers and mortgage the country’s resources to the highest bidder, as they filled their pockets using tax-payers money with reckless agenda to get rich.
The people of Sierra Leone are not daft to trade the infrastructural, democratic, economic and political foundations that have been built in the last five years under an APC-led government, in exchange for an uncertain future being laid on the table by first-class state looters with a camouflaged agenda they are calling a ‘New Direction’. The SLPP, is the country’s oldest political party. You would have thought 50 years of political experience, a third of which was spent in government destroying the fabric of the Sierra Leone society by dismantling all the state apparatus relied upon to run the country efficiently, would have provided sound experience to present itself as a viable alternative to the sitting government. But the past five years in opposition has been spent demonising the head of state and his VP along with cabinet ministers, and engaging a corrupt foreign media to embarrass the state by peddling all kinds of nasty propaganda with only one intention in mind: to lay hands on the state coffers and bring the country once more to its knees.
The SLPP has failed to negotiate a good deal for the people of Sierra Leone by not becoming a credible alternative to governance. Instead, they were busy forging alliances with rogue diplomats and some heads of foreign missions to prosecute a regime change agenda. The most blatant lies mocked-up with corruption-based fabricated stories made it to the front pages of not only rag-tag local newspapers, but you had reputable media houses like Reuters, Huffington Post and the British Guardian newspapers, all lining up to devour the satanic mis-information being thrown at them by correspondents on the ground who traded the valuable tenets of their profession as Journalists to destroy the reputation of some of the country’s outstanding statesmen including the highly reputable Head of State himself, President Ernest Bai Koroma.
In doing all this, the opposition and its allies in the media were not cognisant of the overwhelming support the ruling party enjoyed from the masses. Even Simon Akam, the Reuters correspondent in the country, was left baffled during Nomination day for the ruling APC, when tens of thousands of people came out with outpouring of love for a man and a party that have spent the last five years impacting their lives with development project unfamiliar to them in the politics and recent history of their country. This time, Akam had nothing to write home about, but to dwell in the shameful embarrassment of coming to terms with the lies and tales of deceit he has been peddling to his bosses in the media. It was remarkable to see the country’s Awareness Times newspaper featuring a photo of Akam looking shocked and dismayed glaring at the countless number of people who came out in support of their president.
As a party, the SLPP have failed the people, As a government, the SLPP stole what truly belong to the masses. As individuals running the SLPP, the hierarchy has failed to learn the lessons of the past. As a presidential candidate and flag-bearer chosen to lead them to an unknown future, Julius Maada Bio is unfit for purpose, and as president Koroma himself recently proclaimed, “not qualified to share the same political platform” with him. And finally, as the people themselves have shown, President Ernest Bai Koroma will be their choice once more, come November.
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