By Rev. S.M. Williams.
In an atmosphere of quaint ideas about party attachments it is necessary to proffer some ideas for the enlightenment of the naïve populace. Some are of the opinion that citizens have no right to move from one party to the other while others are of the opposing view. Let us bear in mind that the strongest of all virtues is true courage. It takes a man or women to quit an organisation or institution and to leave behind those with whom he had associated for long. But there are circumstances so compelling that one has to conclude after weighing the pros and cons.
The syndrome has to do with agreeing to disagree. This is all because we can never ever think alike and we change our opinions from time to time according to the prevailing circumstances. It takes all sorts to make a world because our God is a God of infinite variety.
In the realm of religion movements from one to another are rare. People usually stick to the religions in which they are born. Curiously enough people who move to other religions usually become more zealous then those who are set in their original religions.
This situation obtains because religion has to do with life and death issues in contra-distinction from political parties dealing with bread and butter issues.
Attachment and its change can also be found in citizenship whereby people can have dual citizenship which is not possible in terms of party membership. It is only that some people can return to their original parties. Still there are other politicians who insincerely sit on the fence as it were by denouncing the acts of their parties and yet staying in them.
For carpet crossing we only have to take a leaf from events in our former mother country Britain where several occurrences abound. A notable example is that of Sir Winston S. Churchill who was first elected as Conservative in 1900. He was only 25. In 1904 he switched parties and joined the Liberals. He returned to the Conservative Party as Chancellor of the Exchequer.
Therefore he was carpet crossing at random and he later became Prime Minister of Britain.
In Sierra Leone we have had a mixed scene of the same syndrome. The most notable was that of Siaka Stevens who was the first Minister of Mines in the first Sierra Leonean Cabinet. He later formed the APC that non-founders are claiming. Not only that. He imposed a one-party state on Sierra Leone actualizing an idea mooted by Sir Albert Margai.
It was the carpet crossing of only two members of the SLPP namely Kutubu Kaisamba and L.A.M. Mbriwa to the APC that changed the political landscape at that time.
More recently there have been not carpet crossings but movements from one party to another that has caused quite a stir. Those who are loyal to their parties would naturally feel that it is morally wrong for their members to join other parties. But politics usually makes strange bed follows with morality.
One of the most remarkable party defections recently is that of Kandeh Yumkella which has palpably inficted a divisive blow to the SLPP. He goes along with other former staunch members of the SLPP reducing the party’s chances of winning the next elections. When one considers personalities like former Vice-President Joe Demby and Eng. Andrew Keili there can be no gainsaying that heavy weights have gone. There are other politicians like Vandy Kanneh, Bassie Kamara and others etc with righteous umbrage who would rather stay where they are than venture out into the “unknown”. Perseverance is said to overcome everything but there comes a time when one can cease to persevere and turn a new page. Only God and fools don’t change. Thus it was that Ernest Koroma quit the Peoples Democratic Party (P.D.P) because he was DISGRUNTLED. If he had not done so he would have remained unhonoured and unsung, a mere Ernest Koroma. Therefore it is nonsensical to keep questioning why people should not exercise their free will of belonging where they want to as and when they choose when they are disgruntled.